This race was dominated by the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but the Key Strategy Moment came in the battle for the final podium position between Scuderia Ferrari and Williams Martini Racing, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel taking it thanks to a clever strategy ploy.
Williams pitted Felipe Massa on Lap 21 fearing Ferrari might try to undercut him by pitting a lap earlier. Instead, Vettel stayed out another three laps on used soft compound tyres and had better pace than Massa on new medium tyres.
Vettel saved his tyres early on to mount an attack at the end of the first stint. Massa lost time behind Daniel Ricciardo on his first lap out of the pits. This was enough to give Vettel track position after he made his stop on lap 24.
Reliability will be less of an issue in this second year of hybrid turbo engines, so this should be a hard fought race. Pirelli has nominated the same tyre compounds as last season, soft and medium. Testing showed that the medium front tyres can take a while to warm up, especially in cooler conditions, as we sometimes encounter in Melbourne. This should be a two stop race and with the soft a good margin faster than the medium, so strategy will be crucial. Last year the first stop was dictated by the safety car, which is a regular feature at Albert Park. It is important for teams and drivers to be reactive to a sudden safety car deployment as there are places to be made up by being decisive.
In collaboration with James Allen
Albert Park has become the customary curtain-raiser of the Formula 1 season in recent years, and the street-style circuit allows for close racing and a great spectacle for fans. Its colourful gravel makes the event aesthetically pleasing as well as punishing anyone that does not tread carefully - no tarmac run-off here. Taking over from Adelaide as the Australian Grand Prix in 1996, the temporary circuit consists of both high and low speed corners, closely lined by unforgiving walls that have caught many drivers out, including Pastor Maldonado’s lapse in concentration at the climax of the 2012 event. The safety car risk is high here at 60%. Kimi Raikkonen took his second and final victory for Lotus here last year, whilst Jenson Button is the most successful of the current crop having won the race three times. Raikkonen has taken victory twice whilst Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have one win each.
Circuit length 5.303 km
Race distance 307.574 km
2014 race winner Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)