Max Verstappen wins the 2018 Austrian GP

Max Verstappen wins the 2018 Austrian GP

Verstappen went on to control the race once Mercedes' failure to pit Lewis Hamilton under the early virtual safety vehicle, caused by Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas's retirement from second place, cost the Briton track position later on. "I've got no time left in the tyres", said Hamilton, aware that a straightforward race win was in peril.

"There's a very small lap time gain in having it open just through Turn 1", Hartley said.

Verstappen hit the front after Mercedes kept Hamilton out on track during a virtual safety vehicle period that followed Bottas's retirement, with the other contenders pitting for fresh tyres.

"No, definitely not", he said, adding that this year's was no better: "We know we have less downforce this year than last year".

"As soon as we got the auto back that evening we had a fix designed and put into test-mode".

Hamilton is going for a fifth straight victory and a record sixth overall in his home race, but the four-time world champion complained early on, "This track is the bumpiest I've ever been on". In trying to explain how he had lost the lead of the race, Mercedes head strategist James Vowles apologised twice to Hamilton over team radio, which was broadcast publically across television channels. So, while it was a painful experience, it actually brought us closer. 'We all wished it wasn't the way it was, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

The 20-year-old came under pressure for a string of clashes early in the season in incidents that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes were not that different to Sunday's Austrian GP fight.

The Melbourne race has been held on the penultimate weekend of March for the last two years but has been moved forward, to give the event space either side of the Moomba Festival and the start of the Australia Football League season. "And the problems - we've done everything we can to make sure they don't happen again".

Vettel's 0.187 seconds advantage over Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas another two tenths behind, was the first time in 2018 when a Ferrari auto had finished Friday in front. "I hope we can be there".

A week on from their Austrian GP victory, Red Bull had a poor day - lacking speed, reliability and track time. I think we have to be very honest with ourselves and our fans that this is going to be a journey. I don't like to put the blame somewhere else.

"He'd got enough in the tank to see off the challenge to the end of the race".

It's going to be very, very close this weekend. "He's a racer, he understands racing commitment and spirit and I think he's going to be a good leader for the future at McLaren".