Mar 28, 2010

Oz GP 2010 review: so much for crying out loud

What was it? How was it? Bahrain a borefest, the latest edition of F1 doesn't allow cars to follow each other and drivers are brutally cautious, yeah right! Time to eat a big pie of the cribbing which was served for two continuous weeks and a bit of mine too :P. It was one heck of a race, maybe the best since Hungary 2006 thanks to similar circumstances as that of the latter. Slippery track, changeable conditions, inspired pit calls, jaw dropping maneuvers, futile errors all comprised a mesmerizing spectacle. As someone in the BBC crew rightly said, the highlights this Australian GP offered are enough to last a whole effing season.

Vettel looked all set for an easy pole-to-flag win until his wheelnut cut loose half way into the race which ended his aspirations at a gravel trap near turn 3. Redbull had a dismal day after starting 1-2 on the grid. Aussie home hero Webber was erratic and was far from being a contender, first being passed by Massa at the start but taking his place back before loosing out at the tyre change and finally clobbering his front onto Hamilton's McLaren. He eventually finished 9th, taking home just 2 points instead of a possible 18.

Ferrari should be all smiles after a second consecutive podium for Massa with Fernando completing a brave drive to 4th after taking a wild spin into turn 2 due to a tussle with Button and Schumi at the start, sending him to 22nd and dead last. Bravo Fernando! Some of his moves, especially against the Sauber and the Williams of Rubens were sublime. Yeah, bring more of the u-cant-follow-cars crap. Also, both the Ferrari drivers chose not to make a second pitstop which was indeed an inspired move as their set of option tyres lasted for a mammoth 50 odd laps. Tyre degradation, anyone?

Now the outfit from woking! Jenson Button seemed to have lost it in the beginning when he fell from 4th to 6th and was passed by his teammate at turn 3, but only to come back strong with an inspired pitcall by switching to options two laps earlier than anyone else. I saw him taking a wild route onto the grass just after making the pitstop but catastrophe turned superlative when he kept his McLaren on the track all day long and also earning a victory from the grasp of the then retired Vettel. Did someone say he made the mistake of his lifetime by choosing to partner Lewis? :D The real story of McLaren for the day came from Lewis Hamilton's fantastic drive and the subsequent outcry. He was called into the pits for another set of dry tyres when everyone else at the front chose not to change. Lewis lost his 3rd place and rejoined at 6, seconds behind the "tyre saving" Ferraris. He was told on the radio that he would inevitable catch the Ferraris but these days, catching a car in front is one thing, finding a way past is another. And he got his medicine.

Fernando Alonso showed off some defensive skills against a 1.5 sec a lap faster Lewis who eventually got hit from the back by Webber sending both to the gravel before both being passed by Rosberg. McLaren, I guess were right cos Lewis wouldn't manage his tyres for 50 odd laps like Button or the Ferrari drivers. Instead of not finishing the race, they gave him an opportunity to grab a podium which obviously he blew from the outset. What followed after the race was a preposterous dig at the team's failure to make the right call. That's Hamilton for you! I rest my case.

Mercedes though had a day to forget when Schumi's challenge ended with a broken front wing on lap 1 and Rosberg finishing at a conservative 5th. A lot was expected from this team but unless they come up with some drastic revamp strategies, the title aspirations are fast slipping away. Force India made hay while others were having fun as Liuzzi got a solid 7th with 6 points in the bag while Sutil's woes continued as he retired early. India's new sensation Karun Chandok managed to finish the race with a baby of a car and has brought smiles to the country. Way to go mate!

On the whole, we have seen yesterday how flamboyant F1 racing could actually get given the opportunities to "race". More of the Albert Parks and less of the snorefests would be handy. Tilke, are you listening? Sepang is on the cards next which usually offers amazing wheel-to-wheel action. Let's hope it betters Melbourne though I'm really happy from what I got down under.



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