- Daniel Ricciardo posts the DHL Fastest Lap in the Formula 1 season opener
- The local favorite sets the fastest lap since 2007 in Melbourne
Daniel Ricciardo takes DHL Fastest Lap in Melbourne
The first DHL Fastest Lap of the season goes to Daniel Ricciardo. The local driver posted a time of 1:25.945 in the Australian Grand Prix and was thus considerably faster than race winner Sebastian Vettel and runner-up Lewis Hamilton.
After being handed a penalty in free practice, Ricciardo lined up in only eighth place but went on a strong charge up the field and ultimately just narrowly missed the podium in fourth place. The Australian scrapped with Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen for third place in the final stages of the race and went on to secure the DHL Fastest Lap. Räikkönen posted the second-fastest lap of the season opener with a time of 1:26.373.
"I’m happy with the way I drove today and we had a very fast race car. It’s not often I sit behind someone for most of the race but it’s a tight track and one of the more tricky ones for passing", said Ricciardo. "There were a couple of times I had a look at turn three but Kimi was wise to that and could see what I was planning. Towards the end I applied more pressure on him but he was able to up the pace as well. I think we’re pretty close with Ferrari and our race pace is strong, which I thought would be the case, so we just need to get a few more tenths out of Qualifying and then we should be looking good. Being so close to the podium and getting fastest lap is definitely an encouraging way to start the season."
Lewis Hamilton had held the fastest lap before the scrap between Ricciardo and Räikkönen but was ultimately relegated to third place in this particular discipline. The defending champion in the DHL Fastest Lap Award covered the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in a time of 1:26.444. Sebastian Vettel was a mere 25 hundredths slower than Hamilton, a result that the Ferrari driver was, no doubt, prepared to accept in view of his race win.
Fastest laps: 2018 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX
- 01 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:25.945 - on lap 54
- 02 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 1:26.373 - on lap 57
- 03 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:26.444 - on lap 50
- 04 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:26.469 - on lap 53
- 05 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:26.880 - on lap 54
- 06 Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) 1:26.958 - on lap 57
- 07 Fernando Alonso (McLaren) 1:26.978 - on lap 57
- 08 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:27.019 - on lap 54
- 09 Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) 1:27.081 - on lap 57
- 10 Esteban Ocon (Force India) 1:27.600 - on lap 57
History: DHL Fastest Laps in the FORMULA 1 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX
Daniel Ricciardo secured the second-fastest lap ever recorded in Melbourne since the launch of the DHL Fastest Lap Award in 2007, which was the first year the prestigious award was contested, when Kimi Räikkönen went faster than the local driver with a time of 1:25.235.
The lap record on the current track configuration still stands at 1:24.125 and was set by Michael Schumacher in 2004. Lewis Hamilton managed to set a new absolute track record in this year’s qualifying, however. The Mercedes driver raced to pole position with a 1:21.164. No one has ever driven faster in Albert Park.
Special milestone for Daniel Ricciardo
This was the tenth DHL Fastest Lap of Australian driver Ricciardo’s career, and so, he was able to celebrate reaching a special milestone in his home race. Ricciardo is now in 31st place on the list of all-time fastest drivers along with Graham Hill, John Surtees and Mario Andretti.
Michael Schumacher still leads with 77 fastest laps. Kimi Räikkönen is right behind him with 45 fastest laps, followed by Alain Prost (41), Lewis Hamilton (38) and Sebastian Vettel (33).