“It was a boring race”
It’s that Sunday in March when we’re able to shamelessly sit with our butts firmly planted on the couch for the duration of the day. Oblivious of any wailing of choirs or the need to fix that squeaky door, Grand Prix season is upon us.
Keeping to Formula One’s recurring theme of drama, proceedings started without a full grid on course at Albert Park. Just 18 cars were to line up as the Manor (Marussia) team arrived with a car that had not completed any testing. But as the grid lined up, only 15 cars remained. Valteri Bottas (Williams) had to withdraw due to chronic back pain and both Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) and Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) had mechanical failures on their way to the grid.
After a first lap incident saw usual crashpert Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) in the Turn 2 wall and team-mate Romain Grosjean retire, only 13 cars remained by the end of lap one. And that was the most exciting part of the day.
The race was perhaps best recapped by young Aussie talent Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), who finished sixth, “It was a boring race. It was frustrating. It wasn’t the most exciting race.”
Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg held spots one and two respectively the entire race, Hamilton finishing with a 34sec over third placed Sebastian Vettel, lapping everyone up to the sixth-placed Ricciardo. Shades of 1955?
It was a triumph for last year’s drivers’ and constructors’ championship winners, and a likely precursor of things to come. In fact, Mercedes’ dominance has pushed the Red Bull team to suggest they might pull out of competing, due to Mercedes’ ‘unfair advantage’.
RBR’s Renualt Energy power unit will need a lot of work to be competitive this year. At over a minute and a half behind the pace, it’s easy to understand why most competitors would want to have a peak behind Mercedes’ doors. It would be a crying shame (for us Aussies at least) to see Daniel Ricciardo suffer the same great-talent-poor-car syndrome that plagued Mark Webber in his Jaguar and Williams years.
Or perhaps Hamilton and Rosberg are just that much more talented?
Ferrari stuck closest to the Silver Arrows’ tail with Sebastian Vettel finishing 34.523sec behind Hamilton. The Massa Williams showed good pace and Sauber was impressive enough, pay driver Nasr demonstrating good speed throughout the race and – more importantly – reliability.
Malaysia’s technical circuit will perhaps provide more overtaking opportunity in two week’s time, but the question remains: Can anyone be close enough to the Mercedes team to try? Vettel and Ferrari should be best placed to have a good crack at it in Asia.
As he left Australian shores, Lewis Hamilton provided his thoughts on the frustration of manufacturer racing in F1: “I said to Sebastian (Vettel) after the race, ‘You did this for four years. You were 30 seconds ahead for four years’. So I know what it feels like,”.
Although the first race might not have been entertaining to watch, at least we’re already embroiled in Grand Prix drama. And isn’t that what fuels modern Formula One?
|6||DANIEL RICCIARDO||AUS||RED BULL||+1 lap||8|
|7||NICO HULKENBERG||GER||FORCE INDIA||+1 lap||6|
|8||MARCUS ERICSSON||SWE||SAUBER||+1 lap||4|
|9||CARLOS SAINZ||ESP||TORO ROSSO||+1 lap||2|
|10||SERGIO PEREZ||MEX||FORCE INDIA||+1 lap||1|
|11||JENSON BUTTON||GBR||MCLAREN||+2 laps||0|
|RT||MAX VERSTAPPEN||NED||TORO ROSSO||DNF||0|