Sebastian Vettel ended Ferrari's long drought with a season-opening win at Australian Grand Prix on Sunday. The German driver finished the race in 1:24:11.672s to edge out Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton by almost 10s (9.975s) in Albert Park, Melbourne.
Notably, this is Ferrari's first win since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix and Vettel's first win in Australia since 2011, in which he went on take the title. The four-time champion made best use of Hamilton's early pit stop to take the early lead in the race and never looked back from then on.
With today's win Ferrari have proved that the pre-season testing results in Barcelona were a true reflection of the work they have put in their machines. Vettel revealed that he was able to push harder for longer periods in the race even as the tyres were getting worn out and that the cars "were asking for more" following the rule changes that the sport has seen in the new season.
Mercedes' new recruit Valtteri Bottas impressed in his first race with the Silver Arrows by clinching a podium finish as he tailed his teammate Hamilton throughout the race and ended up just 1.275s behind the latter. It was the 10th podium finish for the Finnish driver, who reportedly was not happy with the way his practice sessions went on Friday.
Ferrari, with 37 points, now has a an early four-point lead over Mercedes as the former's Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth in Melbourne. Red Bull's Max Verstappen took the fourth spot while Williams' Felipe Massa finished sixth.
Vettel believes that Ferrari have laid down the early marker in the new season and are ready to challenge the domination of Mercedes, who have won the constructor's championship for the last three years.
"We are over the moon, It was a hard winter. But we have shown that we are here, we are here to fight. With the new cars, you could push much harder, the tyres are helping us to push for longer through the race. The cars keep asking for more, more, more," Vettel said during the podium ceremony.