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Posted By:   |  17 Mar 2013   |  11:25 am GMT  |  530 comments

Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus sent out a powerful message to rivals by managing a two-stop strategy to perfection and taking a thrilling victory in Melbourne, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. And to rub it in, Raikkonen set the fastest lap of the race at the end, showing that he had more life left in his tyres.

In a race that saw seven different leaders and the majority of the field running a three-stop programme, Raikkonen was able to make one less stop in the Lotus E21, that is well-known for its gentleness on the tyres. He worked his way into the race lead after a lengthy second stint on the medium tyre, which saw his opposition having to stop much earlier for a second set of medium tyres.

Having started the race in seventh place, the Finn produced an extremely consistent drive as he and the Lotus chassis showed the pace that all other teams had feared in recent weeks. Romain Grosjean’s fast and consistent long run in the Barcelona test was the indication, for those who wished to see it, that the car has the capability to do one less stop in marginal races than rivals.

The platform for the race victory was built during the first two laps when Raikkonen made his way past a number of cars and found himself in fourth position. His long second stint was the clincher. It is Raikkonen’s second victory since his return to Formula One last year and the 20th of his career.

“I’m happy for the team and for myself also,” said Raikkonen. “We’ve had a quick car all weekend and I had a good feeling that we would be ok with the tyres after practice and the team got the strategy perfect.

“It was quite simple; probably one of my easiest wins. You can’t start the season much better than winning the first race and of course we hope we can be fighting at the front of the Championship, but there’s a long way to go.”

Alonso was the best of the three-stoppers and drove an equally impressive race, using the under-cut at the second stop to find his way past a trio of cars made up of Adrian Sutil, Vettel and Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa. Alonso lost some ground in the opening stint behind Massa, but the Ferrari wasn’t able to do the race in two stops and his pace in the final stint was interesting; he pushed hard at the start, then faded. Nevertheless it was a very positive weekend for the team and the radio message to Alonso from his engineer, “Ci Siamo” (“We are there”) indicates that the team know they have a good chance of the title this year, starting from this baseline.

Vettel and Red Bull looked unbeatable in qualifying; the German had looked set to again dominate from the outset after opening up a two second lead early on, but he was quickly hauled in by a quick starting Massa and Alonso. The Ferrari pairing made a very good start past Lewis Hamilton and a slow starting Mark Webber and were able to set themselves up for a their strong result.

Red Bull did not have the race pace to match its qualifying efforts and with Webber ending the race in sixth place after KERS issues contributed to another poor start, it looks to be a very open and competitive season ahead.

Like Alonso, Massa had a very strong race and could have been on the podium had he not stayed out a lap too long for his final pit stop. He matched Alonso’s pace throughout, having outqualified the Spaniard by 3/1000ths of a second.

Hamilton in his first race for Mercedes attempted an ambitious two-stop strategy but was forced in to a late tyre change to stop himself from dropping down the order. He lost out to both Ferraris at the start and did not quite have the pace to match the front-runners. However, it will still be a satisfying result for the Briton with his former employers much further down the order.


Sutil was a candidate for driver of the day; starting from twelfth place and the first car on medium tyres, held his pace across a long first stint and led the Grand Prix at two stages. He matched the pace of the race leaders, but ultimately dropped down to seventh place when he had to pit for the obligatory set of option compound tyres.

Jenson Button and Sergio Perez ended the race in ninth and eleventh places respectively after a troubled first race for McLaren. The car was well off the pace and there were operational mistakes too in qualifying and the race, leaving the team with a long and gloomy debrief.

Paul Di Resta made it a solid day for Force India by ending the race directly behind team mate Sutil. He also managed to take just two pit-stops and gain a good haul of points for the Silverstone based squad.

Completing the top ten behind Button was Romain Grosjean. The sister Lotus did not have a good start and was caught in traffic during the race.

Nico Rosberg was the only high profile retiree, dropping out of the race near the halfway point after losing drive. His compatriot Nico Hulkenberg failed to make the start when his Sauber suffered a fuel system failure.

At the tailend of the field, Jules Bianchi came out on top of the Marussia/Caterham battle ending the race in 15th place. But there was great encouragement for the team as Bianchi set the 11th fastest race lap, albeit on a new set of supersofts in the final laps.

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Melbourne, 58 laps, Dry throughout
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1h30m03.225s
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari + 12.451s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull + 22.346s
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari + 33.577s
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 45.561s
6. Mark Webber Red Bull + 46.800s
7. Adrian Sutil Force India + 1m05.068s
8. Paul di Resta Force India + 1m08.449s
9. Jenson Button McLaren + 1m21.630s
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus + 1m22.759s
11. Sergio Perez McLaren + 1m23.367s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso + 1m23.857s
13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber + 1 lap
14. Valtteri Bottas Williams + 1 lap
15. Jules Bianchi Marussia + 1 lap
16. Charles Pic Caterham + 2 laps
17. Max Chilton Marussia + 2 laps
18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham + 2 laps

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1

Well done Kimi. With all my respects to Kimi's victory and the Lotus team efforts, let me put this. The 2013 Pirelli tyres was tested and developed using a Renault's car so it should not be surprised that the 2013 Lotus cars to be the most suitable for the tyres. People at Lotus know what they have to do to make their 2013 cars fully easy work with the tyres. Just to remember the 2012 Pirelli tyres was develop and tested using a Toyota's car, so last year no team had enough knowledges in advance for matching their cars with the tyres. Nothing should be wrong with that. In the end Pirelli had gotten every permission before testing. More importantly, I'd love to see Kimi to be the WDC of 2013 more than any other drivers.

2

If I were a (member of) design engineer of a particular F-1 team, knowing that one of our (old) car to be used for tyres testing and development by the tyre manufacturer, obviously one of my top priorities would be to re-open all the technical documents related to the car. In designing our new car, we would fully consider all the data and parameters of the (old) car that could affect the tyre performance. It doesn't matter if the tyre manufacturer give us any testing and development data or not. Also, the team should not necessarily give any kind of 'pre-order' to the tyre manufacturer. It would be enough if the tyre manufacturer say in public that the new tyres would last for any certain

number of laps. In the end if the combination of our new car and the new tyres similar to that said by the tyre manfactuter, then that's the best result we can possibly get. It's just a 'bonus' for the F1 team rather than unfairness, I think.

3

That Renault they use is 4 years old... nothing like todays cars

4

Lotus had the easiest car on tyres in 2012 so it's a bit unfair saying the reason they are easiest on them this year is because they got some sort of advantage.

5

That´s right, they had already last year car gentle on the tyres and i don´t see Pirelli favouring nobody.

6

I very much doubt there would be too much correlation from an out-of-date F1 mule to suggest a current Lotus having an advantage?

7

Well, there *might* be some advantage if for example you knew how the tyre performed on your old car and assume the new ones could have some similarity. But I have a strong feeling there is enough worker-flow between the teams that such data, at least broadly, would be known by all the top teams.

8

You're a Kimi fan, but you think he won because of unfair advantage, having tires specifically designed to work with the Lotus? Bosh!

9

I was absolutly baffled when I heard Pirelli were having trouble sourcing a test vehicle. The fear from the teams (I presume) was giving away details on the performance of their 'type' of design. I thought the opposite. It was an opportunity to have tyres better suited to your 'type' of design. To be frank, one of the reasons Michael Schumacer (and i do say this with respect) was great is Bridgestone had custom made boots for his Ferraris. If Kimi and Romain are consistently doing longer runs and fewer stops I might be proved right. As an asside, given the importance of tyres why Jamie Aljasuarrie (I assume I've spelt it wrong) wasn't snapped up this year ill never know. In a similar role to Pedro De La Rossa.

James, how are they planning on testing next years tyres?

10

Stating the obvious. Lotus is not the only team with the Renault motor

11

Correction. Look at Mercedes this year compared to last. Same engine but a totally different level of degridation.

12

.... But the motor only forms part of the power train. Redbull and Lotus make their own gearboxes and drive shafts. Different lubricants will also obtain peak performance at differing temperature. This will affect final drive output and torque. The other obvious difference is the drive mapping. All these components, the data and the knowledge to exploit them is the most confidential of information. So put an unknown tyre on the rims and allot of tweaking needs to be done. And this tweaking will differ for every team. Look at Mercedes this year. To solve a problem Redbull may change the viscosity of the engine oil and Caterham might alter the engine map for the same net effect. These factors play into the hands of Lotus who would have advised Pirelli on the 'best' way to get the most out of the car.

13

I wonder if they will just freeze the tyre spec next year, teams already have a lot of variables to deal with, it's not like Pirelli can test them

14

THE FLYING FINN!

THE ICEMAN!

THE KIMSTER!

MR COOL KIMI!

oh dear I must go lie down

15

+1 go iceman 🙂

16

What a podium indeed.

1st Raikkonen, with 1WDC

2nd Alonso, with 2WDC's

3rd Vettel, with 3WDC's

If this is going to be a three way battle all down the wire..

than I'll sign for it..

17

Judging from the bruising domination of the Lotus at this race, it could be game over for the season.

It was quite a shock when Kimi who only two stopped, put in the fastest lap of the race toward the end, at a point when the field expected his tyres to be knackered!

Kimi could be WFC again and he deserves it too.

18

"For some, that possibility might be somewhat difficult to accept, though."

I don't care how difficult it is to accept, quite frankly. If you're going to champion the 60% possibility of him winning based on previous history, then the 40% chance of it not happening is there, regardless of whether or not you choose to "accept it"

19

"Another silly thing? 60% of the winners at Melbourne go on to take the crown by seasons end."

therefore 40% don't...

"Kimi could be World Champ again."

Of course he could. Nobody's saying he couldn't

20

Agreed. Add in that two of last three years Australian gp winner hasn't won Wdc. Anything is possible its only one race. Komi has a great start but it means little so far in the Wdc race.

21

For some, that possibility might be somewhat difficult to accept, though. Its hugely possible that Kimi could be champ, he is very talented and has a fast car thats good on its tyres.

22

stop. any talk of game over after 1 race is as silly as talk of game over after winter testing or qualifying. there are 18 more races in which different track characteristics, temperatures, accidents and reliability become issues. let's not crown the king of monotone talk just yet.

23

Could kimi be world champion? of course but it is a long season and mentioning game over for the season is way premature at this point. The knee jerk reaction is always amusing. After Q3 everyone knew redbull was sandbagging and would again rule the season. now talk of lotus after 1, ONE race. Australia is not a representative circuit for the entire season. let's wait before claiming the season game over. The top cars are all competitive and lots will happen including development over the long haul. Ferrari look impressive as well and merc has made strides from last year. then there's the 3 time defending champion.

24

No one has crowned him, but silly talk or not, the example he laid was ominous.

Another silly thing? 60% of the winners at Melbourne go on to take the crown by seasons end.

Kimi could be World Champ again.

25

Let's see - it was cold on track. A dry Malaysia will reveal more for us.

26

Very good race! Massa looked uncomfortable (to put it mildly) with the team for the way his second stop was handled.

On his first stop, he obviously had the preference to stop first and so he did, what looked like the right thing to do at the moment.

Obviously his second stop was a different story and it would be interesting to know if it was Massa himself who decided to stop later, if it was his engineer call or if he is right to be pissed by a team strategy devised for allowing Alonso get past him. (Disclaimer: I support Alonso).

Any insight?

27

I read in Autosport that Massa said it was an strategic gamble from Alonso´s part. Alonso thought it could work and it did. While Massa or Smedley or both thought that pitting earlier wouldn´t work.

28

Why do some of us pretend that hierarchy doesn't exist within teams? if any team has made it clear that it exists, its ferrari of the last few years. Which i'm fine with, and didnt f1 administrators pull the ban on it recently?

Having said that, in this instance, i don't think it was a case of the team strategically enforcing the hierarchy on the pitstop; they could have had ALO pass MAS in race in the first few laps, they were close enough, and i actually thot they would.

However it is a good point made, would the team allow MAS to pit where he may inadvertently undercut ALO, that's probably a no

29

Good point. Was the error/decision at the driver, engineer, or team level? If at the team level, was it a conscious manipulation?

Was Alonso called in? Did he decide himself suddenly? How do the two sides of the garage coordinate this? There's only one pit crew.

30

Massa said the plan was that both Ferraris were to do at least 15 laps on that set of tires. Alonso's tires were going off quickly so he came in early and got a clear lap to move ahead of Vettel. When Massa took the lead he still had a couple laps in hand but within a lap they could see that every one else was faster on new tires so he came in one lap early, 14 laps on the tires, but had lost position to the others.

31

I think MAS just got it wrong, as he did on his final pitstop where ALO had no influence on the late stop. It would be upsetting if Ferrari made that call already, given MAS's return to form - its not in their best interests to crush his newfound (or more accurately, refound) form. At any rate it looks set to be a very interesting season for Ferrari. With MAS apparently back to his old self, they could well have the best shot at the Constructor's that they have had in years. Early doors still but I don't think we are going to see RB running away with the Constructor's this year - Ferrari and Mercedes look right up there; Lotus is quick but I don't particularly rate GRO, particularly when it comes to consistently finishing races and picking up points.

32

I don't think it had anything to do with Alonso, as Massa did 3 laps more than Alonso. If it was done to allow Alonso to get the first stop (as some anti-Ferrari fans would say) they would've pitted Massa right after Alonso.

Also, Smedley said to Massa "now you have a clear track, lets see what you can do", suggesting to me they wanted to do a 2-stop but maybe because their time was poor compared to Alonso and Vettel, they reverted to a 3-stop.

33

Massa was matching Alonso time through out, in a team where you don't have number one driver, the driver in the lead gets the first pit stop and has this advantage. Massa made why for the maestro and expect to see this all season. If he needs any sympathy, time to pick up the phone to that amazing chap Rubbens.

34

Read the rest of the blog and you will see what I mean! Alonso got the undercut on Massa and as someone said, the pitwall decides the strategy and it favoured Alonso. Massa was left to struggle. It was not Alonso's decision to come in early, the pitwall gave this information and prepared for him to come in, we know this exist and as I said I dont have a problem with it, just a few people in denial that think Alonso drives without any input or strategic instruction form the pitwall..Also Massa was able to push and maintain the gap to Alonso with no problems. Just got mugged at the pit stops.

35

How can you say Massa was matching Alonso? Alonso was behind Massa, so we never know how much faster he could've gone. When finaly Alonso got in front, he was lighting the timing screens.

36

This!

I think Alonso was getting tired of being stuck behind Massa's gearbox (remember initial few races of 2010) and decided to get out of sync to make up ground. Rest is history.

37

Alonso was exactly harrying Massa at that point to be fair.

38

I agree, Alonso took a chance to come in early and he really had too as he was behind. Massa on the other hand had the advantage on the road and if he'd come in and it hadn't worked then his side of the garage would have looked foolish.

All in all, both Felipe and Fernando drove very strong races and with Massa back on form it will be interesting to see how Alonso approaches this issue and manages his own behaviour. While Ferrari love Alonso, they won't tolerate his 2007 McLaren antics, though I suspect Alonso is much more mature now than then.

39

+1

UNDERCUT

40

Obviously I don't know but I would guess that this was a call made by Alonso and Massa respectively. ALO just made the call and got the drop on MAS and VET I reckon. MAS looked good throughout and I'm really pleased for him comming off the back of his amazing drive to support ALO in Brazil. Also I think he's outqualified ALO in the last 3 races now.

I believe Ferrari when they say they'll give both drivers an equal shot. I believe them because they are honest when they make the call to back the lead driver so why lie now? I also completely agree with the way Ferrari go racing - it's a team sport and it makes all kinds of sense to back their best prospect when the time comes mid-season (as long as they back whoever is leading at that point).

42

you truly belive that when it comes down to it that ferrari will let massa get the points over alonso. I just cant see it, they know to win they must maximise the points for 1 driver from the first race to the last.

43

You fail to see the bigger picture. If Ferrari would not allow Alonso to pit earlier, they would'be probably finished the race in 3rd and 4th, instead of 2nd and 4th.

Simple. Massa had his chance in the first 2 stints. Why didn't Massa try to undercut Vettel at the first stop?

45

Massas' form has to be a concern for red bull in the constructors... been so used to webber taking points off alonso, and helping vettels' championship. This imo will put serious pressure on webber to match massas points this year.

46

Sure was ferrari call to switch positions. Massa was clear on radio and after the race in his interview. It's pretty usual that the driver that is in front has the preference to pit first. It's a shame to have a Brazilian playing this role at ferrari AGAIN...

47

It's simple: Alonso gave everything to Ferrari this 3 years while Massa was doing nothing at all. So, I think it's quite fair to pay back the debt with Fernando

48

I think, in this case, Massa/Smedley tryed a 2 stop strategy or they bet in a possible rain. In fact, at the time of the second pit stop, we could see some rain drops in the onboard camera's lens, hence it makes sense in stay out longer. So, I don't believe that it was a team order, but just Alonsos's strategy changing that worked better.

49

Webber came in before Vettel when he was behind. Does that mean he had the favoured strategy???? Stop with the Ferrari favouritism bulls&$@!!! Remember they never took a front wing off Massa's car and gave it to Alonso!!!

50

Alonso made a last minute decision to come in early, and it turned out to be a smart move.

Both Felipe and Fernando made their own calls together with their engineers.

The combination Alonso/Stella did a better job today than Massa/Smedley.

I think you are wrong suggesting that the team hierarchy decided the pit stop strategy.

51

Anyone who knows anything about strategy knows Alonso was favored and Massa was canned again.

52

Who from here believes that if Massa was behind Alonso and wanted to try and undercut Alonso he would be allowed? I am sure he would never be allowed to follow this strategy with his mechanic. Only Alonso can do it. So team orders at Ferrari do exist, they just want to market it differently

53

Alonso owns the team and Massa is the rearer gunner! Nothing wrong with that, Alonso has priority over Massa, this is well known, they had to swap positions. Simplz!

54

From Lap 2, seeing Kimi keep up with the front 3 made it obvious that Lotus has a good car for this year. Just hope they can keep up with the development throughout the year.

As for Mclaren, just wondering why the big change??? Saying there's a bigger rrom for development but look at the others, Lotus, Ferrari and even Mercedes made a huge progress.

I just can't understand the change of front suspension as Ferrari found it hard last year to master. Mclaren Being 2 sec. off the pace, it is a massive disadvantage and it might be late if they get their act together.

55

One theory for the change in suspension is McLaren believe this to be a better configuration for 2014 spec cars. They may be taking the view that its better to go through the pain now while Checco is learning the ropes so that they are in a good position in 2014/15.

They are now in exactly the same shape Ferrari was in last year, except they don't have an Alonso to bail them out.

Another theory is they've simply screwed up big time!

56

I've heard that theory to, and think it may have some bones to it, they could simply bring back last years car if their desperate as it was the fastest thing out there for the majority of the season, wouldn't be a 1.5 secs + off the pace would it?

57

I think they want to start a new direction. Last year, it was HAM/BUT. This year, HAM is out and current drivers share nothing with his driving style.

This is my view at least, doesn't make it the correct decision though 🙂

58

Yeah I wondered about that too - if the other teams managed to evolve last year's car how come McLaren claim they could not manage that? McLaren are strongest when evolving as their in season development rate usually demonstrates so it's doubly confusing.

McLaren will develop incredibly well during the season at at some point will have the fastest car for x period of races but will it be too late by then? Their only hope is that a lot of different drivers win the early races spreading out the points until they can move to the fore......

They also have a qualy issue this year, HAM was usually a few tenths faster than JB in qualy and he has been replced by a driver who will probably usually be a few tenths slower than JB. That could cost around 5 grid slots on average in a tightly packed field. I don;t buy into the Perez buzz, I didn;t last year and I don't now. Happy to be wrong, though, the more 'top' drivers the better!

59

Really weird why Mclaren felt such a big change was needed??? To be 2 sec. off the pace is something very hard to overhaul.

Doubly confusing since they are great at evolving their car. As for Perez, only time will tell but I also think he's still a bit behind Jenson. Being good with tires, a driver still needs a good car for them to show what they can do. With this Mclaren now, no matter how smooth or good you are with tires, there's no way for a driver to show what he can do.

60

I like McLaren but don't buy into the Perez hype either.

61

Perez only seemed fast at the beginning of the year, because of the early season tyre lottery. Now that the teams can do a better job from the very beginning, we can see that Perez is no faster than average.

To his credit though, he did a slightly better job than Jenson yesterday.

Perez: start position - 15.

Perez: finish position - 11 (+4).

Jenson: finish position - 10.

Jenson: finish position - 9 (+1).

62

To be fair to Jenson, he started on chewed up tyres where as Perez started on fresh ones...

63

Well mate, Perez overtook only two cars because Nico Hulkenberg never started and Rosberg retired. If he was running behind Maldonado at lap 25,then he overtook only one car.

64

That's not really representative, Perez started outside the top 10 and therefore had the (in my opinion unfair) advantage of starting on fresh tyres.

65

Not convinced that means Perez Did better than JB - JB started further up the field so the cars he had to pass would, necessarily, be faster. Perez was passing lower midfield cars while JB had to pass upper midfield cars....

Agree with the rest of your observations about Perez last year though.

66

how do you work that out perez started behind JB and finished behind JB. it about where you finish not how many cars you over take

67

Can't help thinking Lewis would have forced more out of the car!!

68

What a great race. So good to see several contenders in the mix and different strategies playing out during the race.

Each of the top 5 could have potentially taken the win had things panned out a little differently, but fantastic to see Raikkonen and Renault take it.

The best thing about the race today was that (arguably) each of the top 7 +ROS showed pace that could/should have them in the mix for the championship.

A great outlook for the season. So much more encouraging than seeing Seb romp off into the sunset. No offence to him, but that would have been a depressing result from the perspective of the season.

As an Aussie though, Mark, Red Bull, THOSE STARTS???.?

Come on guys, please, your killing me.

69

Mark's poor starts are beyond frustrating to watch. I want to steer clear of conspiracy theories but it is strange that Vettel never has start problems.

Am so glad Kimi won.

70

Except SV alternator!

71

Don't blame MW, blame Mclaren the builders of the flakey standardized ECU that failed. Both MW and SV had telemetry problems controlled by this unit. Apparently similar problems already occurred during testing in Europe. Obviously a quality control issue by the supplier/ manufacturer that affects the opposition. Not that I'm suggesting any malicious sabotage..

72

RB might be needing all the help they can get. Maybe Mark will find he's having less trouble with his car!?

73

Webber hade telemetri issues on the warm up lap so he had to guess the clutch settings and I think he was also missing KERS. Given that he is a poor starter ni good conditions, this was a disaster.

74

Interesting comment.

I agree that the season looks promising with drivers on the top five teams all in the hunt for podiums, if not wins.

But after absorbing the final results (from above):

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Melbourne, 58 laps, Dry throughout

1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1h30m03.225s

2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari + 12.451s

3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull + 22.346s

4. Felipe Massa Ferrari + 33.577s

5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 45.561s

6. Mark Webber Red Bull + 46.800s

7. Adrian Sutil Force India + 1m05.068s

8. Paul di Resta Force India + 1m08.449s

9. Jenson Button McLaren + 1m21.630s

10. Romain Grosjean Lotus + 1m22.759s

Look at the pattern of time between the cars:

12, 10, 11, 12, (then anomally) 1, 20 (then similar cars) 3, 12.

10-12 seconds between positions in the top nine!

I don't know what this means, but it seems significant.

I'll be tracking.

75

It means that mostly people were managing tyres as they didn't want the tyres to go off the cliff and managing the gap for the latter part of the race. Or it could be an anomaly!

76

i keep thinking Mark should go spend an afternoon with Don Prudhomme! (legendary-reaction-time American drag racer)

77

Hi! I was trackside so I don't know if it was mentioned on the TV. I read about this afterwards but Marks start this time wasn't down to driver error. There was no telemetry between the car and the pit. Therefore when Mark went through his procedures on the warm up lap, done to set the clutch for the start, this was all in vain because they had no data. The setting Mark was given to use was a guess. Additionally I read he had no KERS.

If you remember back to 2010 and earlier there was nothing wrong with his starts. When Vettel won that championship they made an adjustment to the procedure that Vettel prefers. Mark hasn't ever been able to adjust. Can someone confirm that?

78

I may prefer Vettel over Alonso but it's nice that either of them won the opening race. I think we're in for a good season with Kimi in the mix. Merc doesn't seeem to have changed last years habbits, good on one lap with low fuel - not so good on race day with full tank. Di Resta must be feeling the heat being overshadowed again by Sutil who was on the sidelines for a year and McLaren is in deep trouble...

p.s. The gremlins that hindered Schumi for the past three years seem to have moved to Rosberg's side of the garage...

79

Sutil got the benefit of fresh tyres starting outside the top 10 that di Resta didn't; although he drove well every time I see a midfield driver doing that I can't help but feel their position has been artificially inflated. Also, di Resta would have beaten Sutil in the race too but for team orders.

80

Exactly to what I was thinking, and at a time when he was quicker than Hamilton, if Nico didn't choke on his quali lap like he did last year as well then he would have showed he is better than Hamilton, but Kimi wow he is definitely back and putting Grosjean in the shade, Seb and Alonso will have their hands full this year if they want to win the title.

81

That's good for Grosjean, to shift some focus from him so he can regroup and come back strong with out everyone pointing out the obvious to him.

82

Well I don't think it's good for Grosjean if he's not showing pace and runs in the low points scoring positions rather than wins and podiums, but anyway interesting to see Schumacher's gearbox has been given to Nico, the point is why is even with the retirement he showed when he's all hooked up on the track he seems to be faster than Hamilton, especially in the wet sessions, lets see what malaysia brings, I suspect Vettel will fight back and Kimi drop back a bit, Ferrari will be strong, Mclaren will be slow, Webber still needs to fix that start and Marrusia will continue to beat Caterham with Bianchi looking fast.

83

I would agree that Sutil has been the better of the two all weekend long, but Di Rista was under order not to attack Sutil in the last couple of laps. He was not a happy chappie as he knows he could have been the top team diver today.

84

Only because the team gambled with Sutil and put him on the super soft too early. Di Resta was tonked today.

85

i dont think he was tonked. Sutil had the advantage of being able to start on mediums as he qualified outside the top 10. That was always going to give him a chance to move up during the race. Di Resta maximised what he had and should have finished ahead of Sutil.

86

It was ominous from practice when Rosberg ended up pulling off with reliability issues (I think after doing a similar number of laps). They still don't have their act together. Looks like (and I hope) the kaiser's move was a wise one.

Did you notice the canvas showing on Hamilton's right front supersoft during his pit stop? Wear was bad but the degradation seemed good... at least on that set of tires.

87

umm... wear was bad but degradation good? Is there a difference?

88

Yes - wear is the wear on the tyres, degradation is the lap time increase as performance is lost

89

Well, still think McLaren are down-playing their hand in order to provide a bit of entertainment and do the zero-to-hero thing later on in the season.

However, wish they'd arranged to finish a bit higher up in the points in Melbourne as it'll be difficult to rise to the top later on considering how close the competition is running. They might find they're playing it a bit fine and live to regret it.

90

Once again a classic case of McLaren fans unable to accept that they are nowhere! The facts are there; McLaren are struggling!

91

Jenson commented that he does not expect the car to improve that much until they get to Europe. Does not look like McLaren are going to win any championships this year, again.

Jenson struggled for almost half a season last year trying to get his setup right for the tyres. Don't think he is capable of driving the required development and Perez does not have the experience. Wonder if they will ever admit letting Hamilton go before they had another top driver to replace him was a mistake.

93

I told you they would James

94

James I think I know why Kimi was smiling . He equalled Hakkinens number of victorues which will be quite special as Mika was his mentor in the early days.

95

O Ye of little faith...

(emoticons not included)

96

what utter nonsense!! do you have ay idea of the presuure teams and drivers are under to perform from he off?! You have no concept of F1 or the grief Mclaren will be getting from their backets, sponsors etc after this result already, if you think that. This is formala 1, not sunday afternoon club racing.

97

With all due respect if you think I'm talking 'utter nonesense' I don't think you fully grasp the subtleties of F1. McLaren are playing the long game - they don't need to rush out and demolish everyone else at season's start.

98

OMG You are serious!

Why on earth would McLaren do that?

That would be the same as if FC Barcelona allowed their adversaries to score 3 goals, because they were certain that they could score 4 goals themselves before the match was over.

That's. well not to clever if you want to win.

99

If what you say is right them McLaren wouldnt have any sponcers cause no one would want their name on a their car..

100
christian hepworth

Seriously? You couldn't detect any sarcasm there...?

101

My faith is restored.

Personally, I think 'emoticons' equate to 'spoon-feeding' but might have to resort to them in future.

102

You think Macca threw the race away to be heros later in the season? WOW!

103

Have patience - time will prove me right!

104

Rob01 you must have been watching another season. 1996 the Mclaren was a dog of a car, remember Argentina when DC was overtaken by Jos Verstappen?

105

I think (hope) he was being sarcastic!

106

Your thoughts and hopes are justified.

107

I think the few DNFs probably flattered Maccas woeful lack of pace. Worrying times in Woking but they usually bounce back.

108

Yes but it should not be this way. This is a team with nearly 50 years of history. Where greats such as Senna, Prost, Lauda, Hakkinen, Hamilton, Fittapalidi all once drove. If they were force India I could understand but it is frankly embarrassing. Secondly Perezs wonderful debut was 11th and no points, the last Mclaren driver to debut and not finish in the points was DC in 1996 in which Mclaren had a dog of a car

109

I'm sorry Rob01 but 'Lauda.. not great....' You may want to swallow that comment and go back to the history books to learn about a certain TRIPLE world champion overcoming adversities such as nearly burning to death and a young mr Prost as teammate before slander such as that.

Hamilton has yet to prove himself as a true great but he is certainly very very good and very very quick. I look forward to this next chapter in his career with great interest.

As for the race I'm extremely happy that this season has begun in style. Great to see the champions fighting each other in different machinery for the win. I have high hopes for this season to deliver the 'golden era' promise!

great site as always james, thankyou.

[as I shouted from the macca golf buggy at silverstone last year..]

110

Lauda and Hamilton are not greats, and 1996 the Mclaren wasn't a dog, Hakkinen and DC was unlucky not to win a race that year.

111

Great opening race for F1! Great rresult for RAI - a well deserved win for sure. What did we learn about the relative compettitiveness of the top cars? Not a great deal in my opinion. What a bloody tease! We wait all through the off season to get an idea of where the teams are and then it decides to rain in one of the sunniest countries on the planet!

I don't want to wish the season away (I've waited for it for long enough!) but I'm looking forward to Spain to get a real idea of where things stand!

Why DOES WEB keep bogging down off the start? Come on man! I really like you and want to see you compete with VET!

Good to see HAM stamp his mark all over ROS when it counted (i.e. he came alive when he needed to in Q3!).

Thought VET handled a dissapionting race very well on the podium.

Was that tyre call that promoted ALO over MAS a driver call? I rather think it was and Ferrari are allowing MAS his shot which is great to see! Looks like MAS might just take the in team battle all the way to mid season this year.

RAI will do that time and time again this year if the others do not step up their game. He rarely looks like he is dicing and racing but he's always making quiet, relentless progress towards the front.

112

Great comment Wayne.

I've been a Kimi fan since he lead M. Schmacher in Montreal, before sliding on some oil at the apex.

But he looks better than ever; your comments are really succinct.

I guess the reason I prefer Kimi to all of the other current drivers is this lack of talking it up; instead, he's driving, driving, racing, racing and racing, talking by actions, and now, winning; is that two wins in the last four or five races?!?

I still think the Vettel-Red Bull package is in front of everybody; but it looks like the Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes battle will be race track by race track, and influenced by the climatic conditions on the moment.

Go Kimi!

114

This venue, these conditions and these tyres all fell in Lotus' favour. Another track may be a Vettel shoo-in I fear.

115

what about his overtakes?

116

I'm not suggesting that he can't or doesn't overtake - just that when he does it all seems to lack any fuss, it's all pretty serene. He doesn't get riled if a move goes wrong or he looses a place he just puts himself back into position to have another go until the job's done.

117

Amazing opening race!

It's so good to see the Ferrari and Lotus taking the fight to RBR. Kimi was majestic today, just as Alonso and Sutil.

It was so good the see Kimi smile, and above all that we didn't had to listen to those boring old winning celebrations from Vettel (yuuhoo, that's what I'm talking about!).

Lastly, taking nothig away from Kimi, I can't stop feeling that Massa is the one who cost Alonso the victory. Having been stuck for 2 stints behind him, Alonso showed his speed in the third stint. What annoyed me, was that Massa didn't even try to get past Vettel. Thinking about it, he couldn't even overtake Sutil either.

How about those McLaren? The Mercedes had some pace, but their tyre wear is still higher than the rivals. But McLaren were pretty slow unfortunately.

Anyway, great race.

118

There was absolutely no way on earth anyone was going to catch Kimi on Sunday..He was too fast. Even when Fernando was chasing Kimi immediately opened up the gap and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 57 on tyres much older than everyone else..Guys stop second guessing what a brilliant drive by Kimi-Fernando even said Kimi and Lotus were too fast on Sunday..& I'm rather annoyed that a post dedicated to him leaving all his rivals behind is more concerned with his rivals than him...really silly actually..

119

Elie, Kimi drove brillianty, but lets keep it real.

"Even when Fernando was chasing Kimi immediately opened up the gap and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 57"

Like I said, on lap 27 Kimi had a lead of 17s and on lap 43 had 5.3s. Thats 16 laps later, not like you said "immediately opened up the gap".

Alonso destroyed his tyres on that push, and Kimi knew he had nothing to worry until alonso was getting within 3-4sec.

Even James in his post race report mentioned that Alonso might've had a shot at the victory if he wasn't held up by Massa and Vettel. Kimi run pretty much in clean air all race at his own pace, not dictated by those in front and in dirty air, like Alonso.

And I believe Kimi got plenty of credit in my post. It was just that I believe Alonso could've won if he wasn't held up.

120

"What annoyed me, was that Massa didn’t even try to get past Vettel. Thinking about it, he couldn’t even overtake Sutil either."

and why Alonso didn't overtake Massa?

121

I think it was a bit ambitious that Mercedes considered doing a two stop race to a three stop

122

mercs tyre wear isnt higher.its actually very good,just not good enough for a 2 stopper.kimi was running very low,this is the reason why sparks where appearing from the belly of his car.but this allowed him to do a 2 stopper comfortably.

123

Did you notice the third stint where Alonso was never able to match Kimi and if you read the article, you can see when the fastest lap of the race came. So Alonso didnt have a chance to win.

124

On lap 27, Kimi was leading and had 17 sec lead on Alonso in 4th place.

On lap 43, Kimi was leading and had 5.3sec lead on Alonso.

How can you say Alonso could not match Kimi's pace? It's true that Kimi set his fastest in his 2nd last lap, but that was done just to show off. He had plenty on Alonso. He wasn't going to lose the race.

125

Kimi wasn't pushing, he was leading and maintaining his gap. Alonso could not catch him. Want to know why I am 100% correct? If Alonoso could, he would.

126

The Ferrari driver made his final pit stop five laps later than the Lotus, and gained rapidly on the leader after returning to the track.

But shortly after passing Adrian Sutil, Alonso’s progress slowed and then reversed. In the final five laps the gap between him and Raikkonen doubled. Further back Sebastian Vettel’s lap times had also dropped off.

So with new medium tires he was able to gain on Kimi who was using used medium tires but after some laps he was done.

127

Of course, Alonso had done an extra stop by that point and was on new(er) tyres.

Fact is, none of Alonso's 3 medium tyre stints were as fast as Raikkonen's 2. Or, in other words, Raikkonen's Lotus was kinder _and_ faster on the medium tyres.

en.mclarenf-1.com/index.php?page=chart&gp=893&graf=3&dr1=Kimi%20R%C3%A4ikk%C3%B6nen&dr2=Fernando%20Alonso#.UUbZ-EMYbms

Of course, there is the possibility that if Alonso had managed to overtake Vettel and Massa and run at his own pace, assuming it would have been higher than Vettel's, it might have been closer. But I thought it was interesting to hear Alonso say that they wouldn't have been able to do two stops.

128

Apart from the series of laps until he nearly ran into traffic into the first corner.

He was consistently take 2-3tenths out per lap up until that point

129

Agree with you Veena, agreed that also is the best driver in F1 currently but people forget to give credit when it is due, Kimi drove lights out and just like we always seen, he delivered the fastest lap right at the end of the race.. He is having the best comebacks so far..

130

"What annoyed me, was that Massa didn’t even try to get past Vettel. Thinking about it, he couldn’t even overtake Sutil either." - But by the same token, Alonso couldn't overtake Massa on the track.

131

This venue, these conditions and these tyres all fell in Lotus' favour.

132

Not for Grosjean...

133
Bring Back Murray

Not sure but Raikkonen's raw talent might have had something to do with it also

134

Please try to give credit where it deserves. If what you are saying is true, then the other lotus should have been in the podium.

135

Hi James,

Great coverage and teamwork with yourself and the OneHd crew. Especially the Qantas club early morning chat with Alan Jones etc in the studio.

Id like to think that the professionalism and quality of the coverage in Australia carries over to other races and countries.

Having said all that i think Massa was hard done by his own today.

He outqd his team mate. He was in front if his team mate at the start of the race but after Webber pitted i think for the 2nd time and his pace was revealed as quick on the inters Ferrari chose to pit Fernando first as Massas tires went off.

Im no expert but this is team orders for sure.

Massa has improved Massivelly and deserves the full support when he is faster

136

Either side of the garage make their own call.

If the team orders were being given out early in the race they would of let Alonso pass Massa on lap 1. He was clearly faster and could have then raced Vettel. The time lost behind Massa in first 10 laps could have made a difference later on. I believe they were racing.

137

James you are a machine! It seems I only just finished seeing you on TV and now a full race de-brief!

Thanks for the great tech pieces from Force India HQ. My dad is restoring a 1972 Ford Capri (with the 3.0 Essex V6 engine) at the moment, we'll use FI carbon fibre bits as our inspiration as we rebuild the front suspension 🙂 ha ha

Race was exciting. Only concern is with the drivers saying the tyres "falling apart"and how Pirelli would not like that phraseology, but all us fans want to see it.

I knew Ferrari were maneuvering to get Alonso in front. Smedley's "OK lets see what you can do know with clear track" seemed a bit contrived to me. Massa would get eaten alive by the pack on fresher tyres the longer he stayed out on old rubber.

Does anyone know the specifics of Hulkenberg's problem??

138

This article was done by Matt Meadows, not James. Or at least posted by Matt.

In regards to the Ferrari, if it was just to get Alonso in front, why didn't they pit Massa a lap later, when Vettel pit. Or a lap after that, seeing that Alonso is already in front of Vettel?

They left Massa 3 more laps than Alonso. That to me shows they tried to go on a similar strategy as Kimi maybe, but to be honest I am tired of these conspiracy theories especially after Alonso was stuck behind Massa for 2 stints. Alonso was clearly faster, as he showed in the 3rd stint, and being stuck behind Massa probably costed Alonso the victory today.

139

Mister your absolutely dreaming Kimi ended up 12.2 seconds comfortably and at one stage was 14.2 seconds ahead of Fernando and just cruised to the end. He had no hope in hell to catch Kimi

To your point about Massa:- If Ferrari were serious about him and Fernando did wisely choose the undercut everyone is suggesting.Dont you think Felipe would have told the team that he will come to stay ahead of Fernando and possibly jump Vettel. Plain & simple Ferrari allowed Fernando to do it & they did not allow Felipe.

140

+1

It was great strategy call by Alonso as he could see that he was losing time behind VE and MA. MA was not sure what to do himshelf so asked his engineer for advice. Also if Ferrari was conspiring to favour ALO they wouldn't let MA pit before ALO for the last stint.

Great race from both Ferrari guys. Good to see them charging behind VE in formation!

141

I can't say I agree that Alonso was stuck behind Massa. I saw rhe race, and a re-run, but to me, when Sutil was up-front, Vet couldn't get passed him, Mas couldn't get passed Vet and Alo couldn't get passed Mas.

Alonso wasn't faster than Massa. If he had thought so, he would have had him removed. Or at least protested over the intercom. And a comment like that should have Ben broadcasted.

142

Could you please explain this somewhat strange logic and how it cost Fernando a 'win'?

Alonso wasn't to my mind held up by either Massa or Vettel or indeed Kimi at the end. It may come as a surprise that Massa out qualified Alonso, albeit by a very tiny margin and ran ahead of Alonso in his own right until the second stop, but he did. Massa is a multiple pole sitter and race winner, feats achieved in F1 by only a relatively small number of very talented drivers.

There is much good will toward Felipe right now and lots of people are very happy to see him finally return to form, following a serious head injury and restore his credibility as a top line F1 driver and championship contender, following a number of recent impressive drives (Suzuka, Austin, Interlagos) before today.

No question, Fernando is a great driver and drove very well today, but please don't blindly disparage his teammate and paint Alonso as some sort of victim.

143

I believe that Alonso lost alot of time in the first 24 laps being stuck behind Massa. I am saying this because after he jumped Massa and Vettel, he was able to pull away, and at some point was 5.3s behind Raikkonen. I think that if he would've been able to get ahead of Massa and have a run at Vettel, he could've pulled away earlier, habe better tyres not running in dirty air and sliding that much. Therefore being in front of Raikkonen, he could've defended the position.

I like Massa, but this race he kinda pissed me off. Once I didn't see him having a proper go at Vettel. Once!

Having said that, if Massa would've allowed Alonso past, I don't know if Alonso could've done anything against Vettel. But Alonso was much faster than Massa. Their fastest times also show that while both of them had the same strategy. Alonso 1:29.560s and Massa 1:30.239s.

144

Great start to the season with a win from Raikonnen og Lotus, and with Ferrari and Alonso and Massa up there from the very start. And top drivers figthing with different strategies. A dry race without safety car, and then grid number 7th og 5th takes 1st & 2nd is promising.

145

James.

We really need to get to the bottom of Webbers bad starts. Does the teacher need to send him to the naughty corner to do it 100 times so he learns how to do it properly??

It's killing us Australians, one race at a time!

146

Yes software glitch. Maybe. Also must have been a software glitch the last 20 bundeled starts also. It's costing him world champion status peeps..

147

Do drag cars have 2 hand controlled clutches? One to put the car in motion, and one to put the power down (i would like to know how precise a driver has to be, and the gains found lost during a start if not timed well - like releasing a clutch in your road car - and the comparison to vettels starts)... red bull are shooting themselves in the constructors foot if they don't help their old man get off the start line like vettel. If webber was really that bad,and every costly start was his own fault you'd sack him.

148

It seems he had some software/clutch issue but wondering why always he gets that?

149

I guess it's in his head at this point. But this is another instance when F1 can benefit from examining other types of racing. Watch an NHRA meet; that's a master class in standing start technique.

You're right, Warwick: Webber should practice (at least) 100 runs at Santa Pod (I don't know of any other drag strips in the UK) over and over again - tutored by one of the top English drag racing teams. That, or he should watch a lot of John Force, Antron Brown etc. on YouTube...

150

and stick a couple of drag tires to the back of his car... sounds like a plan...

151

I like Webber but quite simply he should be sacked if he isn't capable of having a reasonable start. Time and time again he drops 4 or 5 places at the start and it's been going on for years now.

I can only assume that this suits Red Bull as it gets him out of Vettel's way when he does qualify near to him.

152

An ECU error meant that he had to start without telemetry and KERS. No wonder he went backwards at the start.

153

I saw Marko tweaking it with a hammer.

154

A driver as experienced as Mark Webber doesn't need to be told the fundamentals of how to start a car. In this case from what I've heard there was a software issue and he had no KERS (which nowadays seems to be a feature only added on the #1 Red Bull) at the start of the race. Blame Red Bull if anything.

155

I agree mate. I'm a Webber fan butI dont buy into these electronic issues and other such BS that they say each time. The guy has like 200 GP's to his name, surely he should have it down by now... How many of the backmarkers / rookies have the same problem every meeting? Not bloody many. He should save a set of options each quali and not bother with Q3. Start from 10th with a set of tyres in hand. Let me know when you figure it out mate 😉

156

Love your work Glenn. My point exactly. I might go the the closest car park after hours one night, video tape it and send it to him. Surely that would work? 🙂

157
Jumpy O' VeRbUmP

C'mon, Jenson - get a grip!

158
Bring Back Murray

I think you forgot to mention his team too

159

Come on peeps, this is not a driver issue at this stage, its an engineering one. The car is 3s off the pace in quali trim and 1,21m off the pace through the last race. McLaren where only 35s behind Mercedes who where 45s off the pace. Not even the second coming of Senna (LouLou) could have done much better. The design of the new car is a troublesome one just now but they will recover.

160

Hahaha. That's exactly what all the Jenson fans said last year when Jens hit the skids and was struggling to get into Q3 and scoring virtually zero points:

"This isn't a Jenson problem. Oh no, this is an engineering problem".

Yeah, right! And all the while Lewis was scoring heavily, beat him after starting dead last, and even lapped him.

It makes no sense to me. If Jenson was that awful last year - through no fault of his own, apparently - but Lewis was strolling it in an identical car, how could it have been an engineering problem then? And why should we believe it is an engineering problem now? Go figure.

Or maybe it is Jenson's fabled set-up skills letting him down. The self-same mastery that required him to use Lewis's data last year. Yeah, he's a black belt, sixth fan in setting up a car, that guy.

161

Im not a Jenson fan but in Melbourne 2012 Jenson in the race was faster than Hamilton and pulled away from him, a flag to flag win, so the problem is the car, Perez was woeful though.

162

If ROS hadn't retired Maccas would be out of the points today. Guess Lewis' move was inspired, with hindsight.

163

and if hulkenberg had started

164

Absolutely, I was just wondering where were all the doomsayers gone...

Lewis was sublime, and Kimi, well as usual.

We are so lucky to be able to wacth them race!

165

The two best racers since the start of the century - I would add fernando but he just never stops talking his car down and himself up.

166

Should be. "Get grip!" 😉

167

It would have been interesting to see a Ferrari commit to two stop strategy as to how it would have gone. The first stop was earlier than you could go - the Ferrari wasn't losing time to the Lotus at the end of the first stint, but both cars were reacting to Vettel as the leader on a three stopper. The second stop for Alonso was early to jump Vettel and then a hard out lap to ensure he got ahead as Alonso needed to get ahead of Massa and Vettel, so that meant he needed around 1.5 seconds on the out lap.

The final stint for Alonso was initially driven by the need to make up ground on Raikkonen, as there was a lot of time to make up - it probably wasn't optimal for time, but to pass he needed to make up the gap.

Raikkonen could be more measured as in his race he was never really racing anyone around his pit stops, so he could focus on the strategy. Ferrari in contrast were fighting small battles at the first two stops with Red Bull.

In running a three stop race the Ferraris were also compromised by being held up by Vettel for 20 laps. So overall I feel Ferrari may have been beaten by Lotus on strategy and Vettel's and Sutil's track position more than through performance and tyre usage.

168

A lot of interesting ideas there Martin.

169

Interesting to see that Alonso, who spent time in the dirty air for half the race thought two stops was impossible and Pat Fry thought that may be it was. No idea which one is right - Fernando has the feeling of the tyres, but he committed to a strategy of racing Vettel rather than being a bit more conservative.

Alonso's comments on beating Vettel are interesting in another way too. He may feel that Melbourne with its low grip surface hurts the tyres more than gripper tracks. If the tyres are sliding, cars with more downforce - which is usually picked by qualifying pace - will hurt their tyres more as the greater load wears more of the surface. So long term he might think it is still advantage Red Bull, rather than on face value the Lotus looking the favourite with its ability to save a stop or undercut everyone else.

170

Given that it is known that the Melbourne track is low on grip, I would think that to it would have been a good plan to:

1 – Get into Q3

2 – Near the end of Q3 switch to a new set of super softs, just scruff them and park the car.

3 – Whatever happens at the start, stay out of dirty air to maximize the length of your first stint.

4 – During stints 2 and 3, if you have to pass a car, get on with it – do not spend lap after lap in his dirty air.

It seems to me that only one driver achieved all four of the above and he won the race. Well Done Iceman!

171

This.

172

Lovely hindsight 🙂

I would suggest that Kimi's qualifying lap was more than scrubbing the tyres though. Getting in front of the Mercedes would be desirable.

173

But Kimi sat the fastest lap. That's not strategy. That's speed

174

If you look at all the long run data from pre-season testing, the tyre degradation generally exceed the fuel effect. For the Lotus to set its fastest lap three laps from the end suggests that the strategy put Kimi a long way in front and he was able to cruise initially.

On pure one lap pace it looks to me as though the Red Bull, Ferrari and probably Mercedes are faster and this is reflected in the speed immediately out of the pits.

However, consider if Ferrari had run Alonso on a two stop strategy and just let Massa race Vettel. Alonso had track position over Raikkonen. If Ferrari didn't have both drivers racing Vettel, we may have seen a different tyre management story from Ferrari.

My point in part was not so much the result, but a comment on Ferrari's strategy. I took from the Rob Smedley-Massa radio exchange that a two-stopper was considered a plan b. By racing Vettel initially that made it unworkable. The three stop race was generally considered the fastest way if you had clear air prior to the race. However, none of the three stoppers had that, unlike Kimi and Adrian.

It may well have been that with a two stop race Kimi would pass Fernando in the last stint due to tyre related performance, or successfully under cut at the second stop and hang on to win.

175

I think you are discounting the fact that Kimi had to pass Webber + 2 Mercedes in the first stint that could not have been easy with 150+Kg of fuel and worn sup softs. Theres no point referring to Barcelona-that counts for naught now.

I think also you are discounting the fact that the Lotus was able to do more laps after the first stop and still gain ground on chasing Sutil then eventually passing him on the second stop-which was not an easy feat.

Raikkonen had his work cut out and had to catch and pass a few cars. But he managed to do so because the Lotus was well balanced and he knew how to use it. Your right in so far as the Ferrari is very quick over 10-15 laps but at 20+ laps the Lotus in the hands of Kimi is untouchable at this stage. You dont win races on these tyres by being fast over 1 lap or 10 as we've just seen. I fear Ferrari may work out the set up sooner rather than later though and the higher speed circuits will suit them and the Bulls better I believe.

176

And he did quite a few nice overtakes on track too.

177

It was a good race, sad to see Mark Webber suffer a loss of KERS again (conspiracy anyone?) and Dan Ricciardo retire from the race. It was even better when Finger Boy wasn't able to raise the golden finger in question.

Star of the race was Sutil - simply put, nobody expected him to lead for a fair portion of the race and actually pull away from the leaders on worn tyres, very impressed!

178

Adrian finishes the race only 2 seconds ahead of his teammate, yet he is the star of the day, and Paul isn't even mentioned.

It doesn't matter where you are during the race. What matters is where you are at the checkered flag.

179

I think Force India would disagree. As some one else mentioned. Sutil provided FI with some quality performance TV coverage time 🙂

180

not to mention he was mixing it with the best with his speed and the big teams will have notice that and maybe keep an eye on him for a future driver in a good car

181

Yes and no Jeff.

Di Resta drove a solid, if unspectacular race. Sutil was superb, not to mention keeping the leaders behind him even when he was on older tyres while on his first stint. It was a magnificent drive that was spoiled by the teams lack of knowledge as to how bad the drop off was on his SS tyres.

Without that, Di Resta was blown to the weeds by his team mate.

Paul has his work cut out for him this year. He lost to Hulk last year and if he loses this year to Sutil after taking a year out of the sport, then maybe Di Resta just isn't good enough. He is solid, but will never be a WDC in my opinion. Not quick enough, not clever enough, not good enough.

On an aside, great drive from the Iceman.

Makes this potentially a very interesting season now.

182

True! Shows that the gap between the tires is massive. Great for action on track!

183

Didn't' t he have the Medium tyres on for most of the early part of the race. It seems those had fairly good life and all the guys in front had to pit after 7-10 laps while he could keep pushing. But when he switched to the SS tyres....

184

Yeah that was an intense strategic battle up and down the field and I have to say, I was pretty surprised Kimi was able to come through the way he did.

Also was pretty surprised by the respect and talent shown by all drivers so much so, they kept the safety car away.

The Ferraris looked pretty rapid and if it wasn't for Kimi's 2 stops, Alonso had this in the bag easily.

Also the signs are that Massa hasn't lost his late 2012 form so it will be a nice battle between the Ferrari pair.

As for Sutil, very good drive (albeit thanks to not making it to Q3), he really gave the team's sponsors their money's worth

Maybe the strategic report will shed more light on this but it appears Kimi owes Sutil a thank you card for he held the competition back really well.

Last but not least, it Lewis appears wasn't joking when he said the car lacks downforce. Yes, in race trim, the team is back to being behind the 3 musketeers and just ahead of the midfield.

P.s.

The early signs are that Kimi will be the 2013 world champion.

185

I saw sutil pulling away from Vettel while in the worn medium tires, while Vettel, Alonso were in new medium tires.

186

its early days yet,have to see what lotus is like in the heat.

i think alonso will be smiling tonight,

his car is fast, he wasnt that hard on his tyres.2 stop he would of won easy.

187

Brendan if Ferrari could 2 stop they would have.

How could Ferrari win easy if Fernando on 5 laps Fresher mediums lost 7 seconds to Kimi who set the fastest lap at lap 57.

He had two chances "Buckleys & None" look it up sunshine

188

"2 stop he would of won easy."

Really? if that was the case why didn't Ferrari just implement a two stop strategy and have a Alonso win.

The fact is the Lotus was quick and easy on its tires. At this point it seems that Lotus is the team to beat.

189

They were racing Vettel. You can tell, because Alonso did only 10 laps in the second stint. Also, Kimi never had traffic ahead, Massa and Alonso were in dirt air all the time. The Lotus is the easiest car on its tyres, but they won because an inspired strategy wich nobody noticed, and that needed Vettel destroying his tyres and holding the ferraris. It would be a great surprise if they win next race IMO.

190

Massa should have won this race (I think he wasn't loosing time with Kimi while following Vettel), but he panicked when Ferrari split strategies. So Ferrari did the best job, Massa should trust the team, or Ferrari will have to give the winning strategy to the guy who does. Anyway his defence against Alonso in the opening laps was really impressive.

This year we could have an epic battle for the championship, I think the performance gaps between RB, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes are smaller than ever and the midfield is really close too. Let's hope McLaren joins the party sooner than later.

191

Concur that 'Kimi will be the 2013 world champion' as all circuits are almost identical to Melbourne and all teams have now stopped development on this year's car in order to focus on 2014.

192

Hence the "early signs" qualifier. If Lotus can be so kind to their tires, in the cold (that was a problem for them last year), then it looks good for them. But who knows, maybe they will suffer in the heat (where they were good last year) this year.

Then again, have to wonder why Kimi was able to dial the car in, but Grosjean wasn't. Grosjean finished between the McLarens ... not good at all.

But as you intimated, the view in the paddock is that Lotus might be hampered in the development race this year, b/c of budget. That theory sounds good, but wouldn't surprise me if it turned out to be wrong, at the end of the year.

193

He meant the history/statistics of Melbourne winners going on to win the championship

194

Dai Dactic wrote:

March 17th, 2013 at 3:12 pm

No – ‘early signs’ indicates a subtle shift from hard-data to supposition.

Very Funny and true.

195

No - 'early signs' indicates a subtle shift from hard-data to supposition.

196

Great drive by Kimi, very happy for him, well deserved. The guy has not touched (by error) an other car since he is back, however battled through the field many times. Also, he is getting up to old-Kimi speed again. Hope, that Lotus can give this guy a strong car for the whole year, because he is one of the most talented driver ever.

197

Onya Peter you are spot on !

198

He drove into ALONSO last year....

199

You are taking a pounding on this. General consensus is that was Alonso's fault.

And yes it cost him the championship in the end

200

It's also ancient history now

2013 has started, let's move on!

201

Oh for crying out loud - it was a start incident. They happen.

202

Actually he took out ALO on that occation...but did everything and managed to avoid making the same thing to his good friend VET, in an almost identical situation on first lap of BRA.

203

Except he didn't. Kimi just forgot to put some extra tarmac on the side of the track so he could have moved over further.

In Brazil he forgot to open the gate.

Kimi has promised to be better prepared this year.

204

We were watching different races? Watch the replay - it's easily found on Youtube. Alonso came all the way across the track and guess what? Kimi did not choose to drive on the grass on his behalf.

205

Hmmmm, I respectfully disagree - Alonso drove into Raikkonen.

206

Well, not exactly!

207

I take it you're referring to Japan - in which case, alternatively, you could argue that Alonso squeezing him off the track at the start wasn't a very clever idea. F1 cars can't disappear into thin air, after all. For me that was more an error of judgement by Alonso than a mistake by Raikkonen, and on balance I'd say most pundits have taken a similar view.

208

Funny, from my heavily biased viewpoint Alonso drove into Kimi. 🙂

209

Wrong. Watch it again. Alonso drove into Kimi.

210

Not the view of most I would say. Most would say that Alonso didn't give Kimi enough room on that side, which led to Kimi hitting the grass, then clipping Alonso when he corrected to get back on the track.

I agree with Peter that Kimi is one of the fairest racers out there. And contrary to some views out there, I would put Hamilton in that category as well. Their battle together was very fair and well raced. Both gave each other room; both didn't try to push the issue.

It was a very good display from at least the top 10 drivers today (I'm sure others too, I just noticed mostly the top 10). Maybe because it was the first race, and people just wanted to get off the mark with a clean race, but hopefully we'll see it thru the year.

211

Alonso drove into Kimi!

212

What a biased comment, Alonso drove himself out, you casnnot squeeze people to the grass. I twas his only mistake and it cost him the championship.

213

Alonso did!

214

you mean alsonso drove into him in japan

215

Alonso moved over when Kimi was already alongside, Raikkonen went as far left so had nowhere else to go.

216

No Alonso drove into him

217

disagree with that! 🙂

218

Ben Edwards said Vettel was told he had no telemetry on the formation lap and now apparently Webber had no telemetry or KERS which hurt him at the start.

Same old problems for Red Bull, Webber has lost KERS all too often

219
Bring Back Murray

Amazing how they still can't sort Webber's KERS problem after all this time isn't it. Wonder if Webber is going to have another year in him after tihs season...

220

Well ERS is coming next year and will be a lot more important...no point keeping him if KERS is allergic to him 😛

221

It's a real mystery why NOBODY asks Webber about his starts and his KERS.

222

I hate conspiracy theories but it does seem mark gets KERS failure every other race for the past few years. Helmut must have that voodoo remote with the webber power down button handy again...

223

Now regards the topic of who has got the fastest car, it appears Abu-Dhabi gave us the first clues i.e.

Abu-Dhabi 2012

1st - Kimi

2nd - Alonso

3rd - Vettel

4th - Jenson

So taking that into account, it appears Lotus have the fastest car but recalling how close that race was, it will be pretty close between the 3 teams possibly with Mclaren joining them later on as the 4th fastest team.

Also the winner of Abu-Dhabi wins the WDC title the following year (with the exception of Lewis in 2012)

224

Lewis was fasted in Abu Dhabi until his car failed.

225

End of race was no where as close as Australia 2012, seems like some teams have considerable advantage compare to last year.

226

But McLaren (at least with Lewis) had the fastest car in Abu Dhabi, no question.

227

I remember you giving these predictions and some thought that it was crazy.... hope the WDC prediction is true!

228

goferet's game is to make a different championship prediction every week at the begininning of the season.

One of them is bound to be right. Alonso, Kimi and Vettel are the only drivers with a shot at it this year.

Would love to see Kimi win it but am crossing my fingers that the team won't run out of money/development half way through the season.

229

It's great to see Kimi and Lotus getting out of the blocks so well. It adds another dimension to an already intriguing season. One can only hope that Lotus can keep up in the developmental race and that both Mercedes and, in particular, McLaren, get up to speed sooner rather than later to make this another classic season.

230

I thought Mercedes had a decent race. They tried for the two-stopper, but couldn't pull it off. Even if they had, they would've been behind Kimi, he was unstoppable today.

Feel bad for Rosberg with the electrical failure. Finishing races is of critical importance in today's F1.

231

My first big congratulations goes to Sutil and Force India. Nobody expected anthing very important from them. And they did an amazing job. They finished ahead of McLaren. Who would have thought????

Kimi came up winning with a fantastic job. Great team work and strategy.I hope they can make it last to the end of the season. Way to go Kimi!!!

🙂

And yes Ferrari is there. Big turn around compare to last season Oz race. If Alonso is as good or better than last season and the car keeps developing in the right direction they are serious candidate. They need to find the right tyres management and strategy. At least for this week they lead the WCC.When was the last time we saw that? Like 3 years ago or so.

Speaking of tyres I was surprised to see Vettel strugling too much. He never find the right pace

Lewis did all he could but the tyres and the pace aren´t there yet. But I can see Mercedes winning a race in the near future. They need to keep a close eye in reliability.

232

I fail to understand what was special about Sutils performance. My rant is more on the rule that allows for the drivers starting outside of the top 10 to allow for an extra set of tires and start on a choice of the compound. Any reasons why this was made so? Perez built a name for himself last year failing to qualify into Q3 and speeding through the last quarter of the race on a new set of tires, and he is getting shown up in what he can do against Button in the McLaren. The rule disadvantages anyone starting from 6-10 positions in the race order.

233

Even worse is the rule that they have to use both compounds but you can see why the rule is in place.

Imagine Sutil's race if he was able to use mediums for all 3 stints.

234

Sutil missed out most of the winter testing and an entire season. He drove like bussines as usual.He seems to be in top for. He even got in the mix with Vettel and Alonso leading the race for several laps.

I don´t know about the set of tyres rule. My guess is it´s a little extra help for slower teams so they have an extra chance to score some points. I don´t think any driver wants to start in P11. They would like to be P1 a lot more that´s for sure

235

Do you really think that if for some reason the driver in P10 is Vettel the driver in P11 has a huge advantage?

It will depend on who is in P10 and who is in P11. Maybe the guy in P10 dedices not to try Q3 for the top 3 places because he knows it´s impossible. So he is saving a set of tyres for the race. Mercedes did this last year several times.

236

Also, if you are starting on a strategy to pit after the drivers before you pit, you will be leading the race. Its simple. I agree that he was able to keep them behind, but remember Vettel dint have the straight line speed of Sutil's Merc engine to make a pass despite the DRS.

237

I said that the rule for Q2 qualifiers that annoys me. It puts the guy in the 11th place in a huge advantage against the 10th qualified driver

238

They'd all take p11 over p10 though

239

A good fun and interesting race, but, as ever, it tells us little about the season ahead... However, the Merc is competitive, Sutil had a great comeback, abeit slightly spoiled when his luck ran out, Hamilton too almost had a great result, did exceptionally well at tyre management.

Maldo was poor, Bottas promising, but old Webber was "Aussie Grit" as usual.

240

Magnificent race, looks like we are in for yet another great season, but team orders are already out there in a disguised manner with Webber's unexplainable technical issues and Massa's late pitting...

241

Webbers issues, as I understand it, were a failed KERS on the grid and a telemetry issue on the grid. He set a fastest lap at one point so I assume the KERS was intermittent. I think everyone suffered telemetry issues at some point over the weekend. The McLaren supplied electronics package thingy is kinda flaky at the moment.

Re Massa, pure conspiracy... Didn't he say at one time over the radio, "what are you doing to me"?

242

New season, same old conspiracy theories...

243

Gr8 race by Kimi!!

Although Melbourne is not a definite indicator of pace, as per me the teams in terms of pace look like

Qualifying- : 1)RedBull 2)Mercedes 3) Ferrari 4) Lotus 5) Force India nd so on

Race-: 1) Ferrari 2) Lotus 3) Redbull 4) Mercedes/Force India

Eagerly waiting for Melbourne!!

244

Err! Melbourne is done, sir!:)

245

hey guys..tat was a typo , meant Malaysia 😛

246

I think for the race (this race) you have to have it:

1)Lotus 2)Ferrari 3)RBR 4)Mercedes 5)FIndia

Y'mean Malaysia?

247

James, were Mercedes and Red Bull set up for a wet race?

248

Excellent! unfortunately I think Lotus will not match rivals in development potential already after one-two-three races, let's hope this is wrong point..

249

Hi James,

I don't think Massa matched the Spaniard at all through the race. Yes, Massa was competitive but slower than Alonso.

Massa was being hunted by Alonso in the first two stints and once Alonso had the jump on him, Massa just faded away in comparison to his team-mate.

Even outqualifying Alonso was down to Alonso not using his DRS in the final lap.

If one were to recall, the Lotus was very strong in Australia last year as well, so it isn't a huge surprise for them to right-up there.

I think with no trick "aero" concepts to follow this year, Lotus can be genuine contenders and I would love to see a Kimi vs. Fernando duel.

Red Bull is a team that will fight back hard. And I still think they are the favourites for the Constructors' Title.

250

Massa was stuck behind Sutil for a considerable portion of the race, don't forget. Up to that point, he had the measure of Alonso and was pulling away from him at times. The decision to pit earlier was what made the difference. Beyond that, there wasn't much between them at all.

251

If Massa can keep his Momentum, it will be Ferrari's WCC

By the looks of it.

252

I have to agree Doobs, Ferrari are looking very good for the WCC. 2013 the year Red Bull dominance ends.

253

Here we go, hopefully Lotus can stay with the big boys and keep Kimi in the title hunt. I expect Vettel and Alonso to come to the fore sooner rather than later, here's hoping we have a three-way duel all season long. Kimi's talent deserves another title, if he can pull it off this season it would be the most popular the sport has had for a long time.

254

I think the Abu Dhabi Three will between them be the new dominant force this year [instead of RB alone].

We'll see them on the podium frequently, in different order maybe each time. ..First one of the three to make 5 wins will take the title. No idea who that will be, but there's a terrific season in prospect.

Merc: early impression [and I'm probably very wrong!] :

Sorry to upset Merc fans, but they are forming the most beautiful looking road blocks for a long time, that gorgeous silver and mint green. They will be up there every practice and quali, and speed backwards in the race

255

I think the Merc comments are fair, always dangerous to make predictions after one race but I think they're competing for race wins and possibly third place in the WCC this year (I think Hamilton and Rosberg can outscore Raikkonen and Grosjean).

Also, there were some interesting comments from Ted Kravitz's notebook, stating that Kimi had some new parts on his car that Grosjean didn't throughout free practice, which may have contributed to him being a shade behind Kimi in qualifying and a long way off in the race. Kimi seems to be the de facto No. 1 driver this season at Lotus already...

256

He didn't mention that Grosjean had different new parts on his car that only appeared on Raikkonen's on Saturday, and right up to the race Grosjean insisted he was happy with the car. It really did seem like an issue; he was generally outraced last year, but not to the tune of 1s+ per lap on average.

But I also think Lotus have actively tried to position Raikkonen as the lead driver this winter in several interviews. Probably to take some pressure off Grosjean as much as anything. So in that sense, there isn't anything untoward about any of this.

257

Looking at the race results there are a few very interesting things:

Bianchi's fastest lap was 1:30.454s in comparison with Chilton's 1:32.210s, Bottas 1:30.652, Grosjean's 1:30.395, Button's 1:30.198.

Actually Bianchi's time was 11th fastest in a Marussia. How about that?

258

Yep-I said this kid was a gun driver last year

259

Only his fifth day in the car and manages to be a lap ahead of his team mate. Despite the pit stop strategy that maybe favoured Jules a little, I think we are looking at some real talent. He didn't seem to put a foot wrong during the race either - definitely one to watch.

260

For the most part, it can be attributed to pit-stop strategy.

http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2013/893/7191/pit_stop_summary.html

Chilton final stop - lap 34 ( fastest on lap 49)

Bianchi final stop - lap 50 ( fastest on lap 52)

261

It was set on supersofts near the end of the race, that's how. But still not bad.

262

well spotted

263

Bianchi is quick. No doubt about that. But time was set with SS in the end

264

Impressive! I believe he set it on S/S near the end but still impressive.

265

Quite impressive especially if you consider that he finished a lap ahead of his team mate. One to watch.

266

Amazed at what Jules has been doing in that Maurissia..Finished ahead of the Caterhams convincingly and my feeling is that Along with Sutil he should have been given the other seat at Force India..as PDR after 3 seasons is still overrated.

267
Grayzee (Australia)

Right! That's it, then! I'm going out to get Mark Webber a four leaf clover, a rabbits foot, and anything else that might give him some luck........cos he sure needs something!. Did he walk under a ladder or something?!

ECU issue while on the grid, KERS not working at the start, a failed jack during the pitstop,then stuck behind Button........and none of these things happened to Vettel......bring on Sepang, that's all I can say.

268

I bet it's not bad luck.

269

I don't get all the hype of Sutil.

He did the exact same strategy as Hamilton, but in reverse.

Only difference is Sutils stint on the super sorts, was nowhere near as good as the Mercedes stint.

Lotus and Kimi were unbelievable and its nice to see Massa being competitive.

270

He kept Vettel, Massa and Alonso back for quite a few laps, when they were all on mediums (Sutil's obviously a lot older). They were getting the DRS everytime, yet he still kept them behind them.

This in a Force India. How can't you see that that was pretty impressive?

271

It's not impressive because it was irrelivent because of where he ended up, if he had done the same stint on the super softs that Lewis did, he'd of been right up there, but he wasn't.

So I fail to see how by doing something backwards is anything to rave about.

If he'd had had the pace in the first place to qualify better, he'd of had to start on the super softs, meaning he'd of been on the same strategy as the rest front runners and he'd have had an uneventful race without any hype.

272

Sutil had track position and drove the car nice and straight. Simple as that.

273

Spot on Dan - he finished where he was always going to finish. That's his moment in the sun for this year. - just because he delayed his inevitable pitstop so he can get some TV time for his sponsors doesn't make him a potential race winner as some are trying to make out. In any case his team stuffed up by putting him on the super sorts way too early - they should have kept him out for another 4-5 laps.

274

Great race, What a season this could be.

Glad to see the Iceman shining in Melb.

275

Hi James, I'm guessing you will be doing your further race analysis later in the week? Looking forward to it if so.

Anyway, that was a great season opener. Didnt have to wait much after we knew the grid 🙂 Thrilled for Kimi. He produced a brilliant drive and managed the final stint very well. Only pushed when he had to, didnt take too much life out of the tyres and had plenty in reserve. I wonder how he knew of the gap to Alonso, pitboard or team radio? As there wasnt much to be heard from the Lotus radio during Sky coverage.

One key point stood out for me was the fact that the track was cooler than what we're going to experience later in the year. Yet, the Lotus still went well. If last years trend is to go by, this car should go even better in warmer conditions.

I guess its down to the car being gentle on its tyres, this showed in qualy. The Lotus took a little longer to get heat into the inters.... and the outlaps in the race werent as quick as others.

Looking forward to the next race!

276

Congratulation to Kimi for a fine drive to win the race. Hope his Lotus will race as well in the much warmer weather in Malaysia.

Sutil indeed drove brilliantly and no sign of rustiness being sidelined for a year. I just can't stop laughing when he being shown blue flag when Alonso was closing in on him.

277

Apparently that marshal was waving to his parents in the crowd.......

278

He should have pulled Kimi just for fun of it, and ask on a radio why he is being waved blues 😀

279

Yeah, the marshalls didn't exactly cover themselves in glory blue-flag wise on Sunday.

280

Yeah, what the hell was that? The marshals were waving it at Hamilton too, when Alonso and Vettel were in the process of getting by him.

281

Love it when strategies are split and there is a hare vs tortoise type chase in an F1 race. Outright pace vs long run pace.

If this is the season ahead, what a joy.

Happy that Kimi and Lotus are right up there with Ferrari and Red Bull. But had Alonso not been held up by the Sutil, Vettel, Massa train allowing Kimi to cruise up to him perhaps Kimi may not have had enough long run pace. But that's racing and it was a well deserved win.

Force India the 5th fastest car ahead of McLaren. Who would have thought. Though Force India did end 2012 very strongly. Wonder if Hulkenberg has a tinge of regret.

But I'm sure McLaren will develop the car to match the leaders. Just that it may come too late in the season.

What a start to 2013.

282

If you say Alonso was held up, then for most part of the last year, he was more or less held by many. And he may have won more than 4/5 races. We can put multiple "May"'s.

Just forget it. Alonso despite having a fast car was not able to pass Massa/Vettel/Sutil. That is the fact. And Kimi showed how fast he is by setting the fastest lap in the last part of race. So get on with it.

283

he - kimi

284

Kimi was cruising, no one had an answer for Lotus today.

Grosjean only struggled because he didn't get the new parts until Saturday and had no time on set up.

285

Kimi had a lot left. Fastest lap on dead tyres at the end of the race... Oh he said it all "It was easy"

286

It's a pretty fast tortoise

287

I'm sure Hulkenburg has a little. Though it's still early days, and we haven't seen him race that Sauber yet.

288

Kimi!

Now we have got a season on the go!

As mentioned several times in the past week, perhaps ad nauseum, tire management capability was the decisive factor amongst the top five competitive teams. But who thought that Force India would be one of those teams, comprehensively out-pacing woeful McLaren.

Good move Lewis.

Mercedes continue to look real.

Ferrari are back.

Red Bull haven't shown us their full race pace.

It looks to be a great close season.

Lotus will not be able to win all the races by taking one less tire stop than all of their top rivals They are going to have to improve on their overall pace.

But for now, the best driver is leading the championship, and that is quite alright with me.

Kimi!

289

Good to see the Kimster back into the fight for the WDC. It would be nice to see him keeping up the challenge for the whole season.

Go Kimi!

290
VP of Common Sense

Mercedes continued to look slower than Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus, just like last year. Glory runs in the pre season don't amount for anything. When McLaren get their act together, Mercedes will be right back to being 5th. A great result for Hamilton today all things considered because they don't have the race pace to win and the W04 was amongst the worst on tyre wear during the race. Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus are fighting for the championships. Mercedes and McLaren have lots of work ahead to get their cars competitive.

291

Lot's of wishful thinking in your post - but you're entitled to your opinion.

292
VP of Common Sense

I stand corrected. Mercedes were so kind to their tyres that they went from a 2 stop strategy to a 3 stop. That was their reasoning, right? I could see that if they used more than one set of super soft (because they are supposedly easy on their tyres and could make these ss tyres last longer and take advantage of their better pace) but that's not what happened at all. Super Soft, Medium, Medium, Medium. And in this process they were much slower than fellow 3 stoppers Ferrari and Red Bull. I know many want Hamilton to be a factor in this WDC but the fact is Mercedes are 4th of 11 and there is a considerable gap to the top 3.

293

You got that right! Lol!

Merc was next to only Lotus in tyre management, yet we learn here that they were the worst and some Mystic Meg stuff about how Hamilton realized that.

294

wheres the proof merc were one of the worst on tyre wear?merc did more laps than most on the ss.

295
VP of Common Sense

Proof? You mean besides Lewis's radio communications telling the team that the tyres will not last? Their strategy for the race was 2 stops. They knew they didn't have the pace for a 3 stop race against Red Bull and Ferrari so Merc tried to play the long game and hope for someone else to have an issue and poach a podium in the end, ala Ferrari last year. Hamilton realized very early that they weren't going to be able to stick to 2 stops because the W04 was tough on the rubber. They'll probably improve but they have a big gap to close to Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus.

296

How was the W04 among the worst for tyre wear?

most cars stopped for a first change before Lewis (lap 13) and Rosberg (lap 14). In fact, Button was in the pits as early as lap 4!!!

Of the 19 cars that started the race, ONLY 4 from other teams stopped later than Lewis for a first change:

Felipe Massa Super soft (8) Medium (15) Medium (13) Medium (22)

***Lewis Hamilton Super soft (13) Medium (18) Medium (11) Medium (16)

Mark Webber Super soft (5) Medium (13) Medium (20) Medium (20)

Adrian Sutil Medium (21) Medium (25) Super soft (12)

Paul di Resta Super soft (8) Medium (25) Medium (25)

***Jenson Button Super soft (4) Medium (16) Medium (17) Medium (21)

Romain Grosjean Super soft (5) Medium (14) Medium (18) Medium (21)

Sergio Perez Medium (16) Super soft (7) Medium (18) Medium (17)

Jean-Eric Vergne Super soft (9) Medium (15) Medium (20) Medium (14)

Esteban Gutierrez Super soft (5) Medium (22) Medium (30)

Valtteri Bottas Super soft (6) Medium (18) Medium (16) Medium (17)

Jules Bianchi Super soft (9) Medium (18) Medium (23) Super soft (7)

Charles Pic Super soft (8) Medium (25) Medium (23)

Max Chilton Super soft (6) Medium (13) Medium (15) Medium (22)

Giedo van der Garde Super soft (7) Medium (9) Medium (18) Medium (22)

Daniel Ricciardo Medium (15) Medium (15) Super soft (9)

Nico Rosberg Super soft (14) Medium (12)

Pastor Maldonado Medium (10) Medium (14)

Nico Hulkenberg ------------

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/03/17/2013-australian-grand-prix-tyre-strategies-pit-stops/

298

Thank you for insightful comment.

It seems strange that Mercedes would not have made tire management capability the number one change from last year's car.

I think they must have made progress in this area.

But now we see that one team, with a comparative advantage in a particular area, strategically decided to allocate resource to continuing to develop this area of the car's performance.

Lotus look strong now because they put the effort into this area, and with ANY change to the tires, that has put them ahead, apparently, of the rest in this area, so crucial in the early part of the year.

But their one-lap pace will catch up to them!

McLaren, their in-season development is legendary, but they seem quite a bit further back than Ferrari were at this time last year.

299

Mclarens legendary reputation is because they generally start with a poor car and have to catch up. But recent seasons has seen RBR out develop them easily.

Second point, I don't think Mclaren are any worse than Ferrari at this stage of the season, look at Massa's performances to gauge it.

The real difference is that neither Button or Perez are Alonso..

300
alastair emmerson

Mercedes was not among the worst for tyre wear.

301

Ys, Mercedes made the ss tyres last longer than anyone else. Hamiltons times got even faster the more laps he did. The problem on the mediums was not wear, it was graining, because they were too cold, not too hot. Hamilton mentioned at RTL he thought they got the tyre pressure too low at the 2nd set of mediums therefore he was a lot slower than Alonso , as the latter drove away from him

302

A very entertaining opener, and especially positive after the RBR Q3 lock out. If we have an open championship with three of the four heavyweights fighting to the end, we're in for a cracker!

303

McLaren sure has left the big boy's table.

Right about now Lewis looks as much a genius as Button did with his 2010 move.

304

Funny, because it's in exact reverse order!

305
Bring Back Murray

It's now time for changes at the top of McClaren. And fast. They're suffering from a mighty fall of grace at the moment. Last season was the catalist due to all those mistakes - this season its on raw pace alone.

Whitmarsh must go

306

Isn't it funny how Mclaren have progressed since Sam Muchaels joined them last winter? After all, he had no role in the design of last years car..

307

Very Williamsish looking indeed!

308

R. Denis must be saying to himself, "Is this really true? Am I going to have to come back?"

309

Before getting rid of anyone in your organisation you would normally have a replacement lined up. With RD out of the loop, suggestions please.

310

Alonso may be regretting leaving "Renault"...?

311

Why? Because Massa is clearly showing us he's every bit as good as Alonso when given the hardware? 🙂

I couldn't help myself.

312

Sebee, maybe over a lap he is. Qualifying has never been Alonso's strongest point. Trulli and Hamilton both out qualified him often. But in a race

You could see almost immediately that he was quicker than Massa. Massa defended robustly against him, which is fair enough, but I guarantee that it will only be one Ferrari driver in contention after the midway point.

Still, I'm glad he's there picking up points for Ferrari.

If we assume the thee podium places are the leading contenders for championship honours, then their team-mates are crucial for the WCC, therefore Massa's target has to be beating Grosjean and Webber

313

I'm so glad for Kimi! I hope Lotus can keep up with the big teams when it comes to development.

Alonso already started with 'Red Bull have the fastest car' but it was clear that this is not the case during the race.

In any case, this will be another 2012, which is great for all of us.

314

Yeah, saw that from Alonso. He could be right of course, but at this race, with the current knowledge of the tires that the teams have, the Ferrari was the better race-day car than the Red Bull. Both were behind the Lotus, or specifically Kimi's Lotus.

Of course, others on these boards would, if you substituted Hamilton for Vettel, and the Mercedes for the Red Bull, attribute all the blame for going from pole to 3rd on Vettel's inability to manage his race properly. I wouldn't be one of those ... the RBR is clearly the fastest qualifying car, but in race pace it is not. Or at least not with the current knowledge level they have for the car.

315

Uh? Vettel has shown he has the fastest car. But he strugled a lot with the tyres. Too much graning. He couldn´t exploit the car´s full potential.

316

fastest cars dont get points on Saturday

317

I agree. And that was the reas