AUSTRALIAN GP – BEHOLD, THE ICEMAN IS BACK!


Oh, joy of joys. To see the biggest natural race talent to ever graze this earth crawl back into the cockpit of a Formula 1 car… Well, it just doesnt get much better than that. Not only is he back, so is this blog! By popular demand as they say 😉 We Kimi fans have enjoyed a lot of cheerful days ever since the news of his return to F1 with Lotus. But as the qualifying session rolled on, so came the memories of the anguish and pain that tend to follow Kimi fans.

QUALIFYING

Hopes were up and expectations were high. The Lotus had shown genuine pace during testing so how far up would we see Kimi on the grid? Many a Kimi fan had pondered upon this Saturday. The day when we would finally see the true pace of the teams. Well, it was over almost before it began. With my newly downloaded app that shows the cars position on the track, I could see that Kimi did not have any traffic free laps in Q1. Until the end.

The single one he had at the very end was rippled by a mistake when he went wide at Turn 12. And here comes the heartbreaker. For some reason he thought he had enough time to do another timed lap. The team did not inform him that was not the case. So he slowed before the final turns for another run but the flag was already out. Had he not slowed, his lap would have comfortably sent him on to Q2 – even with the mistake. Result – eliminated in Q1, 18th on the grid that later became 17th due to a penalty for Perez.

Bad way to start his return season. But Kimi said No – I will not go quietly into the night! Not without a proper fight anyway. And fight he did.
I was naturally confident as well. I was never down or doubtful for even a second. Unlike many of my fellow Kimi fans. I did everything I could to cheer them up in spite of the result 🙂

RACE DAY

2 years and almost 5 months ago Kimi had his last F1 start in his career. Or so we thought. Now its go time again. Come on!

The lights go out and Kimi gets a good start from the rear part of the grid but a collision ahead of him grinds him to an almost stop and the Saubers he had effectively cleared got in front of him again. The Melbourne circuit is not an easy track to pass people on and the Saubers would trouble him until the end of the race.

He was up to 14th on the 1st lap however and continued to make his way through the field. Also helped by retirements along the way. Including his teammate Grosjean that had an unfortunate run in with Maldonado that broke the steering on the Lotus. At one point he ran as high as second before his first pitstop on lap 19.

His pitstop was rather slow and was a contributing factor in not making it out in front of Kobayashi. He made amends on that on lap 25 however, when he pulled off the overtaking move of the race. Which can be seen in this clip: http://youtu.be/P1mWDVysg4Y
He also made a nice pass on Massa down the straight. Boo-yah bitch!
There was a bit of contact though which Kimi said slightly damaged the floor of the car and thus affecting the performance a tiny bit.

This clip also brings about the team radio of the day. A furious Kimi raging over why he is being blue flagged! His race engineer calmly responds that it is for the cars behind him. Haha. Pure comedy 😀
I will say this though. I noticed that the marshalls were pretty loose handed with the blue flags. At one point I saw them waving them at the top 3 going by! And then again 20 seconds later for the cars the flags were really meant for. So it could be that Kimi saw something similar and reacted.

Back to his pitstops. They were 24,9 and 23,3 seconds. Compare that to Alonso stops that were 22 and 21,9 seconds. That is a huge difference of 4,3 seconds – just in stops.. There is certainly a lost position or two in there somewhere. I am sure that the Lotus team are aware of this and will work to improve this for Malaysia.

As you see there were several contributing factors that worked against Kimi in the race.
-Bad qualifying
-Good start hampered by a collision in front.
-Slow pitstops
-Slightly damaged floor
-And a steering that is not perfectly to his liking
-Hardly ever free air in the race to let the car run free
-Safety car period that cooled his tires so much that he was unable to keep Kobayashi behind him at the restart. And it was timed badly with his second stop

Not to make excuses or anything – and I dont need to – because his race was brilliant. But all these things add up. And the conclusion is that there is a lot more performance in the Lotus than we have seen so far. We saw a glimpse when Romain grabbed third in qualifying. And we saw great pace from Kimi when for several laps he clocked the same laptimes as the top 3.

After the safety car period he runs 10th after Kobayashi took advantage of his cold tires. As the heat comes back he is clearly faster but there is no way around Kamui this time. On the final lap all hell breaks loose when Maldonado crashes out unprovoked, Nico Rosberg gets a puncture from contact with Perez who could not keep up the pace due to having run 34 laps on the soft compound. That meant Kimi could steal 7th place from Perez in the final corner on the final lap. Great stuff!

Only a few days to the Malaysian GP. I cannot wait to see more of the cars potential in the hands of the Iceman. And no more screw ups please 😉 Go Kimi!

SORENS RACE RATING

6 out of 10. The DRS zones were not effective enough or Kimi would have been higher up in the results. Limited camera time on Kimi also drags the score down. (Hey, this is a biased review, remember?) Some good racing here and there from the other competitors and a fighting return from our Kimi lands the score.

How would you rate the race?

Images © Lotus F1 Team/LAT Photographic

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17 Responses to AUSTRALIAN GP – BEHOLD, THE ICEMAN IS BACK!

  1. Evenstar says:

    Yay!!!!!!! Great review Soren, loved it! However… it’s not biased enough methinks, you forgot to mention the awesome team radio that clearly proves Kimi’s passion and motivation to race even for low positions! 😛

  2. icegirljenni says:

    Great article, Soren 🙂

    I am expecting something coming from Sepang but if the weather acting up I am a bit concern.

    We are in such a rainy season and Kimi haven’t tested in wet before. He has runs far too less lap to even get a proper set up so on wet track seems a bit worrying.

    Nonetheless I am so anticipate to see Sepang! Bring it on!

  3. Karen says:

    TBH I thought it was a positive return …… his sector times were good and yes he had won from that position before but none the less with DRS and things he was having to get used to a good damn job IMO 🙂 Thanks Soren for your review x

  4. Alley says:

    Lololol yes Soren, you effused unrelenting positivity after qualifying *gigglesnorts*

  5. Rave says:

    Which App do you have Soren 🙂

  6. Loved the recap! Accurate and funny. I gave the race an 8, though, mainly because it was Kimi’s return and it was so great to see him back, plus his progress through the field was fun to watch: he ‘rallied’ his way around that first-turn incident, had to duck bits of Sauber coming off of Perez’s car, and willed his way around Kamui despite the knock on the sidepod. Am I crazy to start thinking that we might see a podium in Malaysia?

  7. Soren says:

    Cheers Ralph. And no – you are not crazy at all thinking that.

  8. Yvs says:

    Be bop a doo daa! KIMI’s back and the field is ALIVE! I gave a rating of 8 ‘cos overall it was a great race with lots of action. I thought about giving a rating of 10 for the pure entertainment value that Kimi gave the F1 world with his ‘blue flag’ comment. I’m going to suggest to the FIA that they alter the flag to blue and white then Kimi will have no probs with interpretation…he’ll think us fans snuck onto the track in excitement and encouragement…lol!

    Loved the review! ADORED the bias!!

  9. G says:

    Luv the review, and I was missing it SOOO much! Due to time zone difference I will accept the delay! :p (*kidding*)
    And not biased at ALL imo! I can’t wait to Malaysia and see him in the Podium! 😀
    And like Ralph, I’m giving an 8 because it was Kimi’s come back after 2 years of boring F1 😉

  10. Thanks Soren! review is awesome as always!am i being biased too here lol … now F1 truly rocks w/ the return of the Iceman!.. can’t wait for next race!!!.

    GO KIMIIIIIIII !!!!

  11. Hi Soren! A couple of things to Kimi’s credit: his race/tyre strategy (which was brilliant in case of Maldonado’s misfortune did not happen) was solid in it’s implementation in spite of Sauber’s performance and even if Perez would have made it in front of Kimi on 5th, Kimi would have finished on 6th in front of Alonso… And that assertion is based on times recorded during race, at one point, once Kimi passed Massa and scored a purple sector and the others of that lap were green, he’s race pace was one second better than Button’s (on medium tyre), Sebastian’s (on option tyre) and Lewis’s (on medium tyre)

    • Soren says:

      You are exactly right Cristian. His pace was in fact better than the leaders for a few laps.
      But I think we will have to wait even longer than this weekend to see the true pace of the Lotus and Kimi. So much rain expected that I think it will be a crazy race.

      • The car is not mean with its tyres so I guess WE may even dream on a set of race wins this year, especially under heavy conditions such as the upcoming week end: I foresee an epic battle with Lewis (and this time is not going to be a Spa scenario because Kimi does not have any pressure on). CHEERS!

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