Disappointment for Team Lotus; Sebastian Vettel dominates F1 opener

Team Lotus had Jarno Trulli's 15th place to show from the first weekend of the Formula One season in Australia.

Having held high hopes after winter testing they could compete with the likes of Toro Rosso and Force India, Melbourne proved to be a rude awaking as the Norfolk outfit found themselves further behind the midfield pack than they finished 2010.

Trulli's lapped T128 picked up a classified finish only ahead of the two Virgins, while Heikki Kovalainen's race ended after lap 19 following a water leak.

Last year's world champion Sebastian Vettel dominated from start to finish in his Red Bull to take victory, ahead of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren and the Group Lotus-backed Renault of Vitaly Petrov, who took a surprise first podium of his career.

However, Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne was upbeat over how the car improved during the course of the weekend.

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'I am very pleased with both Jarno and Heikki's race performances,' said Gascoyne. 'We had an issue with water leak on the radiator on Heikki's car and soon after his pit stop that unfortunately brought an end to his race.…but he had looked good until that point which is obviously encouraging.

'Jarno struggled early on with the prime tyres so we swapped him onto the options and he quickly found his pace. Our speed in the race was much more representative of the pace we had shown in testing so for Malaysia the target is to make sure we achieve that level throughout the whole weekend.'

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Things got off to a bad start for the Hingham team in Melbourne, after reserve driver Karun Chandhok sent his T128 into a wall within a few corners of taking to the track for the first time for the team in Friday's opening practice session.

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