Sunday, 17 March 2013

Australian GP

A soaked Mercedes car in the first qualifying session 
Qualifying on Saturday 16th March was so wet that after the first session it was postponed for the morning before the race. Despite the track still being damp, most drivers still posted a decent qualifying time on the Wet tires. McLaren's Sergio Perez took a risk as he tried setting a lap in the intermediate tires however this didn't pay off and he started the race in 15th. Like most of last season, Vettel dominated the qualifying session starting in front of his team mate Webber, then Hamilton, Massa and Alonso.

The track was almost dry by the time of the race where due to a technical problem Nico Hulkenberg failed to start the race. Felipe Massa got off to an amazing start jumping from 4th to 2nd however after the first corner Vettel had maintained his position in first. It was a clean start to the race with no crashes or contact.

The 2013 Formula One Drivers
Experts calculated most cars will go in for a pit stop 3 times over the 58 laps they drive. Vettel pitted at the end of lap 7 meaning that Massa could take the lead however this lasted one lap before Massa and his team mate Alonso pitted. When Alonso came out he was just in front of Maldonado who seemed distracted as he went wide and onto the grass in the first corner. 

After the first 10 laps you could see which cars were going to be strong during this race; Jenson Button's team McLaren didn't look like they were having a good race because their car didn't seem to be fast in corners or in straights. As expected though, RedBull were on the ball with some amazing driving from Sebastian Vettel. Two dark horses seemed to be Lewis Hamilton's new team, Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen's team, Lotus. On lap 15, Hamilton was coming 7th and Raikkonen was coming 5th.

Adrian Sutil who took a break from Formula 1 in 2012 after assaulting someone in a nightclub in China, has returned to the sport this year and he is racing for Force India.
After his pit stop on lap 21 he was coming 6th which was extremely good since he hadn't raced in a year.

Once Sutil pitted from 1st, the race for Pole position was on. Massa, Raikkonen and Rosberg were leading the race however the main action was behind where Vettel was making his way back up the field.

The first crash was on lap 25 when Maldonado slipped on the grass and ended up beaching himself just after the first corner. This caused the yellow flag to be waved (which meant that DRS was also disabled). 

A repeat of some of the practices happened to Nico Rosberg as he failed to finish because of a mechanical problem in the car. He elegantly pulled up on lap 27 where he angrily got out of the Mercedes car. By lap 30 the yellow flag had stopped and the intense race was back on. Hamilton, in the same car to Rosberg, was surprisingly still racing strong and challenging the likes of Alonso. 

On lap 32 their was an eminence fight for 2nd position where Alonso, Vettel, Sutil and Massa were contending to follow the race leader, Raikkonen.
There was less than a second between them all.
These racers were only split up when they started taking their 2nd pit stop.

On lap 42, Daniel Riccardo retired from the race because his exhaust system cracked and burnt a hole in his body work. Other Australian driver, Mark Webber was coming 8th at this point although he was slowly making his way back up to the podium positions.

10 laps before the end and Raikkonen was still leading the race however Alonso was catching up with him quickly. Behind them, Sutil and Hamilton were fighting for 5th position and after numerous attempts, Hamilton's driving skill meant that he took 5th position on lap 52.

Only a few laps before the end of the race you could see how determined and quick Fernando Alonso was; he almost crashed into the back of a Caterham car he was about to out lap. Unfortunately though, the gap was still 10.2 seconds on lap 57 and he had no chance of taking victory of, racing legend, Kimi Raikkonen.

In the past many people would agree that Lotus cars only won races by luck however their win today was definitely not luck. Over the Winter break, Lotus has successfully produced an extremely fast F1 car which should hopefully win a lot more races in the many months to come. It is the first time a Lotus has ever won in Australia and nobody deserved it more than 33 year-old Kimi Raikkonen who returned to the sport last year after a 3 year break from the sport. 
Raikkonen started 7th and amazingly made up 6 places until he reached Pole and then he maintained his position there.