Australian Grand Prix Review
Could the real reason Jeremy Clarkson isn’t so unhappy about his suspension is because it means he can sit at home and watch the Australian Grand Prix? Finally the long wait is over and the new F1 season is about to begin. All we need to do now is decide whether to watch it while having a hot or cold meal.
Last season was totally dominated by the Mercedes team. Lewis Hamilton won the drivers’ title and Mercedes were a mile clear (almost literally) in the constructors’ championship. Will it be the same story again this year as Lewis Hamilton chases his third world title and Nico Rosberg his first?
After a series of testing sessions in Barcelona, it looks very much as if Mercedes will dominate their rivals again this season, at least for the opening stages of the championship. The Mercedes team were highly impressive in Spain even if Hamilton felt ill and Rosberg had a bad neck. They didn’t always record the fastest times but there was one important fact that has to be taken into account. Their rivals were using faster tyres and were still either finishing just ahead or behind the Mercedes duo.
So the new season is about to start in Australia and already the first practice session has seen dominance from Mercedes. Rosberg finished just ahead of Hamilton but that’s something which happened a fair bit last season. Rosberg qualifies well, gets the pole and then finds himself being out-raced by his teammate.
The big question is can any of their opponents close the gap and start to threaten Mercedes this season?
Definitely not in the shape to do that at present are McLaren. They had a total nightmare pre-season testing. Engine problems greatly restricted the number of laps they could give their 2015 car and hardly any at anything resembling full power. Their problems were intensified when Fernando Alonso crashed in Barcelona and misses this opening Grand Prix. Jenson Button races for them again this season but isn’t confident going into this first race of the season. “Our aim is to finish and get enough mileage under our belt to sort out niggly problems. It’s a case of getting out there and seeing what we have.”
Red Bull and Williams both had good testing sessions in Barcelona and look to be the best of the rest. Red Bull driver Daniel Riccardio is hopeful of another good performance on home territory. Speaking about testing he said: “Testing has been relatively good for us. We had a few reliability issues but we racked up a lot of miles and learned a lot. I still feel we have a bit more to go. But there is no better place to do this than going racing. I’m ready to go.”
Definitely eager to do better this year are Ferrari. They had a nightmare 2014 and their legion of fans will be hoping for much higher finishes this time around. There’s been plenty of backroom changes and their drivers are looking forward to the new season. Former World Champion Sebastian Vettel says: “We have definitely improved as a team, so now we’ll see (how much) when we get the chance to put the car on the track.”
So the waiting is nearly over and another season is about to begin. It’s almost impossible at this stage to back against Mercedes.
2014: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2013: Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault)
2012: Jenson Button (McLaren)
2011: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is 5.303 kilometres (3.295 miles) in length. The drivers are scheduled to complete 58 laps of the 16-corner track for a race distance of 307.574 kilometres (191.071 miles); including the pit lane entry, they’ll tackle 928 turns.
For most of the year, the roads that make up the bulk of the race track are open to the public and anyone can drive on them. Turn 4 is a car park for the rest of the year.
Jenson Button has won the Australian Grand Prix on three occasions with wins in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Lewis Hamilton has only won the Australian Grand Prix once in 2008.
The last time the winner of the Australian Grand Prix went on to win the World Title was in 2011 when Sebastian Vettel won the race.
Vettel is also the last winner of the race to start on pole.