Lewis Hamilton started his defense of the World Championship with a comfortable race victory around Albert Park today in Melbourne. Dominating where it mattered this weekend with pole position in qualifying yesterday and the race win today, he scored the 30th race win for Mercedes team and his own 34th win of his career. To top that off, today's podium interview was carried out by Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Mercedes: The only battle that lasted all 58-laps but Rosberg never got closer than 1.1 seconds from Hamilton at any point. A convincing 1-2 finish and nearly 30 seconds clear of Ferrari in 3rd place. Rosberg was keen to start the season with the momentum with him, but it was very much Hamilton’s weekend. The W06 looks to be an even better package than last year and will dominate the season for sure.
Ferrari: The new engine from Ferrari looks to have catapulted themselves up the grid. Vettel secured a strong third place in his debut with the Scuderia and Raikkonen was looking good for fourth until a sloppy pitstop resulted in a wheel not being fitted securely, and a forced retirement. Raikkonen will likely get a grid penalty for the next race, but they have a car they can properly go racing with this year.
Williams: A disappointing start to the year for them. Bottas was unable to start after injuring his back in qualifying yesterday and Massa couldn’t hold on to third place. We know the Mercedes engine is the best in the field, but the works team can extract so much more than the customer teams such as Williams. Pat Symonds, Technical Chief summarised, “we have work to do.”
Red Bull Racing: If Australia is a sign of their season ahead, it is going to be a long season. Over 80 seconds behind the Mercedes at the race end and Kvyat being unable to start due to a gearbox problem. Their Renault engine is down on power, and Ferrari are doing a better job. Maybe it is time to rebuild over the next couple of seasons ahead of the expected change in regulations for 2017.
McLaren: A painful day starting with Magnussen’s engine failure before the race, and Jenson Button on a slow cruise just to get to the finish, which was 11th and last. All eyes are on Honda to up the performance as the sounds coming out of McLaren is that the car aerodynamically is good. Also hope to see Alonso back in Malaysia.
Lotus: Awful race day after a very positive qualifying. Maldonado taken out after a chain reaction of bumper cars at the start, and Grosjean also retiring from the first lap mayhem. Expect them to score points though through the early races and will be back stronger in Malaysia.
Toro Rosso: A good day at the office regardless of Verstappen’s retirement late in the race. They are showing a good pace and Sainz did well to bring the car home in 9th after a slow pitstop put him to the back of the field at one point. Verstappen was running well however and his day will come this year.
Sauber: What a difference a winter makes. A weekend that has been dominated by Giedo Van de Garde’s contract dispute, with Sauber's performance on track you can understand why he is so keen to get into the car. Sauber finished 5th for Nasr on his debut and surely the driver of the race, and 8th for Ericsson who also scored his first ever F1 points. That puts Sauber into third place in the Constructors Championship.
Force India: A good race for the team and probably the one team that capitalized most on other team’s misfortune of not making the start. A 7th place finish for Hulkenberg and 10th for Perez is a fine result.
Manor F1: They did not turn a wheel all weekend and were summoned to the race stewards in Australia to explain their non-action this weekend. The outcome was no penalty and we hope to see them on track in either Malaysia or China.
It wasn’t a memorable race and it highlights the issues F1 has at present in terms of disparity in performance across the grid. It is not Mercedes’ fault but it is surprising to see Renault appear to go backwards. Ferrari could be the best competition for Mercedes this year and we look to Honda to hopefully be able to turn up the wick on their engine sooner than later.
|6||D. Ricciardo||Red Bull||+1 Lap||8|
|7||N.Hulkenberg||Force India||+1 Lap||6|
|8||M. Ericsson||Sauber||+1 Lap||4|
|9||C. Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso||+1 Lap||2|
|10||S. Perez||Force India||+1 Lap||1|
|11||J. Button||McLaren||+1 Lap|
|12||K. Raikkonen||Ferrari||Loose wheel|
|13||M. Verstappen||Toro Rosso||Engine|
|16||D. Kvyat||Red Bull||Gearbox|
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