It’s good to have Formula 1 back, on the telly for most of you but on the laptop for me. The Australian GP just ended at Albert Park, Melbourne, and McLaren’s Jenson Button has carried over his good form from the end of last season by taking the chequered flag. It was a comfortable win for the Briton, ahead of defending champ Seb Vettel and teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Red Bull’s Vettel did the most he could have done, and benefited from a safety car period to get to second place. In contrast, pole man Hamilton looked dejected and stony faced after the race – he saw Button pip him to the lead at the start and never had a sniff from then on. The safety car period, caused by Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov stalling his car on the main straight, wasn’t too kind to him either.
It was worse for some. Pastor Maldonado in his new, much faster Renault-powered Williams car, was sixth behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso when he crashed out, unprovoked. It was a shame, as the Venezuelan looked comfortable until that moment. Alonso eventually finished fifth, behind Mark Webber. This fourth placed finish is the Red Bull No.2 driver’s best ever result in his home race.
Behind all these men were a big scrap, with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi coming in sixth, ahead of returning ex-champ Kimi Raikkonen for Lotus. The Finn edged ahead of Kobayashi’s Sauber teammate Sergio Perez at the end, while Daniel Ricciardo took ninth in his Toro Rosso. Force India’s Paul di Resta took the last points paying place. STR new boy Jean-Eric Vergne nearly had a points scoring debut, but he showed flashes of speed, in patches.
It wasn’t a great start to the season for Caterham, the Tony Fernandes-owned team previously known as Team Lotus. New recruit Petrov retired with a steering problem on lap 36, and the ensuing safety car period saw Heikki Kovalainen go out with a left front suspension issue.
“Obviously we did not want to finish like that, but after both Heikki and Vitaly negotiated their way around the first corner clash, we were quickly up to speed with the likes of Force India, Williams and even Ferrari, and that’s very encouraging for next week,” said Riad Asmat, Caterham Group CEO.
The man responsible for the Ferrari name being dragged in there is Felipe Massa. The Brazilian was way off the pace battling with the new boys, and ended his evening by taking out compatriot Bruno Senna. That’s no place for a Ferrari to be, even for a slow one, and we wonder for how long more will the Scuderia persevere with Massa.
Click here for the full results. See you in Sepang next week!