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Vettel triumphs at Australian Grand Prix

Young German driver Sebastian Vettel has won the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne. The victory ends Red Bull's poor run in Australia.

Sebastian Vettel waving

Vettel dominated the race from start to finish

German world champion driver Sebastian Vettel has won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Vettel, driving for Red Bull, started from pole position to beat McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by 22.2 seconds, with Russian Vitaly Petrov coming in third. Vettel took the checkered flag in 1 hour 29 minutes 30.259 for the 58-lap race.

It was the 23-year-old's 11th win in his 63rd Grand Prix. He became the youngest F1 world driver's champion last year.

Elation - and deflation

Speaking on team radio after winning the race, Vettel was elated. "Fantastic race, really controlled. Excellent car, excellent stops," he said.

Michael Schumacher

Schumacher had to bow out early

Fellow German Michael Schumacher was understandably less euphoric, as his race was ruined in a first-lap collision that damaged his car, forcing him to retire in the 23rd lap.

"That's racing. It's a shame, we came here with very different expectations," said Schumacher.

Rosberg also forced to quit

Schumacher's teammate Nico Rosberg, another of the six German drivers on the grid for the race, also had to quit after a crash with Williams veteran Rubens Barrichello.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber and McLaren's Jenson Button completed the top six.

The F1 season was originally due to start on March 13 in Bahrain, but that race was postponed due to political unrest in the country.

The second race of the season takes place in Malaysia on April 10.

Author: Timothy Jones (AFP, dpa, AP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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