Valtteri Bottas overtook pole-sitter teammate Lewis Hamilton to win Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix by a 20-second margin at the Melbourne circuit in Australia on Sunday.
Bottas clinched his fourth grand prix win and his first since Abu Dhabi in Dec. 2017 by reaching Turn 1 ahead of Hamilton and remaining untroubled in front for the rest of the race as Mercedes claimed a one-two lockout on the podium.
“I do not know what just happened," Bottas said. "I do not know what to say! It was definitely my best race ever. I felt so good and the car was so good,” the Finnish driver added, according to the Formula One official Twitter account.
The 29-year-old Finnish driver also collected an extra point by clocking the fastest lap on the 5.303-kilometer circuit, thus clinching 26 points from the first race on the F1 calendar according to new rules.
Bottas took the checkered flag 20.886 seconds ahead of five-time champion Hamilton, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen third and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel fourth.
Although Britain’s Hamilton has claimed his eighth pole position in Melbourne, he is still struggling with the Albert Park circuit as he has only won the Australian Grand Prix here twice, in 2008 and 2015.
“It was a good weekend for the team - Valtteri drove an incredible race today and truly deserved the win,” the 34-year-old Hamilton said.
Dutchman Verstappen finished the race after steering his Red Bull past Vettel on Lap 31 of the 58 lap race to go third.
"I had to overtake Seb to get the podium which is not easy around here. To start the season on the podium challenging Mercedes is very good for us," the 21-year-old Verstappen said.
Vettel, who held on to fourth place, was followed by teammate Charles Leclerc, while the remaining top 10 places were filled by Kevin Magnussen in a Haas, Nico Hulkenberg in a Renault, Kimi Raikkonen in his first race for Alfa Romeo.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso came in ninth and 10th, respectively.
Meanwhile, McLaren's Spanish driver Carlos Sainz was forced to retire the race on Lap 11 after suffering an engine failure.
“No power, no power,” Sainz told team radio that ordered the 24-year-old Spaniard to stop his car in scenes reminiscent of his predecessor Fernando Alonso who left his F1 seat last season.