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Vettel in total control in season opener in Melbourne
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Vettel in total control in season opener in Melbourne
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Mar 2011   |  9:16 am GMT  |  444 comments

Sebastian Vettel won the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne from pole position, leading home Lewis Hamilton and Vitaly Petrov, who became the first Russian to stand on the podium in only his 20th Grand Prix start.

It was an eventful, if not spectacular race. There was plenty of overtaking, not much of it due to the new adjustable rear wing, but rather to good driving and different levels of grip from the tyres from car to car.

The weather was the best of the weekend, sunny with track temperatures of 27 degrees at the start of the race.

At the start Vettel held his position, Hamilton battled with Webber and held his second place. Behind them Vitaly Petrov went from 6th to 4th in the Renault, while Felipe Massa had a great start, moving from 8th to 5th and ahead of Alonso in the process. Alonso dropped down to 8th but started moving back through the field, passing Rosberg and by lap 6 was up to 7th place.

Michael Schumacher got a puncture and had to pit, dropping him to the back of the field.

There was no sign of Webber using any kind of KERS at the start although the system was armed.

Button was all over Felipe Massa in the early stages and tried to pass him on the pit straight using the adjustable rear wing. Massa was told that his brakes were getting too hot. As Massa held Button up, Alonso joined them.

Button used an escape road to pass Massa and was unable to give the place back as Alonso had passed Massa straight after.

Meanwhile on lap 10 Hamilton was closing down on Vettel, and he had the tactical advantage of being able to pit first.

Webber’s tyres started going off on lap 11, his pace dropping by two seconds a lap. He pitted first on lap 12, switching to hard tyres and rejoining in traffic behind Kobayashi.

Alonso pitted on lap 13, with Massa in a lap later. Both Ferraris went for soft tyres, as did Vettel on lap 15.

This meant Button had to serve a drive thru penalty for the illegal overtake. This added an extra 23 secs to his race time and then he had to make a stop for tyres straight after.

Hamilton pitted on lap 16, while Vettel set the fastest lap of the race to that point in a 1m 31s. He passed Button very determinedly, around the outside.

Vettel had doubled his lead through the first round of stops, Alonso was up to P5 behind his old friend Vitaly Petrov.

Several drivers tried the adjustable rear wing on the pit straight, but without it making it lead to an overtake. Button managed it on Kobayashi on lap 26.

Rubens Barrichello scythed past Kobayashi for P9, then tried a very ambitious pass on Rosberg, leading to a collision. Rosberg’s car was damaged in the radiator area. Barrichello was given a drive through penalty for the incident.

Schumacher had also retired from the race, making it a miserable start to the season for Mercedes.

In the second stint Webber had no pace on the hard tyres, he was a second a lap slower than the leaders and fell to 20 second behind by the time of his second stop on lap 27. He took soft tyres as did Alonso a lap later, both drivers clearly choosing a three stop strategy, where their rivals went for two stops. Alonso was much faster than Webber and started catching him at over a second a lap.

By half distance, Vettel was 9 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who had broken the undertray of the McLaren.

On lap 37 Vettel, Hamilton and Petrov all pitted for hard tyres that they would take to the end of the race. Petrov had a slow release.

On lap 40 Sergio Perez set the fastest lap to that time having only pitted once. Webber and Alonso the three stoppers were ahead of Petrov at this stage. Webber pitted on lap 41. He made a mistake on his out lap and when Alonso pitted a lap later, the Spaniard took the place. Petrov meanwhile moved back into 3rd place.

Webber and Alonso now went on the attack on new tyres, Webber on softs, Alonso on hards.

Button passed Massa for P6 on lap 48. Perez was lapping faster than the leader on lap 50 as he closed in on the back of Massa, despite the fact that the Mexican had only stopped once, a remarkable achievement. Massa had to pit with nine laps to go.

“The sun came out today and the car was perfect,” said Vettel. “It was crucial to get past Jenson at the first stop, I was on new tyres, he was on old ones. I was able to control the gap to Lewis. I’m very happy. Compliments to Pirelli. I was giving them a hard time over winter, it looked quite frightening over winter but we did less stops (than expected).”

Vettel was coy on the use of the rumoured “start only” KERS. “I was pressing some buttons, yes,” he said. There were no TV graphics of his start, but a replay of Webber’s start showed that he did not use KERS, although it showed that the system was armed. Later Vettel said that the team had suffered some problems with KERS reliability through the weekend and that he wants them to get a reliable system they can use throughout the race as soon as possible. It seems that many teams have had problems with cooling the KERS batteries and many were not able to use it throughout the weekend.

Hamilton was delighted with second place. “Everyone says I have an aggressive driving style and today I was able to prove that’s not the case, I looked after the tyres better than the guy next to me (Vettel),” said Hamilton.

Sauber’s perfect Sunday was spoiled when the scrutineers found that their rear wing was not in conformity with the rules and they were excluded. They are appealing the decision. It meant that Paul di Resta got a point on his F1 debut, something his former team mate Vettel also managed.

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Melbourne, 58 laps
1. Vettel Red Bull 1h29:30.259
2. Hamilton McLaren + 22.297
3. Petrov Renault + 30.560
4. Alonso Ferrari + 31.772
5. Webber Red Bull + 38.171
6. Button McLaren + 54.300
( 7. Perez Sauber + 1:05.800) *excluded
(8. Kobayashi Sauber + 1:16.800) * excluded
9. Massa Ferrari + 1:25.100
10. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
11. Sutil Force India + 1 lap
12. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1 lap
14. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
15. Trulli Lotus + 2 laps
16. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 3 laps

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444 Comments
  1. Rekha says:

    Race Date- March 27 2011
    My commentary on the race:
    1. Great start-finish performance from Vettel
    2. Great performance from Petrov, seems to me the car is really refined and great.
    3. Obstensious performance from Rubens Barrichello spolit the chances of Rosberg gaining some points.
    4. Mercedes team under great presssure to perform and maybe cracking under it.
    5. McLaren cars dint seem to be reliable but since they made till the end, no comments.
    6. Pirelli tyres seem to eb the issue – no verdict on them yet.
    7. Button passes Massa on Lap 12- awesome pull that was.

    1. Pawel says:

      8. You omitted Perez fantastic performance.
      9. KERS combined with DRS helped the race to gain more overtaking opportunities.

      1. RickeeBoy says:

        James,

        I predicted on your site that everybody would be talking about Perez after the race.

        As he’s from the Ferrari Academy – My next prediction is …

        2012 Perez drives a Ferrari.

        ( Shame his car was excluded.. Where’s my T-shirt. )

      2. Rekha says:

        I agree, missed points 8 and 9.
        I also agree that live timing was missing:)

        -Rekha

    2. wayne says:

      Speaking of commentary on the race….. What we heard today from Brundle and Coulthard was probably great for the majority of epople who read and post here. However, for any new or ill informed fans there may be problems ahead. How many times in this race did Brundle explain the running order or sumarise positions? The first and last laps and that’s about it. They did not even try to make sense of positioning during the stops either. I think new or casual fans would have frequently been left wondering what’s was going on! Everyone thought Legard constantly spouted garbage but most of the time the guy was just doing his job!

      1. aaron parsons says:

        The tv graphics constantly scroll with track position, number of pitstops and timings. Why do we need a comentator telling us the same thing?

      2. It actually would have been helpful to show the number of pitstops.

        You’d only found that info with the iPod and iPad F1 app.

        That made the race quite difficult to read without the app which always was 1 or 2 lap behind anyway.

        James – great job this weekend. It was great to have you as part of the commentary team for P3 and I am glad somebody at Network Ten took notice of your gridwalk in Abu Dhabi.
        I hope we can see you there a few more times this year.

      3. James Allen says:

        Thanks, but it wasn’t a grid walk. Just a series of interviews!

      4. unoc vII says:

        There was obth. On the top right occasionally showed the number of pit stops. Wasn’t that hard to follow. I like the commentary and it was good to hear JA on One

      5. Marcus says:

        I liked that Martin didn’t constantly go over the running order, the graphics do a far clearer and more frequent job.

      6. Dave Roberts says:

        I’ve got to disagree, I thought Brundle and Coulthard were brilliant. Their insight and technical knowledge is outstanding and I think in time they will become legendary commentators.

      7. jls says:

        have to agree, unimpressed with the commentary

      8. CH1UNDA says:

        Very informative commentary from my point view – i think Brundle and Coulthard were very informative; i liked the bit about the possibility of Hamilton’s McLaren not being able to pass scrutineering – would never have thought that was an issue without DC there. As regards new viewers – i think seasoned viewers like those that post on this blog should step forward and take up their proper responsibility of bringing new viewers upto speed on the intricacies of the sport; TV can do that but it will take years by which time the ordinary viewer would have lost interest anyway.

      9. Damian J says:

        The problem with Brundle and Coulthard’s analysis of Hamilton’s car was that they turned out to be wrong!

        Being a Redbull ambassador is also incompatible with impartiality as a tv pundit!

      10. Darren says:

        Give them a break guys it was their first go. I thought that they were very good personally.

        The only thing I do fear though is that their commentary could be too “anoraky” (thats definately a word). Thats fine for me and the vast majority of viewers of this site im sure, but for your average punter perhaps not so good.

      11. unoc vII says:

        Maybe the average viewer will adjust to it and think more.

        And frankly I think that since 99% of the people (number off the top of my head) who watch the race have seen a race of some kind before, I don’t see why thye need to play to the 1% who are new.

      12. Aaron Parsons says:

        Doesn’t it annoy you though when every race the commentators repeat themselves to give the average viewer “insights”. It’s not like in every football match we hear the commentators explaining throw ins or the offside rule.

      13. Sebee says:

        Can’t please everyone.

        First race and the commentary team gets slack. I keep saying – SAP audio of track sound only. You don’t like the commentary, listen to the engines and shifting.

      14. Carl says:

        In football one doesn’t constantly explain the offside rule or why a free kick is taking place.

        I thought their commentary was good.

        The TV graphics show bot pit stops and positions.

    3. Leo says:

      Agree all points Petrov man of the match, Perez incredible with one stop !
      Anyone know why Webber stopped after crossing the lineand is there any truth about Helmut Markos comment on a problem with Marks car.
      It all looks silly Mark cant be that slow, something is not right?

  2. . says:

    I like how RBR trolled the armchair engineers since qualifying.

    Everyone raving how it was like this and that and therefor illegal, blahblah…they had no KERS afterall, haha.

    Awesome drive by Petrov. Vettel will be champion before Japan.

    1. galletto says:

      The last is an armchair forecast indeed….

      1. . says:

        Must have hit a nerve, huh ;)

      2. unoc vII says:

        It was 5 drivers with 2 races to go, 4 with 1.

        The RBR has problems.. it eats tyres for breakfest and doesn’t have KERS or a big engine to help on the Tilke tracks.

        Stating that one driver will get it so early is very armchair expert ish.

        Speaking of Arm Chair opinions, can we have a new competition James? Guess how many cars and over how many GP’s the HRT’s qualify.

        I’m going with 8 cars over 5 GP’s.

  3. frosty says:

    Red Bull Team Principle said they didn’t have KERS on the car at all?
    What’s the truth?

    1. Sebee says:

      Maybe all they have is some contraption that shows it armed to the MCU?

    2. Nigel says:

      Red Bull Team Principle said they didn’t have KERS on the car at all?

      Is that legal?

      1. KlBD says:

        Yeah, Lotus, Virgin, and HRT are running without KERS, so it’s legal not to use it.

      2. CORRECTION: HRT aren’t running. :-)

        And unlike last year, I did not feel sorry for them. They had time to get their car up and running. No excuses.
        That slow lap of Narain Karthikeyan was very dangerous.

        I can see why Bernie says we only need 10 teams.

      3. mtb says:

        Use of KERS is not compulsory.

  4. ross mcdougall says:

    Hi James is there any news on Lewis’s car passing the FIA’S inspection after the damage to its floor?

    1. Either BBC or Autosport confirmed it past post-race scrutineering.

    2. CH1UNDA says:

      FIA issued a classification after DSQ-ing Sauber and Lewis was in that classification. No mention anywhere 24 hours later that FIA is looking into it but FIA have been known to follow these things even a week later so you never know – you only wonder that if it was scrutineering in perc ferme, then once the cars leave there, there are no more issues; apparently only Sauber were detained so one should expect that McLaren is in the clear.

  5. Shgooner says:

    Enjoyable first race, however this is still classed as a street circuit. Do you think Malaysia will see Renault GP do as well?

  6. Shgooner says:

    Enjoyable race. do you think that it being a street circuit suited Renault GP more than other circuits may?

    1. Martin says:

      I haven’t looked at the detail, but if you study the sector three times in Melbourne, you’ll get a good idea of who has high downforce levels. This will be the strongest cue for Malaysia in my view.

      The smoothness of track surface at the micro level due to road traffic wearing the bitumen flat and its focus on traction while turning means that Albert Park has some unusual characteristics.

      1. frosty says:

        so, who’s looking good for Malaysia.?

      2. Red Bull ought to be the favourite there. The flexing of the front wing should help them massively.

      3. CH1UNDA says:

        apart from RBR who else is looking good?

      4. Martin says:

        The Red Bulls were gaining a lot of time in sector 3 over everyone in qualifying. Webber was two tenths faster than Hamilton in sector three while being slower overall. Vettel was 0.6 faster over 30 seconds than Hamilton. The from turn 1 to the second last corner the Red Bulls could well gain 1-1.5 seconds.

        Judging McLaren and Ferrari could be harder as McLaren got the tyres working a lot better in Melbourne.

      5. Philip says:

        Does anyone know anywhere where Sector 3 times are available? The FIA Live Timing app only shows the sector 3 time from the last lap.

        James – any input on who you think will move forwards or backwards in the next few races?

      6. Vittorio says:

        @jls Thanks for the link – terrific stats/ info from the FIA site. Much appreciated ;-)

      7. Nick F says:

        Hi,

        I’m not going to get too carried away by this race and assume it’s a form guide for the rest of the season. It’s the first race and the guys are still learning about their cars and the new tyres, and also Melbourne just isn’t a representative track.

        I really thought Red Bull had a far greater performance advantage than it seems they in fact do have. I wonder though if they will show better race pace on the more typical higher downforce circuits. It’s a worry for them that Webber had to pit so early. I wonder what was wrong with him this weekend.

        I have decided there is a 44.65% chance that you are Martin Brundle. I base this on your writing style and the knowledge your showing with your comments on this page. true or false? ;-)

      8. CH1UNDA says:

        44.65%? – how did u work that out?

      9. Martin says:

        Thanks Nick, I’ll take it as flattery :-)

        We are both in Australia at the moment, because I live here. I started following F1 in Brundle’s second year in F1. He didn’t do the name proud that year, scoring no points.

        Re Red Bull’s pace, performance that comes from a downforce advantage comes at the penalty of increased tyre wear, whereas engine power and torque advantages are virtually free and apply equally to qualifying and the race. The Red Bull drivers are basically having to manage the tyres more by driving slower, particularly in high speed turns to manage the wear rates in races.

      10. Nick F says:

        Oh OK. :-)

        How cool would it be if important F1 people commented on these kind of sites and you could have a chat with them? James Allen is an important F1 person, but of course it’s his blog so it’s no shocker when he comments.

        I feared that this year might be a go slow contest. The tyres don’t seem so terrible so maybe it’s all OK.

        Does anybody else here suspect Pirelli has altered the tyres? …Yes yes, i know they had to makes these tyres weeks in advance and that makes it unlikely. …Still I can’t help wondering. :-)

      11. Vittorio says:

        Sector 3 times from Melbourne are the best indicators for Malaysia? Really? Geez, I really hope that is the case, because Ferrari got a 1-2 in that sector for the race, for what that’s worth.

  7. Mart says:

    Congratulations to Vettel. Nice race. And also kudos to Petrov & Perez

  8. cmc1 says:

    Hi James,

    Great race, super driver from the podium finishers.

    Concerned about Webber lack of genuine pace today.

    You must know by now, did Vettel use KERS successfully at the start?

    1. frosty says:

      Helmut Marko told RTL that Mark’s chassis had a problem.

      1. Leo says:

        Is this confirmed what was the problem

      2. unoc vII says:

        I think it may just be the generic excuse for setup/car problems/lakc of speed.

        Vettel had chassis problems when he was slower than Mark, Mark now has chassis problems here.

        On the other hand something may of it.

        Vettel has a brand new chassis. Mark has the testing chassis AGAIN (same as last year).

        Webber’s Chassis has definately had a chance to brake sometime, when fitting stuff or a part that broke while testing or a bump or whatever.

        Last year Webber was quite slow compared to Vettel in bahrain (Round 1 last year), then picked up round 2 (0.07 seconds apart in quali 3 aka the grid).

        Once back in Europe where Mark got his new chassis last year he wont Spain, Monaco and then poled and was leading Turkey.

        I’m guessing he will pull it together a bit more for Malaysia and then once back in Europe with a new chassis he will start to win

    2. Adam says:

      I feel what you’re starting to see with the difference between Seb and Mark this weekend is the product of comments made last year by RBR about building the team around Vettel from 2011. Mark will have to start getting used to weekends like this (i.e. not getting much performance from his car) as his side of the garage will be slowly painted into a corner until RBR can justify using the new “team orders” rule to have Mark play second fiddle for the rest of the season. Then watch as his mechanical package starts performing mysteriously well for the rest of the year, making sure they also wrap up the constructors title. In the end RedBull is “just an energy drink company” and is looking to market their product with a multiple world champion driver that fits their demographic. Cynical?

      1. frosty says:

        That might be the 2011 game-plan, but there’s no way they’d have done anything to jeopardise a RB 1-2 finish on the season opener.
        That sort of PR & marketing is too valuable to leave on the table.

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        Ferrari have been doing it for years – why wouldn’t RBR borrow a leaf?

      3. Leo says:

        Cynical ,but possibly true F1 is now all politics and money so expect more of this.
        Still want to see real racing more passing on th etrack not by pit stops!!!

      4. Dave C says:

        Yes and this is what’s going on at mclaren and ferrari as well, the lead drivers gets the best treatments even if they don’t admit it! But still I do think Vettel was too good this race, as fast as Hamilton or Alonso are no one could touch the champ.

  9. Bandi says:

    Great win for Vettel, but it seems that Red Bull will need the complete KERS after all because McLaren are not as far behind as anticipated.

    Nice drive by Lewis by the way, took care of his tyres better than many. I guess the myth about him and chewing of tyres will start to die down slowly.

    1. Martin says:

      Yes it was a high quality drive and he smarter than many give credit for in his ability to learn, but comparing between different teams is misleading. The Red Bull gets its pace from downforce. This puts load into the tyres and the load, particularly in fast corners wears out the tyres much more than having great top speed thanks to KERS and a Mercedes engine.

      Jenson’s style, while smooth, requires greater average speed through the corners than Lewis as he drives a longer distance – a U-shape rather than a V-shape. Done poorly both can wear out the tyres. If the car is good then Lewis will end up driving like Alain Prost, but faster.

      1. richard hughes says:

        not sure i agree with you –

        “This puts load into the tyres and the load, particularly in fast corners wears out the tyres”

        shouldnt it be –

        more down force – more grip – less wheel spin – less wear.

      2. Jo Torrent says:

        I think that the tire wear comes either from overheating or sliding.

        If the wear is heat related, more downforce loads more the tires and puts extra-heat in them so if they’re already at the limit heat-wise, they’ll suffer. In this case, the more downforce you put, the more you punish your tires.

        If the wear comes from sliding, more downforce helps the tires actually.

        I don’t know which kind of wear the Pirellis suffer from and thus how to cure it.

      3. Martin says:

        Hi Richard,

        The only time more downforce means less slip is when the performance is power limited. In braking, turning and accelerating the driver will try to be as close to the limit of grip as possible.

        In the case of acceleration, the high downforce car will reach a point of wheelspin being impossible earlier, but in a second gear corner, all the drivers have to display throttle control.

        In a corner the tyre’s contact patch is being rotated slightly as the car turns and the tyre rolls. If you imagine running your finger across sandpaper, the harder you push the more skin you’ll take off. If the driver is sliding slightly then there is greater load in this condition as well.

        In braking, I understand on a dry road that optimum performance occurs when the tyres are rotating, but at less than the actual road speed. In this condition the tyres are again sliding and high downforce car puts more load into the tyres and hence wears it more.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      4. Stuart says:

        Not too sure about that, I always thought/read that cars producing high downforce are kinder to their tyres as they do not slide around as much at high speed and are more planted therefore not putting as much load through the contact patch?

      5. Martin says:

        I’ll do my best to convince you.

        If we stick with a single generic F1 car, the team has the choice to vary the downforce level. If the downforce is increased the driver needs to go faster around corners to make up for the drag penalty on the straights. Ergo the driver drives at the limit of the grip available. What I’m getting at is that increasing downforce front and rear in no way reduces sliding unless the car is still accelerating all the way through the corner.

        If the car has a handling imbalance then adding downforce to the end with less grip tends to lead to a more benign car then taking wing off the strong end (think of an aerodynamic dumbell – greater inertia and hence stability). Therefore you may have read about drivers/teams adding downforce to reducing sliding (oversteer or understeer). A car with poor balance and a racing driver at the wheel is likely to chew up the tyres pretty quickly.

        Now on to why greater downforce wears out the tyres. When a car is turning the contact patch is also being rotated slightly on all four wheels. This results in the rubber being dragged across the bitumen even if the car is notionally not sliding. The higher downforce car is putting more load into the tyre. Using the same analogy as in another reply, if you were to drag your finger across sandpaper, the hard you pushed the more skin you’d take off. The higher downforce car actually has to drive around corners at a lower speed to achieve the same wear rate as a lower downforce car!

        This last point can lead to high downforce cars to seem more planted as in the race the drivers might have no choice but to be conservative to look after the tyres in the quick corners.

        Taking it a step further, what other reason do you have for last year’s results. The Red Bull was almost always the fastest car in qualifying, often by a significant margin. The race margins were nothing like as big. There are three logical possibilities. 1: The drivers 2: the engines or 3: the tyres. I’m not interested in listening to people who’d suggest that Lewis 45 seconds per race faster than Vettel, so I’m going to exclude that one. The Renault engine might be turned down more in race conditions than the Mercedes engine, but I doubt it is to the degree required to make the difference. The third option is that it is down to tyre management.

        I know the physics supports the third option. The McLaren was clearly downforce deficient compared to the Red Bull in 2010 – 15 km/h slower in turn 8 at Turkey for example – and it had the best engine and the F-duct but was still slower.

        Please reply to this or the earlier post if you have any questions or comments.

      6. James Allen says:

        Can we please keep comments general and not address them to one individual please – Mod

    2. devilsadvocate says:

      It’s also worth noting that Lewis driving sloppy at the end of his second stint that led to his off and subsequent damaged floor was largely due to overcookingthe tires trying to make up the increased gap to Seb after his first pitstop. I am a long standing critic of Lewis’ style but it does look like Button taught him a thing or two, makes him a dangerous contender.
      As for button, get over it mate and stop complaining so much when people overtake you or when you fail to overtake them. Youre a professional racercar driver, his postrace interview was so sour grapes I could smell the vinegar coming out of my television.

      1. The other Ian says:

        I think you will find that he had a damaged floor BEFORE he went off. The TV replays show that is the case.
        How the floor got damaged in the first place, your guess is as good as mine? Although, since the race was the longest distance they’ve travelled in the new car (in one go), maybe it was a weakness in the car and something that they would of discovered earlier, if they have had that new floor in testing!

      2. jls says:

        think the floor was damaged before the off

      3. Ben says:

        Hamilton’s car was clearly damaged (ie, the damage was visibly present on his car on the replays) before he went off and was probably the cause for it as the damage resulted in increased understeer.

      4. Peter C says:

        Pay attention, Devilshoohah. Car damaged BEFORE trip across grass, but don’t let facts distract from a good anti McL rant.

        Incidentally,re. JB’s ‘sour grapes’, they wouldn’t produce vinegar, so respectfully suggest you have a problem with your telly.

  10. Mick says:

    Massa was embaressing today. The gap between him and Alonso is bigger than last year, so much for Massa’s tyre excuses. Time to think up a new one now. He was 1 second a lap slower on average in the race, thats staggering, I doubt he will last the season.

    1. PaulL says:

      I’d agree it was embarrassing.
      As for the tyres, I’d say wait a race or two. Australian temperatures were cold and the Ferrari was light on it’s tyres.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        no, Ferrari were damaging their tires more than RedBull and much more than McLaren. They can’t put that as an explanation.

      2. monktonnik says:

        Could be graining due to lack of heating.

      3. Jo Torrent says:

        There’s no graining with the Pirellis

    2. Lilla My says:

      He has one already: “no grip” – he must have taken it from last year Button ;-).

      There was something wrong with Massa for the whole weekend. It didn’t look that bad at the start of the race though… he had a great start (especally compared to Alonso’s) and then everything came back to normal with Alonso fighting his way through the field pretty well and Massa just dropping further down the order…
      I’ve never been Massa’s huge fan, but I definitely don’t like seeing him this way :/

    3. D@X says:

      It seemed Massa was still stuck in Winter testing mode with a race to forget, I don’t mind him as a driver but Alonso has destroyed the chap on both physical and mental state. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is test driver for Alonso’s or even running a development program for next years car.
      He would have better chances at another team, this should be evident to him after what happened to his fellow Brazilian( Pique) and I see him struggling this season as Mr Alonso owns both cars. He had grown out of his shell of playing support driver in 2008 but things quickly change:(

      1. James says:

        Did Ferrari tell Massa to let Alonso through (in order to force Button to let 2 Ferraris past) or did he get past on merit? Either way, not a great start for Massa.

      2. Dave Roberts says:

        I agree, I fear that Massa’s confidence will just continue to dissipate and he will become a spent force. I hope I am wrong but I don’t see this trend changing and I cannot see him in a race seat next year at Ferrari.

      3. mtb says:

        I think that Massa would have let Alonso past regardless of the Button situation. Alonso was discernibly faster, and would have passed Massa sooner or later. So there was no point in Massa holding Alonso up. Sensible team strategy which ultimately enabled Alonso to get ahead of Webber.

      4. LeighJW says:

        Fernando is faster than you?

      5. CH1UNDA says:

        Have to agree with you – his bet is to move: there is mercedes and renault (read: schumacher and kubica – if the Pole is not able to come back in 2012). RBR is also a possibility depending on what Webber decides for 2012 but from what i can see, RBR in 2011 is not going to be much different from Ferrari as regards not allowing their drivers to compete. The big teams are starting to be a bore with this team orders thing.

    4. BA says:

      bring back Raikkonen!

    5. CuaCua says:

      Massa is ALWAYS embaressing. The excuse last year was the tyres. He said that with new tires everything would be diferent. Time to find another excuse. Alonso is way better than him. No questions about it.

  11. goferet says:

    Yes that’s it. That’s the 2011 season done & dusted for not only has Vettel won the first race of the season, he was a whooping 2.4 seconds after just one lap.

    Sebastian Vettel will successful defend his world title becoming the youngest back to back world champion too for since he’s the pole specialist, this is a close & shut case.

    Not really surprised by Perez’s performance for the Americas tends to produce special drivers (Hammy has roots in central American)

    1. drums says:

      Mexico is in the North American continent.

      1. Les says:

        And Rosberg, Lauda, Hamilton, Button, Stewart, Schumacher, Raikkonen, Hawthorn, Hill (Graham), Brabham, Clarke, Rindt, Farina, Hunt, Jones, Prost, Hulme, Surtees, Mansell, Scheckter, Vettel, Hakkinen, Hill, and Alonso are from the americas too…..Oh, hang on a second, no they’re not.

        Hill (Phil), Fangio, Andretti, Villeneuve, Senna, Fittipaldi and Piquet are, so I believe your argument may be a little weak there

      2. jls says:

        dont forget scot speed… alright forget scot speed

      3. Trent says:

        Not as weak as you make out…you need to look at population and opportunity for one, not just the number of champions an area has produced.

        There’s a strong argument that Finland produces good drivers, but of course there are less champions than the UK has produced.

        IN the end – who knows.
        But Fangio and Senna were both South American, and they must be near the top of anyones list.

    2. CH1UNDA says:

      i can’t fanthom how geography would have anything to do with good driving? i can understand it having something to do with good climbers in cycling (colombians, anyone?) or good marathon runners (kenyan and ethiopian highlands) but driving? nope.

  12. Chris Garwood says:

    On BBC Horner was asked about the KERS and commented that it was removed in friday as they team wanted to remove any unreliability issues

  13. Uwe says:

    >> There was no sign of Webber using any kind of KERS at the start although the system was armed.

    I don’t think RBR had KERS in their cars. Helmut Marko was asked that question by german RTL. He hesitated one moment and then said with a grin he didn’t know exactly if they had KERS on board.

    1. James Allen says:

      There is some smoke and mirrors going on here. They had some reliability issues this weekend, to be sure

      1. Are they even allowed to do that? The TV graphics showed their KERS is charged when in actual fact they don’t have it on board…are they allowed to do that or is there some protocol where they have to inform the FIA/BBC beforehand?

    2. Mario says:

      I suspect they only have a dummy KERS. Is that allowed by the rules?

      1. Ben says:

        Maybe the tv graphics just show a full KERS by default. Would be a simpler explanation.

      2. Jo Torrent says:

        exactly

      3. Will says:

        The TV graphics show the KERS quota, not the charge, which is why it always resets to full every when the start/finish line is crossed. I presumed this graphic appears full for the teams who “officially” don’t have KERS too, although I don’t remember seeing an onboard shot with any of them to check…

      4. Mario says:

        May as well be. I think we all are aware of the fact that all we say as spectators is pure speculation. We do not know what’s really happening.

        I suspect the RB team’s KERS system is not working very well or simply their car is better without it, that is why they are forced to disperse the smokescreen.

        I thought the point was for KERS to be utilized by all teams by requirement this season, not being just an option like it was two years ago.

      5. Anthony says:

        In 2009 the cars that didnt have KERS showed an “X” instead.

      6. Ian H says:

        Pure guess work here but would the KERS graphics which showed for RBR be related to the onboard computer (FIA standard issue to all teams provided by McLaren I think), which would obviously be how the FIA/FOM are able to monitor car speed/transmission etc for the TV graphics. So part of the ECU must include settings for KERS activation (auto resets on new lap would be managed by the computer) I would presume then that the KERS unit would be connected to the main ECU and receive the signals from there as to when it could be deployed if no KERS is connected to the ECU then it will remain as showing full allocation?

  14. d-d says:

    Good race despite no SC deployed.
    Still I’m not convinced to RDS, but KERS is not that bads addition and most importantly, it’s good that Pirelli tyres were improved.
    So maybe this will be a good season.

    1. Ross Dixon says:

      I though DRS did exactly what it should. The FIA said they want to make overtaking possible in areas where there would be none in previous years. I think there was maybe 4 or 5 overtakes into turn one all with the help of DRS. I’m glad it wasn’t just a case of get within a second and press a button to pass. Overall I thought it added a little to the race but didn’t dominate things. Exactly the way it should be

      1. The other Ian says:

        Personally I think if DRS is going to exist, there should be no limit on where it is used, other than the lead man not being able to use it to defend his position. So basically the drivers have to catch the car in front before they can use DRS. Just restricting it to one place on the track, is too artifical to me. If a restriction is necessary, then allow the drivers to use it a set number of times in the race.

      2. Racingbod says:

        I totally agree DRS provided just the right amount of assistance to still make it difficult. However it also provided opportunity into turn 3 as the cars were closer on the exit of turn 2. However many drivers seemed too excited at the prospect of turn 1 overtake and entirely fluffed the exit – see Webber after Alonso pitstop

    2. Good race? I’d give it a 6/10 really. It was difficult to read what was going on in terms of tyre strategy, which in my opinion was the most interesting aspect of the race.

      Keeping counts of the pitstops was very hard without tghe F1 app. It would be interesting to be provided tyre stats in during the race by either FOM/BBC/OneHD/SpeedTV, etc. to figure out who will need to stop based on tyre use. I was expecting Petrov and Hamilton to pit again and that didn’t happen. it would have been nice to know.

      The straight was too short for the DRS to be really effective. I’ll reserve my judgement on this after Malaysia.

      However, my opinions of KERS hasn’t changed. It is a gimmick that is not beneficial to the car industry (Honda, Toyota and others having better road application than F1) and appears to be a bit of a green gimick.
      To some extent, it replaces launch control, which was banned for 2004 if memory serves me well.

  15. Derek Lorimer says:

    It was a poor weekend for Mark Webber. He needs to find form quickly if he is going to mount a challenge to Vettel

    1. Dominic says:

      I think that’s a bit premature. We’ve had one race and there is also speculation that he may have had some kind of chassis issue.

      If Vettel has a mechanical failure next race and Webber wins it, will you be writing off Vettel as well? Things can turn around in no time at all and totally change the complexion of any championship.

      Who would have predicted Alonso’s resurgence to bring himself into full contention about 6 races from the end of last season? Well only Alonso if I recall. :)

      As for DRS, something occured to me yesterday towards the end of the race. It may well be of limited use when it comes to the front runners and it giving them a chance to overtake each other (that’s yet to be seen). I do however think it will be a huge benefit to fast cars that are out of position (due to a grid place drop, or an early off which makes them pit etc..)

      Ok the back markers are pretty much always easy to pass, but when a top driver starts to come across mid pack drivers and the track isn’t easy to overtake … I think it could mean DRS makes their life much easier and should also provide some entertainment.

  16. Nick4 says:

    Great start to the season. Well done to SV and LH. Geat drives by Petrov (my driver of the day), Alonso and Perez. One has to ask the question what does Red Bull have in the back pocket, as with last year their race pace didn’t seem to be as quick as the qualy pace with LH keeping SV very honest.
    James, what weight advantage does the Red Bull have with their start only KERS system? I have seen 20kgs mentioned which surely must give them an edge. Seb’s speed is undeniable but is it all his raw speed or is there a distinct car advantage?
    Thanks for your blog.

    1. Uwe says:

      You don’t have a weight advantage by using a start-only KERS or no KERS at all as the cars must follow a certain minimum weight. But you have advantages in your weight distribution.

      1. Carl says:

        The new rules mean not carrying KERS does not result in weight benefits.

        The cars must weigh at least 630kg and must have a certain weight distribution.

        What is does mean though is that the ballast can be placed closer to the ground for a lower centre of gravity

    2. Martin says:

      Hi Nick,

      For a start-only KERS, the battery would only need to be 2/3 the size as there would be no benefit in going to 150% charge. This would save a couple of kilos, possibly 5. The main gain would be in the cooling system, with reduced aerodynamic drag. The weight could be redeployed elsewhere as ballast to help the handling, which would be 0.1 tenths gain at best, based on comments about Vettel versus Webber.

    3. Ben says:

      Remember that there is still a minimum weight, so the gain from not carrying KERS lies in weight distribution benefits

      1. Chris P says:

        Totally agree with Nick there.

        The weight has to be a minimum of 630Kilos (I think) so no gain there. BUT. Vettel is a tall fellow and he can only lose so much weight before he loses muscle mass and is unable to physically finish a race. Perhaps losing the KERS allows them to hit that mark much closer than the other teams.

        Are the car weights published ?

        Weight distribution is also key as Nick says. Another possible advantage is something Martin Brundle said about how KERS recharging affected the braking system.

        If the KERS is not having to be recharged and therefore doesn’t affect the “feel” of the brakes could that give Vettel and Webber an extra feeling of confidence “on” the brakes again allowing just a few 100ths that is so Vital.

        Got to say though that if Mclaren improve like they did last year mid season then this could be a classic head to head. I think it’s fair to say Webber won’t be in contention this year.

      2. Chris P says:

        Sorry harsh on Webber there. This is going to be a three way battle Alonso will be back for sure.

        OK another question.

        Downforce is important for speed and ultimate laptime, but makes the car harsher on tyres.

        Could it be argues that having a marginally slower car like Perez’s isn’t a bad thing when you can survive on a one stop strategy.

        And don’t forget this track is “kind” on tyres.

      3. mtb says:

        640 kilos

      4. Alex W says:

        Weight distribution is not a factor as it is mandated this year, CoG is a factor, and I think Vettel atleast was sitting a little higher in the car than other drivers, this is poor for CoG but great for confidence at the limit (through better visibility).

      5. Martin says:

        Hi Chris,

        My simple answer would be yes. Taken a bit further, if a team was to reduce the downforce level from the optimum qualifying level but still have a balanced car, then the position lost on the grid could be more than made up for by cars ahead making an extra stop. The low downforce could help in avoiding getting trapped behind a car that is on dead tyres too.

        I would call Vettel’s pass on Button extraordinary in the true sense. We saw last year that although the Red Bull is fast on lap times, its lack top speed caused problems in passing.

      6. Nick4 says:

        Thanks for you responses and explanations. In incremental gains so characteristic of this sport now, it all adds up. How does Adrian Newey achieve what others cannot!? It’s like 1992 – 1996 with Williams all over again. Let’s sit back and enjoy it all.

      7. Martin says:

        The Benetton was a pretty good car in the corners too with Rory Byrne designing (pretty much all of Schumi’s title winning cars from memory), but the Renault was the best engine from 1992 to 1997, so that didn’t hurt.

    4. The other Ian says:

      Following on what has already mentioned, unless you have a reliable KERS, I would suggest that the extra drag caused by the cooling needed for the batteries means that it is NOT worth it. Without KERS, you could end up with a more streamlined car. Just a thought.

  17. Jo Torrent says:

    Vettel and RedBull showed their promised form but were not as impressive as I feared. Is the loss of KERS a disadvantage or not for them remains to be seen but Lewis kept Vettel honest for the first stint at least. The press made a fool of themselves by suggesting the use of a start only KERS.

    McLaren delivered indeed, they are the ones chasing RedBull while Ferrari is far back. The Alonso bad start (squeezed by Button) didn’t help. McLaren looks like the team looking best after its tyres among the big boys with good speed on top. If Button hasn’t been stuck behind the pace car of Felipe, 2 McLaren might have been on the podium. On the contrary Ferrari is eating tires much more even if Alonso had to use them more in order to overtake all those cars. The balance issues of the Ferrari might have worsened things as Alonso looked to wrestle his car quite a bit.

    Felipe Massa and Mark Webber were absolutely rubbish today. The Brazilian not able to be in the points even though he managed a good start and Webber must have had an issue with his car. I don’t remember seeing ever such a gap between him and his team mate in race trim.

    Ferrari really disappointed me today and Alonso must start to wonder now. Dominicali will feel the heat very soon but not as much as Mercedes whose race pace is absolutely nowhere. They are far from a top team.

    The huge surprise is Sauber and Perez. The car looks after its tyres like no one else and the rookie did indeed deliver outpacing Kobayashi (maybe due to different strategies). Pay drivers are not what they used to be with Petrov in the podium and Perez scoring points on his first outing.
    Only Maldonado disappointed but he was driving a Williams.

    Kubica and Renault are wondering what might have been now, imagine that Renault in the hand of the Pole.

    1. Mxx says:

      Still, Massa showed some nice driving today keeping much faster Button behind. But he was indeed terribly slow.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        correct, Massa defended brilliantly today. The difference in speed with Button was huge and yet he kept him behind before the Englishman decided to take a shortcut and to blatantly state that he was ahead.

        But look at the performance difference with Alonso. Alonso was so far behind Massa after one lap and finished so far ahead. You can’t do that with the same car.

      2. Jeff says:

        Disappointed by Button and McLaren. They would have probably got past on the pit rotations, and it was totally obvious that Button was going to get penalised for that move. They threw away about 20 seconds of time by not immediately ceding the position.

        With McLaren’s apparent race pace, Jenson threw away a possible podium by not immediately backing off and letting Massa (and by necessity Alonso) through. I thought he was supposed to be one of F1′s thinkers.

      3. Cliff says:

        2points Joe.

        1, The angle you see the overtaking move is not the same as the driver. In short, the view gets the better view via replays from different angles. For a driver to say he was in front is nothhing new.

        2, McLaren asked Race Control if the needed to give te place back to Massa and recieved no response. The Stewards later awarded a ‘Drive Through Penalty’ for Button, the correct decision.

        Try sticking to the facts, but then again you did tell us the Mclaren’s claims that they had found 1 second per lap was just PR by Martin Whitmarsh. The season’s going to be a long one, and no doubt your favoured Prancing Horse will be involved in atleast one contentious issue (based on the law of averages), I look forward to reading your comments when that happens.

      4. mtb says:

        JEFF

        “I thought he was supposed to be one of F1’s thinkers.”

        He also supposed to be calm and mature. His behaviour during and after the race was anything but.

        A nation’s press corp went overboard trying to build up a hero.

      5. LeighJW says:

        Why wasn’t Vettel penalised for leaving the track when passing Button. He clearly has all four wheels off the road?

    2. Lilla My says:

      Massa was in the points (got only 2, but that’s still points). It doesn’t change the fact that he had a bad race. Ferrari looked much better today than on Saturday, so I hope they can do something to catch up. It’s only the first race and I’m pretty sure Alonso will do everything he can to be on top. Apart from the bad start (partially squeezed by Button and partially due to his own driving) he was doing well today.

      And I too would like to see what Kubica would’ve done with this car.

    3. Mario says:

      I think Kubica would have been second with Petrov third. That Renault is 1.5s off the pace in quali afterall.

      1. devilsadvocate says:

        Judging by Petrov’s pace I think Robert would have almost certainly picked off Hamilton for 2nd especially giving how much he had to nurse the MP4-26 to the end.

    4. MikeyB says:

      In a post-race interview on Australian TV, Webber said he had problems with his tyres at every change – he didn’t mention any other car issues.

    5. The thing about pay drivers is, people don’t pay slow guys to go into F1. It isn’t so much that the drivers are “paid” as they bring with them considerable sponsorship money.

      I don’t think there is much difference between the latest crop and what is F1 now. Hamilton is “paid” by McLaren, Vettel is “paid” by RBR and Alonso is “paid” by Santader.

      The difference being that the latest crop are being sponsored by entities that have regional interests. Perez is sponsored by a Mexican company, etc…

      That being said, I suppose Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso aren’t that far away from being sponsored by regional interests.

      I doubt that Carlos Slim would be interested in sponsoring someone that would represent his regional interests poorly.

    6. Andy C says:

      Ferrari really disappointed me today and Alonso must start to wonder now. Dominicali will feel the heat very soon but not as much as Mercedes whose race pace is absolutely nowhere. They are far from a top team.

      Jo,

      dont you see. This is part of the problem as
      I see it.

      Looking to blame someone after race 1, when in actual fact it may just be that the F150 th/%/*$ is not as suited to Oz as the McLaren or Ferrari.

      I have never and will never understand why people start with the woe is me stories after race 1 (remember Bahrain last year when everyone said it would be a boring processional year).

      As for Jenson, he should have let Massa back through as he’d have been miles quicker than the two red cars over the race.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        You have a good point there but still Ferrari has many odd days. There’s no more that confidence when TODT was leading the team. You knew then that accidents were rare and that the team will deliver regularly.

        Under Dominicali, there are too many odd week-ends with unknown answers and unlocked potential. It keeps happening year after year and with Alonso behind the steering they’re running out of excuses.

        By the way congrats for McLaren.

  18. igb says:

    Dull, dull, dull, dull. I watched it semi-live in catchup on the hard disk recorder, but skipped significant chunks as the cars circulated.

    DRS: waste of time, no passes made using it, no obvious effect on the race other than to complicate the cars and qualifying, incomprehensible on TV. Either allow moveable aero, subject to size limitations, or don’t. Following cars can’t pass unless the car in front makes a mistake, just like the past few years.

    KERS: all the reasons it was rubbish last time, writ large. Either allow energy recovery, limited only by the teams’ ingenuity and willingness to carry the weight, or don’t. DRS and KERS are both FIA fudges, where their reaction to the effects of rule which narrows design options is to introduce a counteracting device which also narrows design options. The Red Bull isn’t using KERS, still has to make the minimum weight, and won at a canter.

    Pirelli tyres: everyone else is scrabbling for the pits every ten minutes, while Sauber cruise around and pick up points on a 2010-style one-stopper. Good luck to them, but expect other teams to realise that driving 0.5s a lap slower and saving two pit stops is a points-winning strategy.

    Vettel’s clearly got the best car, the testing and resource rules mean that there won’t be major developments through the season, so we can expect a bunch more processions. Dull, dull, dull.

    1. MikeyB says:

      Button made a pass using his DRS (can’t remember who – Massa? Baichello?)

      1. Shane says:

        Kobayashi. But if I remember, he also used his KERS system. It looked to me that the DRS wing didn’t do muc this race weekend. I’m guessing it had more to do with the track and the straight than the actual system. I’m curious as to how the DRS will be on other tracks.

      2. mtb says:

        Did Kobayashi also have a KERS?

        By the way, KERS = Kinetic Energy Recovery System

        KERS system = Kinetic Energy Recovery System system!

      3. Shane says:

        Good point. Kobayashi probably has the KER system, but I don’t know if he was using KERS when Button passed him.

        I was surprised with Kobayashi this weekend. He did not look himself. Not sure if it had anything to with the disaster in Japan or if he was just struggling with the car. Anyone hear anything?

      4. Sergey Matvienko says:

        He overtook Kobayashi, if i remember correctly. Still DRS did not too useful today – the advantage it gives is too small.

      5. monktonnik says:

        Kobayashi?

    2. Mart says:

      I saw at least 2 passes with DRS.

      1. Steve says:

        Sure, but they weren’t exactly exciting were they.

      2. Jeb Hoge says:

        What were you expecting, a Batmobile-style afterburner and 50mph overtake?

      3. Alias J says:

        Like Vettel said, the straight isn’t too long enough in Melbourne and the first turn isn’t exactly the best place for this.

        Lets wait and see DRS at Malaysia, SPA, Monza.

      4. Steve says:

        I dunno Jeb, maybe good old fashioned racing?

      5. mtb says:

        Jeb Hoge

        Classic!

    3. sender says:

      About KERS and DRS – actually I do not care much for those. If the FIA wants it and teams want to spend on them, that is their problem. Of course, it affects the weight distribution and the overall performance of the car, but the average viewer just can’t evaluate all the details of it.
      About the tyres – as I wrote in other comments, maybe we have to wait to make overall conclusions, but all in all I agree. The emerging picture is not very encouragning.

      About Vettel and his car – well, it says some things about Mclaren and Ferrari’s ability to challenge Red Bull, doesn’t it?

    4. Richard D says:

      You must have skipped through the (albeit occasional) times the DRS did cause an overtake, like Button on Kobayashi.

      You may be right about the tyres but fingers crossed we see a season of various strategies, which will keep it interesting, it’s still early days.

      Vettel could well wrap it up early if there aren’t reliability issues, but we thought that last year and four drivers were in contention in the final round.

      I really enjoyed the race, it had enough intrigue about it, overtaking, surprises and different strategies and I look forward to 18 more of the same please!

      1. Sebee says:

        You really think Hungary is bad? There have been plenty of action GPs there in the past 12 years. I can think of 5 or 6 that were action packed. Alonso/Hamilton, Button Win, Schumi closing championship in 01, I don’t think Hungaroring is bad.

    5. james b says:

      I just don’t agree with you. You missed Button pass Massa and also Massa passing Buemi.

    6. Jo Torrent says:

      As always to have a good show you have to have teams evenly matched.
      If RedBull, Ferrari & McLaren are within 3 tenths of a second, you can put KERS, F-duct, DRS, active suspension, traction control, engine boost or remove them all and the season will be equally thrilling.

      The main factor is the competitiveness not the rules

    7. Mario says:

      DRS works very well. It allows the following car to close in considerably and I saw at least two overtakes. It wouldn’t be good if it allowed for overtake every time, that would be too artificial. I really like the way it works, not too much, not too little.

      1. Craig D says:

        I agree. People complain but if every DRS move was a successful breeze past, folk would be up in arms saying the racing is artificial and the skill of overtaking lost. It helps in creating more opportunities, which is good. Some also seemed to suggest it had no effect but of course it does by its definition. It would have been nice for overtaking to have been a little more prevalent there, however turn 16 is not the best preceding corner, with the car behind losing ground and having quite a gap to make up. I think it will be more effective at other circuits.

    8. Stuart says:

      No in season development??? What are you talking about. Is this the first season/race you have watched by chance? The development rate in 2009 by McLaren and by all the teams last year was pretty impressive under the same testing restrictions. McLaren (not a huge Macca fan) found 2+ seconds from start of 09 by the end of the season without any track testing.

    9. Ruppert says:

      100% agree – it was another classis sleeper.

      I could barely stay awake.

      The DRS just looked silly in operation and a complete FIA fudge.

      With all the excessive aero on the cars, the driver skill is completely hidden.

      Very boring indeed, and the DRS and KERS are total gimmicks that are ineffective patches on the real underlying problems of F1 racing.

      1. Racingbod says:

        Utter tosh

        This was the first ever running of this system and it seemingly worked faultlessly. You could visibly see the gaps closing and with the graphics up the speed climbing as well. Granted it wasn’t the best place on the track for it but this shouldn’t be easy! Webber chasing Alonso for the initial laps after the last pit stops failed dismally to exit the last corner cleanly and bounced off the limiter before the end of the straight and consistently fluffed his line through turn 2 thereby losing any advantage into 3. Think it neatly demonstrated the lack of driver skill, not the short comings of the system!

    10. LeighJW says:

      It seems to me you just don’t like F1. Go and watch football or something.

  19. rodger says:

    Great win by Vettel. Was really pleased to see a good showing by the rookies, especially Di Resta and Perez. To counter that, a couple experienced drivers are now looking past their sell-by date (I mean you, messrs Massa and Webber)

    1. Mario says:

      and Barrichello and Schumacher and Heidfeld

      1. Jeff says:

        Yeah – Heidfeld was surprisingly off-the-pace. I heard something about KERS problems dogging his qualifying and practice. Did he also have car issues during the race?

        I’m reserving judgement on Heidfeld for a couple of races. I can’t believe that his true pace is that far off Petrov.

        Massa definitely looks down in the dumps. Schumi still can’t live with Nico. Rubens made some uncharacteristic errors this weekend. I still expect him to finish number 1 driver at Williams come season end though.

        Webber is so far off Seb’s pace that I wonder whether they’re giving him an equal car until Seb has an unassailable lead. I very much doubt that McLaren’s strategy of fully open data sharing between teammates is active at Red Bull
        Jeff

      2. mtb says:

        I read that Heidfeld’s Renault suffered body damage after contact with another car at Turn 13 on lap 1.

      3. unoc vII says:

        Mark helped Seb with setup for during 09 and maybe 10 (only heard reports after 09, so maybe 10 maybe not) so I’m guessing there is a bit of sharing, but I don’t know now.

        Hidfeld left his run too late and then was caught in traffic which ruined his Quali lap. Then he had some pretty decent damage at the start of the race and that ruined his speed.

      4. seifenkistler says:

        Heidfeld claimed damage on the car, as did Schumacher.

        Schuhmacher had a quite good start compared to Heidfeld and was hit from a car behind.

        Puncture, and he claimed that even after pit sop the car was behaving different depending in which direction the curves were. When he left the car his first look was for the right rear.

        He said it was a good decision that the team decided to stop the race for him, being too dangerous not knowing what was causing the stearing problems.

        So this race is not allowing to compare Schumi with Heidfeld in my opinion.

      5. Jeff says:

        Regarding Schumacher, he qualified in 11th. His teammate qualified in 7th. Rosberg was 4/10ths quicker than Schumi in Q2, and 1/10th quicker than Schumi in Q1.

        He had an unlucky race, but he was also beaten by his teammate again in qualifying where (I believe) neither were suffering from car problems. Unless he starts at least matching Nico’s pace, I can’t see him staying past the end of this season.

  20. Jo Torrent says:

    The tires behaved as the teams wanted which didn’t help the show. It was a poor race with not much drama or wheel to wheel racing at the front.

    1. frosty says:

      Yes, tyres were a bit too safe for me too.
      This might change from track to track though…

    2. sender says:

      Let’s hope that it will be different on other circuits. But the thing that this years tire situation is already becoming circuit dependent is not very welcome.
      Of course, drivers are happy, but not only them. Even some experts are too diplomatic about it.
      It is a bit early to judge, but the promise was bigger than we have received.
      It will be interesting to see what will be the situation with super soft and medium tyres (when they are used).

    3. . says:

      Just like 98% of all F1 races ever you mean?

  21. Koompel says:

    Very interesting race. Renault made a good job and RB seems to be the car to bet again.
    Thanks James. Fantastic blog.

  22. Azri says:

    James, Hamilton mentioned that his Mclaren suffered a floor damaged during the race, is it true? then it would mean the gap between him and Vettel was suppose to be closer than 22 seconds by the end of the race. Taking that into the account, I was relieved Vettel & Webber didn’t performed the ‘Hakkinen & Coulthard duopoly 1998′. Hopefully McLaren and Ferrari can up their game after this.

    1. Uwe says:

      Yes, you could see on TV that the whole floor came down. In fact it was so bad that I thought the stewards would have a look into it because of the danger it posed to Hamilton.

      1. seifenkistler says:

        Perhaps it even made the car faster, less airflow below the car?

      2. Uwe says:

        For sure not. You want MORE airflow under the car as it creates aerodynamical downforce.

      3. seifenkistler says:

        You want a vacuum = no air below the car i thought: like the Brabham vacuum cleaner. With the front of the plate bended down it is like a reversed wing, more downforce? But with all the extra wings a formula1 car has, i am not sure how aerodynamics are working for them.

        What are the rules for the bottom plate:
        I know it should have a certain thickness, because several people were disquilified for having it to thin after a race.

        Wasn’t/isn’t there a rule that it has to be parallel to ground too? Or do i mix up rules for the different car sports?

        Anyway: having him racing with the front of the plate hitting ground could have lead to nasty accidents.

    2. frosty says:

      I don’t think we saw what Vettel and Hamilton could really do today. Hamilton’s problem stopped him pushing, which allowed Vettel to pace himself too.

  23. Lilla My says:

    I have to say that was a really interesting race and I’m not sorry I got up early :).
    Petrov was a positive surprise, for sure ;-). That was a great race from him. The rookies did a good job too, especially Perez. I also enjoyed Button’s driving today. He wasn’t as gentle as before, but I definitely like it :). Re Vettel – great job, though I sincerely hope it won’t be that easy for him whole season long.
    Alonso had a pretty good race as well (apart from his start – I think he definitely needs to work on that part) with some nice moves (though I didn’t see his pass on Rosberg). Looking at the results and the gaps, he probably would have been able to fight for third or even second without the third pit stop.
    James, Ferrari had some problems with the hard compound on Saturday already, do you think that the 3-stop strategy was a must because the car is so hard on its tyres or did they decide to play it safe in the first race and didn’t simply want to risk with only two stops?

    And also, do you know if there was anything wrong with Webber’s car as he stopped directly after the finish line?

    1. TheLegend says:

      In spanish TV Marc Gené said that they had a flexible strategy. They could have done only 2 pits under normal circumstances, but today, after the start (not his fault!!) he had to overtake, push, push, overtake, push… and he toasted his tyres a little more than normal.
      Malasia will be better for Fernando and for Ferrari.
      After we’ve seen today I can’t wait two weeks more.

      1. Lilla My says:

        Thanks :). The start… well… Button was in a cheeky mood today squeezing others and fighting hard :). Alonso and Button have history of starting next to each other last year in fact ;-).

        I so can’t wait for Malaysia. I just can’t get enough as it’s finally started. I hope Fernando and Ferrari to do better there (though 4th isn’t bad if we look at it objectively, but I still expected more).

      2. AlexD says:

        How do you know it will be better?

      3. Lilla My says:

        As a Ferrari fan you should “know” that too Alex :). Maybe it’s more of a hope than certainty, but I also hope that it’ll be better when it’s warmer.
        My only concern about Malaysia is the rain and the following strategy. Ferrari made there some mistakes in qualifying lately (both in 2010 and 2009). I hope it won’t repeat this year.

    2. Martin says:

      Given the belief that the Ferrari was one of the best at managing tyres in Spain, it could be that hard tyres weren’t getting into their operating window on the low grip Melbourne tarmac. Pure speculation on my part.

    3. mtb says:

      Webber said that he was worried about not having enough fuel remaining in the tank for the FIA inspection.

      Sorry, but I can’t find where I read it now.

  24. PaulL says:

    Thanks James for your contribution to ONE this weekend.

  25. Richard Elder says:

    The biggest disappointment of the weekend was the Formula1.com live timing page, which failed to work most of the time, it wouldn’t load properly. I find it hard to understand the race strategies without it. There is an app on my phone that worked perfectly, but it’s not as good because it doesn’t show the gaps between drivers. I really hope they sort this out before the next race, it kind of ruined the race for me.

    1. james b says:

      I had this problem too. I couldn’t get it to load at all and thought it may have been a problem with my broadband. I could get the BBC tracker to work though.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      I thought exactly the same. I can’t watch a race without the F1 live timing and all this week-end, it has been crappy. In qualies, it stopped alltogether.
      The iphone app isn’t good enough. I get rid of it.

      1. There are 2 iPhone apps. One for free and the other for around 20 EUR. Buy the second one. I did and it works great.

      2. Tim Horton says:

        €20! They are dreaming, especially considering most iphone apps are less than €1.

      3. Sebee says:

        It’s true – it’s almost insulting that they would charge this much. FIFA world cup app was supprted by built in sponsors ( no ads ) and it was premium and free.

    3. Les says:

      It took me a couple of attempts, but I did get it working. You have to close and restart if it doesn’t work, just hitting refresh doesn’t seem to do the job.

      Agree on how necessary it is though, just knowing the positions doesn’t give a clear picture

  26. Philip Iszatt says:

    When Vettel retook Lewis after his tyre change all four of his wheels went over the yellow (normally White) line that defines the track. So he should have given the place back to Lewis or taken a drive through penalty! How come Charlie Whiting didn’t see this?

    1. Martin says:

      It could be that Sebastian drove around the outside of Jenson (not Lewis) and drove a greater than normal distance. He was ahead and avoiding a collision by taking a long-cut, not a short-cut.

      If you compare it Webber in Singapore in 2009, there Webber was on the outside, pushed wide and then used the fact he was on the inside for the next corner to get ahead, so in a slight way he took a short-cut.

      If you compare it to Alonso in Silverstone or Button in this race, Sebastian was able to be in front and back on the track before the next corner. In those two examples, the pass was made, but the passing driver was given no room for the next corner.

    2. steve says:

      Because Vettel overtook a Mclaren and not a Ferrari

      1. Les says:

        I’m a McLaren fan, but I don’t believe that for a second!

        I do think that the concept of what constitutes the track should be more rigid; that’s why I like gravel and grass verges, it forces the drivers to keep on the black stuff.

        These endless expanses of concrete just make a mockery of the track markings. Notice how this sort of thing is MUCH less prevalent in Monaco? Those nice lumpy bits discourage those who try on the few parts that would otherwise allow it

      2. mtb says:

        “Because Vettel overtook a Mclaren and not a Ferrari”

        I thought that the site was clamping down on such comments.

        Martin Brundle offered a feasible explanation on the BBC F1 Forum. Vettel had already completed the manouevre going off the circuit. Button, on the other hand, used the escape road to perform an overtaking manoeuvre.

        And if people want to be pedantic, Barrichello really should have handed his position back to Schumacher in Hungary last year.

      3. Damian J says:

        But Vettel had acquired an unfair advantage of going too fast into the corner, using the tarmac that is not offcially part of the track. That’s exactly why FIA introduced this rule did they not?.

        It’s irrelevant whether or not Vettel completed an overtaking move on Jenson beforehand. That is infact an aggravating factor, noting that Button did n’t leave the track. Had there been a solid barrier, do you think Vettel would have driven quite so fast into that corner?

      4. mtb says:

        If McLaren and Button felt that Vettel had a case to answer, then both Whitmarsh and Button would have made an issue of it, and would undoubtedly still be doing so now.

        Vettel did not cut a corner, he actually took the long way around, hence the route that he followed COST him time.

        Vettel’s incident was no different to a driver going wide on a stretch of track. The fact that he had just overtaken Button is a moot point. As long as he gained no advantage from going off the track then he did nothing wrong. I am yet to see anyone come up with any evidence that he did gain an advantage. Can you quantify the advantage that he gained?

        [mod]

      5. James Allen says:

        Please can we stop the personal tit for tat dialogue comments, stick to the point. If not all such comments will be moderated out – Mod

    3. Jason C says:

      Agreed – this has been going on for years. Cars who have cut the inside of corners and gained a time advantage have been penalised (like Button today), but cars who ‘cut’ the outside of the track by going wide and getting an advantage that way have been ignored.

      Raikkonen did it so blatantly at the start at Spa in 2009 that the drivers were warned about it for 2010, but it seems to be ignored at all other tracks. I don’t really understand why. It’s still getting and advantage by going out-of-bounds.

      1. Martin says:

        One exception that I can think of – Webber in Singapore in 2009. He was pushed wide on the first lap and kept his foot in it, crossed the notional edge of the track and had the inside line for the next. It was similar to Vettel except that Vettel made the move and was ahead before the first corner, while Webber only really got ahead at the second corner.

    4. mtb says:

      Are you sure it wasn’t Jenson?

  27. Speed F1 says:

    What an incredible day!!!!! Even though I am a life long Ferrari supporter I don’t reckon Ferrari Could’ve done any better. Great start to the season. Australian GP should always be the first one. Being at the circuit for the last 4 days was worth every bit.

    Quick question JA. Why do you think some drivers had to pit 3 times, particularly Ferrari when the top 3 finisher pitted only twice? Does that mean Vettel and Hamilton have adopted the tyres better than Alonso & Webber???

    1. Jason C says:

      Ferrari certainly could have done better. Massa drove an excellent defence today, but was painfully slow, and should have finished ahead of his team-mate.

      Webber was not too good compared to his team-mate either, and seemed to have a strop after the finish. It was probably a car problem, I suppose: I’ve not heard anything. But it looked like he was disappointed and didn’t want to do the after-race and have to face the crowd.

      I’d like to hear what Heidfeld’s story was, too.

      1. mtb says:

        Heidfeld said that he was hit on the right hand side on the first lap and that his car suffered damage from that.

      2. Jason C says:

        Yes, Adam Cooper said it looked “like a bomb had gone off” in his sidepod!

      3. Andy C says:

        He had massive damage to his sidepod which wasnt covered on the TV coverage

        He posted some pics on his twitter account late last night.

  28. Gaspar says:

    Okay , mystery solved , Red Bull didn’t have KERS . But was not a gentlemen agreement to everybody use this , to not repeat the 2009 events ??

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      no, because not every team can afford it and because you can’t put something unreliable because of a gentleman agreement.

  29. Jeremiah says:

    Kers is the ruin of F1.
    A token green gesture, 10 years behind road car production technology.

  30. StefMeister says:

    Button’s DRS assisted pass on Massa demonstrated what I was afraid may happen. A dull, unexciting & reletively easy straght line pass because the DRS gave Button such a big speed boost. Alonso pulled off a similar pass early in the race on Rosberg which FOM missed.

    I found that pass just as boring/unexciting to watch as Raikkonens KERS assisted pass on Fisichella at Spa back in 2009.

    Don’t want to see that sort of passing, I want to watch some good racing, Passing been done on straghts because the car behind has buttons/speed boost’s the lead car doesn’t to me isn’t intresting or entertaining to watch.

    Was also not overly keen on the tyres although it wasn’t as bad as I thought it may.

    Thing I didn’t really like was that I thought that when you had a Worn Tyres/Fresh Tyre situation (Like Massa/Buemi) it made the pass a bit too predictable. Buemi had so little grip that it was clear Massa was going to get by.

    Marbles also looked like they were a problem after about 25 laps.

    Also not so keen on the pit lane been so important once again. Regardless of what was happening on track today the talk was always about strategy which I feel took away from what was happened on the track.

    Same as with refueling, The focus on strategy/the pit lane at times seems more important than the actual racing been done out on the track.

    1. Irish con says:

      How do u know were alonso passed rosberg. I been trying to find out and nobody has the info at the BBC didn’t seem to care. No interviews on BBC with Ferrari on the show on BBC 1 or the forum. Not impressed.

      1. StefMeister says:

        Saw Alonso’s pass on Rosberg on the OnBoard channel.

        Came out the final corner about 4 car lengths behind Nico, Hit his DRS Button & was past Nico just after the start/finish line.

      2. JR says:

        Alonso said to Spanish TV after the race that he passed Rosberg using the DRS.

      3. Andras F. says:

        Alonso passed Rosberg at the main straight in lap 5. Checked out with F1 Timing App reply.

      4. Damian J says:

        I guess Ferrari didn’t gain a podium finish and they are not a British team.

      5. mtb says:

        There was an interview with Alonso.

    2. Sebee says:

      Max once pushed for a spec and sometimes you have to give it to him. Hardly encouraging when a team is allowed to hold some technically clever advantage. Not in the spirit and artificial – since it’s a word that was thrown quite a bit.

      As I get older I question the relevance of F1 racing sometimes. What is it’s goal? How is it relevant? And with so much technology both automotive and otherwise that is now attainable by the average consumer – is it really valuable? Could the near extincion of US open wheel racing market be a indicator that this mostly European export facing it’s own issues.

      I don’t mean to be down on the sport, but as the US IRL has proven too much spec restriction and low budgets and as F1 has proven top engeneering minds and crazy budgets usually results in domination by team – and you have to ask how entertaining that is and is there a middle ground. Seems that I’m not Lone in questioning this.

      1. Rich C says:

        What do you mean “when a team is allowed to hold some technically clever advantage” ?

        Don’t be silly, dude – its an engineering competition!

        “How is it relevant?”

        It’s a *race, its not *supposed to be “relevant”, whatever *that means!

        And the IRL is alive and well.

        Get a grip, man! Don’t be so gloomy.

      2. Sebee says:

        What I mean is this – how is the incredible amount of engineering effort relevant? What benefit is it to us outside of 2 hours of tv air time filled? What has F1 made more affordable or improved?

        And while those of us who know the designers or engineers who get the credit for the clever rule work arounds may care about it a bit, no one here outside on Newey sit on a weekend and cheer for Newey.

        And knowing that miracle is needed for your favorite driver to win – like act of God or a top contender driving into the rear of another for even Kubica to claim a win – the reality is that fans very quickly realize they are wasting their time watching, cheering hoping for victory.

        I don’t meant to be gloomy, perhaps it’s because I’ve seen some 15 seasons and traveled to 20 GPs at 9 tracks that I feel this way. Maybe I’ve consumed enough and having flag to flag win – well I’ve seen enough during Schumi’s run at Ferrari. I’m a fan of his work, but it’s as about as exciting as a 9:1 score in football, 14:0 score in Hockey, 6:0 6:1 6:0 in tenis – well, you get the idea. And if that score is the result of better sneakers, skates or tenis hardware engineered by some clever bloke – is that why you tuned in to watch that outcome?

    3. Sebee says:

      By the way. That passing back in the day was because cars had strengths and weaknesses. Some were good top speed machines, some were good through the turns. Today those margins are reduced and a low downforce setup isn’t that much faster than a good all around car. The passing back in the day came because cars wereore crude and undeveloped. Ferrari museum has a lineup of F1 cars from over the years. When you look at them side by side the difference is shocking. I think we have to accept that those “romantic” racing passig years are behind us. It won’t happen again.

    4. valdifieme says:

      Pretty dull race, I agree. I didn’t like SDR (it’s artificial and in fact takes away the sense of ‘equal’ fight for a racing position) and the fact that instead of racing we had strategies talk, and movable rear wings talk. F1 is going in wrong direction.

    5. mtb says:

      Presumably you aren’t a fan of this artifically-enhanced battle.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl2tIFxSEGA

      1. valdifieme says:

        Why not? But I can bet we won’t see battles like that this season thanks to DRS.

      2. F1_Dave says:

        and how was that artificial?

      3. mtb says:

        Competing technologies was the cause of this battle. The turbo-charged engine was slower than the naturally-aspirated engine under acceleration, but once the turbo lag was overcome, Arnoux’s Renault was quicker. If both cars had the same technology, the battle would probably never had occurred.

      4. valdifiemem says:

        OK, I guessed you had a different engine technology in mind. And I know that it’s hard to talk about equal battles in F1, for it is a technology-based kind of sport. That is why I wrote word ‘equal’ in inverted commas. But DRS is a tiny innovation which is switched on during the race, and only by a driver who wants to overtake. And is used in specific times and placed. It is rubbish. It doesn’t even give any significant advantage to a driver that uses it, but it spoils the show – that is a fleeting illusion that we – as spectators – participate in a sporting competition (if that is the right English expression, I’m afraid it’s not). And only thanks to that we can get excited as sport fans.

      5. Rich C says:

        Don’t understand your remark but I love that clip!

        Ofc I guess the fact that the Renault had that “unfair technically clever advantage” – the twin turbos might offend some. ;)

      6. mtb says:

        Yes, that is more or less my point. This battle was occurred because of competing technologies.

      7. F1_Dave says:

        ok, the battle may well have been assisted by competing technologies (turbo/non turbo) however i still dont see how that could even be considered artificial?

        the drs is an artificial gimmick because only the car behind can run it and only in an area of the circuit which the fia deems to be the ‘overtaking zone’.

        the drs ia the single most ridiculous thing ive seen brought into f1 in the 45 or so years ive been following it.
        giving a car behind a 10-20kph speed boost over the car ahead at one specific part of the circuit is completely ridiculous.

        if there going to continue with this ludicrous wing idea then make it avaliable to everyone at any part of the track.
        limiting it to one section of track and only for the car behind when there within 1 second of the car ahead is the specific part of the drs regulations which makes it an artificial gimmick.

      8. mtb says:

        One driver had a boost button, the other didn’t. therefore one driver had an advantage over the other.

        Fair enough, there was no designated overtaking zone, but overtaking was not possible on every section of track on every lap in those days either.

        A similar situation arose at Suzuka in 1988. Capelli overtook Prost, and as soon as Prost reached a lengthy straight section of track he pressed the boost button and repassed Capelli. And there are numerous such instances. Even when both cars had turbo engines, one boost button was usually more effective than the other. Hence the battles were primarily about technology rather than driver skill, and one driver generally had a distinct advantage over the other.

        Don’t get me wrong, the Arnoux/Villeneuve duel is my favourite racing duel of all time. My intention was to point out that artifically-enhanced overtaking manoeuvres in F1 are not a new phenomenon.

      9. mtb says:

        I forgot to mention that I was addressing the following comment in the original message.

        “Passing been done on straghts because the car behind has buttons/speed boost’s the lead car doesn’t to me isn’t intresting or entertaining to watch.”

        I hope this leads to some clarification.

      10. F1_Dave says:

        i get what your on about but i still think there’s a difference between then and now.

        back in the 80s there were differences in how much over-boost each engine produced, however it was not written into the regulations that the car infront could not use a boost dial/button. even if a lead car had a less effective boost button they could still use it to put up some form of defence.

        with the drs regulations its written that only the following car can use the drs and only at one specific drs zone. that is the specific part of the drs regs i find artificial and a bit of a gimmick.

        i don’t have any problem with the drs system itself i just say either have it avaliable to everyone, everywhere or don’t have it avaliable to anyone.

        id be saying exactly the same back in the 80s if the turbo boost useage was regulated in such a way.

        to the point about straght line passing, its boring if the car behind has a big speed increase. i look back at spa in 2009 when raikkonen passed fisichella, it was a boring pass and it was a predictable pass. it was obvious that as soon as kimi hit kers he was going to take the lead, there was no excitement or unpredictability in it at all.

        kimis pass on fisi at suzuka in 2005 was far, far more exciting to watch, was more spectacular and less predictable because fisi was able to defend against kimi in a fair fight which forced kimi to really have to fight his way past.

  31. sender says:

    The race was as expected, mildly entertaining but nothing spectacular.
    Also the situation about the tyres is what I thought it would be. So far no further comment on this, will have to wait for a few more races.
    So far it is difficult to judge Mclaren and Ferrari’s form – it could wary from circuit to circuit. The problem for them is that Red Bull will be good everywhere and this year there should be less problems for them and reliability seems better. So the other teams can only count on themselves.

  32. Galapago555 says:

    - Great performance by Rookie Pérez.
    - Excellent Petrov – Alonso’s new nightmare?
    - Fantastic Lewis and McLaren. I think no one could have bet for a podium just a week ago. Their improvement has been awsome,
    - But the man of the race for me, no doubt, is Adrian “I haven’t shown everything” Newey.

    1. Lilla My says:

      Hello Galapago.
      Pity Perez was disqualified. I thought he had a great race.
      And Hamilton did a really great job managing a damaged car. I think he’s my second favourite driver now ;-).
      Re Alonso and Petrov – I think it’s rather a trio now: Petrov, Alonso, Webber (second race in a row in this order). However, I think it wasn’t as bad as in Abu Dhabi this time. Had Alonso managed to pit twice like Petrov did, he would’ve been on the podium probably. And though I’m not really satisfied with the results, I think it was a good race by Alonso: bad start but a nice recovery (as always).

      1. Kev says:

        Honestly I am tired of this Alonso – Petrov talks. It was Abu-Dhabi and Renault had developed a good car and F-Duct system and Petrov himself had developed as a driver. All these contributed to Alonso not being able to drive past him.

        Coming to this race, Alonso could have passed him provided he had a few more laps to drive. This inspite of making an additional stop.

        Ferrari will certainly have to up the ante in Malaysia else are in danger of losing both the title races early. A bit sad as a Ferrari supporter, but then the best team has to win and is currently winning.

        Hope we see the resurgence of Ferrari in the coming races. On a positive note, the people in the pit seem to be more mature at decision making. There was no stupid moves even though they had to make 6 pitstops. It will help if they can release the car early since RBs are able to do it in 4 secs or less while Ferrari take a minimum of 4.5 secs to do the change.

      2. Lilla My says:

        I agree with you :). I was joking about Alonso-Petrov-Webber combo, cause I wouldn’t even notice the similarities myself, if people weren’t talking about it.
        I think tpday was a totally different situation than Abu Dhabi and I’m sure 5 more laps (or one stop less) and Alonso would’ve been in front of Petrov.

      3. drums says:

        I’m not so convinced on Alonso’s bad start. Alonsos was (legally) squeezed into the grass by Button, who meanwhile opened the door for Petrov and Massa. This can be neatly seen in the video recording of the start.

      4. Galapago555 says:

        So he was (legally) squeezed into the grass by Button, who opened the door for PET and MAS.

        I wouldn’t call this a “good” start.

      5. Lilla My says:

        You’re right. I’ve seen a replay and Button squeezed Alonso a bit too much, but he paid for it as he was also overtaken by a few cars ;-)

      6. Pat says:

        And Button had to push Alonso off because of Lewis’ wheelspin and slow start in front of him… forcing him to the outside to try to find some room…

    2. James says:

      I would love to see Petrov become a nemesis of sorts for Alonso. On a side note, Petrov is huge compared to the smaller drivers. He looked like a Bond villain in the winners press conference.

      1. Andy C says:

        Me too. Good on Petrov for not just rolling over in Abu Dhabi, and great drive yesterday and in Quali.

    3. Damian J says:

      One wonders if the Adrian Newey thing is over hyped.

      Why?

      Because he came up with a good aero package at the right time…..when strong limits on testing were implemented! I am sure this is one of the key factors that is maintaining their advanatge over McLaren and Ferrari.

      1. mtb says:

        He has been coming up with good F1 aero packages ever since his days at March in the 1980s. McLaren when to great lengths to retain him when he signed for Jaguar during 2001 for a reason…

      2. Andy C says:

        How many other designers have won world championships with three seperate constructors?

        And Ferrari obviously thought he was so full of hype they tried to take him last year.

        redbull are rumoured to pay the guy about 10m per season. Thats more than most drivers get.

        I’d be more than happy to see him back in Woking, with all that hype.

  33. Chau says:

    James,
    Do you know why Webber pulled over after the chequered flag?

    1. Tim Horton says:

      I think he thought it was a bit dangerous to throw his toys out of the pram while moving :)

      1. seifenkistler says:

        Was it legal? Didn’t he park just in front of the medical car at a time when their were still cars with racing speed on track?

    2. mtb says:

      I read that he was worried about not having enough fuel in the tank for the FIA inspection.

  34. Harvey Yates says:

    On the questionable assumption that RBR dumped their KERS for a reason other than the saving of weight and the ability to move things around a bit then the season is far from being done and dusted.

    I was struck by LH’s tyre management. He seemed to take it easy for the first few laps, which doesn’t make for dramatic racing of course, but he kept wear to an acceptable level. Tyres were not the decider as many, including me, feared. If one car can go with just one change then what is all the fuss about?

    McLaren is perhaps not yet competitive with RBR but one would assume that the car is something of a makeshift concoction there is more to come.

    Ferrari was a bit of a surprise. I expected them to be up there, certainly in front of the McLarens. Renault are showing themselves to be a real force in the sport.

    As you say, James, overtakes were going on but most were down to driving skill. All that effort and money the teams put into the moveable rear wing and for very little return. And the same goes for KERS it would appear. Both, not to mention different tyre compounds, appear to be brilliant ideas from someone who has learned their skills playing computer games.

    Webber’s performance in comparison to Vettel’s was quite a surprise, perhaps showing that other teams have a chance.

    An interesting and enjoyable start to the season but one which left me with the hope that the regulators stop coming up with ‘Lintilla’ like initiatives and just let the drivers drive.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      DRS doesn’t cost much actually

      1. Harvey Yates says:

        I don’t want to start a fight but I would suggest that if you take all the on costs into cosideration, such as the research, manufacture, testing, multiply that by 12, then add the implementation and running costs at the cirtuicts (x 19 or so) I’m not sure that, if the spectacle was the real reason for its implementation, then it has generated a reasonable return.

        I accept the idea itself is fairly basic: I was at Brands for the BOAC 500 in 67 where the Chaparral trounced the opposition with its moveable rear wing. Before being banned of coure.

    2. Rich C says:

      >McLaren is perhaps not yet competitive with RBR

      Lets see… RBR 1st & 5th, McL 2nd & 6th…

      How is that not competitive?

      1. Harvey Yates says:

        Rich,

        I’d say half a second in qually and 2.4 seconds in the first lap shows some degree of superiority.

        I did prefix my statement by ‘perhaps’, but LH was never in a battle for the lead. I would assume, and it is no more than that, that it was a comfortable victory by Vettel. He had some in hand.

      2. John Z says:

        It’s Red Bull and everyone else. Ferrari and McLaren are close to each other, but neither car looks like it can really push the Red Bulls yet. I know Hamilton was faster than Vettel at the end of the 1st stint but when the tyres were changed, Lewis had nothing else for Sebastian. The shame of it was that Alonso’s bad start prevented all of us from seeing him and Hamilton fight it out for 2nd. I have a feeling we will see these guys race each other often this season. But all things equal, if the Red Bull is on song and Vettel is behind the wheel, Ferrari and McLaren are fighting for 2nd. Vettel wasn’t even pushing today and Hamilton’s damaged floor isn’t the reason he lost today. The drinks company showed the Old Firm that they have a lot of work to do.

  35. sc says:

    I can’t wait to see what Heidfeld does when he gets a chance to really wind that Renault up.

  36. Marc says:

    James, even though Massa’s hot brakes message from the pitwall was given whilst Jenson was still behind Massa, Alonso’s pass on Massa was incredibly easy. Do you think that Massa was caught by surprise, focusing on what Button would do ahead of him due to JB’s short cut overtaking or is it that, despite Montezemolo’s claims of driver parity for the start of the season, a clear brief of Massa’s # 2 status was given to him before the race? Would love your thought on this if you have time.

    1. Luca says:

      possibly quick thinking from the pit wall, as button should have given the spot back to Massa, but if he is behind Alonso, then Button would have had to let both Alonso and then Massa back thru…

      Of course it didn’t happen, but to avoid a drive thru, that is what Button would have had to do.

    2. Lilla My says:

      I’m not James, but I think Massa was caught by surprise there or… he let Alonso pass deliberately (thinking he’d take the place back thanks to strategy or whatever) so that Button would have to be penalised, as he was then unable to give the position back to Massa having Alonso behind. And so Ferrari as a team would benefit from it. I don’t know if that reasoning isn’t too far fetched, but it would be a cheeky move by Massa.
      However, what I think is that due to Germany 2010 and Massa’s whole performance last year people have already put him in the “driver no. 2″ basket and are willing to see team orders whenever it’s possible. Massa did struggle on his last stint with the tyres, so I think that message from the pit wall was true.

    3. Jo Torrent says:

      Massa clearly tried to defend on Alonso there. He was offline before to defend against Button and he defended against Alonso offline for a couple of corners. Alonso did to him what he did to Hulkenberg in Brazil and it worked perfectly.

      Massa is clearly #2 now.

      1. Nando says:

        He took the racing line for one corner after the incident it was a hardly a defense he’d of had to nearly stop like a back-marker would to let Alonso pass on that corner.
        It then looks like he waits before getting onto the throttle coming out of the corner to let Alonso down the inside.
        Massa made no attempt to cut across Alonso on the exit of the corner.

      2. mtb says:

        I think Massa knew that Alonso was going to get past sooner or later, hence there was no point in holding him up. Had he done so, Alonso would not have passed Webber.

      3. dingbat says:

        “I think Massa knew that Alonso was going to get past sooner or later,”…

        Agreed, Massa doesn’t need ‘team orders’ to know what’s best for the team. Holding Alonso up like he did Button would have served no purpose to him or Ferrari and people forget that Massa, not withstanding what happened last year, is a team player.

  37. Mario says:

    Heidfeld was very poor. I am against giving him another chance. I say give Senna a go next race.

    Congratulations to Petrov and one stop Perez, brilliant drive from both of them.

    I think Red Bull despite saying they do have KERS but choose not to use it are still not saying the whole truth. Anyway I was convinced the use of KERS is compulsory this year, isn’t not?

    1. Jeff says:

      There’s a number of reasons why Heidfeld weekend was so uncompetitive.

      “the entire right hand side of Nick’s sidepod was ripped off during contact on the opening lap of the race” – from YallaF1

      Add that to the KERS problems he had in qualifying which put him way down the grid in the first place, it’s not surprising that he wasn’t up there with Petrov. Let’s give him a fair crack of the whip before booting him to the kerb.

      Jeff

      1. Mario says:

        You are more likely right than I am. I tend to be hot headed sometimes. Good news is that I am only an armchair expert, or Mr Nobody if you like and we’ll see Heidfeld again. Cannot promise I will be kind to him in the future though.

      2. Robb says:

        A person should always be kind. At least you admitted you’re sometimes “hot headed”, and I’m sure you’re more reasonable when you come down off the adrenaline.

        That said, you can never really draw conclusions from one event, it takes trends to see the true picture. Let’s give Nick a few races.

      3. mtb says:

        “the entire right hand side of Nick’s sidepod was ripped off during contact on the opening lap of the race”

        A similar comment appears on motorsport-total.com.

        Renault’s twitter feed during the race mentioned sidepod damage, and a journalist twittered about the damage after the race.

  38. Rs says:

    DRS did not make any diffrents Relly could not see it made the car go any faster JB was much faster then massa but still could not pass. Looks like they relly Need to sum how be made to give sum more speed but not so much that it makes it to easy to overtake.

    1. S.J.M says:

      To be fair, the DRS was in the wrong spot. Im sure had it been between T2 – T3 or T9-T12 it could offer more. Lets wait a few races before passing judgement, i think in Malaysia it will be used better (the 2 straights for example) but until then the Jury is out.

      1. Maxime Labelle says:

        Unfortunately, no. It will only be used in a single straight for the next two races.

        Then, they will re-evaluate whether to extend its usage on more occasions on a race by race basis.

        Or scrap it altogether, for what it’s worth.

  39. Arcturis says:

    Hmm – another dull race. Didn’t see much in the way of overtaking.Button and Massa and then Kamikaze Ruebens – who did I miss?

    So Ferrari were a bit off the pace, The Mclarens a bit better, The Red Bull miles ahead.The Pirelli tires much more stable than I was hoping for. Is the next GP honestly going to be any different?

    Its clear that only rain and/or safety car make this a sport with any close racing. Agree totally with igb. Also watched on my Sky+ and pretty pleased that I watched the second half of the race x12 speed

    Here’s hoping for more unpredictability for the rest of the season

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Barrichello said it was the tires fault and that he wasn’t trying to overtake Rosberg when he hit him. The bad news is that he is as rubbish with arguments as he is with his skills. The good news is that he didn’t blame Schumacher for what happened.

      1. mtb says:

        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/90288

        I remember Montoya blaming the tyres when he collided into Coulthard one year at the Nurburgring.

        One thing I have noticed about Rubens is that he is suffering from “the older I get, the better I was” syndrome. He made some comment last year about moving aside for Schumacher for six seasons, and that he wasn’t prepared to do it anymore. History suggests that the number of moves that they made for one another were evenly balanced, if not tilted slightly in Rubens’ favour.

      2. For Sure says:

        Haha that’s a good one. In all fairness, all Rubens was doing was that he needed to keep his stock a float by saying “oh look I could have beaten the seven times champion if it wasn’t for the team orders” .
        But we all know what that actually meant was “I need a job on f1″

  40. Marc says:

    A lot closer between mc laren and red bull than qualifying might have foreshown. Button in with a good race. He could have easily finish second. Petrov did better than most would have thought he could. Makes you wonder how Robert would have fare had he been present. Alonso did well all considered, Ferrari seems a little off pace here. If they don’t show some improvement in Malaysia, it might be a while before they can catch up to the top 2 teams. Good opening race for Sauber and Perez should be trilled with his maiden GP. Williams is better than what they have to show for here. The rear wing did not seem to have that much of an influence during this race. Widening its use may be required to make it be more of an ace in the future. The Pirelli tires, as they hope, performed better than one might have been lead to believe. One stop for Perez? Overall a good opener. While after the first round of stops, the front 2 were untouchable, there was plenty of action a bit farther down the order. Mercedes and team lotus did not come close to their own expectations. It is of course very early in the season but they disappointed. So did heifield. On to Malaysia. Cheers. Marc

    1. Marc says:

      I meant third for button. Marc

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        +1 on Button

      2. mtb says:

        Button probably had expectations of winning at the start of the race.

  41. Irish con says:

    Although in alonso’s hands today the Ferrari was better how can so many people have been so wrong about them being in and around redbulls pace. Although there kers might well be the best one out there this year judging by the amount of Ferrari systems in top 10 before saubers were chucked out.

    1. TheLegend says:

      The F150 in Alonso’s hands has a really good race pace. After beeing 9th in the first corner, he has been unstoppable. He passed Massa, Rosbreg and Kobayashi on track, and Button and Webber on pit stops. 3 or 4 laps more and he would have passed Petrov. I wonder what will happen in Malasia with warmer temp. and no start problems.

      1. Rich C says:

        Yes, that Ford F150 pickup truck really motors, doesn’t it!

      2. veeru says:

        Ha Ha…the best comment yet!!!!

      3. Jeff says:

        It’s not called the F150 though.

        Remember that Ferrari had to rename the car because Americans would apparently confuse it with a pickup truck :-D

        Jeff

      4. mtb says:

        In the second half of the race, Alonso was consistently lapping either at, or quicker than, Vettel’s pace. The question is, how close to capacity was Vettel?

  42. alexander says:

    What a big loser Massa is if you compare him with Alonso. Those two guys are in different leagues. Probably Felipe today was missing Smedley’s comments how to enter and exit every corner

  43. Kieran says:

    James:

    Regarding the Saubers disqualification for technical infringements f articles 3.10.1 and .2. Could you cover this in your LG tech report? It’d be good to actually understand what had infringed and why.

    Also, is this ‘illegal’ design the reason those Saubers were so fast and light on their tires?

    1. igb says:

      Sheesh, just read about this.

      Firstly, what were the scrutineers doing accepting the car and then disqualifying it on design grounds after the race has been run? Anyone who was behind those cars and unable to pass them has the right to feel aggrieved.

      Secondly, if we’re into obscure technical disqualifications of midfield runners on the first race, then we’re in for a season spent less on the track and more in the court of arbitration, and my, how exciting that will be.

      Boring, boring race won by a country mile from the pole by a driver who didn’t have “exciting innovation #1″ (KERS) and was never in a position to use e i #2 (DRS), followed by an appeal over technical disqualification. Marvellous.

      1. James says:

        They had to enforce the rules, but unless Sauber snuck parts on just before quali, the timing is dumb. And I don’t expect that Sauber’s appeal will work as the Force Indias were kept out of the points because of them and you know how Vijay Mallya isn’t afraid to take the legal route. That man’s been in more courts than Roger Federer.

      2. Craig D says:

        The rear wing discrepancy was not performance enhancing the team have said – it’s to do with a new geometry restriction to prevent F-ducts being allowed. So Saubers’ strong showing is still to be seen as valid and there won’t be other teams feeling hard done by.

        Also, though there wasn’t a battle for the lead (although Hamilton would have got ahead of Vettel if Button could have held him back on Vettel’s out lap), there was a lot going on behind. There was different strategies for a change (one, two and three stops) and overtaking. Not one of the best races but intriguing I thought. If we get these elements on the tracks which tend to produce more exciting races, we could have some crackers this year!

        Why be so negative?! Don’t watch if it doesn’t interest you but what is in essence baseless moaning is just tiresome.

      3. valdifieme says:

        I wonder why they (FIA) didn’t stay with last year regulations? They produced really exciting season, with four drivers fighting for championship to the last stages. It would be enough for the sport to have new tyre supplier. And it’s seems that they spoiled it.

      4. mtb says:

        Adrian Newey and someone from McLaren allegedly expressed great interest in the rear of the Sauber on the starting grid.

      5. Aaron95 says:

        The scruitineers don’t check every single part of the car at every race. Certain things like weight, wing flex etc. are tested after each race, but many of the parts are tested randomly throughout the season. This is simply because the technical regulations are so complex that to check every part of every car would take days.

    2. Darran says:

      They are light on their tires because they share Ferrari’s rear-end design and suspension packaging.

      1. Ian H says:

        but on that basis why was the works Ferrari team struggling to control tyre wear? must be more to it than just the Ferrari customer back end design

  44. Mark J says:

    Great drive by all the front runners today, especially a big tip of the hat to Petrov.

    Great effort all weekend by Hamilton too. He must get pretty frustrated with the equipment he gets sometimes but always get maximum out of it. It would be a scary thought if he had a car like the Red Bull.

  45. Wallers says:

    I thought it was a pretty interesting race all in all. I managed to stay awake even with getting up before 6am! :)

    I’m not sure if it’s the right track to evaluate the DRS, perhaps somewhere with a longer straight will be more representative.

    I’ve just seen that Sauber have been disqualified for the rear wing, shame really. That does mean that Sutil and De Resta score for Force India, which is nice.

    1. Devox says:

      I agree with Wallers, the race was interesting.

      However, it is sad to hear about the disqualification of the Sauber team over the rear wings. My query is, could the stewards have checked things like the physical components of the car before the race, say when they are held in controlled conditions between the qualifying and the race?

  46. Michael Grievson says:

    Great race

    Reubens made sago king move

    Button was always going to be given a drive thru. The team should have said it’s not worth the risk and gae the place back. Button was a lot faster anyway and would have got past eventually

    Massa was woeful and looks like another season of under performing

    1. mtb says:

      This has never been a “Massa circuit”.

  47. Mr Squiggle says:

    A great vibe at the end, the podium seems to be a man-made ampitheatre.

    Melbourne turned in one of its classic autumn days, to use the local expression ‘a real sparkler’. Late evening in melbourne at this time of year is just magic,

    Seb was peerless today, that move he made around the outside of Button was spectacular.

    I’d also echo comments above. If there are two drivers in the top ten who have a record of struggling in Melbourne its Massa and Webber. Remember Massa last year? he was all over the place.

    Why was webber on a three stopper and Seb two?

    I don’t understand

  48. jay says:

    Must say James I loved your insightful commentary on ONE HD this weekend! You seemed to gel with the boys! * thumbs up

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks. I really enjoyed it

  49. Michael S says:

    Vettel is on another planet right now… great race

    Petrov too looked great, no more “what would Kubica of done” talk… this kid is good

  50. Azri says:

    I’ve just read the latest news that both Saubers were disqualified. Too bad for Perez.

    1. Rich C says:

      Yeah, the drive of the day for me.

      If the wings weren’t legit why didn’t they notice it *before the race?

  51. dstaisey says:

    Overall Ferrari is in much worse shape than in the years when Raikkonen and Massa shared duties. Massa was short sighted in the years when he had to share the air with Kimi in the garage. That proved to be best period for him, for one reason or the other. Now he doesnt have air to breed of Alonso and Santander. He could be performing much better if team cared for him the same way like with Kimi days (at the expense of Kimi).
    At the end everyone gets what it deserves. And engineer Alonso have proven his skills in development of this year Ferrari, all the work and talk with Ferrari staff show results. LOL

    What they have done to Raikkonen was unjust and it will hurt them.

    1. alexander says:

      LOL but in order to gain some respect from the team you must get in on track. The track is that strange place where Alonso in the same Ferrari drives like god and Massa drives like Karun Chandhok.
      Ferrari needed a man to develop their car – guess what – here comes Fernando. Why do you think McLaren have Button? Exactly for the same reasons.
      When test are banned none of the teams need a guy who can’t talk and only eats ice cream.

  52. James D says:

    James,

    Any idea why Webber pulled off and stopped at the end of the pit lane when he finished? I havn’t heard Webber or Red Bull mention it.

    Low on fuel maybe?

      1. Drooper says:

        I thought the FIA insisted that there must be enough fuel for the cars to complete a return to pits lap and still pass the minimum weight regs. Surely all cars would be better running less weight and stopping straight away if this is allowed?

      2. AlexD says:

        +1….I am sure it is like this.

      3. Starstrike says:

        There was the incident last year, but that was in qualifying where it carried a clearer advantage – one less lap of fuel during a fast lap. Traditionally I always thought there was no penalty for running out of fuel after the last lap?

      4. Cliff says:

        The weight at the end of the race is what it is. If the car and driver (Combined) are found to be underweight during scrutineering, the driver is disqualified. Hence all the picking up of rubber at the end of the race. The rule you refer to is for qualifying.

      5. mtb says:

        I read that he was worried about not having enough fuel remaining for a sample to be taken.

      6. Ian H says:

        I think the rules state that there must be enough fuel left in the tank for FIA to take a fuel sample after the race.

        So I presume Webber stopped after crossing ther line to ensure there was still enough left for this.

      7. Rekha says:

        Please throw some light on this.Why did Webber’s car stop?Will he be disqualified?

  53. andrew says:

    I thought the drs worked ok today. Helped allow a couple of passes but not such a big effect so as to make them a formality. The only passes I want it to assist with are the one where a clearly faster car is being held back lap after lap because if aero effect. It’s still early days but it looks like it might be ok.

    1. Trent says:

      I agree. And I suspect the effect might be more pronounced in Malaysia, with a hairpin before the straight.

  54. Tonye Bozimo says:

    With all DRS / MRW talk, (which now supposedly makes overtaking easier), I think we really need to give it up to Lewis Hamilton who used to constantly OVERTAKE without all this gadgetry to help him. He is truly awesome on track in this regard.

    In addition for someone who is seen as a tyre shredder, he certainly kept his wheels in order in Melbourne. Maybe now people will just STOP with all the talk on his being too hard on his tyres because of failures that could have happened to ANYONE of them racers.

  55. Michael Pain says:

    A little disappointed by the race – but a sense of watching history in the making with Vettel.

    Driver of the day for me: Vettel (closely followed by Perez). Disappointment: Heidfeld (but no suprise).

    Please check my blog if you have chance:

    http://f1jotter.blogspot.com/

  56. Brace says:

    Hardly worth a sleep deprivation…

  57. Red5 says:

    Congrats to both Perez and Petrov.

    Looks like this season will be entertaining and slightly more interesting than last due to the uncertainy of strategy that pans out towards the end of the race.

    Use of rear wing will no doubt be looked into by the FIA and perhaps even before the F1 circus moves to Europe we will see this innovation having more impact on the race than today.

  58. Dan says:

    James, a question on the adjustable rear wing. It cant be used for defending, but what is the situation if say three cars are following closely together with less than a second between them, the lead car cant use it, but what about the second car, which is attacking the lead car but defending from the third car, how does that work?

    1. Davexxx says:

      I’m sure this has been covered before. All cars behind the lead car (within a second of each other) can use it

  59. Faisal says:

    Though this was first race but I am not feeling positive regarding Ferrari & Alonso. The race pace does look better but qualifying pace is probably only 3rd best, alongside Renault

  60. Rishi says:

    Vitaly Petrov was my Driver of the Day. A really impressive weekend; I’ve always quite liked Nick Heidfeld though so it was rough to see him trounced and hope he can bounce back.

    A side issue: I liked Petrov going for the 2-stopper when both Webber and Alonso pitted in front of him. Alonso made a comment in the Ferrari press release about needing to do three stops because of him being in traffic. That may be true but at the time it looked suspiciously like a case of him responding to Webber; it seemed that after the recriminations and staff reshuffle which followed Abu Dhabi last year, Ferrari simply went and made exactly the same mistake again! Whether it cost them a podium is a question only they can answer.

    Really good debut from Sergio Perez, it would be a real shame for Sauber if the disqualification is upheld (retained).

    At the front Vettel looks every bit the man on a mission – without Lewis Hamilton the rest of the paddock could have gone home on Saturday evening! I don’t think this is ominous for the season as a whole because I can’t see McLaren or Ferrari letting that happen. But if Vettel wanted to send a message to the rest of the F1 grid then he has definitely done so in the most explicit way possible at Melbourne.

  61. James says:

    I may be crazy, but I say let them use the DRS whenever and wherever they like. We’ll see drivers trying it at different sections, some will make mistakes, etc, but it would add a new element of skill to their driving.
    Sure we’ll have the odd car spin out and take several others with him, but…….

    1. The other Ian says:

      I concur, with just one restriction, that the leading car is not allowed to use it. DRS (in my opinion) simply allows the chasing car to catch up the leading car (by helping the chasing car to overcome the “dirty air” problem). Whether the chasing car gets pass, That’s up to the driver.

  62. UnKool says:

    Top marks to Massa for his blocking. Why should Ferrari consider replacing him with a proper racing driver when he is so willing to risk even finishing a race to assist the teams racer. His considered blocks could have only failed if Button held his ground on the numerous occasions and they collided. Either way, Ferarri sort of got the result, Button is obviously rated as a title contender and threat to the team driver and got totally stitched. The Ferrari strategists must have been seriously trying to make ammends and full marks on their efforts

    The FIA should take a pageout of the V8 stewards book and introduce a “Bad Sportsmanship” scoring system for drivers like Massa and when he has enough points, both Drivers and Manufactures are tinkered with. Maybe a one race ban at some point whould be an incentive for the team to focus on .

    At the point where Button took the inside of the island he only had 3 options and the other 2 involved either tangling wheels with the sacraficial Massa, or going straight ahead and torpedoind him.

    Maybe if Ferrari had two racers they could develop their car and go for points earned on the track rather than relying the stewards room and the scrutineers. Massa needs to be saving his money and start looking for a new tewm, HRT have a “Cool Spot” for him.

    1. mtb says:

      The only bad sportsmanship that I saw came from Button.

      I am yet to hear anybody claim that Massa changed line more than once in order to maintain position. Had he done so, McLaren would no doubt have contacted the stewards and would now be moaning that no action was taken against Massa for violating a sporting regulation.

    2. Jeff says:

      First of all, let me state that I’m a fan of Button. I just reviewed that section of the race. On lap 5, Jenson got alongside on the right hander and Felipe was smoking the tyres on the inside trying to stay ahead on the brakes. After getting the car back in control and turning in to the corner, Massa definitely moved his steering wheel left into Jenson to run him off the track on the exit.

      Arguably, that move should get him a sanction for the next race, but it’s the only move that I saw that would merit any real criticism from a sporting perspective. Had he been sportsmanlike and allowed Jenson enough room to stay on the tarmac on the exit of that corner (as he obviously was able to do), then Jenson would have probably had him at that point.

      Having said that, when Jenson attempted to pass into that bus-stop right hander on lap 11, he had equal speed to Felipe and was fully alongside, but with a tighter line into the corner, he would have speared off-track on the exit had he not cut the corner. This was nothing to do with Felipe running him off the track on the preceding left.

      Felipe gave him enough room (just) but there was no way Jenson was going to make the corner from that entry angle and with that approach speed, so he cut it instead. He gained a position by cutting the corner, and should have given it back immediately. Felipe got inside Jenson’s head, and his frustration got the better of him.

      I like the bad sportsmanship idea though.

  63. Jason says:

    If a driver gets into Q3 with little hopes of a better positipn than 9 or 10 it might be better not to do any laps and start on fresh rubber.

    1. Azri says:

      +1

      Was thinking the same thing

  64. Rich C says:

    Well, so much for all that ‘artificial’ overtaking.

    After an off season full of sound and fury it turns out the DRS signifies nothing.

    Watching the F1 timing it was obvious that most of the race NObody was within that magical 1 second where it could be used.

  65. goferet says:

    After watching this race, maybe Bernie was right in that we need artificial rain for there’s a big difference in Australia 2011 to Australia 2010 entertainment wise.

    Also for those that are saying Massa & Webber should pack it in, hold your horses for remember Melbourne is a bogey track for both Massa & Webber so lets wait & see.

    I also think Massa’s accident in Hungary (Rubens to blame AGAIN) did shed off a couple of tenths off his game

    But if you ask goferet, I would say the heart break of 2008 for Massa & the heart break of 2010 for Webber are solely to blame.

    P.s. Damn Vettel & that drink’s company!

    1. smellystudent says:

      I’m not sure you can blame Rubens for a spring falling off his car…

  66. Mosq says:

    “Alonso was up to P5 behind his old friend Vitaly Petrov” – well said, James, nice to read such things from Moscow! ;)

  67. Escartí says:

    Good race, it was clear that cars has followed each others easier than last year. I think thats possible thanks to the prohibition of double diffuser (I don’t what’s its name in english, if anyone can help me…).

    A thing that I miss this year is a couple of great drivers in the same car (I think Button is a very good driver (and a great manager of race time) but not a great driver). How I miss 2007…
    Only if Alonso and McLaren could understantd each other we would have a great battle year after year… Vettel is great but hasn’t got ummmm… carism? I prefer Hamilton as a big rival.

    Pd: Were me the only one in this forum who saw the good outside that Alonso did to Kobayashi?

    1. mtb says:

      No, you are not the only one who saw Alonso’s move on Kobayashi!

    2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      In equal cars I have the feeling that Hamilton and Alonso would make mincemeat of Vettel.

      Marko will be happy to have Webber playing number and adequate number two so that jis blue eyed boy remains as the top.

      I am just not convinced if Vettel’s skills yet, until I have seen him win a real “race”…not just gallop away from the front. People criticized Damon Hill for doing the same.

  68. Victor Pleguezuelos says:

    Certainly it seems that new regulations are leading to more interesting races regarding today´s show. But I must say I feel it as quite artificial. Increase in overtakings is due to differences in tyre degradation basically and also to technological advantanges for the pursuer (today hasn´t seemed to be of great importance), which was one of the fears before starting the season. It is an improvement but is that the right direction? What will happen when degradation is more under control for all teams? What about the races in which DRS really makes a difference? Time will say, I guess.

  69. Al says:

    I would love to see a stat comparing the amount of overtakes into turn 1 with previous years, to me it seemed very few. I don’t like DRS on sporting grounds and this race didn’t help me warm to it at all, it seems like a waste of time.

  70. cjf says:

    Lewis skid block was not checked!

    If you check the “technical report” on the FIA website, both Redbulls, Both Ferraris, Buttons and Petrovs skidblock thickness was checked amongst other things, Hamilton was the only front running car excluded from this.

    Why is this when it was clear there may have been a problem here? He ran his car off track but was not involved in any accidents.

    Aside from that, nice to see the 3 big teams and Renault all in contention, have to wonder how much pace Vettel had in his pocket.

    Button threw away the chance for a good result, firstly with his single minded defence against Alonso at the start which cost them both places and then with his overly optimistic corner cut, think he may kick himself when he sees the replays.

    1. Jeff says:

      Because of the mechanical failure on the car, the skidblock was most likely toast. Equally because of the mechanical failure on the car, he gained no advantage from this, so the reason to check the skid block (to validate that the ride height was not too low) was gone.

      Bonehead move from Button in not giving back the position. I expected better from him. He could have been on the podium if not for that.
      He had more pace than Alonso, and would probably have got past him and had Petrov in his sights if the red mist had cleared from his eyes immediately after cutting the track past Massa.

      1. hutch says:

        If I recall, Schumacher was once penalised for having not enough skidblock left on his Bennetton after spinning over a kerb. I think it was at Spa. I remember thinking it didn’t seem fair at the time, but perhaps they’ve clarified this rule in the years since.

  71. Elliot says:

    Live in New York – so the race was 2am to 4am.

    Absolutely, totally, utterly knackered now!

    But definitely worth it in every sense.

    1. hutch says:

      That’s about our racetime for the Canada and Brazil rounds, except it’s a Sunday night: before a workday!!

  72. monktonnik says:

    All in all a good race, but as a Schumacher/Button fan not the results I was hoping for.

    Very pleased for Petrov and Perez. They did very well.

    We got some natural overtaking owing to the tyres and some assisted overtakes thanks to the DRS. All in all I think that they are positive changes for this year.

  73. AlexD says:

    Button said:
    “”He blocked very well but it just slowed us down massively. Then I tried to overtake him I think at Turn 11 or 12 and he went so deep into the corner. He pushed me wide. I couldn’t go around the corner anymore, so I cut it. I was in front before I entered the corner and then I didn’t know what to do.

    “The team said ‘stay where you are, we’ll see what the stewards say’, but as soon as Ferrari saw that happen they pitted Massa and as soon as that happens you get a drive-through.”

    I do not want to sound too harsh…but it did take quite long for them to understand….at least 1-2 laps.

    1. Jeff says:

      Yeah – it was obvious immediately that he was going to get a penalty. They had a good couple of minutes to get their act together and tell Jenson to let Massa (and by extension, Alonso) through.

      McLaren have shown poor tactical judgement a few times in recent years, and this is another example of the same. They threw away over 20 seconds in a stop-go instead of two positions on the road just prior to pitstops.

    2. mtb says:

      “I do not want to sound too harsh…but it did take quite long for them to understand….at least 1-2 laps.”

      Exactly, but the facts were incovenient for Button.

  74. Andrewinwork says:

    Can anyone answer why Martin Whitmarsh looked so edgy and downcast when being interviewed after the race. He said he wasn’t in the least bit worried about losing Lewis’ points as it was legit damage but seemed very down about the race result. This time last week they could only dream of this kind of performance…. is there something we’re missing?

    1. jls says:

      having ron breathing down his neck maybe?

    2. Davexxx says:

      Maybe they were simply hoping for Better, from all their last-minute tweaks, and he knows it’s the best they can do but it’s (still) not enough! Hammy did well to stick at P2 but Button didn’t do so well.

    3. Nick F says:

      1) There was a strong possibility Hamilton was going to be disqualified.

      2) The team made a mistake in the way they handled Buttons incident with Massa losing him a lot of points and possible a podium or 4th. Understandable, but if your being harsh in your analysis then it was a mistake. Mclaren try to aim for perfection.

      3) If button had kept Vettel behind him for a few more laps, Hamilton may have been able to win the race.

  75. Michael says:

    Perez’s one stopper was only possible by running the hard tyre first. The top teams are unable to use this strategy (the one second difference to the softs) and hence in all likelihood 2 stops will be the norm for most of the races.

    Had Perez ran on the softs first they would have been wrecked as early as everyone else, and the hards would not last the rest of the race. On the F1 Forum Perez noted that the hards had gone off badly when he pitted, and he was starting to lose significant time.

    The DRS tactics appear to work when used in conjunction with KERS, Button’s pass on Massa was due to full KERS from the start of the main straight (before and after the line – i.e. more than just the single lap boost). I thought it worked as hoped, still tough to overtake unless genuinely faster than the guy in front.

  76. AlexD says:

    I am sure this topic is going to be discussed extensively, but how much Red Bull is gaining by not using KERS?

  77. RA109 says:

    Regarding the gaining of a position while off track (Button and Massa), I thought there was a new rule adopted last year stating that the stewards only had a certain number of corners after the incident to make a decision; otherwise, the pass would be considered valid. The whole point of the rule, I believe, was to avoid the very situation that then occurred – first the pass of Alonso over Massa (how do you give the spot back then?), and then the pitting of Massa (again – now what?).

    Am I imagining things, or is there a rule on this?

    1. I think you might be imagining it!

  78. goferet says:

    Aah yes that explains it. I now know why I haven’t enjoyed this race like the last few Oz G.Ps.

    The last two years, Hammy started at the back & for every move he made, as he came through the pack had me up on my feet.

    This year, he was up front chasing the wind = Boring!

    We love you Lewis Hamilton

  79. Adam Taylor says:

    On Saubers disqualification: do the FIA not check these areas on pre inspection? Also its a shame that they did not check this themselves as it was a great performance for a team its size, but unfortunately this could prove costly in the end of season rankings

  80. Dom says:

    A commanding victory from Vettel – I’m torn between wanting RB/Vettel to dominate the next few seasons so Schumacher’s title tally can be beaten but not wanting too dull a season…..

    Nice write-up James.

  81. AlexD says:

    James – is there a way to write to Domenicali?
    Is there any forum that they read?
    Ferrari’s myth is vanishing……..

    1. dingbat says:

      Use the Ferrari Website

  82. Nick F says:

    I thought the DRS worked well.

    Part of it working well was that people were complaining by the end that it did nothing and was pointless. Whilst this may seem like a weird comment I think there is some logic in it.

    Consider the scenario that every time the DRS was used the car that used it passed the car ahead. There would have been an outcry that the system was totally artificial and had replaced the drivers overtaking skill. This race proved that the DRS alone won’t allow you to overtake. It just will make it a bit easier and give you a chance. That’s the optimum role for DRS in my view.

    When it comes to other circuits however it’s likely to be more effective because of the longer straights. I’ll have to watch those races and revise my view of it then. I think it seems to be working though. If it ever makes overtaking easy then the whole thing is a disaster, but so far that hasn’t happened.

  83. Matt Wil. says:

    Alonso’s overtake of Kobayashi was beautiful. Of course without DRS. I don’t know what would happen if we must see Vettel win from start and Hamilton and Alonso make a 2th and 3rd with no overtakes. This could be boring, RedBull pace is far away from Ferrari and McLaren, no race if the gap is 1 second among the best card and 2nd best cars.

  84. Conrad M. Sathirweth says:

    I do not understand how Vettel did not get a penalty, he blatantly drove completely off the track to get past Button, the consistency of the stewards was very poor.

    1. JohnBt says:

      Yes, BBC’s Martin Brundle brought out this point with the replay in slow motion, so did Jaime.

      At least one wheel has to be within the yellow line.

      1. LeighJW says:

        But later on the BBC Red Button forum they realised they were wrong and that Vettel had left the track completely.

  85. Stephen says:

    I felt it was a confused race. Pity the poor spectators. After about lap 20 something,,,after the first tyre change, it became increasingly difficult to detect who were the leaders, who had yet to pit. It then got worse as some teams had three tyre changes and some two, and in one case, one only.
    As for the KERS system, the commentators from the BBC, themselves became confused as to who was using it and when.
    It is still processional and the few passing opportunities generally resulted in contact. For this style of racing one needs a much wider track to give any chance for a following car to overtake away from the racing line.

    Having watched F1 since the 1960s I think its now lacking as a spectacle compared to the other forms of motorsport, simply because you really have no idea who is winning. The BBC commentary was also drowned out on TV by the noise of the cars….Something the broadcaster should have fixed.

    My last vision on TV was the final lap and after the checkered flag, the crowd was seen to not be at all animated, and not realising that the race was over.

    If one compares yesterdays race to last weekends Historic Racing at Phillip Island, we saw a comparable crowd, themselves treated to racing like it was done in the old days where you actually had to shift gears, and whose spectacle was enhanced as three Maserati 250F’s battled it out…a sight not seen except for Goodwood perhaps.

    Add to that a LeMans winning factory Ford GT40, three ex factory LeMans Porsches plus dozens of rure bred cars from Australia, New Zealand and the US,and you have brilliant value for your $. You can wander the pits, get up lose to the cars and chat to the drivers, and we had racing from 9am Saturday to 5pm Sunday…all for $40.

    Sadly, I think F1 is on the rack, supporter wise. We should go back to older days where the driver actually had to drive the cars, not appear to be a computer game expert. But who will listen? And thats the pity.

    1. James Allen says:

      The figures don’t bear that out. F1 is very popular at the moment. I think this was a reasonable start to the season, some good racing, overtaking, different strategies. What are you looking for?

      1. Peter C says:

        Good racing? Sorry, must have fallen asleep on that lap.

    2. I agree that the race wasn’t exactly spectacular and would also agree with the pit stop strategies were difficult to read.

      Rather than blaming Brundle and Coulthard who did an OK job, I would blame FOM for not informing us enough on the number of stops and aticipated stops (based on a drivers tyre use).

      Some of my colleagues in Melbourne spoke at length about how formidable the event was. They just went on and on. They had a great time and I would trust most people did.
      After all, the dullest of races still appear formidable when you hear the cars screaming past.

      Please also bear in mind Tasman Revival attract a different kind of crowd and race drivers. An F1 team is a business as opposed to amateur racers.
      As an admirer of Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren’s achievements, I think it is important to attend both type of events.

    3. Trent says:

      I respect your opinion, but if 2010 showed me anything it was that there are loads of different opinions out there. Some hark for the days of which you speak, others are happy with the current ‘product’ (I do hate that bit of marketing jargon) and yet others want to change it in another direction again.

      In my time as a fan, I’ve noted that in the 80s they yearned for the 70s, in the 90′s for the 80′s and now many yearn for the 1990′s. By it’s very nature, it’s a forward moving sport so no matter how much we may wish, we will never see a manual gearchange or V12 equipped car grace a Grand Prix grid again.

      Important to voice your opinion though, so good on you for that. (are you sure the crowd was similar at PI?)

    4. Derek Lorimer says:

      The racing would be even better on a real racing circuit like Bathurst.

    5. glen says:

      I disagree. I think the new rules and driver operated devices take formaula one in a new direction.

  86. Graeme Gillard says:

    I noticed with disappointment that Schumacher is driving with the number 7 on his car and Rosberg has number 8. I don’t feel that Schumacher has earnt the lower number this year. Rosberg outperformed him last year and scored twice as many points. Rosberg deserves the 7 on his car.

    1. Alias J says:

      I think it just shows you the amount of influence Schumacher is still able to assert in the team, as well as the respect and perception Mercedes has of him.

      But it’s a good number nonetheless, a seven-time world champion driving a number seven car, makes sense. Besides, although I think Rosberg is pretty fast, I think the people inside Mercedes know the true speed difference between the drivers and surely have not under-valued / over-valued Schumacher in any sense.

      People tend to forget. Schumacher whatever he is right now, he will forever remain in the same pedigree and class of drivers as Senna, Prost, Fangio and so on.

    2. Aussie Fan says:

      From what I remember, Schu has long had a preference (a.k.a superstition) for odd numbers on his race car. Last year after initially being given the even number he asked Rosberg if they could swap numbers & Rosberg said “Sure no problem I don’t care what my number is” so I am guessing its just the same story again this year. There is no set rule about which driver in a team gets what number, unless its the number 1 which is obviousl reserved for the winner of the previous year’s championship.

      :-)

    3. Ian H says:

      Schumacher is apparently superstitious regarding his car’s number and doesn’t have even numbers only odd number

    4. Fausto Cunha says:

      I thinks it has something to do with Schumacher not liking the pair numbers.

  87. Cliff says:

    James, with Malaysia coming up in two weeks and China to follow, will RBR be quick enough given the length of the two main straights (Malaysia) and the backstraight in China? Theres now talk that the packaging won’t allow for the KERS batteries to be fitted without a compromise somehwere else on the car. Is this true or just speculation?

    1. James Allen says:

      Of course they will be quick. Renault have said there is something different about RBR’s KERS, it’s surely a slimmed down version. That’s the tip off we had on Saturday – despite the fact that the TV pics showed Webber didn’t use it and Horner said Vettel didn’t either and we have to take his word.

      1. Cliff says:

        Thanks James, As a Mclaren fan my heart has just sunk. Seriously, I think its great that the competition between the engineers is as tough as the battle on the track. Its fascinating how they react to problems and the competion up and down the pitlane. I’m more confident that for the 2011 season now and hoping to read more technical analysis throughout the season.

  88. Paul says:

    McLaren need to be smarter in strange circumstances.

    After he passed Massa and the Alonso/Massa swap happened they should have pitted Button, in doing so they would have avoided penalty by allowing Massa past and the fresh tyres would have allowed them to challenge for the position.

    Hanging around waiting for the stewards merely handed the opportunity to be clever to Ferrari.

    1. Interesting… does pitting count as letting them past? I think Button would have had to be visibly seen to have been giving the places back before actually pitting.

  89. mtb says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Button went into the race thinking that it was his for the taking. His behaviour during and after the race calls into the question the Prost comparisons which were constantly made in the first half of last season. He has gone for almost a season without a victory now, and the pressure must be getting to him.

    1. glen says:

      Interesting point. His mentally seemed to be that of a driver who was going out racing to win.

  90. Linda says:

    I’m just wondering what is meant by the commentary, when drivers (ie. Heidfeld and Massa were mentioned) can’t get their tyres up to temperature. Is it all down to set-up or is it driving styles as well?

  91. mtb says:

    Lack of KERS undoubtedly cost Webber a position at the start of the race, and probably prevented him from overtaking Alonso later in the race.

    RBR got away with not using KERS in 2009 because it was a new technology, which McLaren/M-B and Ferrari needed half a season to come to grips with. Will it still be an optional element for them as the season progresses?

    1. Ian H says:

      how come McLaren have gone from having one of the best KERS’ in 09 when it was last used to struggling this weekend with KERS reliability issues etc

  92. mtb says:

    “Button used an escape road to pass Massa and was unable to give the place back as Alonso had passed Massa straight after.”

    I am not sure about that. Button could have handed the position back as soon as he returned to the track by going off the racing line and decelerating. Or by remaining on the racing line and decelerating. There is also no reason why he could not have handed dropped back behind Massa after Alonso had overtaken the latter.

    Quite why neither he nor the team felt the need to give the position back is interesting, as Sporting Regulation 20.3 is unequivocal.

    “Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not.
    A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track.
    Should a car leave the track for any reason the driver may rejoin. However, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any advantage.”

    1. Kieran says:

      On this – did anyone else see Vettel’s move on Button?

      Since the track is defined by the white lines, I believe that Vettel had all four wheels in the run-off area when he made the move. Thus, he should have given the place back to Button after making the move.

      Do you agree, or am I just seeing things again?

  93. Oliver N. says:

    I know it’s the way it has always been, but it only really struck me as odd for the first time today.

    A team based in Milton Keynes, with an English team principal, and English designer, 90%ish English staff, that speak English to each other stand and salute the Austrian national anthem on the podium just because the bloke who signs the cheques is from Austria. I’m not being xenophobic, but anyone who says this team isn’t English is clearly Dietrich Materschitz.

    ..and before anyone mentions it, I know it was founded by the Scots. The point, however, remains valid.

    1. cjf says:

      The funniest and maybe most ironic example of this is Force India, staffed by Brits and based across the road from Silverstone.

      Renault are another good example, I remember being at a test session a few years back and the Renault guys were complaining about the “frogs” (some engine guys from Viry-Chatillon) being pesent. I bet they loved having to listen to the French national anthem when they won.

      Motorsport is probably one of the few industries in which the UK can be called a world leader.

      1. Rich C says:

        Yes, but just wait until Williams becomes a “Venezuelan” team and Sauber a “Mexican” one! Everyone will be saying ‘what is that weird music?’

      2. Martin says:

        It is interesting how much of it is due to high level management. There would be very little if any of the Brawn car that Ross Brawn actually designed, but he put in place in place a management structure and had the situational awareness to produce a championship winner.

        Triple 8 racing in Australia is winning the majority of races worth winning in V8 Supercars. The team is basically Australian with British management.

        BMW showed that a very good F1 car could be project managed until the rules threw a curve ball in 2009. Similarly the these days very Italian Ferrari can win when the management structures are right. Get these right and very good engineering staff will do most of the rest. The odd flash of inspiration, such as the F-duct doesn’t hurt though.

      3. Alex W says:

        Not to mention all the Swiss F1 drivers like Lewis Hamilton, it’s not all against you guys:)

      4. Ivan Julian says:

        You wrote… Motorsport is probably one of the few industries in which the UK can be called a world leader.

        Opinions on the internet are perilous things, but you are correct. To be fair however, the UK is a world leader in many areas at a “research” level – there is absolutely no shortage of brains in UK industry and universities.

        Where the UK comes back to the pack, outside of high tech motor racing that is, is the combination of natural resources and large scale mass-production.

        In the 1920′s, Pratt and Whitney Tool Co were exporting the world’s most accurate machining lathes and twisting drills etc… all of it from America to the rest of the world, including Germany and England. All those Schneider Cup V12′s we wax so lyrical about nowadays, all of them without exception were made by Pratt and Whitney machining tools.

        And that’s the best example I can think of. When Rolls Royce signed their licence to Packard to build Merlins over in the USA, quite frankly they had no belief that Packard could do a good job, at all. By all reports, Rolls Royce were gobasmacked how high the quality of the Packard Merlins were, but what really blew Rolls Royce away was the breathtaking mass production – by the end of WWII Packard had made 125,000 Merlin V12′s used in everything from tanks to P51′s to torpedo Patrol boats.

        And that’s it in a nutshell really. The UK has the brains, but not the ability to pump out massive mass-production.

    2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Thankfully HRT is definitely Spanish.

      1. Oliver N. says:

        Based in Spain yes, but formerly using Italian cars, now, as far as I can work out, using a Japanese built one.

    3. Jo Torrent says:

      I totally agree with you but the worse case in my view is Mercedes whose not only the car but even the engine is developed and built in England in what was known as Illmor.

      Only the team face is German, the drivers and the chairman Norbert Haug. Apart from that everything is English.

      At least Renault build their engines in Viry since the 70s 80s. The same goes for every team but ToroRosso, Sauber and of course Ferrari.

      Mentioning ToroRosso, it’s strange that they play the Italian anthem eventhough they belong to the same Austrian guy.

  94. Gareth Foches says:

    Actually, I am quite annoyed at how bias Coulthard was the entire race.

    He went on and on about Hamilton’s damage floor and went so far as asking for a minute while he check the rule books, with glee. So much so that the entire BBC team is soon on the case.

    When Vettel overtook Button, all four wheels were outside the track, he denies it and then change the subject when the replay was shown. When Buemi did the same later, he was nearly silent on it too.

    Later Coulthard was cutting cake with the RBR team and lauded as an RBR icon.

    Frankly, I am quite sick in the stomach to listen to such a partial commentator.

  95. Brenda says:

    wow James,

    Ferrari must be paying you something if I could not even get my post on the karma they are receiving for what they did to Kimi. I know you are and was never a fan of Kimi’s but I didn’t insult other drivers like some other posters did, and they still got their comments posted.

      1. mtb says:

        And you think that I am bad!

      2. Brenda says:

        I sent a comment the night before this one and it did not get posted. It was a reply to another post about ferrari and they way they treated kimi, and perhaps their losing the title last year was karma. I also said I hope they never win another championship until Monte and Domenicali step down. [mod]

      3. James Allen says:

        We have rules about comments, please read them

    1. Andy c says:

      I’ll have a pint of what you’re drinking.

  96. JohnBt says:

    • Sergio Perez – driver of the day, only one pit stop and a very good drive. (FIA disqualifying them was rather embarrassing more for FIA incompetency).

    • Petrov – fantastic drive, a continuation from Abu Dhabi holding Alonso off again. Alonso’s new torn for the year, I hope not.

    • Alonso – not a great start, but as usual he muscled his way back to fourth. Nando needs to up his game for his start.

    • Lewis – for managing his tyres very well and a damaged car. Hamilton will never fail to entertain.

    • Vettel – when he’s gone from the rest there’s no looking back. Will they need KERS for the coming races?, we’ll see.

    Overall it was a great start for the first race.

    DRS – didn’t feel it helped overtaking, all of them were using it at the same time.

    Pirelli – yes the tyres worked well and created overtaking. Come Malaysia with high temperatures, will surely throw in new strategies.

    SEPANG!!!

  97. Jon says:

    Worst race I’ve ever seen from Webber. Or maybe the second worst after Abu Dahbi.

    I mean seriously.. there was no traffic for him (very little), no bad luck.. just HORRIBLE pace. Not just compared to Vettel but compared to overyone else in the top 6 or top 8. If they had equal cars he would have finished 14th or something.

    Massa was WORSE then Webber.. AHAHAHAHAH. Massa’s mojo was completley destroyed in Hockenheim and he is now just a shell of a driver.

    I fear the same for Webber. :(

    Yes Vettel and Hamilton was fantastic, that goes without saying.

  98. Stevie P says:

    Anyone else getting ticked off that drivers who leave the circuit are not being penalised? I refer directly to Buemi and Vettel.

    Anyone and everyone could see that Button’s pass on Massa at T11, T12 was illegal and the place should have been given back. Yet, Buemi and Vettel also leave the circuit (all 4 wheels outside the yellow line) and nothing is said or done. Put a wall in the middle of the “car-park” section at turn 4 and drivers wouldn’t try that move; but as there’s nothing there they can go right around the outside of another car\driver, at a higher speed\velocity and pass whilst driving over a series of hatches\lines to indicate a car-park during a normal day in Albert Park.

    I’d have thought the ex-driver “consultant” on the stewards panel would have something to say about this!?

    Anyhow…

    Fairly boring race in terms of incident; glad to see the DRS didn’t make passing ridiculously easy but seemed to assist (Aus is probably not the best track to judge DRS by though, Sepang should be better); honourable mention to Perez, regardless of the dodgy rear wing, that was still some debut; congrats to Vettel and what a sterling comeback by the Macca boys. Where were Ferrari and Mercedes? Loved it all and it’s so good to have F1 back :-) Roll on Sepang!

  99. Klaas says:

    What a terrible performance by Mercedes, they were miles off the pace. The car Looked awfull on board with Schumacher during quali. Also Schumacher got destroyed again by Rosberg. It ‘s an absolute shame How slow their race pace was, the season Will be a huge dissappointment for themselves and All Schumacher fans! Please stop embarrassing yourself Michael. Brawn predicted they’d be amongst the top 3. If they are 5th at THE end of the season they should be over THE moon with that, considering where they are now! Perhaps they should focus on next

    1. Klaas says:

      They should focus on next year, then they should be able to fight with Lotus and Virgin. If they have à last minute update they might be faster than HRT! What a season they’ll have in 2012, just wait and see!!!!

  100. Sergio says:

    Art. 3.15 (…) No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the skid block in 3.13 above, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane.

    What do you think about Hamilton incident? No FIA news?

  101. Dale says:

    Why didn’t Vettel receive a penalty (like Button) when he clearly left the track when overtaking Jenson (the BBC clearly showed this on their red button service after the race)?

    James?

    In my view as he left the track with all 4 wheels he should have at the very least given the place back, who knows how the race would have panned out he he had or had received a drive through penalty!

  102. Oliver S says:

    What did everyone think of Ruben’s performance pre-attack on Nico?

    Started 17th, off at third corner to 20th, then fighting for P7 at time of crash.

    We never saw the true qualifying pace of the FW33 as Pastor was held up (like Heidfeld) and Rubens stupidly binned it in Q2.

    The race pace looks impressive though. A double DNF doesn’t tell the whole story.

    The Force India race pace seemed much better than what either Paul or Adrian managed in qualifying.

    Also important to remind ourselves that Maldonado was ahead of Perez at one point, so if he hadn’t have retired he might have made it into the points as well.

    I think the championship will progress pretty similarly to last year, Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and possibly Button consistently finishing 1-2-3.

    The crucial results will be where we see a Renault/Sauber/Williams/Mercedes finishing in front of the leading cars. Only 1 race in of course, but say at Monza or Spa or a later race if Renault can steal a podium from RB/Ferrari/McLaren could make all the difference.

  103. Derek Lorimer says:

    An uninteresting race but Formula One is more entertaining than it has been in years. Drivers have the opportunity to show their talent in these cars with reputations counting for very little.

  104. Phil says:

    Couple of points:
    1. I don’t think KERS should be allowed at the start. It uses recovered energy and technically, at the start of the race, no one has been anywhere to use any energy, so there’s nothing to recover.

    2. I think Vettel should have been penalised for his over-take of Jensen because he gained an advantage by going off the track. I know that at the point of over-take he was within the white lines, but he only managed the manoeuvre by driving at a speed at which he was unable to complete the corner legally. He was a good car’s width over the white line when he drove out of the corner. Had there been a run-off of grass or gravel instead of tarmac he would either have been out of the race or, more likely, wouldn’t have attempted the over-take in the first place. Nevertheless Vettel was a worthy winner and is a thoroughly nice chap!

    1. Ivan Julian says:

      Well, to be frank, technically, by the time they line up for the start, they’ve done a complete warm-up reconnaissance lap, and they use the brakes mercilessly during that warm-up lap, so they have plenty to regenerate. If you’re arguing that regenerated horsepower should be excluded at the start, and only potential horsepower (unburnt fuel) should be used, you’re now entering into the pedantic argument of which “sorts” of energy should be used in motor racing. And you’ll ultimately find you’re having an argument with a very, very narrow audience.

      1. Phil says:

        Thanks for that interesting perspective Ivan. On the basis that the warm-up lap isn’t part of the race, I guess I’m suggesting that at the start of the race proper, potential horsepower is all there should be. But as you say, it’s a pedantic arguement and I’m sure we’ve got better things to do!

  105. Pally says:

    James, you haven’t mentioned it but what do you think of Button’s decision not to give his position back instinctively? would you say it was poor judgement by him?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, I guess you need to give the place back asap

      1. Pally says:

        Yeah it’s a shame considering he was commended alot last year for his ability to read and call situations.

  106. earnst says:

    Pirelli brought very different tyres from what tested in Barcelona and this is what you have in return.
    Which means all the tests done during the winter for to understand new tyres gone to trash.
    It was like lottery luck ones and unlucky ones.

    Funny enough there was a driver who finished the race with just one stop.

  107. Fausto Cunha says:

    A very good race with a fair and deserving winner, Sebastien dominated the weekend.
    Great job from Lewis and Mclaren after being so terrible in the tests they came up good and were the only ones to take some fight to Red Bull.

    Ferrari seems to have a reasonable car, wich is a good car on Alonso´s hands but with Massa!! He continues to look like a rookie, nobody else struggeled so much with the tyres.

    Very frustrated for Nico, Rubens this weekend drove like a rookie to, mistake in Quali, mistakes in the race.

    The tyres were under massive suspicion and at the end they behaved quite well, cheers to Pirelli coming so late and at least producing fast and safe tyres it´s already an achivement.

  108. Thebe says:

    James
    My thoughts on the season opener are, that the race was entertaining, I mean it’s only the first race of the season and we saw some overtaking , excellent drives for the likes of Vettel,Hamilton ,Petrov and Perez.

    Five things I think are worth mentioning:
    1.Vettel’s form, he really looks like the Man to Beat this year, he was much faster than his teammate this weekend, observing his driving and the way he spoke to the team over the radio he looks very much in control any way the season is still very long hopefully Mark will turn the tables around but I really believe it is going to be very difficult to beat him.
    2.Petrov drove an excellent race , he didnt get one foot wrong, no mistakes that we ussually get from him on a race weekend, he was significantly faster than his team mate.
    3. Mercedes, I think this team has problems, I know that F1 is one of those sports where one has to be able to handle adversity and I believe they are more than capable of this. Michael is experiencing all sorts of problems, he was outqualified by his teammate and we have seen this happen many times last year I really believed that he would have found something this year, yes the car is not fast enough to compete with the likes of RED BULL and this they have openely admitted but the gap to his teammate is still the same. I would imagine when Mercedes signed Michael, the expectation was that he would be the one to lead the team, he would be the one winning all the races but so far he has done nothing like that, this is a team that I am paying close attention to, I wonder how everything is going to work out for them.
    4. Lewis Hamilton drove brilliantly, as always he was faster than Button his team mate in qualifying , earned a well deserved podium position.I am wondering though where Button could have ended if he hadn’t experienced problems in the race I think his race was not bad either.
    5.Massa looks different, he looked like his old self in testing but again the season is still very long maybe we might see some few surpises from him

  109. Dal says:

    I think Redbull could find themselves on the back foot on tracks where KERS is more adventageous. It seemed to me that the redbull was harder on their tires than the Mclaren (even without running KERS). I expect this degradation to be be much worse if/when they do run it. Redbull definitely quicker on new tires which is cancelled out by Mclaren being quicker torwards the end of the stints. Shame we didn’t see how much quicker due to Hamilton’s problem with the floor after his second pitstop.

  110. Andy C says:

    Good race yesterday and some real positives coming out of it.

    Excellent drivers from Sauber, McLaren not as bad as winter suggested. Alonso looking in good form, but with a car that didnt seem as quick as i thought it was. Massa driving his moving road block again…

    On HRT, the more people dislike them, the more I hope they get to Malaysia and get within the 107%.

    Virgin should be looking over their shoulders that Luizzi ran close enough in a shake down compared to Virgins full winter programme.

  111. AlexD says:

    Domenicali has no mercy: “Ferrari looks for immediate reaction”:
    http://en.espnf1.com/australia/motorsport/story/44500.html

    How many years Ferrari fans will need to listen to this same, identical, never changing mantra from Stefano?

    Was it not the same this he said 2 years ago and also last year and again now?

    1. Andy C says:

      How on earth do you Ferrari fans ever expect to get a period of success, if after 1 race you are all calling for action to be taken.

      As a Newcastle football fan, I know more than most how the unrealistic expectations of fans can damage the chances of success we crave. Consistency and a bit of faith in what are very good people at Maranello would go a long way.

      I’m afraid F1 is a big boys game, with some very good people in most of the top teams.

      Therefore no 1 team dominates. Rarely do you get a period of domination like Schumacher has at Ferrari.

  112. Mark Crooks says:

    James I have a question

    What if Jenson decided to pit at the end of the same lap in which he overtook Massa. Would he have still be penalised?

  113. Andy C says:

    James

    just reading Ferrari are going to have an investigation back at Maranello (not a blame allocation you understand) to see what happened.

    Is it just me that thinks its a little early for the usual horses head in bed type antics that usually happen a little later than race 1?

    It may just be that the track didnt suit the F150 f/th/%/@. Or would that be a little easy?

    So much for the strategy guy coming from the Italian airforce display team. Seems the first one he taught them was how to rollover ;-)

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      It is never the track’s fault. If the car doesn’t suit the track or the conditions the team has to make it suit that track and those conditions.

      By investigations, I don’t think that they’re looking for someone to blame rather for something in the car.

      The Italian airforce guy is as stupid as McLaren PR stuff.

      1. Andy c says:

        Tell that to Chris dyer.

        Remember that certain tracks suit certain cars. No one car is absolutely dominant on all corners.

  114. Oliver says:

    I dont see why everyone, (being most f1 journalists etc) seem to think that the sun shines out of Vettels backside.

    1. He has Webber as his teamate, who has become one of the “top drivers” since he was able to match Vettel occasionally last year. I dont see Webber as a top line driver…

    2. Hes driving a Red Bull, its obvious with the red bull and webber as his teamate, that he will get alot of poles… (its 8 tenths faster than another car without KERS for pitty sake)

    3. He gets alot of praise for his level head during races, I ask you, when in the aussie gp did he actually have to push, NEVER! Once again hes driving a reliable, very quick Red Bull, he dosent need to push. The main reason why he dosent make alot of errors. For example when he did have to push last year at silverstone, (he ended up smashing into people left right and centre) and also at SPA.

    Hes good, but not as good as we are led to beleive…

    1. Thebe says:

      Come on you are not suggesting the guy is only fast because he is driving a RED BULL? Because if you are, I think you will find that a lot of people will disagree with you, I am not disputing the fact that he is in a superior car which also helps, I am sure it would be difficult to be on pole in a Mercedes for example.

      Lets be realistic about one thing, the guy is fast, this weekend he was driving the wheels of that RED BULL in qualifying nothing prevented Webber from doing the same. I also thing Webber is a worthy adversary I think Seb has a strong teammate in Webber to measure himself against.

      Rememeber this a team could give a driver very superior car but it is also up to the driver to get the maximum speed from that car and this is exactly what Vettel is doing at the moment.

  115. tim says:

    if half of the other drivers had a car that good, they would also look composed and assured and win most gps, vettel is a very good driver, but in another car, would he be that good, i dont think so.

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