Sebastian Vettel hails 'massive achievement' after win in Australia

Carla Harmon
March 29, 2017

Now, with the first F1 race done and dusted, and with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel claiming victory, it's clear that the Scuderia is in good shape.

"Race critical that you pass Verstappen", Hamilton was told over the team radio to which he testily responded "how do you expect me to do that right now?" as his pace slowed behind the Red Bull.

But after narrowly beating Hamilton to victory in Sunday's 2017 opener in Australia, Vettel admitted he was very excited at the prospect of a renewed season-long showdown with a man he regards as "one of the quickest drivers on the grid".

"I'm not anxious about that, I think like I said in general in the weekend overall, although at times I feel it wasn't ideal, but I think it was a decent start with the team and the new age for me and my career".

"Unfortunately it's harder than ever to get closer to cars, which is a shame because we can't have an even closer battle".

Ferrari did not react immediately, keeping Vettel out until Hamilton hit traffic, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen holding the Mercedes driver back and creating a bigger gap between the two victory contenders. There is a great amount of respect there between us and I am sure it will continue to grow.

"I$3 wouldn't say I'm happy, you realistically, with all things in perspective, see we've come from to massive rule change".

The Briton finished 10 seconds behind as Mercedes had to settle for second and third, with the world champions losing a race win for just the ninth time in the last 60 grands prix. However, thanks to Vettel's stretched lead and the Ferrari pit crew's short tyre swap time, he managed to make his stop and emerge from the pit lanes, ahead of Hamilton.

Hamilton said: "I wouldn't say I'm happy".

"I think the fact that we are similar pace-wise... it's going to be a very, very hard slog this season I think". "I am really grateful to have that fight with him (Vettel)", continued the 32-year-old, who won his first title with McLaren in 2008. It waited much longer than other teams before bringing Vettel in for his first stop, leaving many to speculate it had thrown the race away. "But I couldn't go any further I basically used up all the money that I had in those tyres".

Hamilton came second, seven points adrift with 19 of a 20-race season still to run. I want to do it for the team and the fans.

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