Hamilton remains upbeat despite early retirement from Australian Grand Prix

By Ian Parkes, Press Association

Lewis Hamilton's start to the new Formula One season lasted just three laps before the championship favourite was forced to retire.

From the 32nd pole position of his career ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton was passed on the run down to the first corner at Melbourne's Albert Park by Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo on his debut for Red Bull.

On the opening lap McLaren's Kevin Magnussen dropped Hamilton to fourth, and it was clear the 29-year-old was struggling with his car.

Over and out: Lewis Hamilton completed just three laps before retiring from the race

Over and out: Lewis Hamilton completed just three laps before retiring from the race

Staying strong: Hamilton, who started from pole, remains upbeat despite his troubles in Melbourne

Staying strong: Hamilton, who started from pole, remains upbeat despite his troubles in Melbourne

On lap two Hamilton was then informed by race engineer Pete Bonnington to stop the car and save the engine, only for the Briton to pass the entry to the pitlane.

A further message of 'stay out, stay out, keep rolling' from Bonnington followed, but it quickly became apparent Hamilton's problems were terminal as he pulled into the pits at the end of the third lap and stepped out of the car, with the team confirming a loss of power.

At that stage Hamilton was the third car to retire as Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi caused a first-corner collision, spinning into the gravel alongside Williams' Felipe Massa, sending both cars out.

It started so well: Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg pose with pit girls before the curtain raiser in Melbourne

It started so well: Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg pose with pit girls before the curtain raiser in Melbourne

End of the road: Sebastian Vettel was back in his civvies just four laps into the opening race after mechanical issues

End of the road: Sebastian Vettel was back in his civvies just four laps into the opening race after mechanical issues

After six laps reigning four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel became another high-profile retirement, the German's Red Bull encountering a KERS issue, with his also race ending in the garage. Hamilton confirmed his retirement after losing a cylinder, and said: 'I think I was down to five cylinders. It's a bit unfortunate, but that's racing.'

Trying to draw on the positives, Hamilton added: 'We've got pace and we will recover from this. It's only a hiccup and there's a long way to go. At the moment I'm not concerned about anything.'

As for Vettel and his early exit, he said: 'Already after the second formation lap there was a loss of power and we didn't know why.

Time's up: The quadruple world champion was forced into an early bath in Melbourne

Time's up: The quadruple world champion was forced into an early bath in Melbourne

'Then at the start of the race we had no power, cars kept on passing me, and although I was down we tried to recover.

'At some stage I thought there was an improvement, but then we realised we had lost power from the engine.'

Although it was a miserable start to the defence of his championship, Vettel added: 'We are working hard, and although we have started on the back foot we have learned an awful lot.

'When the package comes together we will be competitive.'

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Great start for Hamilton, more of the same throughout the season.

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Hey Mercedes,let's forget that Nico is German , and Lewis is a suntanned British guy !

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Even being stupid like you !

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Exactly the opposite : he did change for the better...but the cars and all about ...for the worst !

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The problem now is that both Vettel and Hamilton have twenty five points to make up.

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Everything happens for a reason, Lewis.

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Even you being stupid ?

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Maybe my earlier comment about Lewis Hamilton was a bit harsh so my apology to anybody offended. I was a big fan of Lewis when he first came on to the scene but I feel that he has changed and not for the better.

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Respect

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F 1 begun....it's cheating time !

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Can someone PLEASE STOPSuzy Perry trying to overshadow David Coulthard ?? It was embarrassing to see David having to just stand there like a lemon while she ruled the roost with the driver interviews ! And where was Eddie Jordan, who usually partners David ? The two of them (both EXPERTS in F1 ! ) always have a give and take attitude towards each other when they are being interviewed, but Ms Perry just seems to want the limelight all to herself.

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If you'd listened Suzy said that EJ will be joining them later in the season. As for her ruling the roost, she's far easier on the eye than "Desperate Dan".

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Not worthy

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