The title speaks for itself. It was not a brilliant Australian Grand Prix but it was a decent race and their were still some major talking points to come out of the weekend.
Sebastian Vettel showed us why he was World Champion by driving a faultless race from the word go and the German went on to take the chequered flag. Lewis Hamilton also drove a great race and finished second with Vitaly Petrov taking the final podium place.
The wait for the new season was over as the opening race of the season took place at Albert Park. Just a shame we had to wait longer after the Bahrain Grand Prix was postponed.
But the Australian Grand Prix served us up a good race and qualifying was pretty eventful.
With the 107% rule now being re-introduced, both Hispania drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan failed to make the cut. Should Hispania be on the grid? Many people think not and I am one of those who feel they are turning into a laughing stock.
Team Lotus will have been disappointed that both of their drivers fell at the first hurdle but I’m sure they will get into Q2 sooner rather than later. As for Virgin they filled out the second from last row and many congratulations to Jerome d’Ambrosio for finishing the race on his debut. Yes he finished 16th but to finish the race will have been an achievement for the Belgian.
Nick Heidfeld was the surprise name to drop out of Q1. The German had a torrid qualifying and his race was not much better either. Team Principal Eric Boullier will be expecting better from Heidfeld. However the same cannot be said about Vitaly Petrov.
The Russian had a stellar weekend and he thoroughly deserved his third placed finish on Sunday. Qualifying went well and Petrov qualified 6th just behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Petrov drove a brilliant race from start to finish and he even managed to get past Jenson Button and Alonso on the first lap. Many congratulations to Petrov for finishing on the podium for the first time in his Formula Once career and he certainly proved he can step in for Robert Kubica. Renault will be hoping these are the first of many podiums for the team. Dare I say they could win a race this year?
For Mercedes it was a disappointing weekend and one they will want to forget in a hurry. Nico Rosberg qualified seventh but Michael Schumacher was only able to qualify 11th.
Schumacher retired on lap 19 after suffering a puncture on the first lap. Then moments after Schumacher retired, Rosberg was also out of the race. The former Williams driver’s race was ended by Rubens Barrichello after the Brazilian clumsily went straight into Rosberg to cap off a miserable weekend for Ross Brawn’s team.
One team who will have had their smiles wiped off their faces at the end of the weekend were Sauber. Debutant Sergio Perez drove a fantastic race to finish seventh whilst his team-mate Kamui Kobayashi came home in eighth.
However both cars were found have technical infringements based on the size of the uppermost rear wing and because of this Perez and Kobayashi were disqualified. It was an unfortunate end to what had been a decent weekend for Sauber.
But both drivers can take plenty of positives from the way they performed in Australia. Perez along with Petrov was a contender for driver of the day and if the Mexican continues to perform like that for the rest of the season, he has a bright future in the sport. One thing to come out of the race was the fact that Perez only came into the pits once.
Bearing in mind Mark Webber pitted three times and the majority of drivers made two stops, what Perez did was quite remarkable. The Mexican was still able to post quick times once he had changed his tyres and I wonder if the other teams will take note of what Perez did in Australia.
Also a quick mention for Toro Rosso. Sebastian Buemi qualified in the top ten and finished the race in 10th. But after both Sauber drivers were disqualified from the race, the Swiss driver was promoted to eighth.
Buemi is a driver under pressure but he put in a solid performance at Australia and if he continues to perform like that he could be someone to look out for this season.
As well as Toro Rosso, Force India were able to profit from Sauber’s disqualification. Adrian Sutil was moved up to ninth after finishing the race in 11th. And Paul di Resta scored a point on his debut after being promoted to tenth place from 12th.
2010 DTM Champion di Resta had a solid first race and he gave his more experienced team-mate a run for his money. I do feel Adrian has got a challenge on his hands this year and he will need to be at his very best to stay ahead of the talented di Resta.
It was an indifferent weekend for Ferrari and surprisingly they were off the pace of the Red Bull and the McLaren. Ferrari were expected to be Red Bull’s main rivals but things did not go to plan for the Italian team in the weekend.
Fernando Alonso was only able to qualify fifth and finished the race in fourth position. Felipe Massa did not have the best of starts to the season as he only qualified eighth. He did finish the race ninth but moved up to seventh after what happened to Sauber.
Massa has not exactly been at the races since his accident in Hungary 2009 and I fear 2011 could be another 2010 for the Brazilian. But there is still a long way to go and Massa is capable of winning races.
The big winners of the weekend in my view were McLaren considering where they were at the final pre-season test. Lewis Hamilton put in a sterling performance in both qualifying and in the race as he finished second on both occasions. No doubt this will give Lewis plenty of confidence heading into the next Grand Prix in Malaysia.
For Jenson Button he did well to qualify fourth. But the 2009 World Champion got off to a poor start and then had to serve a drive through penalty later in the race. But still Button came through the field to finish 6th and pick up some valuable points for the team. He will be hoping for better in Malaysia.
If you said to Martin Whitmarsh that his drivers would finish second and sixth in the first race of 2011, he probably would have taken it. But still it was an encouraging weekend for McLaren and they can take many positives from the Australian Grand Prix.
The final word has to go to Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel was on it from the word go in Australia and the German showed us all why he was crowned World Champion last year with an imperious performance.
Vettel could not have had a better weekend at the office. A fantastic pole lap and a race win to cap off a great weekend for the 2010 Champion. Sebastian was simply uncatchable all weekend and the German was totally dominant. That does not bode well for his Championship rivals. Still only one race has gone and there is still a long way to go.
For Mark Webber he will be disappointed with how his weekend went but for some reason he has always struggled in front of his home crowd. Apart from 2002, Webber has not had many memorable Australian Grand Prix’s.
Webber will have been gutted not to have made it onto the front row. Had he remained second after briefly getting past Hamilton on the run to the first corner on the opening lap, he could have gone on to challenge Vettel. But it wasn’t to be.
I’m sure Mark will win some races this year but its vital he bounces back from his disappointing showing in Australia asap otherwise he could be playing second fiddle to Vettel and I’m sure he does not want to be doing that.
But the 2011 season got off to a decent start. Let’s hope we are in for some cracking Grand Prix’s from now till the end of the season.