Well, the Australian Grand Prix was not exciting at the front, but pretty interesting through the rest of the field.
A big result for Sauber with Nasr’s impressive 5th place, plus Ericsson in 8th was a huge change in fortune from last year, especially in light of the Van De Garde issue. Not sure who’ll be in the car in the remaining races, but I’m sure they are keen to keep Nasr in one of the seats.
Looks like the engine unfreeze did what it was designed to do; help Ferrari catch up to Mercedes; progress clearly made but they still look to have about a half second to get to fight Merc consistently. Still, they will probably steal a win or two when something doesn’t go Mercedes way one or two weekends, but that’s probably about it for 2015.
I’m surprised that Red Bull / Renault are struggling so much; and particularly by the war-of-words between them; can’t see that partnership make it past 2015. Rumor has Horner working with Mario Ilien on their own package in 2016, maybe with Renault intellectual property, maybe not. If anyone can do it from scratch, I’d think it was Ilmor; after all, they created the Mercedes engines of the late 90’s Hakkinen used to beat Michael S. & Ferrari. I suppose Riccardo, as usual, got the most out of the package to bring home the 6th place; even though he got lapped and his fastest lap was 2s off Hamilton’s scorcher.
Shame for Lotus after they qualified so well. If you watch the the first/second corner crash again, you can see that, also as usual, Maldonado is to blame for his early exit by not giving any room on his left. He can clearly see that Kimi is off and coming back on and Nasr is stuck in the between; you have to give room, especially in those situations!! He gives absolutely none, even turns down into Nasr; he’s such an idiot! It’s a shame they need his money and can’t get a driver with a working brain in that car. Notice how Riccardo gives room and emerges clean from the mess.
Force India showed nice pace; gotta love that Mercedes power; and ran some impressive fast laps, too. They should get a nice bundle of points and much needed results payments this year so hopefully they can stay afloat; which seems pretty tenuous reading between the lines. But they’ll have to fight Lotus and STR for sure, but should get the better of it, I’d think. Didn’t it seem that Sainz just kind of let Riccardo go by? Seems to be standing orders, I guess. Not sure how he faded to 9th, but anyway a good drive and Verstappen did well until the failure (engine or gearbox?).
Well, Williams was Williams and they will have a nice battle with Ferrari but I think Ferrari will gain the upper hand as the season progresses.
And that leads to McLaren-Honda! I need to remind everyone that I have said all along that Honda would struggle mightily and perform poorly and I’ve been proven correct. Such a terrible start and I don’t see how they’ll be able to score points all season unless there is another race with major attrition; they are hopelessly slow and troubled; sure, reliability will improve, but with the rules not allowing big fixes, they are in for a bad time in 2015. Shame for Jenson and Fernando.