Sebastian Vettel wins the first race of the 2017 season after a strategy mistake for Mercedes cost Lewis Hamilton the lead of the race. There had been plenty of talk of Vettel possibly taking Hamilton on the run up to the first corner, but the Brit kept control of the race throughout the first stint. Mercedes decided to pit Hamilton early as the team was worried about tyre degrading, but he emerged from the pits behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Verstappen isn’t the easiest person to overtake, Hamilton found, and he was stuck behind the teenager whilst Vettel built up a strong lead at the front of the field. When the German pitted, he emerged just ahead of Verstappen, keeping Hamilton behind him. Hamilton struggled with power fluctuations throughout the race. Some laps he was closing in on Vettel, some laps it looked as if he would fall back into teammate Valtteri Bottas, but he remained second. Whilst one Red Bull driver was making things difficult for the championship favourite, the other was somewhere in the Red Bull motorhome. It was a home GP to forget for Daniel Ricciardo, who’s problems started before the start of the race. His Red Bull stopped on track on the way to the grid, with the car stuck in sixth gear. The car returned to the pits on the back of a truck, but the team managed to fix the problem in time for Ricciardo to start the race, albeit a few laps behind the rest of the field. The car stopped on track again during the race. Ricciardo described it as a “separate” issue from what had happened before the race, and Horner said it was an engine issue. If it is an engine problem, that will be worrying for Renault, who postponed introducing the engine that was run in testing because of reliability problems. Like last season, the wheel-to-wheel battle of the race could be found further back in the field. After starting twelfth, Fernando Alonso had made his way up into the pits and was running in tenth when Force India’s Esteban Ocon closed in on him. Ocon was studying the back of Alonso’s car, staying right behind the Spaniard for multiple laps, as Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg joined the back of the field. Ocon triggered the move that would have fan’s hearts in their throats. Ocon tried a move around the outside of Alonso, squeezing the Spaniard onto the grass and allowing Hulkenberg to pull alongside the duo. The three ran side by side before the order settled out, with Ocon taking the lead of the trio, and Alonso falling back to twelfth. The tenth position allowed Ocon to take his first Formula One point. Alonso later retired from the race, but McLaren fans were given hope that the team may have put the reliability problems behind them, as Stoffel Vandoorne was able to finish the race. Final classification 1. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari 2. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes 3. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes 4. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari 5. Max Verstappen – Red Bull 6. Felipe Massa – Williams 7. Sergio Perezi – Force India 8. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso 9. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso 10. Esteban Ocon – Force India 11. Nico Hulkenberg – Renault 12. Antonio Giovinazzi – Sauber 13. Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren OUT: Fernando Alonso – McLaren Kevin Magnussen – Haas Lance Stroll – Williams Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull Marcus Ericsson – Sauber Jolyon Palmer – Renault Romain Grosjean – Haas For more Formula One news and discussions head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in with your fellow community members. What was your moment of the race? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.