No worries for Sebastian

Sebastian Vettel won a dominant victory in the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. The World Champion led almost all of the race with Lewis Hamilton in hot pursuit, but the Red Bull had the legs on the McLaren and by the end of 58 laps Vettel was 22 seconds ahead, although in the closing laps Hamilton backed off from around 15 seconds and let Vettel go. A fine third place went to Vitaly Petrov in the Renault, a good drive, but one which left one wondering what Robert Kubica might have achieved in the car. Fernando Alonso was fourth, not far behind the Renault but the Ferraris were not as good with the tyres than its rivals. Mark Webber had a troubled afternoon to finish fifth, pulling off after crossing the line. Jenson Button was sixth, a good effort given that he had had to soak up a drive-through penalty after Massa left him with few choices at one point early on. Jenson cut the corner and hoped that the stewards would rule that he had no choice. They decided that he should have let Massa go.

The biggest surprise of the race was Mexico’s Sergio Perez, who drove a one-stop race in his Sauber to finish seventh on his F1 debut, a great effort. His team-mate Kamui Kobayashi was behind him after two stops. Massa picked up ninth after a rather lacklustre day, while the final point went to Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso.

Eleventh and 12th went to Force India with Adrian Sutil ahead of Paul di Resta, while Jaime Alguersuari ended up 13th ahead of Nick Heidfeld who had a very poor race in the second Renault. At the back Jarno Trulli made it to the flag in his Lotus, ahead of the two Virgins.

It was a bad day for Williams and Mercedes GP which both lost both cars.

41 thoughts on “No worries for Sebastian

  1. The Sauber driver pairing looks like a stroke of genius, we knew Kobayashi is fast and spectacular, but that Perez is so fast while being good at managing his tires is surprising. With the money Perez brings, the future looks bright for them.

    Joe, who does the strategies at Sauber? They did some unusual things last year, and today too, and it looks like it’s working out well for them.

  2. C’mon, Joe, give the Russian his due. No need to take anything away from his first podium finish with questions of what if.

  3. It is massive insult to Vitalij Petrov, Joe.
    Even if Kubica is more then good driver, he would be no significantly faster of Vitja Petrov.
    Petrov is fast naturaly, there is no doubt.
    And, I did say so two years ago, when he wasn’t even sitting in F1 car, and then there is not even his manager believe that.
    Just give the boy a credit for what he is done.
    There will be more in future.

    1. Proesterchen,

      At the end of the race you get an immediate wrap-up of the race. No detail. The priority at that point is to produce GP+ as it creates revenues and this blog does not.

  4. Very very happy for Perez and Petrov.

    What’s with Rubens? Silly, silly, silly. That was really annoying.

    Confirmed RBR run no KERS. Horner says Newey wouldn’t compromise his design. Sounds sensible to me.

    I’ve the sinking feeling that the new entrants, all of them, are not long for the grid.

    I actually think Massa is coming back to form, slowly. ‘Least the early position defence.

    Fourth team looks like it could be a good battle in future. Sauber, Williams and Mercedes all showing something handy, all in different ways. They’re all in it if Renault only have one driver with raceday speed.

    It’s just this huge falloff to the back end of the grid that bothers me. Really feels like turbo vs normal asp, active susp & skirts vs the teams who hadn’t the software controls. So i’m wondering what are the differentiators this season. Exhaust systems? Tyre handling (whoa there Perez!)? Dropping KERS for aero? But these markers were fairly evenly sprinkled today.

    The ad man in me thinks also that in the turbo and later dymanic suspension (roughly) eras, F1 was pretty fresh to an international television audience. That, at a guess, made getting sponsor income easier. I certainly remember greater variety. On that note, name sponsors may not be the best way for smaller teams, because of the penumbra cast over who might come in. But the situation is the back of the grid are fairly makeready gunshot wedding affairs, compared with the teams who survived the attrition of the 70s, Pre Quali, and effectively Pre Quali Qualifying for entrant shakedowns.

    Really enjoyed today’s race. Lots of chess playing. I’m remembering when i was a boy and was taken to big chess games, and the suspense of seeing the moves reflected on the big magnetic board. I got the feeling all the teams were experiencing some of that, save maybe Vettel’s engineers.

    Shock! Horror! Racing is more interesting to me than waffling off at a tangent 🙂

    – j

  5. Bit unfair to ask what Robert could have done in Vitaly’s car – what could he have done in Nick’s!?!

  6. Joe – if you get a chance have a look at the in-car of Seb’s pole winning qualifying lap. Have a look at how far that front wing moves, and how low it is through the back part of the circuit. It is especially apparent if you look at the right hand edge of he wing. Then look at any of the (few) equivalent in-cars from other cars during the broadcast. Practically no movement. I’m astonished this car is legal. Reminds me of the Renault rear wing of a few years back that was caught clearly flexing under load.

  7. What could Vettel get in the Renault?

    Same as Kubica. It’s irrelevant. Kubica went and got skewered instead of preparing for his season. So if he was in the car, today, he’d have scored nothing. It’s a moot argument and I though Joe wouldn’t lower himself to it.

    Guess not.

    1. Josh,

      It is a subject that everyone in the F1 paddock was thinking about, whether YOU like it or not . And there is no question that Robert would have done better because Vitaly may well have improved, but Robert was still ahead in the first test before the accident.

  8. Jenson got jobbed. How can Massa be all over the road blocking doing more than 1 move for the first several laps to keep Jense at bay, and then take Jenson off track and Jenson gets punished? What are the stewards looking at? Grid girls? Utter rubbish. Jenson probably could have challenged Petrov for the last podium if not for the drive through.

  9. Joe, and Heidfeld was ahead of Vitaly in testing too. Yet he had a crap weekend and Petrov was ahead, which also happened to Kubica last year too.

  10. Joe – I have a question for you. Buton got a drive thru penalty for leaving the limits of the track when he passed Massa. But on lap 16 shortly after his pit stop as he worked his way back to the lead Vettel was clearly well outside the yellow lines indicating the track boundaries when he passed Button and nobody mentioned it. Why? I watched it several times on replay and see no difference between the two overtaking manouvers. What gives?

  11. Stunning pace from Vettel and Red Bull! Now RB are saying Webber had a chassis issue, explaining his lack of comparative pace? Something is rotten in Denmark! (An old WW2 expression for you kids out there).

  12. Joe, what do you think of Lotus’ (the real one) pretty unimpressive performance? Don’t you think pre-season talks about surely challenging midfield and then the weakest of top teams (Renault) went a bit too far, and Lotus will pay for it PR-wise?

  13. Yep, Turd is right. Seb left the track whilst passing Button and it was a critical move as if he had been delayed at that time
    Hamilton may have exited the pits in the lead. Strange that the stewards missed this (and another similar incident at the same corner).

    Odd that there was no complaint from Mclaren too.

  14. Vettel took a longer route whereas Button used a shortcut. Minor difference for the same rule being broken.

    I wonder if that’s how Bernie came up with that idea….

  15. Perhaps I’m too sensitive, but why has no one mentioned the Ferrari team orders? Massa let Alonso through just after Button took his short-cut. I guess its old news, but Ferrari should not be stating that Massa has a chance if he does not. The suggestion of making Button give way to both Ferraris as a result of the ‘swap’ is a very convenient deflection indeed.

  16. Not a mesmerising race but interesting nonetheless, what have we learned?
    1, Young drivers are better than old ones! Button, Webber,Barrichelo, and Schumacher all had poor races but Vettel, Hamilton, Petrov, Perez, and Di Resta all had good ones.

    2, MaClaren are either geniuses for developing a good car from the testing dog or idiots for producing the dog in the first place.

    3, The rule on leaving the track to overtake needs a bit of fine tuning, I thought JB’s drive through was justified but don’t understand why Seb didn’t get one.

    4, Sauber have a good car and two good drivers, they just need to pay a bit more attention to the rule book.

    5, KERS does not give enough of a performance advantage to overcome the weight penalty (again).

    6, The moveable rear wing makes no difference in the race but does liven up qualifying as the drivers dare themselves to push the button ever earlier on the corner exits.

    7, and finally Sebastien Vettel is going to walk the WDC!!!

  17. Joe,

    Why? Do you assume everyone else will sit there and wait for Lotus? Currently, assuming that DRS gives 0,8 second benefit, Lotus with Heikki would be around 2 seconds off the weakest midfield team (Force India). We can’t ignore the fact, that each and every established team has more resources (be it material or human) at its disposal, and outdeveloping them is frankly impossible in the given situation. Sadly, I think it will harder for Lotus with every race, and when the championship gets back to Europe it will be a hard kick in the head for Lotus, as the established teams usually bring significant updates there.

  18. I thought the Massa/Alonso move was very strange. Not specifically a team orders issue, though it did appear to be set up – but who would think of that sort of move so quickly? It actually screwed up any chance Button had to redress the situation and I wouldn’t rule out that Ferrari did it on purpose to do this rather than to move Alonso ahead of Massa for points.

  19. It was mentioned in the coverage somewhere, but the FIA Stewards had said that passing off the track at turn 4 was acceptable, for some reason.

    I hate to say it, but I thought the Ferrari move was clever. Alonso was pitting soon anyway, so to switch Massa and Fernando would have given the Spaniard some advantage over the McLaren too. Jenson had to give the place back to Massa, meaning he needed to let both cars go… It could have led to Alondo jumping Button after his stop.

    Joe, I keep bleating on about this in my blog, but would like to know what you think of the tyre markings this year? With the car travelling toward camera, it’s impossible to see which compound they are on. In practice and qualifying, the camera tracked so fast to keep up with the car though corners that again it was hard to see – and from the T-bar onboard, at times the car’s reflectionmade it difficult to see. I know it was mentioned in the commentary too, how hard it was to recognise the compounds.

    I understand why Pirelli have done it, but my suggestion to them is to run the company name around the sidewall, like they did on the test tyres from last year, rather than use the corporate logo. There should be more of a ‘blur’ of colour then!

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