Sebastian Vettel won the inagural race of the 2011 F1 season after a dominating performance in Melbourne. The German driver made full use of his pole-position and lead the race from start to finish, taking his 11th Formula 1 win. Vettel adopted a two-stop pit strategy and finished with a 22.2-second advantage over second ranked Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), who had to race with a detached floor after running wide on lap 33.
Third place went to Russian Vitaly Petrov, the big surprise of the Australian GP, who got off to an excellent start. The Renault driver went from sixth to fourth immediately after the green light, taking advantage of Button and Alonso both running wide in the first corner. Petrov gained another position after the first round of pitstops and kept it until the end of the race, scoring his first ever Formula 1 podium finish.
Fourth-placed Fernando Alonso had a tougher time on the track, with the Spaniard having to deal with a three-stop strategy and a poor start that sent him from fifth to ninth before the first corner of the race. The Ferrari driver then quickly started recovering lost positions, managing to finish fourth. Mark Webber and Jenson Button finished the race fifth and sixth respectively, while Ferrari's Massa had to settle for ninth, behind the Ferrari-powered Saubers of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi.
However, the two Sauber drivers were disqualified after the race for rear-wing infringements, so Massa got seventh place eventually.
Mercedes GP had a poor race, as both Schumacher and Rosberg failing to finish the Australian GP. The former quit on lap 19 for technical reasons, after suffering a puncture on lap 1, while the latter had to stop after being hit by Barrichello on lap 22. Overall, it was an enjoyable race to watch, although significant rule changes like the Drag Reduction System (DRS) and the reintroduction of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) didn't seem to have a decisive effect on overtaking.
By Dan Miahalascu