At the beginning of the season I honestly felt 2012 was going to be a memorable year for Formula One. And if the first two races are anything to go by, we are going to be in for another cracking season of Formula One.
Two different winners in the first two races, exactly what the neutral will have wanted after Sebastian Vettel blitzed the field in 2011. However do not underestimate Red Bull and Vettel yet. You would be a fool to write them off and we have yet to see the best of the RB8.
But the first two races have been a joy to watch and I am very much looking forward to the Chinese Grand Prix this month. Bring on the next 18 races.
Without question McLaren could have been celebrating two victories rather than the one. But the Woking-based team have made a strong start to 2012 and it is great to see a strong McLaren at the beginning of the season. Question is can they maintain their fine start to the season.
Jenson Button was simply brilliant at the season opener in Australia and after getting past his team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap, Button put in a Vettelesque performance. Jenson always seems to excel at Albert Park and yet again he did a stellar job in Australia.
The 2009 World Champion could so easily have got a strong result in Malaysia. But after damaging his front wing in a collision with HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan, Jenson failed to recover and finished a lowly 14th. Jenson was at fault for the collision and even he admitted that it was a clumsy mistake after the race.
Nonetheless I can see Jenson winning more races this season and if McLaren continue to improve the car, there is absolutely no reason why Button cannot be in contention for the Drivers title come the end of the year.
Two poles and two third place finishes for Lewis Hamilton. I’m sure Hamilton would liked to have been celebrating two wins after qualifying on pole in Australia and Malaysia. But if you said to Lewis he would be on 30 points after the first two races, he probably would have taken that after what happened last year.
It was evident on the podium how Hamilton was feeling after the Australian Grand Prix. But personally I do not think Lewis should be too disheartened by how he has performed this year. It has been a decent start to the season for the 2008 World Champion and there are positives Lewis can take from the opening two races.
Fernando Alonso winning in Malaysia was a result I’m sure many of us were not expecting at the beginning of the Malaysian weekend. But Alonso’s win at Sepang will no doubt give everyone at Ferrari a massive boost ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.
Based on what we have seen, Ferrari’s race pace has been pretty good but qualifying has been nowhere near good enough. Alonso was only able to qualify ninth in Malaysia although he started the race eighth due to Kimi Raikkonen’s five place grid drop.
Felipe Massa has failed to make it into Q3 this season and the Brazilian is yet to score his first points of the season. The fact that Felipe has continued to struggle to get the best out of the Ferrari will crank up the pressure on him.
He needs a strong result from somewhere and that result could kick start his season. Even finishing on the podium would be a huge relief for him and Ferrari. Massa just needs to string some points finishes together and if he does that the pressure will lessen.
Winning in Malaysia will give Alonso impetus for the rest of the season and I can see Fernando getting stronger and stronger as the season goes on. But Ferrari need to give both Alonso and Massa a competitive car in which they can challenge for wins and podiums.
The F2012 has struggled in qualifying and yet the race pace is pretty good which I find mystifying. It remains to be seen what progress Ferrari make for the remainder of the season.
It has not been a stellar start to 2012 for Red Bull and out of the two drivers you have to say Mark Webber will be the more satisfied. We have yet to see the best of the RB8 but its not as if Red Bull are a million miles away from McLaren.
Qualifying was a major strong point for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull last year but in 2012, Red Bull have so far failed to make it onto the front row. But you would expect to see a Red Bull qualify on pole at some point during the season.
The neutral so far will no doubt love the fact that the reigning Constructors Champions have not had it all their own way and that Vettel has not made the flying start that we were all expecting. There is still a very long way to go and do not underestimate Red Bull and Sebastian.
What happened in Malaysia between Vettel and Narain Karthikeyan was a racing incident. Narain unintentionally ruined Vettel’s race and Sebastian needs to realise that backmarkers are racing their own race as well as letting the big boys get past.
The 2010 and 2011 World Champion will bounce back and once the RB8 is on par with the McLaren, I can see Vettel giving Lewis and Jenson a tough time. Vettel though does have a challenge on his hands to beat both McLaren drivers.
Two fourth place finishes for Mark Webber. Not a bad start to the season for the Aussie and at least he has momentum heading into the weekend at China. It has not been a spectacular start to 2012 for Webber but it has been a solid start nonetheless.
The former Williams driver has been able to get the best out of the Red Bull car and being in front of Vettel in the Drivers Standings will psychologically do Webber the world of good. Will Webber be in front of Vettel come the end of the year? The likely answer is no but you never know what Mark could achieve come the end of the season.
Consistency is the key to winning a Championship and if Webber can continue to pick up strong points finishes, perhaps the Australian can go onto become a challenger for this years Drivers Championship. Only two races have gone and the season is only young but Mark can be pretty pleased with his performances in Australia and Malaysia.
First and foremost, massive congratulations to Sauber and Sergio Perez for an astonishing second place at Sepang. Perez has performed remarkably well since making his debut in Australia last year and he has certainly proved that he can look after his tyres well.
Had the Mexican not ran wide in the latter stages whilst chasing Fernando Alonso in Malaysia, it could have been a whole lot better for Sergio. But lets not take anything away from Sauber. Finishing second was a terrific result for the Swiss team and that result will give the likes of Lotus, Force India, Toro Rosso and even Williams a glimmer of hope that they can go onto achieve similar results this season.
We all love it when the underdog produces something out of the blue. I hope Sergio’s result at Sepang is a sign of things to come.
Mercedes will be looking to score some big points in China after two disappointing results in the opening two races. One point from two races was not the start Mercedes will have wanted but there are encouraging signs.
Michael Schumacher has been impressive in qualifying but has failed to convert those strong qualifying performances into a points finish. But you could argue he was not at fault for his retirement in Australia and only being able to finish tenth last time out.
Had Romain Grosjean not collided with Schumi on the opening lap in Malaysia, maybe Michael could have gone on to get a strong result. The seven-times World Champion was also on course to score points in Australia but was forced to retire from the race after losing drive.
It has not been the best of starts to the season for Nico Rosberg but I can see Nico challenging for podiums from now till the end of the season. If he can qualify consistently in the Top 6, I do fancy Rosberg to pick up some podium finishes. There is cause for optimism at Mercedes regardless of what is happening off-track and I believe Rosberg will bounce back after two disappointing races.
Kimi Raikkonen has made a solid and positive start on his return to Formula One. And based on what I have seen, there is no reason why Lotus cannot challenge Mercedes to finish at least fourth in the Constructors.
Raikkonen scythed through the field brilliantly in Australia to finish seventh after qualifying a lowly 18th. And he was also able to make his way up to fifth in Malaysia after qualifying 10th (Did have a five place grid drop). Like Rosberg, I fancy Kimi to be challenging for podium finishes and who knows even go for a race win.
Romain Grosjean will no doubt be frustrated with how his races have panned out in 2012 but once he has scored his first points in Formula One, I’m sure we will see the Frenchman finishing in the points on a regular basis.
Considering the car is not at its best yet, Force India have done well to score eight points overall in the first two races. Paul di Resta scored points in Australia and Malaysia with team-mate Nico Hulkenburg finishing ninth last time out at Sepang. The in team battle at Force India will be an intriguing one and it is a battle I cannot call in terms of who will come out on top.
Also big congratulations to Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo for scoring their first points in Formula One so early in their Toro Rosso careers. Big things are expected of Ricciardo and to score points on his Toro Rosso debut at his home Grand Prix will have delighted the Aussie.
Vergne performed admirably in Malaysia and was on the verge of scoring points in Australia but Force India’s Paul di Resta pipped the Frenchman to the finishing line on the final lap.
Williams have already beaten their points tally of last season and this years car is a massive improvement from the FW33. Bruno Senna did a great job in Malaysia and was able to bring the car home in sixth.
Pastor Maldonado has had terrible luck so far in 2012 and was on course to score points in both Australia and Malaysia. But a driver error at Albert Park and engine failure in Malaysia means Maldonado still remains on zero points. But Williams, Pastor and Bruno can take plenty of positives heading to China and things do appear to be on the up.
The midfield is tightly bunched up and there is nothing to choose between any of the teams. If Perez’s result at Malaysia is a sign of things to come, then do expect some more shock results. The midfield battle is just as fiercely competitive as the battle at the front.
Finally on the new teams. Charles Pic has adapted to life at Marussia well and finishing both races will do his confidence the world of good. I do expect Caterham to be able to get closer to the more established midfield teams come the end of 2012 despite the poor start to this season. As for HRT, they will be aiming to beat Marussia for the third consecutive year and it was great to see all 24 cars starting the race in Malaysia. Hopefully the HRT’s can qualify within the 107% Rule for every race.
I really hope China serves up another memorable Grand Prix and if the first two races are anything to go by, we are certainly in for another cracker.