Australian GP: It’s four wins in a row for Nico Rosberg as Ferrari snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

After yesterday’s disastrous show in qualifying, Formula One needed to deliver something special. And boy, did it try.

Qualifying threw up no surprises, with the two Mercedes on the front row of the grid, followed by the two Ferraris. Max Verstappen achieved a career best 5th place; Valterri Bottas and Danill Kvyat struggled and the two Manors occupied the back row of the grid.

The start of the race, however, is another matter.

After an aborted start to rescue Danill Kvyat’s stricken Red Bull, the race finally got underway.

Sebastian Vettel muscled his way past Hamilton and Rosberg to take the lead, with teammate Kimi Raikkonen following close behind. At the end of the first lap, Vettel was 1.5 seconds ahead.

Hamilton then fell further behind to sixth place behind Verstappen and Massa.

Pascal Wehrlein made a cracking start from 21st place, getting up into 14th on the first lap.

Brit Jolyon Palmer was right in the mix for most of the race. He seemed to have a pact with Valtteri Bottas to swap positions every few seconds, until the Finn flung himself around the outside of the yellow Renault.

The new tyre rules meant that there were numerous strategies up and down the pitlane, which really spiced up the racing.

After the first round of stops, Vettel was on the supersoft, Rosberg on the soft, and Hamilton on the medium compound tyre after switching to a one-stop strategy.

However we didn’t quite see this strategy pan out, as moments after Hamilton pitted the race was red flagged due to a horrific accident involving Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez.

The McLaren caught the rear right tyre of the Haas car, sending Alonso into barrel-rolls and leaving only the monocoque intact. Both drivers walked away from the crash and were cleared by the FIA Medical Team.

 

Race restart: Ferrari fail to predict Mercedes strategy

The remaining cars were led into the pit lane but were not under parc ferme. This allowed teams to change tyres, and while Rosberg switched to the medium compound tyre and could go to the end of the race, Vettel remained on the supersoft tyre and would have to stop again.

Rosberg then cruised to victory and Hamilton and Vettel scrapped for second place, with Hamilton coming out on top after a late mistake from the German sent him onto the grass. His teammate retired shortly after the restart with a problem, but kept his cool as his car caught on fire just above his head.

Max Verstappen lost his cool

The Dutchman was not a happy boy and was getting sweary over team radio demanding to be let through by Carlos Sainz to fight Palmer, then later Bottas and Hulkenburg. Rather than seeing the genius and courage of his rookie season, Verstappen came across as stroppy and sullen in the opening round of his second season.

Toro Rosso’s race pace seemed to be lacking after they impressed in qualifying, and predictions that they would outperform Red Bull may prove unfounded.

Home hero Daniel Ricciardo was running up in third at one point, ultimately finishing in fourth. Given the lack of confidence Red Bull were showing prior to the race weekend, this was a incredible result for the team, though a shame Danill Kvyat did not start his second Australian GP in succession.

Haas had it all under control

Romain Grosjean arguably had the drive of the day, starting in 20th and finishing in sixth for the Haas team’s debut. Given Manor racing have only scored one point in five seasons of racing, this is a truly outstanding performance for the team.

‘This is a win for us! I don’t even know where we finished’ – Romain Grosjean team radio

Renault worked hard and it almost paid off

Renault were expecting a difficult start to their campaign. Kevin Magnussen’s puncture left him a lap down and in last place, but the red flag allowed him to unlap himself and brought him back into play. He completed an incredible 41 laps on the medium compound tyres and finished just behind his teammate in 12th place.

Palmer, who hasn’t raced for over a year, quickly brushed off any cobwebs and got stuck in. He finished just outside the points in 11th place. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later that we see the yellow beasts in points-scoring positions.

The top three drivers were also happy with their performance.

 

 

 Australian Grand Prix result

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

Nico ROSBERG
Lewis HAMILTON
Sebastian VETTEL
Daniel RICCIARDO
Felipe MASSA
Romain GROSJEAN
Nico HULKENBERG
Valtteri BOTTAS
Carlos SAINZ JR
Max VERSTAPPEN
Jolyon PALMER
Kevin MAGNUSSEN
Sergio PEREZ
Jenson BUTTON
Felipe NASR
Pascal WEHRLEIN
Mercedes
Mercedes
Ferrari
Red Bull
Williams
Haas
Force India
Williams
Toro Rosso
Toro Rosso
Renault
Renault
Force India
McLaren
Sauber
Manor

 

 

DNF: Esteban Gutierrez (Haas); Fernando Alonso (McLaren); Rio Haryanto (Manor); Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari); Marcus Ericcson (Sauber)
DNS: Danill Kvyat (Red Bull)

Formula One returns on 3rd April for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

What did you think of F1’s return?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s