2016 Australian Grand Prix Race Review

So the F1 season began, inevitably, by the sport embarrassing itself. Why the qualifying system didn’t work and the problems with the sport it highlights is a story for another time, but I will say that qualifying was as bad as nearly everyone predicted. Even me, who had to be bullied into claiming to be a keyboard engineer on the podcast, predicted exactly how it would play out and yet nobody gave two hoots. And sadly it overshadowed the lengthy wait we have endured for our Loisl’s 50th pole. It was a long time coming, but finally it came and the qualifying performance was sublime. Nico Rosberg and the Ferrari’s were on the end of a tonking. The race, however, did not go as planned.

I could almost tell the race was going to go wrong when the start was aborted. Here in 2014, Hamilton retired from pole after an aborted start. Hungary last year, well… well we don’t talk about it but that happened after an aborted start. And today this happened after an aborted start. Now I’m not saying that there is a causation there but there is certainly a correlation and it will definitely make me nervous about aborted starts from now on. Anyway, now to talk about the race.

For me, Loisl didn’t lose the race off the line. The race was lost when he was too ambitious into the first corner. He saw an opportunity to try and cut back on Rosberg and Vettel so took a wide line in and probably was trying to make the apex, something that is unrealistic when you’re not in the lead. Unsurprisingly, he found Rosberg in his way and had to lift and lost a bunch of places. He could have stayed tight and conceded the places to Rosberg and the Ferraris and stay in the race.

After that, Ferrari did an excellent job of imitating the Williams F1 team. In an all too familiar story, Mercedes poor start to the race was recovered to a 1-2 finish. I don’t know what Ferrari were thinking when they put on the S-Softs at the pitstop before the red flag. At that point I already thought it was Rosberg’s race to lose. And is it was proved after the red flag, Rosberg barely dropped off Vettel and cruised home to a win by default. Even without the red flag, I think he would have won anyway, the S-Softs dropped off too quickly and I believe Rosberg would have passed the Ferrari later in the second stint.


Lewis Hamilton during practice, Australian F1 Grand Prix 2016. Picture: Mercedes Benz.

I am quite glad Rosberg did win actually, and not Ferrari. Because I know Ferrari fans would have been unbearable had Vettel won. People would have cried “Ferrari can match Merc” when no, you can’t. The day and night difference in qualifying showed that and in clean air I saw no reason in the race to indicate the status quo has changed. The Ferrari fans who complain in the forums that this was their race to lose, whilst I agree to an extent, Ferrari were simply not quick enough. They were only where they were due to the poor start by both Mercs at the start. In many ways, Ferrari fans remind me of Welsh Rugby fans. They cry “George North wasn’t in touch” at the moment where England secured the win on their way to a glorious Grand Slam. Well, I have 2 things to say to you, Welsh Rugby fans. Firstly, the guy he passed to was going to be nailed into touch anyway. Secondly, you would never have been in the game had the referee had the balls to send of Francis for eye gouging. And no, he was not giving his face a stroke, his hand made a claw! So you should have never been in the position to win the game, and that call that North was in touch was irrelevant anyway.

Back on topic, actually, no, let’s stay off topic. Because I think that if Motorized Gymnastics was an Olympic sport, Fernando Alonso would win. His triple somersault pike position triple jump during the Australian Grand Prix was spectacular and would have been worthy of a gold medal. In all seriousness however, it was good to see he walked away.

Overall, I’m not too disheartened by the weekend. Loisl clearly had the pace on Rosberg all weekend and I think it is Rosberg who has more to fear about Hamilton than Hamilton has to fear of him. Ferrari can just pretend they can compete if it makes them feel better.

Sabjit signing off, see you in Bahrain.