The first race of the season is always the most eagerly awaited race due to the months of wait we we have to go through but it has finally happened.
I will be doing my best to do a brief review of all the races this season and it will be a similar format as our 5 Things… blogs. So here is the first race and the main points that I took away from it…
1. Haas pit stops
Undeniably one of the worst examples of pit stops I’ve ever seen. It wouldn’t be so bad if hadn’t been for the fact that they managed to not correctly attach a wheel to both cars within a lap of each other! Surely you would wait the extra second to make sure that the same thing didn’t happen again. Regardless of how they could have limited the damage they have certainly lost a lot of potential and very valuable points.
2. Vettel winning
Now of course I am very biased towards vettel, especially when the other driver in contention for the win is Hamilton, but he certainly drove well.
For the beginning of the race he was third behind Hamilton and Raikkonen, it was the pit stops that brought him into play. When the leaders both pitted Vettel decided to stay out and push for a few laps to try and jump at least one of them. As it turned out it was only a couple laps afterwards that the Haas team managed to remove their own cars from the race and provoked a virtual safety car limiting the speed of all cars on the track. This meant that Vettel was able to pit and not lose as much time in comparison to Hamilton. After a very tense pit stop Vettel managed to come out of the pits with less than a second between him and Hamilton who was now in second place.
From there he drove an excellent and controlled race which managed to hold back the Mercedes. Of course Hamilton didn’t help his chances when he missed the chicane on the lap where he was using his stored up energy to try and overtake.
3. Honda under performed
Alonso must be very happy after this weekend. He was in a car that managed to get him into the points, and finish the race which is something that he hasn’t been able to do with a Honda engine in his car. Almost an expectation these days is that anyone with a Honda engine will either under perform or not finish the race, this weekend they delivered on both fronts with one car not even able to reach the halfway mark in the race and the other finishing in 15th. Doesn’t sound too bad till you realise 5 cars didn’t make the end of the race so 15th was dead last.
4. Virtual to actual safety car
Despite the fact that it helped Vettel immensely in his battle for the win, I cannot help but be disappointed by the shambles when the Safety Car was needed.
At first we had the virtual safety car and then a couple laps later they bought out the actual safety car. The decision should be properly considered before they call it out, rather than confusing the fans and the drivers by changing their minds halfway through. I hope that in future we won’t see as much poor decision making.
5. Williams driver didn’t finish
It is a great shame that the rookie Williams driver, Sirotkin, didn’t finish his first race in F1. With more new blood coming into the sport it is always good if we can see from the offset how capable they are as a driver, I can only hope that in the coming races he is able to show what he’s actually capable of doing and gets to go head to head with other drivers, and in a Mercedes powered car it is more than reasonable to expect points out of him this season.
The race could have been more exciting, it was processional with brief periods of action rather than action with brief periods of processional driving. That being said it was a good start to the season (because Vettel won) and showed that Ferrari, despite needing to make improvements, still have a car that can compete with the Mercedes.
In a press conference after qualifying Vettel in response to Hamilton said that Mercedes may be partying tonight but that Ferrari would be partying tomorrow, Vettel didn’t disappoint and I can’t wait for the next race. See you next time!