Formula 1 (2018) | Rolex Australian Grand Prix
Not many suprises on Saturday (in comparison to the winter-tests). The Toro Rosso's were suddenly aware of the Honda-issues that McLaren had the last couple of seasons. The pace is absolutely not there were they want. The rookies of the season Leclerc and Sirotkin were out in Q1, but Leclerc did best ending up op P18. In Q2 both Force India's were out. As the local commentary said they have tried out a lot during the winter tests but don't understand what they did. So they have trouble configuring the car(s). Both McLaren's ended up on P10 and P11, solid performance for there Renault-power. Bottas was the one who made the biggest mistake this first race-weekend. Ending up in the wall on the exit of turn 1-2. Both Renault's ended up in the back. Up front it was the remaining Mercedes of Lewis, both Ferrari's and RedBull's. And the big qually'-suprise came from the team of Haas, P6 and P7.
The Red flag caused by Bottas incident caused a penalty for Ricciardo. He didn't slow down enough according to the officials. And Bottas took gird penalties for parts swap. Already his first ECU needed replacing because of the crash .
So the start / first lap didn't see much spectacle, like normally happens during the opening of the season. Noticeable was the start of both Haas drivers and the homework that McLaren did over the winter. Remarkable was also the lack of launch onboard the RedBull of Max (Verstappen). And later his spin in the first corner. After the first series of stops it was again both Haas drivers who were noticable, not for the correct reasons this time. Both were unsafed released – as it turned out later – and dropped out of the race. (After the race the team received a ticket of $10.000 in total). McLaren in the meantime was fighting with RedBull. As in front the battle went between Lewis (Hamilton) and both Ferrari's. But because of Romain's (Grosjean) position on track the VSC and later the SC was deployed on track. In the SC-period it was Vettel who had the best strategy/luck. After the SC-period it was Vettel who sprinted away, and Lewis was not able to hook onto him. He did however managed to catch him on race-pace, which was already predicted. Unfortantly +/- 10 laps to the end Lewis made a mistake, went wide on the grass that Melbourne has.
During the race it was Sirotkin (appearently because of an sandwich paper of some sort) Ericsson who dropped out early on... After that Gasley, . And then offcourse the both Haas drivers; Grosjean and Magnussen. During the race it was Sainz Jr. who felt sick but he ended the race none the less.
Offcourse it's only the first race and the first result. So we can't say anything for 100% at this point. But it has been a nice first race. Although from time to time it was poorly on screen. The midfield is big – it seems – from P9 towards +/- P16 (counting Haas towards the top for now). McLaren is back in the midfield at least, and during race-pace they can be at the front of the midfield. And who was the driver of the day ? Alonso (which ended up in P5 in the race).
That they now give an Pirelli tire for the fastest lap during qually is nice but they could better address a point. And the fastest lap during the race is presented by DHL. In two weeks time the 2nd race of the season is 'a go' in Bahrain, till then.