Monday, 19 March 2012
Round one Australian
Right then, Button hits the ground running and gets the win as the McLaren’s looked nailed to the circuit. Whilst the Redbulls looked like they are really missing that rear blown diffuser and Ferrari looked like they’d forgotten how to design a car.
Hamilton got pole with a scintillating early Q3 run, Vettel once so peerless on a qualifying run complained about oversteer and unpredictable handling. The Mercedes of Rosberg and Schumacher had talked the talk all practice but when push came to positions they couldn’t quite walk the walk. The big hero of Q3 was the once silly haired Roman Grosjean in the evil black lotus. Who showed his vodka loving returning world champion team mate, Kimi “I’ll have a Cornetto and sit this one out chaps” Raikkonen, how it should be done with a fine third on the grid.
Better then Ferrari, who looked like someone had rebadged a 1974 Ford Capri with a prancing horse and sent that out to qualify, One minute it was understeer, the next oversteer. Just keeping it in a straight line looks to take some balls.
Massa, as ever, kept the press pack wondering why he still had a drive and for how long he would keep said drive. Numerous trips to the kitty litter and poor qualifying kept everyone amused. But you know, they’ve been asking when is the Latin hotshot going to get fired and year after year he’s still there. I think the crux of the matter might be that no one else wants to be the one making Alonso look great. The spaniard was thrashing the thing within an inch of its short shelf life and wowing the media until he too ended up pointing the wrong way in the sand trap.
So to the race, Hamilton got an okay start when the lights went out, Button simply got a better start. As the others banged into one another (Webber in the thick of things as usual) the two McLaren’s eased off into the distance.
Rosberg got a flier off the line (the software team will be happy with that on in Brackley) to snatch third briefly before Vettel made a blinding move up the inside and took it away from him, where he failed to get to grips with the McLarens.
Behind all of this Maldonado in the surprisingly good looking Williams “bumped” Grosjean off the circuit in a nice “welcome back to the piranha pool lad” move , before he started getting back into the swing of things with a trip through the sand traps a few laps later.
Alonso was like a man possessed, imagine Heathcliff standing astride a pair of wild sweaty stallions, his white shirt ripped open, jet black hair billowing around him as lighting flashes in the distance, as he, riding crop in hand beats the raging animals of death and bends them to his will. Three days of practice and qualifying had still not tamed the 2012 Ferrari. It was impressive to watch a man not know from one corner to the next which way the car was going to snap. Exciting stuff.
Oh, yeah and then there was Parez. Right we finally got rid of Trulli who was the most tedious driver i have ever seen. Great wine, does a lot for charity, boring driver. Well he got fired, but Perez seems to have taken it into his head that to win a race you have to be gormless and dull. He has that ‘I have no idea what you are saying so I’m just going to smile at you’ face. The extra big smile that pleads with you to like and understand him, that really under that placid stupid grin he has the heart of a dead sheep ready to savage anyone that crosses him.
I didn’t like his, “i’m going to do one stop and hope the others fail to finish” race tactic last year and sure as hell don’t like it this year. Alonso was charging around like a man on a mission to tame a car that was actively trying to kill him. Perez looked like he was off down the shops for a packet of value sausages (too much meat can be bad for you). Dull dull dull tedious dullness.
So it was all pretty static until Petrov got bored of driving the Caterham and abandoned it on the pit straight. This called out the safety car, just as the McLaren duo had pitted for their tires and just before Vettel pitted for his. Once it had all shaken out Vettel found himself between Button and Hamilton. Oh some things, do indeed, never change.
So we were robbed of a McLaren one two, but did get to see McLaren and Redbull parade around for 10 laps. KERS and DRS didn’t seem to make much of a difference as top boys all look to have the same sort of race pace. Give or take Massa careering into them
To spice things up at the end Maldonado crash tested the front of his Williams as he tried to overtake a tiring Heathcliff Alonso on the last lap. What would have been excellent points for Williams turned to carbon fibre smeared along an Australian wall. With Senna getting nailed by Massa it was all rather disappointing for the boys from Didcot. Still the car at least looks like it can go some. Maybe Senna will turn into a Senna , you never know. Imagine what a Koby or a Kimi could do with a car like that. That would be something to watch wouldn’t it.
So Hamilton got the Pole.
And Button won, made it look pretty easy too and seems to view this as the start of another championship winning season for himself. He got the fastest lap at the end just to rub it in a bit. This is Button really, drive it smooth and nothing dramatic, which is fine and he’s a Brit so that’s good …. But don’t you just wish Hamilton had got the reward for the hard work on Saturday. Well I do.
Vettel bagged more than he was expecting with a bit of Safety car luck for 2nd.
Hamilton had it all taken away from him and looked pretty upset with 3rd. But at least he didn’t have to go and see the stewards and explain why Massa was sitting in a broken Ferrari this time. He looked like he knew he could have won. Let’s hope it doesn’t affect the rest of the season for him. In reality I’d rather have a Lewis that was annoyed with third than happy to have finished.
Webber, gets his best ever result in Australian with 4th. I was taking bets on when he was going to crash into Hamilton at the end, but i think he’d got all that out of his system at the start.
Alonso 5th and that is far more than the car was worth. I don’t think anyone in red expected points let alone a top five finish. They have a serious amount of work ahead of them with that thing.
Kobayashi in 6th was taking part apparently.
Kimi actually had a pretty good race in 7th, the team cocked up qualifying so he got left down in 17th. So to drive up through the field and not collect Massa or crash test the tub after being away for two years, suggest that the evil black Lotus might just be the real deal. Oh and he’s still a very good driver etc etc.
Perez dull dull dull grin dull, His mouth has far too many teeth in it !dull dull dull 8th
Ricciardo gets to 9th ho hum.
Di Resta gets a very lucky 10th after Rosberg and Vergne got it all wrong on the last lap. To be honest Di Resta needs to up his game, the Hulk out qualified him and would have got points if he’d not crashed. Yes I know you have to finish to get the glory, but the Hulk looked to be the natural team leader all weekend and Di Resta the rookie. Anymore results like this and he won’t be going anywhere next year.
Right the last classified driver as declared by the FIA is Glock, who didn’t do enough laps to beat Maldonado at the end, but was still moving when the flag dropped. Yes I know Pic was still technically running at the end, but the FIA have his as a DNF (Did not finish) so he is thrown onto the scrap heap of rubbishness and Glock gets the points this time out. I know it’s complicated, I think Pic was outside of the minimum finishing rule, being as he was 4 laps behind Button.
So then, what have we learned this weekend ?
Well Redbull and McLaren are pretty much even on race pace, with the Woking boys faster in qualifying trim.
The Mercedes have a trick qualifying wing that isn’t helping them to race any better than last year.
Evil Black Lotus do have a good car under them, but the chaps on the pit perch need to step up to the game a bit.
Force India don’t look like they’ve changed the plan of building a car for the fast circuits and Di Resta has proper team mate on his hands now.
Williams have a handy car and two rubbish drivers. My pick for the team to fire its drivers first.
Sauber have another car that will look after its tires, mores the pity.
Marussia got to the end, but only just
HRT are just as crap as ever.
More dispatches from Julian Bowdidge
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