Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has defended his world championship in the first round in the 2011 season of the Australian Grand Prix which took place in Melbourne’s Albert Park on Sunday.
The season opening race was due to take place in Bahrain on March 13th, but civil unrest and violent anti-government demonstrations in the region resulted in Melbourne becoming the host destination for the race.
Vettel finished the race with a 2.4 second lead. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton came in second place while his team-mate Jenson Button came sixth after cutting a corner which resulted in him being penalised. Renault’s Vitaly Petrov came third after getting off to an excellent start that propelled him into the lead, according to reports.
Following his victory, Vettel revealed: “It has probably surprised us as much as anyone else. We had the gut feeling we would be among the top teams, but how much was unclear.” He added: “I think we have to keep our feet firmly on the ground and our heads clear.”
Speaking about Vettel’s performance, Martin Brundle, BBC F1 commentator explained: “A stunning performance from the man who’s led every lap of the last three grand prix”. He described him as ‘calm’ and ‘steely’.
The next race is set to take place in Malaysia on April 10th, followed by proceeding races in China, Turkey, Monaco and Spain for May.
F1 travel packages
Since the late 1970s, sports tourism has become increasingly popular. Events such as rugby, Olympics, Commonwealth games, Asian Games and football World Cups have enabled specialist travel companies to gain official ticket allocation and then sell them in packages that include flights, hotels and excursions.
In 1993, Formula One Grand Prix Tours formed part of a group of companies that market and offer international adventure tour packages in conjunction with the popular races. Grand Prix offers tours as a professional auto racing tour operator rather than a retail travel agency.
Travellers who purchase these tours are invited to experience the race as well as the ‘sights sounds and people’ of each destination. Components of these packages include circuit transfers by tram, accommodation in selected hotels and an F1 Grand Prix tour guide.
In 2010, total short-term visitor arrivals to Australia were 5.4 per cent higher than in 2009, at a record 5.9 million. The largest increases were from China (up 24 per cent) and South Korea (up 18.2 per cent). Arrivals from the United Kingdom were 2.6 per cent lower (due to unfavourable economic conditions and various shocks throughout the year such as the Icelandic volcano) and arrivals from the United States were 1.6 per cent lower.