2011 Australian GP – Race Report

Australia didn’t offer quite as much excitement as I would have hoped. The reason, it seems the movable rear-wing and KERS combo are taking the edge off each other when it comes to over-taking. Still there were a few notable events as well as an interesting new name on the podium. Not to mention an unfortunate pair of disqualifications after the race.

The Top-10:

Sebastian Vettel lead the race from start to finish with absolutely no-one being able to challenge him for the victory. Lewis Hamilton still ran a solid race and finished second. Vitaly Petrov kicked off the season with his first podium finish in F1.

Behind the top-3 there was a huge struggle between the Ferraris, and the other Red Bull and McLaren drivers. Fernando Alonso fought his way to fourth position, taking advantage of Jenson Button‘s less than legal over-take of Massa. Mark Webber was able to pass Button during the latter’s drive-through penalty. So the line-up from fourth till seventh was Alonso-Webber-Button-Massa.

Sauber took off to this season with an excellent finish with both new-comer Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi finishing on points. However they were disqualified due to an irregularity with their rear-wings. Sauber has contested the decision but for now the two are not in the Top-10 (or with any standing for that matter).

As a result there was quite a big push of drivers from outside the Top-10. Sebastian Buemi‘s valiant 10th position was changed to a very promising eighth after which both Force India’s, Paul di Resta followed by Adrian Sutil, also found themselves in the Top-10.

Golden Pineapple Award:

Jaime Alguersuari of Toro Rosso got the 11th spot after the Saubers’ disqualification though in earnest today was far from a good day with Alguersuari falling way behind already on the start..

Drop-out count: 6

Most of the retirements in the race were caused by technical malfunctions. These included: Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus), Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes GP) and Timo Glock (Virgin).

Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was crashed into undrivable shape by an over-eager Rubens Barrichello who also retired later on due to a transmission problem.

Back of the Lot News

Jerome D’Ambrosio (Virgin) was one of the three new-comer drivers to actually finish the race even if he did so being last and 4 laps behind the race-lead. Needless to say, I was not impressed by his race speed. I was also disappointed by Lotus’s performance. Heikki Kovalainen gained the upper-hand at the beginning when other drivers in front of him fell behind. But as he was unable to defend his position, it’s also not surprising why his team-mate Trulli was finished only second-to-last (two laps down).

Nick Heidfeld (Renault) was 12th and third to last, meaning he was nowhere even close to improving his standings from his botched up qualifying. There was quite a bit of traffic in the back-lot, still, I would have expected old Nick to at least over-take someone. With his team-mate finishing on the podium, this race result bodes ill for Heidfeld but let’s see if he can pick up his performance in the next few races. Obviously the rest of the group who didn’t make it out of Q1 all retired for some reason or another (with the exception of HRT who didn’t race today at all).