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Bottas beats Hamilton to season-opening win in Australia

17 Mar 2019, 12:16 IST
ValtteriBottas - cropped
Valtteri Bottas won the Australian Grand Prix after overtaking Lewis Hamilton into turn one

Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate and reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton to victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton qualified on pole in Melbourne for the sixth straight year but was overtaken into turn one and was unable to keep up with Bottas, who ended a wait for a win that stretched back to the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen put pressure on Hamilton in the closing stages but had to settle for third after passing Sebastian Vettel on lap 31.

The Mercedes duo expressed their surprise after locking out the front row in comfortable fashion on Saturday and it was unlikely either of them expected Bottas to run away with the win.

The Finn made full use of the open road in front of him following the first corner and he somehow continued to outpace Hamilton and Vettel after they pitted for fresh tyres.

Hamilton complained he was struggling to manage the medium compound around the midway point and Bottas, who took the bonus point for posting fastest lap, continued to eke time out of his team-mate.

While Hamilton became preoccupied with Verstappen, whose attempts to steal second were hindered by going off track, Bottas was able to take the chequered flag six years to the day since his F1 debut.

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