Formula 1 – Australia GP 2011

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel started his 2011 Formula One defense in emphatic style on Sunday – leading the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne from start to finish.
McLaren’s 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton did well to finish second after damaging his car on the first corner while Lotus Renault’s Russian driver Vitaly Petrov achieved his first podium finish.
The 23-year-old German notched up his 11th win in his 63rd Formula 1 race.
Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Ferrari – with Mark Webber in his Red Bull in fifth place. Jenson Button came sixth in his McLaren.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said after the race his team did not use its KERS power-boost system because of technical issues, underlining the scale of Vettel’s victory.
Following his triumph, Vettel said – “It was a good race. In the end things calmed down, Lewis didn’t push, but it was not an easy race.
“The start was crucial, I was on the clean side, but didn’t know if it was enough until we got through the first corner.
“With Lewis dropping off later in the race, there was no pressure, so I was able to control it.”
Assessing the season ahead, Vettel added – “It’s a long season, so we have to keep on doing what we are doing now, enjoying, but working hard.”

Formula 1 - Australia GP 2011
Formula 1 - Australia GP.

Russian Formula One racer Vitaly Petrov was on the podium on Sunday for the first time in his racing career, after finishing third at the Formula One Australian Grand Prix.
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel finished first at the season-opening race, outpacing McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.
Petrov (26, signed by Renault) is the first and currently the only Russian Formula One racer. He debuted in 2010 with moderate success, finishing the season 13th in the overall standings.
After the longer-than-expected winter break, the paddock was in excitable (and impatient) mood as it reconvened in Australia. And Melbourne yet again welcomed the Formula One fraternity to Albert Park with its usual grace and panache.
In the build-up to the on-track action, Red Bull sent their race drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber off to carry out some typically Australian activities to delight the media. Defending world champion Vettel seemed to pick the short straw. And found himself attempting to shear a sheep at a cattle farm on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Whether Vettel or the sheep was the more nervous participant was matter for some debate. But the German gamely declared himself determined to “get the job done”, and he did, even though it took half an hour to complete a task that for an experienced hand takes a matter of minutes. He admitted he needed a little more practice…
Webber, meanwhile, cooked up a storm alongside Red Bull/Toro Rosso reserve driver (and fellow Australian) Daniel Ricciardo on the beach, with more than 50 members of the media tucking into the duo’s expertly prepared barbecue breakfast. Delicious.
McLaren were also enjoying being back “down under” and singled out Australia’s racing heritage as they ramped up their Grand Prix preparations. On Tuesday Jenson Button became the first driver to tackle the country’s iconic Mount Panorama circuit in a Formula 1 race car, unofficially breaking the lap record. He completed five tours of the legendary Bathurst track at the wheel of an MP4-23 before handing the car over to five-time Bathurst champion Craig Lowndes. Button also had the chance to experience the circuit in a V8 Supercar.
Sadly, the popular Grand Prix Ball was not held, but there was a wonderful photocall in the paddock on Saturday when Webber and Ricciardo were joined by fellow Aussie F1 stars, world champions Sir Jack Brabham and Alan Jones, together with Tim Schenken, Vern Schuppan, Larry Perkins, Dave Walker and 91 year-old Tony Gaze. Warwick Brown was also in the paddock, but missed the call.
Other sports stars included motorcycle legend Mick Doohan, world champion surfer Layne Beachley (with her husband, INXS singer Kirk Pengilly), fellow world champion surfer Mick Fanning, Olympic pole vaulter Steve Hooker and motorbike stunt rider Robbie Maddison.

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