Australian GP – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Pure opinion. None of this is said with any malice, although I’m sure there are some who will take it as such! Enjoy it for what it is, and by all means, let me know your thoughts and opinions as to why I am right or wrong. The Good:
It is not enough to say that Button took advantage of his teammates poor start, as this does not give him enough credit. Button made an excellent start himself, and from then on it was like watching Vettel from last season. He pulled out a 3 second gap as quickly as possible, then just held it there and in truth was never really troubled during the race. When behind the safety car, his enquiry about Vettels pace behind him reeked of confidence. A faultless start to the new season by a man in the form of his life.
Almost exactly what McLaren wanted. They clearly have put together a pacy car, and they have two drivers capable of fulfilling its potential. The ease with which Button pulled a gap to Vettel after the safety car must have been particularly satisfying. However, one swallow does not make a summer, a good start is just a good start etc etc. All the cliches are boring, but must be heeded. McLarens rivals will not stay quiet for long, so improvement will be needed to maintain their early advantage.
It would perhaps be unfair to give anyone other than Button the title of Driver of the Day, but Alonso presented an outstanding case. He absolutely drove the wheels off his Ferrari, gaining 4 places in the opening corners before taking it up to 5th overall. There is little doubt that that is more than the car deserved, and the question is could any other driver have done better with it? My answer would be a categoric no – superb drive, and to top it off his pit crew gave him the two fastest pit stops of the day.
Irrespective of the last lap shenanigans, what a race it was for the Sauber team. Kobayashi started 13th, Perez started 22nd and last following a gearbox change. They brought their C31s home in 6th and 8th respectively. Never afraid to be on a different strategy to other teams, Perez was one of only three drivers to start on the harder tyre. His now legendary reluctance to visit his pit crew worked well as his one stop strategy catapulted him up the order, and both drivers showed good pace throughout.
No points, but a great deal of encouragement. The Bad:
For the purposes of this bit, ignore Alonso’s brilliance. Ferraris problems have been well documented, and the race gave a final clarification that there is much work to be done. The F2012 is struggling to keep pace not only with the leaders, but also with midfield runners. What they do from here will be written and rewritten in articles across the world over the next week before Malaysia, but at the moment? For a team such as Ferrari, there is only one word. Unacceptable.
Lotus and Mercedes
Yes, ok there were mitigating circumstances for both, but still. Ouch. Quite a comedown from the dizzying expectations built up in part by the teams themselves. Although, honourable mention to Mr Raikkonens drive back through the field.
Red Bulls rails
Last season, the RB7 refused to deviate from the racing line in the corners. What was clear in Melbourne, was that the RB8 does not have the same levels of grip at speed. Seeing Vettel and Webber wrestle with the car at times was a strange sight, but one that should make for an interesting season. Red Bull have been excellent as front runners, how will they be when the tyre is on the other wheel?
Mark Webbers starts
Why??? The Ugly:
In some ways, his clash with fellow Brazilian Senna on lap 49 put Massa out of his misery. A truly awful race for a driver with no confidence in his own ability, and no confidence in the car. His teammate proved that as long as you have the former, you can fashion something out of nothing. Massa was the first driver to pit, having shredded his rear tyres, and then spent the race fighting with Williams and Caterhams. Fernando. Is. Faster. Than. You.
*Takes breath* Right. Lewis drove a very good race and finished on the podium. Had Perez not backed him into Vettel, he may have been able to make it a McLaren 1-2. But for someone who was bred to be a corporate machine, he seems to have forgotten how to behave in front of the cameras. Yes, he was understandably frustrated having wanted to win, especially after securing pole position, but throw your strop away from the cameras Lewis. It does you no favours, especially as this is only the first race of the season. There were so many positives for both Hamilton and McLaren to take from the race, it seems a shame that a lot of the focus is on Hamiltons post race attitude.
A decent drive in a decent enough car but still, that move on Grosjean was thuggish in the extreme.
Well that went well.
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