F1: Australian Grand Prix Review

All the talk and excitement ended today as the Formula One season got under way for 2016.

Lewis Hamilton, the favourite to retain his title began on pole alongside teammate Nico Rosberg.

New regulations going into the first race meant reduced team radio and a new starting procedure for the drivers. This time they would be in complete control of gaining the right tyre and brake temperatures.

The Brit on pole did not have the ideal start, after getting bogged down he moved all the way back to sixth place. Whilst the two Ferraris made great starts and moved into 1st and 2nd.

 
Hamilton was frustrated throughout the race by the two Torro Rosso’s who he could not get past, the dirty air from the two cars were ruining his tyres and his race. 

 
Lap 17 saw a huge incident in which Fernando Alonso hit the back of Estaban Gutierez and both spun away whilst the McLaren of Alonso took flight and spun twice in midair before crashing down into the barrier leaving on bits of carbon fibre. Luckily both drivers walked away from the accident.  

The incident did however bring about the red flag. This case brought a holt in the race with all drivers returning to the pit lane.   

The Mercedes cars put on the harder Medium Compound tyre whilst the leader, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel put on the Soft tyre (meaning he would need to put again). 

 
After the restart, Vettel failed to break away from the chasing Rosberg and when he pitted from the lead he conseaded to his fellow German.

Hamilton made great progress through the pack and made it a Mercedes one-two with Vettel on the final step of the podium. Local hero Daniel Ricciardo finished a fine fourth.

 
What have we learnt from the first round?

The Mercedes still seem the quickest car, whilst the race pace of the Ferrari should produce a potent challenge throughout the season.   

The Red Bull has made a much welcome improvement on last season, the Renault engine does seem to be more enhanced.

The Torro Rosso have made big strides again in winter testing and their driver lineup will certainly make the midfield battle interesting this season.

The McLaren-Honda seems to be quicker, although their race pace seemed to be lacking in comparison to their rivals.

Haas F1 had a great opening weekend, they could even find themselves mixing it up with the likes of Williams and Renault.

Williams and Renault look like a shadow of their former selves. For me, Williams have declined since their successes of the 2014 season, and others have caught up. Renault looked better on last seasons performance, whilst the rebuilding job continues.

Hamilton will have his work cut out this season with the fight of Rosberg, but if Lewis can improve his starts, I feel he will be too strong for the rest of the field.

 
Qualifying

Something certainly needs to be done after Saturday’s poor display of qualifying. 

The idea to make it more thrilling for the fans was a good one. And you cannot improve without making mistakes, but the timings were completely out and it was all rather confusing. Besides the fact for the last two minutes of Q2 and Q3 no cars were on track, diminishing the chance of excitement through qualifying.

The teams will meet again this week to discuss the change, but the likelihood is, they will revert back to the old system.

Next race – Bahrain

Sources: The Guardian.

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