Sebastian Vettel claimed both his and Ferrari's first win since 2015, with the Mercedes duo forced to settle for minor honours.
Sebastian Vettel: "I think for all of us this is a positive surprise. We focused on what we had to do at the time, obviously there's been a lot of up and down left and right in the last 12 months but I think especially in the last couple of months things calmed down and we just tried to do our job. Obviously there's been a big reshuffle, but people are happy, happy to work, working with each other so that's the key and in the end there's no shortcut. I think just focusing on ourselves really has been the big difference and the key to deliver a great car, which we obviously have. The speeds were alright both on the straights and in the corners we are competitive, as I said I was able to stay with Lewis. [Mercedes] had the upper hand yesterday, but I knew we had much better balance yesterday than on Friday so I knew in the race anything can happen. It's the first race of the season I'm surprised we didn't have a safety car, but anything can happen so I really wanted to stay in there and make it clear that we have the pace it was nice to see that we had, and to get the job done."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I think already yesterday we suffered a bit with understeer in the car and it was a similar story today on the first set of tyres. Once we put the soft tyres on, the car turned to be very good and I was very happy but, obviously, at that point we were pretty much in nowhere-land. There was quite a bit of fuel saving too but I guess it was the same for everybody. Once I pushed the car was fast and I think already yesterday we understood what we are lacking. It was too late, we were a bit of a step behind after Friday and Saturday, and we ended up in this position. It's not exactly what we wanted but I think we have a good understanding why things went this way this weekend and I'm pretty confident we'll be back where we should be in the next race. We have a strong package, we have a good foundation and understanding, so we go from here."
Lewis Hamilton:“A big congratulations to Sebastian and Ferrari. I know this win has been a long time coming for them. This shows we've got a real race on our hands this season and it's a challenge we will relish. It's going to be great for the fans. We had a really good start which is fantastic. It was nice to get a good getaway. But I was struggling with grip from the get-go. Sebastian was able to always answer me in terms of lap time and just go quicker. Towards the end of the first stint I caught some traffic and that overheated the tyres. I struggled for grip to the point where I needed to come in, plus the gap was closing up and I was sliding around a lot. We made the call to pit, because otherwise I think Sebastian would have come past me anyway. After my stop I got caught in some traffic which was unfortunate but that's motor racing.”
Valtteri Bottas: “There are always things that could have gone better on the day but it's a good starting point for my journey driving for Mercedes. As a team I think we did a really good job with the car we had. But Ferrari were quicker today, there's no doubt about that. They've obviously done a great job over the winter. From my side the main issue was the first stint. I felt like I was always sliding around on the UltraSoft tyre – missing front and rear grip – especially after 10 laps. That wasn't easy. But once we stuck on the Softs I had a great feeling with the car. It was behaving really nicely and it felt really nice to drive. It's a shame it was just a bit too late. But overall this race wasn't a disaster. It's good to start with a podium with a new team and every position is important for the Championship. There's a long season ahead. I have my points and I'll do better next time. I'm looking forward to China.”
Max Verstappen: “The start was really good but it was just a shame that out of turn one I had dirty air ahead of me, this allowed Kimi to stay on the outside and get in front of me again. From then on the pace wasn’t too bad, I could follow him pretty well which was a nice surprise and I had no pressure from behind me. It was positive to see we weren’t that far off Ferrari and Mercedes over a full race distance, this was a concern this morning but I’m relieved now to finish within touching distance. Physically I feel fine, you have to fight the cars a bit but to be honest I feel better than I did last year after race distance. The car behaved and handled quite a bit better than in qualifying. It was hard to follow and drive close behind others, I think as soon as you get within two seconds you can really feel it and could destroy your tyres. Looking ahead to China I think we need to keep working hard on the car, race pace was good but you can still see we are not quick enough in certain situations.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “Not the weekend I wanted at home. For all these things to happen at my home race that’s probably the most frustrating thing. We were on the back foot already after the crash in qualifying and then today we had an issue during the warm up lap followed by a second issue in the race. On both occasions the car just came to a stop so I couldn’t do anything else. But look, it’s the first race so hopefully we’ll move forward from this. Sure I’m disappointed now but it is what it is. I’ve been here before so I’ll wake up tomorrow and be motivated to get ready for China. I feel for the fans. I’m sure they would have loved seeing me in action, but I feel super grateful for everyone that came this weekend and supported me. Even when I stopped they were still cheering and shouting my name. That goes a long way and it makes me stand here now feeling a lot better than if I didn’t have that so I definitely appreciate their support. Also, the boys worked so many hours this weekend, and did a great job getting me out on the track again but unfortunately it hasn’t come together for any of us. Max’s pace in the race looked a bit more encouraging, so I think we’re better than what we’re showing but it’s still a bit of a puzzle we’re trying to figure out. If any Aussies have a bit of energy left in a few weeks, then come out to China and you’ll hopefully see a better race from me.”