March 29, 2010

Australian Grand Prix

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The second round of the 2010 Formula 1 season was held yesterday in Melbourne, Australia.  After two races, I feel like we’re starting to get a sense of how the season is going to shape up and how the new rules will affect the show.

It looks like there are three teams who are going to fight for the drivers’ and constructors’ titles this year: Red Bull, McLaren, and Ferrari.  That’s not a huge shock, but it is a bit surprising that Mercedes (who was Brawn last year) is off the pace so far. 

Sebastian Vettel still has to be the favorite to win the title, even though he’s currently in 7th place following two mechanical failures.  In both cases, he was driving away from the field and looked like a sure thing to win the race handily.

At a lot of the major teams, there are some great intra-team battles shaping up.  At Ferarri, Fernando Alonso isn’t dominating Felipe Massa like many (me) thought he would.  At McLaren, Lewis Hamilton seems frustrated that he may be playing second fiddle to the defending champ. 

Most surprising is how thoroughly Nico Rosberg is dominating 7-time champion Michael Schumacher.  No one expected Schumacher to immediately return to dominating the field, but I certainly expected him to be competitive.  If nothing else, he should be able to get the better of Rosberg, who has shown flashes of talent throughout his career, but never much more.  Now it looks as though time has been harder on Schumacher than we thought, and that Rossburg has been handcuffed by bad machinery to a greater degree than we ever imagined.

The new rule change banning refueling seems to be a good thing.  Races aren’t dictated by complex strategies that announcers have a tough time explaining, and the drivers are challenged to take care of tire wear.  I’m a big fan of the change.

So after a snooze-fest in Bahrain, Australia was a nice change of pace.  Hopefully it won’t take rain to make good races this year.

5 Responses:

gpb said...

What a race! I do wonder if the rain helped make it as interesting as it was. But I like rain races - not just because Hamilton performs well in the rain.

I'm not really surprised either about who is going to dominate the constructors. Vettel is a likely favorite but we'll have to see. He had engine problems last year and now reliability is hurting him again. I hope they can pull it off because a McLaren/Ferrari battle would be dull.

I think Sutil will be interesting to follow. If he can continue to race well, he might start consistently getting points even if it's just at 9-10.

I think Rosburg/Schumacher will stay interesting. Had he not had damage early, I think it would have been closer. Something to definitely watch during the season.

As for Hamilton, I think he was just frustrated that he couldn't get around Massa and then Webber hitting him. He had Massa at 52-53 and I think could have passed him and never did because the track was becoming a mess. I also think he was mad about the decision to pit later and get fresh tires while Button didn't and won. I think it paid off as he was gaining two seconds a lap on the Ferraris but I don't recall where he was when he pitted or if he is as easy on his tires as Button.

gpb said...

You see the forecast for this weekend? Hopefully it's not as bad as last year.

Brien said...

yeah, I don't want them to have to run the whole race behind the safety car, but I do love a rainy race.

gpb said...

No Malaysia recap?

Thought it was a great race. Rosberg/Schumacher might just not even be close as you said.

Sutil/Hamilton was amazing just as the jumps by McLaren and Ferrari at the start.

That's 1 stall for Rubens this year. Under/over of 6 on the season.

Plus the championships are really close. Exciting.

Brien said...

Yeah, that was two good races in a row. We'll have to see how it looks without rain affecting qualifying or the race.

I was really impressed with Alonso's drive on a wounded machine. It's a shame it all ended in tears for him.

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