Hamilton laments software glitch as Vettel victorious in Australian Grand Prix

Hamilton on top Down Under to claim F1 pole

Hamilton on top Down Under to claim F1 pole

Hamilton had already made his stop before the safety auto, but Vettel's stop under the safety vehicle saw him come out ahead of Hamilton, and Vettel managed to fight off Hamilton for much of the rest of the race - although in the closing laps Hamilton slowed and had to concentrate on keeping his second place - with Ferrari managing third place too for Raikkonen.

Vettel, who secured his 48th career victory, added: "We are a little bit lucky today".

The four-time world champion got the jump on the Mercedes ace off a miscalculation on the pit stop under Virtual Safety Car conditions and held off Hamilton for his second straight win in Melbourne and third overall. Probably not. Take out the safety auto and it would have been an easy Merceds win, with Ferrari just behind and Red Bull following. "Disbelief was how I felt from that moment until the end".

It was Vettel's 48th win in his 200th grand prix and follows his earlier wins in Melbourne in 2011 for Red Bull and a year ago for Ferrari.

After missing out on victory in the first race of the season, Hamilton said: "I did everything I could today, but it's not what anyone expected to happen".

"But today they were very, very quick".

Just after turning in his fastest lap of the day on lap 47, Hamilton briefly went off the track on Turn 9 and lost precious time, falling almost three seconds back.

"Unfortunately, we just couldn't make anything out of it because it is so hard to overtake on this track".

Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated by the intricacies of modern Formula One racing after Mercedes' strategy software cost him a likely victory at the Australian Grand Prix.

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"What just happened guys?" a confused Hamilton asked over the team radio.

The 33-year-old Mercedes F1 driver from Hertfordshire was leapfrogged by Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel during a virtual safety auto period and ultimately had to settle for second place around the Albert Park track in Melbourne this morning.

"We thought we were safe, but there's obviously something wrong", the team told Hamilton.

His stoppage led to the deployment of the VSC, and Vettel gaining the lead.

Hamilton got to within half-a-second of Vettel once the race resumed, but ran off the track in his pursuit before eventually giving up the ghost. Kimi Raikkonen in third for Ferrari. I don't think the gap was as big as it seemed yesterday, it's just that I had a good lap and maybe Sebastian didn't have a good lap.

"It was OK. We didn't have the most luck but what can you do", he said.

"He made three passes on track, and benefited from the VSC too, but then was stuck in a DRS train in the final laps".

McLaren's Fernando Alonso made a strong run to finish in fifth place, holding off a spirited challenge by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who was sixth.

Mercedes technical director James Allison said: "Having come to Melbourne with high hopes, it will be a long journey home for us, knowing that we under-delivered as a team".

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