Slow start from the Aussies – Australian GP 2017
This year’s Australian Grand Prix wasn’t particularly exciting with only a bit of genuine racing action in the midfield and most of the retirements coming from technical problems.
- Sebastian Vettel – Vettel finally broke Ferrari’s over year-long streak of no victories to their name. Vettel’s victory was down to a better strategy but it must feel good for Der Seb to be back at the top again.
- Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton led the start of the race so dropping behind Ferrari must have stung. Still, Hamilton doesn’t seem to have lost his fight which is good.
- Valtteri Bottas – Bottas also broke his own podiumless streak with his very first outing at Mercedes bringing him the bronze. For the first time, Bottas looks like a real contender now with the Finn sporting a championship winning car. Hyvää työtä, Valtteri.
- Kimi Räikkönen – Räikkönen had a mediocre day which he finished off with a fastest lap. Ferrari are at least very much on the same pace as Mercedes, so it’s looking to be an interesting fight for the championship.
- Max Verstappen – Red Bull didn’t have an easy time in Melbourne and Verstappen was unable to challenge Räikkönen. It would be nice if there was a third constructor vying for the championship, so let’s hope that Max was still just warming up.
- Felipe Massa – Nearly retired, but never forgotten. Massa pulled a first for his extended Williams stint by beating out his rookie team-mate.
- Sergio Perez – Force India seems to be at a good pace although Perez really didn’t get to shine today. Here’s hoping the Mexican can rocket his pink car to the top of the results at some point this season.
- Carlos Sainz Jr. – Toro Rosso has also started out fairly strong with both cars on points. Here’s hoping they can give Williams and Force India a run for their money.
- Daniil Kvyat – The much suffered Racing Russki gave an OK performance today. Here’s hoping Dani will chirp up in results this year.
- Esteban Ocon – Former driver of the late Manor team, Ocon has finally scored his first championship point after jumping ship to Force India. This was a good result and will do a lot to justify his position in the team. Ocon has his work cut out for him with a team-mate like Perez. He’s clearly not afraid to fight for positions as he gave Alonso a run for his money early on.
Golden Pineapple Award: Nico the Hülk
Nico’s move to Renault seems to have not been all it’s cracked up to be, with the Hülkster landing just outside the points. Still, daring driving allowed him to pass Alonso after the Ocon overtake.
Drop-out Count: 7
As mentioned above, all the retirements were due to technical problems. Daniel Ricciardo had to start from the pits and two laps down because of a technical issue, then ended up retiring on lap 29.
Haas had a positively disastrous season opening race. Kevin Magnussen rammed into Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson on the first lap. Both drivers likely took damage to their cars with both drivers retiring some laps down. However, with Romain Grosjean‘s engine sending up smoke in the middle of the race, Haas achieved no points from the race.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and Williams’ new-comer Lance Stroll retired unceremoniously into the pits.
After his hair-raising over-take by Ocon and The Hülk, Fernando Alonso seemed to suffer a suspension issue and retired from the race.
Back of the Lot News:
Not much to say here. Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi substituted for Pascal Wehrlein, but achieved nothing noteworthy for Sauber. He was only able to beat the surviving McLaren.
Dead Last: Stoffel Vandoorne – The Dutch driver who gave an excellent substituting performance at McLaren last year suffered the indignity of being the very final car on the track. Let’s just hope this was some rotten luck and not foreshadowing for the rest of the season.