Sunday, 18 March 2012

Australian F1 Grand Prix - quick review

I've just finished watching the Australian F1 GP.

It was an excellent race and revealed a lot about the teams form after testing. I think the predictions I put forward before the GP are supported.

McLaren look to have a very fast car. Jenson Button drove beautifully to win the race, nailing the run into the first corner and never looking in any danger after that.

Red Bull proved they have the race pace, and will be a competitive team. I think they'll take the battle for the championships right down to the last few races. Christian Horner says the Red Bull has much more pace and they underperformed, so expect far closer qualifying margins in future.

Mercedes were also very impressive. Don't be surprised to see them mixing it up in the top 4 on a regular basis. Sadly, they had reliability issues this race, but I think we'll see a win or two for Mercedes this year.

Lotus also ran very well. Kimi Raikkonen drove excellently to recover after a disastrous qualifying, and Grojean was unlucky to retire. I expect Lotus to make the podium several times this season.

Williams were surprisingly fast - especially after last season - and were mixing it up with Ferrari. They'll probably in the battle for 3rd this season based on performance so far. I think I underestimated them, and they should be put into "the chasing pack" group.

Ferrari had a horrific qualifying, but good race pace in the hands of Fernando Alonso. Massa just doesn't seem to be good enough any more. Ferrari need to ditch Massa as soon as Robert Kubica is fit, I think. No question about it. We gave Massa an excuse in 2010, but after last season and his performance today, I don't think he's good enough to do the Ferrari justice.

It was great to see Sauber, Torro Rosso and Force India all finishing within 0.4 seconds of each other. This points to some great battles happening in the midfield.

Near the back, it was harder to read. Both Caterhams retired early, which bodes badly, as I really think they could - with sufficient investment - make it to the back of the midfield back. Then again, the field is much stronger this year than last, so maybe they'll appear even further behind. However, HRT appear in bad shape, after failing to start due to being too slow in qualifying and missing the 107% margin. A few more of those, and they may be withdrawing before the end of the season.

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