Glitch costs Hamilton victory in Melbourne opener

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MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC) – A software glitch by Mercedes cost pole-sitter and reigning World champion Lewis Hamilton victory, as main rival Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 33-year-old Brit led for the early part of the race and seemed on course for victory until the activation of the virtual safety car following the retirement of the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.
A miscalculation on the part of Hamilton’s team saw Vettel emerge from the pits in the lead, an advantage he maintained despite constant pressure from the four-time World champion.
“The software or system we have been using for five years just gave us the wrong number,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said afterwards.
“Lewis did nothing wrong. It was down to a software bug or an algorithm that was simply wrong.”
In the end, Hamilton finished five seconds behind in second with Vettel’s Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, third and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo fourth.
Hamilton had gotten away cleanly in a superb start, extending his run of great speed from Saturday’s final qualifying.
And while Hamilton was the heavy favourite to take victory were it not for the miscalculation, he said judging from Ferrari’s pace, the season would be a competitive one.
“It shows we are going to have a race on our hands, which we are very happy to have, which is great for the fans,” Hamilton pointed out.
The next Formula One race is in Bahrain on April 8.

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