Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes) has won the first Grand Prix with Bridgestone as Formula One's Official Tyre Supplier after using a medium-medium-soft compound Potenza tyre strategy in the ING Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. Hamilton ...
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes) has won the first Grand Prix with Bridgestone as Formula One's Official Tyre Supplier after using a medium-medium-soft compound Potenza tyre strategy in the ING Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
Hamilton prevailed from pole in an eventful race where only seven cars were running at the chequered flag. Second place went to Nick Heidfeld whose BMW Sauber, using the same tyre strategy as Hamilton, finished 5.4secs behind.
Nico Rosberg (AT&T Williams) finished in third place, registering his first podium finish in Formula One. Both Hamilton and Rosberg have won the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series, and this is the first time that two previous GP2 champions have been on the podium at a Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso (Renault) finished fourth and Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes) fifth after an entertaining battle for position late in the race. Rubens Barrichello (Honda) finished sixth, but was subsequently excluded for exiting the pit lane when the pit exit lights were red. Kazuki Nakajima (AT&T Williams) was classified sixth after Barrichello's exclusion, taking points in only his second Grand Prix. Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso) scored points for being classified seventh on his Grand Prix debut whilst Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) took a point for eighth after an eventful race for the reigning champion.
Temperatures soared in Melbourne, providing a harsh test for competitors and their equipment. Bridgestone's medium and soft compound Potenza tyres proved to be more than up to the task of the hot conditions and a one stop strategy was possible in the race. Running was interrupted three times by safety car periods.
Hamilton now leads the drivers' championship with ten points from Nick Heidfeld on eight whilst McLaren Mercedes leads the constructors' championship on 14 points. AT&T Williams are in second place with nine points.
Next weekend sees the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang where Bridgestone's hard and medium compound Potenza tyres will be used.
Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said:
"Today we had good tyre performance with both Bridgestone Potenza compounds performing very well. We will analyse our data, but initial indications are that generally the medium compound was slightly better in race conditions. The soft compound did experience some graining, particularly when the track was dusty early in the race, but there was sufficient wear life to use a one stop strategy, and we are happy with tyre performance. It was an eventful race today, with three safety car periods. Only seven cars were running at the end and we saw competitors in the points who we would not have predicted from the winter testing. This was exciting to see. We now head to Malaysia where once more we can expect high temperatures and close competition."