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Australian GP 2015

Two Race Classes - Mercedes then the rest

Mercedes started the 2015 season as they finished 2014, by taking a convincing win with Lewis Hamilton leading home Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel was over half a minute away from the runaway leaders on his Ferrari debut. From the word go on Friday in Melbourne, the Mercedes pair looked like they were in a different racing category as they dominated all of practice and qualifying. Unfortunately for the dwindling F1 audience that witnessed the Australian Grand Prix, we were not given the usual amount of entertainment that Melbourne has had to offer over the last 20 years.
The Mercedes class race wasn't that spectacular either. I was hoping for a intriguing and entertaining battle but, all that was delivered was a champion's drive from Lewis Hamilton. A drive which Nico Rosberg had absolutely no answer to, which is a slight worry. Last year, we saw these two out front by themselves almost every race, always with an entertainment factor to match. Who could forget their fantastic battle in Bahrain? Rosberg has to now go away and think about what he can do before going to Malaysia in two weeks time.

Ferrari Revived - McLaren Decline

Behind the leading two drivers things were just as dull. The Ferrari team looked to have taken massive steps over the winter, which is good news for them and their massive following. Williams look to have made progress again over the winter as well, and trying to consolidate their position of best of the rest.
McLaren have a mountain to climb though, starting on the back row with Jenson Button being the only driver to finish outside the points and Kevin Magnusson not even making it to the grid. These are very tough times at McLaren and I really find it difficult viewing. A team with such a rich history of winning and success being at the back of the grid, five seconds off the pace, is I am sure hard to take for both the team and its fans. I am a massive McLaren fan and more importantly, of their driver pairing.
I admire Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso so much, and to see them given a car that poor is hard. I'm sure that the team will improve throughout the season and for the sake of their drivers, I hope they do.


More Issues for Renault

Problems are continuing to crop up for the Renault power teams as Dani Kyvat, like Kevin Magnusson, didn't even make it to the grid. This has now led to Christian Horner asking the FIA to reel in the advantage of Mercedes. I think this is quite hypocritical of Horner, given the huge amount of success and domination they have enjoyed in recent years. Last year we saw Mercedes march away from the field, but we also saw Red Bull able to take a few races away from them. Personally I think there needs to be a balance here. On the one hand Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, and is clearly trying to show the world the benefit of hybrid cars, which is brilliant.
On the other hand it is a sporting show, and who really wants to watch one or two drivers drive off into the distance and not challenge each other like we saw in Australia. I believe it's the job of Ferrari, Renault and Honda now to get their heads down and do something about the gap before the FIA has to intervene to make it a spectators sport again.

Another Set of Brilliant Debuts

What stood out most for me in the opening race of the season were the three rookies making their debuts. Max Verstappen at 17 years old became the youngest driver to compete in Formula 1 and a brilliant job he did until, unfortunately, the Renault power unit gave up. His performance was cool calm and collected which from a 17 year old is tremendous. I was worrying about my history exam at that age! His team mate Carlos Sainz Junior was just as impressive over the weekend, getting his car into Q3 at the first attempt.
However the stand out driver of the whole weekend for me was Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr. He took his Sauber home to a phenomenal 5th place and in the process, kept Daniel Ricciardo at bay. Ricciardo came into his own last year showing what a talent he is, and to see Nasr keep him behind was truly something. I remember watching Nasr in GP2 and thinking “Wow! This guy can really drive”. You see some guys come from GP2 to a midfield team and not really have what it takes. Nasr, I believe has all of this and more. A possible replacement for Felipe Massa at Williams giving his connections to the team if Massa is not kept at the end of the season? All in all the driver side of F1's future looks very bright indeed.

Report courtesy of Simon Gray

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