Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How We Called It (Australia 2012)

We thought we'd try something new this year at F1-Geeks.  In order to provide some perspective and contrast in how things change from year to year, we'll be re-posting last year's events preceding our posts for this year's event.

We think it will be really cool and it will let our new readers experience our witty witticisms first hand.

We figure if you're reading this right now, chances are high that you are a new reader so good for you.

Here's how we called the Australian Grand Prix last year.

And so it begins my friends.  The 2012 Formula One season is officially underway.  A beautiful location and picturesque setting, the Albert Lake Park is a great place to start the series. 

Although first raced in 1928, Australia wasn't part of the Formula One calendar until 1985.  The track in Adelaide was actually pretty cool.  Well maybe it's wasn't that great but I have a huge soft spot for actual street circuits and any place Ayrton Senna raced.  Unfortunately the demand for a race in Melbourne became great enough that the event moved to Albert Lake Park.

Were there any surprises?  Did RedBull continue their domination from the last two years?   Do the new Sporting Regulation classify Alonso's eyebrows as a movable aerodynamic device?

If you've seen the race, read on.   If not, you should, because we're going to talk about results. 

Fred's Take

Having missed qualifying due to a DVR mishap, I was pleasantly surprised at the starting grid.  Specifically a Lotus in 3rd was very cool to see.  I also enjoyed Hamilton getting pole then losing 1st.  Yes, there is a bit of very specific delectatio morosa for me in this.   Any time Hamilton almost gets the best possible result but doesn't, I experience a sensation that warms my soul.  I don't like less cars on the track but I appreciate the minimum requirements.   I don't buy into the "safety" reasoning.  I just feel that you should be at a certain level of excellence and if you don't fall into it, you don't race.  Once you're in, there should be minimal interference.  I hate the blue flags for example.  They really illustrate what I call the Lewis Hamilton paradigm, where drivers are rewarded on track.   These guys are all great drivers and are well rewarded, let them earn it on the track.

While Australia is generally considered an attrition track, the cars seemed to hold up well.  Even Kimi survived some wheel rubs on his car.  I'd expect he won't be involved in too much more of that until he finds himself next to Hamilton which will make Massa jealous.  Speaking of Massa, I was kinda bummed not to see Rubens in a car.  I know he hasn't really performed lately but I always liked him in front of Massa.

Kimi's racing was great and it shows that if he gets better starting spots we're going to see some podiums there.

So how did I do?  The final results went like this:

1) Team Fred - 83
2) Clean Air GP - 66
3) Grid Dominators - 62
4) Downforce Racing  - 52
5) DNF Racing  - 29

I don't expect to remain in the top but with passing machines like Kimi and Kamui, I might do OK.

You'll also notice I don't have a fancy name for my team.   I didn't know we could do that.  I'm taking suggestions.

Some final thought about Jenson, I often give him crap for his unkempt appearance but I have to admit, I like the guy.  He's not even on my F1 Fantasy team and I was still cool with him winning.  He seems like the guy who really appreciates his job every single day.  Good on you Scruffy, good on you.

Tim's Take

At long last, the season has started!  Let's review the first weekend, shall we? 

Practice was, by all accounts, dull.  There's no way to tell what the true speed of any car is during practice as they are all testing things, hiding what they want to keep secret, and generally playing the "keep the other guys guessing" game.  The only thing worth noting was that practice was the first time HRT actually drove their 2012 livery on any track, so they are a tad behind the others.  It's not until everyone drives the cars "in anger" during qualifying that we really get to see what they're made of. 

Qualifying was our first glimpse at just how much things got shaken up during the off season.  The Mercedes seem like they are a notch better, while Red Bull seems like they've dropped a notch.  Ferrari seem to have really stumbled and dropped a couple notches and it looks like Force India Sahara have stepped up their game a bit.  I fully expected Kimi's return to get a better start, but some bad calculations with the tires left him ready to run his fast lap after the checkers in Q1 had fallen.  He qualified 18th, but after Perez got bumped down 5 spots for a gearbox change, Kimi ended up sitting in the 17th spot on the grid.

Filipe Massa has been told by Ferrari that if he doesn't perform better this year he's out.  So he answered that challenge by soundly securing the 16th spot on the grid.  Mind you, Alonso didn't do much better at 12th, but he did spin out and go off the track, where as Massa was just slow.  Meanwhile, the Force India drivers managed to pull off 15th and an entry to Q3 that put Nico Hulkenberg on the 9th grid spot. 

Once we got to Q3, it was most of the familiar faces, with a couple of surprises thrown in.  The previously mentioned Hulkenberg drove brilliantly.  Pastor Maldonado managed to land the 8th grid spot.  But the most surprising was Roman Grosjean, who replaced Petrov this year driving for Lotus, managed to win the 3rd spot on the grid.  I think it's clear that if the team hadn't fouled up Kimi's Q1, we would have seen him up near the front as well.

We ended up with Lewis Hamilton winning pole, with his teammate Jenson Button right next to him.  The RBR guys were clear back in the third row wondering what horrible fate had befallen them, while Michael Schumacher's and his Mercedes were on the 4th spot, with Nico Rosberg down at 7th. 

With the grid all set, the race started off on Sunday, in what I would call a spectacular fashion, in that Button beat his teammate down to the first corner and proceeded then to gap Lewis by almost 3 seconds in the first few laps.  Nico Rosberg had an amazing start, easily jumping ahead of both RBRs and Grosjean, putting himself in 4th after the first corner.  By lap 2, Nico Hulkenberg's Force India was sitting off track and there was a local yellow. A short time after that, Pastor Maldonado decides that he's had enough of this uppity Frenchman with the comical name and he cuts across Grosjean's front end, destroying part of his suspension.  Grosjean's Lotus is out of the race. 

I'm going to go on record at this point and blame Maldonado for nearly every accident during the race.  I dont' have a grudge against him or anything, but that accident with Grosjean was so much his fault and it took that poor lad out of the race so soon after he qualified so high, Pastor deserves it.  We never found out what happened to Nico Hulkenberg's Force India car, but I maintain it was Maldonado's fault. I'm not sure Maldonado was even hear Nico, but it was his fault.

There was one really cool thing Pastor did, and that was to pass Alonso on the first lap.  I don't know if Fernando's car is really just that slow, or if he was thinking "Well there's no way that punk will try to get past me.  Hey wait a second!!"

Now, during last season, and the off season, and the beginning of this one, people have been saying we really don't know if Sebastian Vettel can drive amongst the other cars, if he can pass people and work his way up field.  Apparently these people have forgotten that a few seasons back he wasn't always at the front of the grid and he did just that.  And quite well I might add.  Well, it didn't take long before he was doing it here too.

As usual, there was some awesome racing at the back of the grid.  Sergio Perez who started off on the 22nd grid spot worked his way all the way up and finished 8th.  Very respectable.  Kimi Raikkonen worked his way up from his 17th place start to finish 7th, and Kamui Kobayashi moved up from 13th to finish 6th.  But lets face it, he's insane.  People clear out of his way for fear he'll do something like pull a "Crazy Ivan" and take them out. 

Button lead the entire race (except just after pit stops), and Vettel managed to work his way up from his 6th spot start to finish 2nd.  The final podium spot was held by Lewis Hamilton.  On the surface, it doesn't look all that different from one of the races toward the end of last season, but it really was.  We didn't see a clearly dominant Red Bull chassis with the McLaren team barely scraping out a win.  We saw the RBR team fighting their way up to the 2nd and 4th finishes they had.  We saw a lot of other cars with very real promise, and a couple of drivers that look like they are going to be very entertaining to watch.  It should be a very good season.

One more thing.  Not content to ruin only the race of others, Pastor Maldonado crashed his car on the penultimate lap, all by himself.

All event images copyright Infiniti Global.

No comments:

Post a Comment

F1 Passions run deep and strong. Vigorous but friendly discussion is something we're shooting for.

Don't be a jerk.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...