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Summary

  1. Vettel leapfrogs Hamilton to win during safety car
  2. Mercedes say miscalculation caused confusion
  3. Both Haas cars suffer identical pitstop wheel mistake after running well
  4. Sirotkin, Ericsson, Gasly, Magnussen, Grosjean out
  5. Get involved #bbcf1

Live Reporting

By Gary Rose

All times stated are UK

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The battle begins

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First blood to Sebastian Vettel but there's a long way to go yet with Bahrain next up in two weeks' time.

That's it from us. I'll leave you with Andrew Benson's race report and see you later!

Get involved #bbcf1

Taiwo Hollist: Luck is an integral part of #F1 but You have to be ready take your chances when they cone so for that reason say a deserved win

Paul Cole: Vettel came first but he did not win the race. There is something wrong with the rules if you can gain places during a VSC. If this is not changed I suspect every VSC will see the race simply driving through the pits!

This one probably won't feature in many memorable Australian Grand Prix votes but one that did was Nigel Mansell's dramatic tyre blowout in 1986, which ended his title hopes.

BBC Sport readers voted for that as their most memorable Australian GP moment.

Mansell in Adelaide 1986
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That was Sebastian Vettel's third Australian Grand Prix, putting him level with Jenson Button.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, has only won it twice, despite being on pole seven times. That's a pretty poor conversion rate.

Vertsappen vows to come back stronger

What happened in the race?

Andrew Benson

BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer in Melbourne

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Lewis Hamilton lost victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to Sebastian Vettel because of bad luck with a caution period.

The Mercedes driver was in control of the race until Romain Grosjean's Haas stopped on track and officials imposed a virtual safety-car, which restricts the pace of the cars on track.

The world champion had already made his pit stop but Vettel had yet to make his - and Ferrari pounced on the opportunity.

A pit stop made under the virtual safety car costs less time than one made when the cars are at full speed and the time gain of stopping while Hamilton was restricted on track allowed Vettel to rejoin the race just ahead of the Mercedes.

Read Andrew's full race report here.

Just waking up? Here's a summary of what happened in today's race courtesy of our chief F1 writer Andrew Benson...

The wait continues

Daniel Ricciardo was so close to that elusive Australian GP podium but in the end fell just short.

It means Australia is still waiting for a native winner of the race in 34 years.

"I was always going to leave here happy today just to race, just to get that first one over," Ricciardo told Sky Sports.

"It is a tight track, it is tricky to overtake. We are very close to Ferraris' pace. We were one of if not the quickest car on the track today. The race pace is good.

"It was close today, I could even see Lewis at the end. I could touch it, I did everything I could but in the end it would have been nice to start further up the front."

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'Red Bulls the next target'

Fernando Alonso, speaking to Sky Sports: "It was a great work by the team. Both cars in the points and a good starting point.

"It is going to get better and better. There is still a lot of potential in the car to unlock and hopefully from Bahrain we will see another step forward and Red Bull will be the next target."

All smiles

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Good times on their way? Fifth for Fernando Alonso was his best finish since the 2016 United States GP, when he also finished fifth.

'A bit strange'

Here's what Romain Grosjean had to say: "I had great pace today. I am sure I could have stayed a bit more with the front runners. We will analyse everything and come back stronger as we always do.

"We didn't have any problem in winter testing so it was a bit strange."

'Heartbreaking'

Kevin Magnussen has just been speaking to Sky Sports about that strange incident where it appeared one of the wheels were not fitted properly on his Haas: "A very tough one to swallow for the whole team with both cars not finishing in such good positions.

"It is so heartbreaking to finish like that but we will get on top again and fight back."

Kevin Magnussen
EPA

Ton up

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Sebastian Vettel joins Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost in being the only drivers with 100 podiums.

This was also his 48th win in Formula 1, moving him to within three wins of Prost's career total.

Listen to the moment of Vettel's victory

Sebastian Vettel wins his second successive Australian Grand Prix.

Get involved #bbcf1

Martins Oyekanmi: Hamilton made some error turns but not neglecting the fact that Vettel wants it more.

Ben Wire: Ah. I see Vettel has wiped that smile right back onto his face. Lewis is a great driver but I wish he'd just let the driving do the talking. First blood Vettel, then

David NicholsonHurst: Let's face it, Hamilton was faster than anyone out there, unless Ferrari improve it won't be like this next race

A pretty accurate summary of how the drivers probably feel about their races...

View more on twitter

'I had decent speed all race'

Kimi Raikkonen, who finished third: "It was OK, I didn't have the most luck. Luckily it was Seb who had the most luck. I think I had decent speed all race."

'Today they did the better job'

Lewis Hamilton, who finished second: "It has been an incredible weekend, honestly. Big congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. Today they did the better job, we go back to the drawing board. But we still have great pace.

"This is an awesome circuit but it is so hard to overtake. At the end it was live to fight another day, save the engine."

Lewis Hamilton
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'We got a bit lucky'

Race winner : "We got a bit lucky with the safety car but I really enjoyed it.

"My start I was hoping to be better so I had to settle for third. I lost a bit of the connection to Lewis and Kimi at the start, I was struggling with my tyres and was praying for a safety car.

"We got a bit lucky but we'll take it. We're not yet where we want to be but it gives us a good start and fresh motivation for the coming weeks."

Sebastian Vettel
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Up pops Mark Webber to conduct the podium interviews.

A bug at Mercedes?

BBC Radio 5 live

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has been asked about how Hamilton surrendered the lead to Vettel under that virtual safety car.

"We don't know yet. We thought we had enough margin," he tells Jennie Gow.

"It must have been a software bug in the system that caused us to get it wrong.

"We are digging deep now to understand where we had a problem."

Kimi Raikkonen over the moon with third place, there...

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F1.com

'Now we can fight'

Lewis Hamilton gets out of his car and looks a bit bewildered as he removes his helmet. He'll be wondering how exactly that race got away from him.

Up to the podium go the top three.

"Nice job Seb, well managed," Sebastian Vettel is told after securing his third win in Australia.

"We are getting there," he responds. "Still some homework to do."

Ferrari happy but not overly celebrating the win. They know they had a generous slice of luck with the virtual safety car.

Get involved #bbcf1

Reece Young: Boring start to the new @F1 season. More overtakes than last year...but considering last year had none, that isn't really saying much. Hope the season improves

Chris Lord: With a measly three power units for the season that really killed off the last lap scrap between Vettel and Hamilton. Bravo FIA, Bravo!

Joanna Harran: And breathe... nice one Fernando. Great start to the season for both McLarens

Race changed in the blink of an eye

Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver

It played out perfectly for Vettel. The Haas having their issues and the virtual safety car call, and it's just given him the lead and Hamilton could never get it back.

In the first half of the race it looked like Hamilton was in control of the race, and in the blink of an eye Vettel's snuck in and taken the win.

Vettel chasing
Reuters

The rest

11) Perez

12) Ocon

13) Leclerc

14) Stroll

15) Hartley

Retired: Grosjean, Magnussen, Gasly, Sirotkin, Ericsson

Top 10

1) Vettel

2) Hamilton

3) Raikkonen

4) Ricciardo

5) Alonso

6) Verstappen

7) Hulkenberg

8) Bottas

9) Vandoorne

10) Sainz

Lewis Hamilton takes second as Kimi Raikkonen holds onto third place.

Daniel Ricciardo is fourth while Fernando Alonso takes a brilliant fifth for McLaren.

Chequered flag

SEBASTIAN VETTEL WINS THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX.

Vettel
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Lap 58/58

Daniel Ricciardo gets within six tenths of Kimi Raikkonen but it looks like it is not going to be enough...

Daniel Ricciardo
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FINAL LAP

Lap 58/58

A local fan holds up a massive cutout of Daniel Ricciardo's head. Imagine the roar if Ricciardo somehow snatches third place.

It's all on this final lap for the Australian.

Jennie Gow

BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

Mercedes have said it was impossible to get close enough to pass Vettel.

What a comment...

Vettel
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Lap 57/58

Coming into the closing stages of the race and Sebastian Vettel is now five seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton.

It means we're in for a repeat from last year where Sebastian Vettel didn't get pole position but went on to win the race.

Sebastian Vettel
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Battle for third

Lap 56/58

Daniel Ricciardo is not giving up the right for a podium at his home race, however.

The Australian is fastest of anyone on the circuit and moves to within a second of Kimi Raikkonen.

Ricciardo
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Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver

Hamilton's in trouble. He's now 3.2s behind Vettel and only six ahead of Raikkonen.

Lap 55/58

Sebastian Vettel now 3.3 seconds down the road. Looks like the race win is his.

Sebastian Vettel
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Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver

Suddenly the attack has completely gone from Hamilton and he's dropping back every corner.