MELBOURNE RACE REVIEW – ALIVE AND KICKING

First F1 race that I havent seen live in years and it turns out to be a real kicker. Typical lol
Well, I caught the rerun a couple of hours later and was unaware of the result so it was a thrill and a joy for me to watch nonetheless.

What a race and what a contrast to the race in Bahrain! The difference a little precipitation makes.. I have a proposal to make. In Nascar they have these trucks with giant hairdryers stuck onto them that drive around the ovals trying to dry the track when theres been rain. Well, my suggestion is the opposite. Send out a couple of fire trucks or something and just douse down the track before race start and let it dry up during the race. Even better – for all the new tracks they should just build in a sprinkler system to wet down the track. Much easier. And if the race starts to get dull – turn them on again 😀

SORENS RACE RATING – 9 out of 10
I kid of course. Melbourne is actually a track that always have some passing even in the dry so it was bound to be better than Bahrain. For all the action and battles on the track I have no other choice than to give it a 9 out of 10. The only thing preventing a full score is that we didnt get to see the full battle between Button and Vettel and we were also robbed of a great battle at the end thanks to a certain Australian. But I will get to that.

QUALIFYING
I just want to touch briefly on qualifying before moving on to the race. More precisely the beast that is the Red Bull combined with Vettels skills. I was awestruck when I saw he got pole with that less than tidy lap on his first run in Q3. He had a moment at the end of the lap. He lost some tenths and basically left Webber with an open goal which he failed to capitalize on. Looking at his sector times and considering his small miss he could have bettered the lap time with at least 3 tenths. But he still got pole and its the fastest anyone has ever gone round the Melbourne circuit. Impressive stuff.

There have been suspicions from the other teams that Red Bull have developed a clever mechanical system that automatically adjusts the ride height when fuel is put in. As you may know, the closer a car runs to the ground the more downforce it will produce. But you cant adjust the car after qualifying is over and this means that they have to calculate the ride height for 160 kilos of fuel. If they didnt, the car would scrape the ground for half the race. And that means zero downforce. Red Bull cathegorically denies having such a system. But it does make you wonder knowing the Renault engine is slightly down on power and has the lowest top speed on the straights of all the big teams.

THE RACE
Green lights – everyone on intermediates. Massa has one of his best starts ever. Avoided wheelspin and zoomed up to 2nd from 5th position. Then we saw the Tango of the champions: Button, Alonso and Schumacher. Result: Alonso got spun round and Schumacher had to replace his front wing. No room for anyone really and just a racing incident as I see it. Button was lucky to escape unscathed.
Vettel had a great start too and was followed by Massa and not forgetting Kubica who made it through the mayhem from 9th to 4th position after turn one. Nicely done.

Kobayashi then had a huge off. He apparently touched a car in turn 3 which must have damaged his front wing. It came off a couple of corners later and he looked like a passenger from then on as he smashed Buemi and Hulkenberg out of the race with him. Video of race start unless FOM has taken it off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDCvQ5fWFjI Koba incident at the end.

Would Vettel have won even without his wheel/brake failure?
You know what, I am not so sure. Webber stopped twice for tires so we can presume Vettel would do the same. Judging from the gap Vettel had at lap 25, Button would have jumped him after his stop. Vettel would probably have caught him again but as we saw near the end of the race, passing became increasingly difficult. It was a gamble by Button to put on dry tires on lap 6 and the swedish commentators on my channel called it “idiotic” at the time. But winning a race with the same set of soft compound tires on 52 out of 58 laps tells us a couple of things.

First, Button is one smooth driver. Compare this to teammate Hamilton who stopped twice for tires but singlehandledly destroyed his second set after only 15 laps while catching up to the Ferraris. Had he saved them just a little more he would have had the extra grip needed to make the pass with a couple of laps to spare. But hindsight is always 20/20 as they say. What I do know is that his tantrum over the team radio was pretty hilarious: “Whos decision was it to stop again? Terrible idea!” lol
The second thing it tells us that something ought to be done with the tire compounds. A set of softs is not supposed to last pretty much an entire race. Smooth driver or not. But thats my opinion.

Webber – Hamilton incident.
Video of the tangle here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_89KBM1-sM
I must admit that seeing Hamilton closing in fast on Alonso filled me with excitement as I could picture the battle about to go down. Both the Ferraris were struggling for grip on very used tires and Hamilton had a fresh set on. Unfortunately he used them up a little too fast and passing would require a small miss from Alonso. Something we did see occur from time to time due to his wornout tires. When Hamilton finally saw an opening and made a move on Alonso, Mr GPDA President and dangerous blocker extraordinaire, Mark Webber decided to crash the party. Literally. Braking way too late he lost front grip and clipped Hamilton, spinning him around while Alonso caught yet another lucky break scampering off into the distance. *sarcastic applause* Bit of an anticlimax at the end but still a great race.

Even if the incident didnt deserve a penalty, it was a pretty stupid move from Mark, proving him to not only be wreckless when blocking people. Here is a couple of examples on that:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T_hUrDLcoM Dodgy blocking at 0:12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFKHjkWWfcg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sYV-HRbTXg
This one Im sure you remember: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buArrMpQgGo
He got a drive-tru for this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1OAieo7DzA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_EI1F-GCsI 0:45 and on is downright frightening

Have you got Kimi on speed-dial Mr. Horner? Get the reliability proven and start winning races and he might give it a thought 😉

Big congratulations to Jenson for winning the Australian GP twice in a row. It was an impressive drive and a gutsy choice of tires which paid off. Well done keeping them alive for 52 laps. My driver of the day however, is Robert Kubica. 2nd place in the Renault is a great achievement and it is thanks to a great drive by him where he didnt set a foot wrong the entire race. I really wish we had Heidfeld in the other Renault to truly have a yardstick to measure by. Petrov is not that yardstick. Not yet anyway.

Quote of the day came from Alonso when his race engineer told him that Hamilton was now 3,5 seconds behind: “Ok, I dont want to know” Lol. I have to side with Alonso here. It doesnt really help, does it 😀
I also have to give Alonso props for finishing in 4th position after being dead last after the first lap. Only 1-stopping helped of course, but a solid drive nonetheless. Even if Webber gave him a lucky break.

Lastly I want to touch on the Alguersuari – Schumacher battle. The youngest driver ever in F1 vs the legendary 7 time champ. Major props to Jaime for sticking to his guns, not being intimidated and just racing his heart out. Great stuff. I think this was a serious eyeopener for Schumacher. I was asked if I thought Michael was past it but its still a little early to tell. I hope not and I personally dont think so. Nigel Mansell became world champion at 41. In a superior car yes, but he crushed his teammate completely. My prediction is that there is still some races to go before he has got his feel totally dialled in. Lets just hope Mercedes can develop the car to be fighting at the top. He drove better here than in Bahrain. If it wasnt for his spin I am sure he would have fought for some hefty points today.

Now F1 goes to Malaysia next weekend. Meaning its going to be busy for us race lovin’ Raikkos. Because we also have to cheer for The Iceman as he tackles the Jordanian deserts. Rally Jordan takes place from April 1-3. Be sure to check in the group for news and updates. Remember that the link to the stage times are found in the box in the left sidebar 🙂

Soren asks: Why did the chicken cross the road?
-To get run over by Kimi in his C4 rally car. Go Kimi Go!

Peace!
Soren

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