With the smoke having cleared and the teams regrouping, collecting data and planning ahead it is time to pick out the the winners and losers of the Australian GP.
Mclaren-clearly the biggest winners throughout the weekend having locked out the front row of the grid. Button was able to beat Hamilton off the line and enjoy a serene day enjoying the sights of Melbourne. There was little pressure from behind and his car and strategies continued to the end. Hamilton was unlucky to have been leapfrogged by Vettel under a safety car but drove very strongly and was able to keep the German under pressure until the end of his race.
Both cars looked fast and very stable and few faults could be picked with the drivers. Overall a fantastic start to the constructors championship as they have taken a lead which they will want to build upon.
…found a gravel trap…
Alonso – a surprise winner considering how unmanageable the Ferraris looked in practice and qualifying. He was able to charge from a lowly twelfth position start – having touched the grass and found a gravel trap during qualifying – and appeared to be driving a different car to the day before. He battled up to fifth and was able to fend off the advances of Maldonado.
While fifth is not the kind of aspiration Luca di Montezemolo will have instilled in his team it was a fantastic performance and demonstrated good race pace following the unreliability of previous drives. Fernando was able to redeem something for his team after Felipe Massa and Bruno Senna crashed which ended his teammates race.
…offered some brilliant racing,
The fans – if the cheesy title will be excused, the Australian GP offered some brilliant racing, some fantastic overtakes and any race which involved four cars within a fraction of a second as they finish has to be considered a brilliant spectacle.
The top three teams looked good but the middle of the pack was as exciting as predicted. Williams look far stronger and will be joining the battle with Mercedes, Lotus, Force India and Toro Rosso. If the trend continues we may not care who wins the races because of the intensity of the fights further down the grid. For a track which is not known for drama or especially good racing it delivered as much as a fan could want.
Williams – the team were just downright unlucky this weekend. Senna got caught in a first corner collision which had him pirouetting on two wheels and was finally finished as he tried to get around the outside of Massa and the Brazilian leant into him for a very long time. This collision finished both of their races and so Senna never really got a chance to show himself.
Maldonado did show his ingenuity with some very strong driving, as is expected of the Venezuelan. In fact he was on track for a sixth position finish – which would have earned more points than the team earned last year. Even then he was not satisfied and set off after Alonso’s Ferrari on the final lap. However, he set off a bit too quickly, caught the astroturf on the inside of the corner and was unable to prevent his car dismantling itself on the barriers. Overall the team showed some great potential and so will be very disappointed to have come away with nothing.
…failed to qualify…
HRT and Caterham – the HRT team failed to qualify which will have been a real blow for the set-up as being allowed onto the grid would have at least given them some good information about pace, reliability and durability of the car. They will be working hard to improve before the next race as their time as newcomers to the sport is limited.
With regard to Caterham, both Caterham drivers started the race but neither finished due to steering problems which left them incapable of limping back round the circuit. Reliability issues will be a real problem considering the durability of most of the grid. Caterham will be working very hard this week to identify the problem in order to improve for the next race.
Image courtesy of F1