”These guys with the red car (Ferrari) they are just a bit too quick. We can’t be happy with this,” Bottas said.
Hamilton has to take a five-place grid penalty for changing a gearbox on Friday. Drivers must use gearboxes for six consecutive races before being allowed a new one. Hamilton’s problem was caused by a hydraulic leak sustained in Australia.
Vettel, last year’s championship runner-up, won in Melbourne for his 48th career win and 100th podium. Hamilton ended up second because his team made an error of judgment during Vettel’s pitstop.
Hamilton will also be looking over his shoulder in Sunday’s race, with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo starting from fifth.
Ricciardo’s teammate, Max Verstappen, however, was only 15th after clumsily crashing in Q1.
Heading into Turn 2, he slid sideways off and thudded into the crash barriers, the left front wheel of his car mangled. It has been a poor start to the season from him. He spun his car after pushing too hard early on in Melbourne and finished sixth.
It was a blow to McLaren, after both drivers finished the Australian GP in the top 10, with Alonso in fifth place.
”Our qualifying performance was worse than we expected,” Alonso said. ”We cannot extract the maximum over one lap, and we need to find the reasons why.”
McLaren entered the season with high hopes after switching to Renault engines, following three troublesome seasons with Honda. But Toro Rosso chose to work with Honda and both of their drivers did better in qualifying than McLaren.
Earlier, Hamilton expressed his annoyance over team radio when pitting after P3, saying spectators got too close to his car.
”Who were those people on the left-hand side?” the British driver asked. ”I was coming in at some speed, I could have killed them.”
It was a bad day for Hamilton, vying with Vettel for a fifth world title to move level with Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio.
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Jerome Pugmire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeromepugmire