The podium was completed by Bottas and Hamilton, in that order. Raikkonen was given the green light to go but it was an unsafe release and, as he pulled away, his vehicle hit one of the mechanics.
GETTYThe incident brought an abrupt end to Kimi Raikkonen's race
Daniel Ricciardo initially held on to fourth place. Gasly's performance comes at a time when Red Bull Racing could be looking at Ricciardo's replacement for 2019. He was forced to coast and pull over at the side of the track. It is also pretty clear that Hamilton deserves to be in 2nd place right behind him after securing two consecutive podium finishes to open up the season. "Feeling sorry for all the fans that support me".
After the win, Vettel now has 50 points in the 2018 driver standings, 17 points ahead of Hamilton, while the Briton's teammate Bottas is in third 28 points off the pace. Hamilton was a further nine seconds in arrears and pulling rapidly away from Gasly. Bottas had a ideal drive right till the end, bringing in the gap of eight seconds from the German, down to under a second at the last lap, but unfortunately ran out of laps before making the final overtake. We'll come back strongly in China hopefully. But with Mercedes leaning towards a one-stopper and Ferrari seeming to be two-stopping, the playing field was a lot more even than it looked.More news: USA crude oil inventories decrease in past week
This lifted spirits for Mercedes, but Hamilton, down in ninth to resist a charging lunge by Verstappen at the start of lap two. In fact, Raikkonen faced a similar pit issue in Friday's free practice. Hass Ferrari's Kevin Magnussen came in fifth, followed by Niko Hulkenberg for Renault in sixth.
Hamilton pitted on Lap 26, the team also putting him on mediums. Vettel stopped for the soft rubber on lap 19 with Raikkonen in a lap later for the same tyres.More news: Fire at Trump Tower, 1 injured
"I go when the light is green, I don't see what happens behind", added Raikkonen.
The Finn was left sitting in his auto for a while before stepping out while the mechanics focused on their stricken team mate on the floor. Raikkonen was ordered to stop immediately.More news: A careful Technical Snap of Stock: Facebook, Inc. (FB)
"The whole team hopes he recovers quickly". On lap four the race resumed, and it was Hamilton who would take centre stage as he started his comeback. The events of Melbourne's strategy mistake were clearly still very much on his mind during a series of increasingly testy and garbled communications with the pit wall. The Pirelli soft compound tyre was expected to last approximately 30 laps in racing conditions and Vettel managed to extract nearly 20 percent more life from them. They crossed the finish line first and second, with Hamilton third. "We will try to get them next time".