The season opener race took place in Melbourne, Australia last weekend. However, Bahrain GP was firstly scheduled as a season opener race, but they have to call it of because of severe civil disorder. According to the latest news, there will be 20 Grand Prix this year and Bahrain GP will take place some time in November.
Well, the season opener weekend was pretty much fun! After a long winter brake and pre-season tests I couldn’t wait to hear the motor rears. I really missed everything around Formula 1. There are some new innovations, rules and even a new tyre supplier – Pirelli. During the pre-season practices the drivers complained that they wear out quickly and at least two, maybe there pit stops will be needed during one race.
The first practice was at 2.30am CET, so there was no TV airing it like. Aussie Mark Webber was the fastest. However, in the afternoon he finished the second practice fifth. This time Jenson Button was the fastest. Sebastian Vettel won the third practice.
The first qualifications of the season were interesting. This year there’s a 107% limit – if a driver has a worse lap time compared to the winner’s time of Q1, he can’t take part in the Sunday’s race. However, the team may ask for an exception. This 107% limit refers only to the first part of the Saturday’s qualification. Both drivers for HRT – N. Karthikeyan and V. Liuzzi finished in the Q1. What’s more they were too slow to fulfill the 107% limit.
A surprise of the day was Nick Heidfeld. He replaced injured Robert Kubica, who’s recovering from the horrible accident. Lotus Renault claimed to sign Nick, because he is experienced and could keep up with the others. Well, Heidfeld didn’t even get to the second part of the qualification. On the other hand, Vitaly Petrov finished the qualification sixth.
Fernando Alonso was fifth, Jenson Button fourth, Mark Webber third and Lewis Hamilton was second. The latest World Champion Sebastian Vettel won the pole position beating Hamilton with 0.778seconds!
Sunny Melbourne hosted the race on Sunday. As previously mention HRT drivers weren’t on the grid preparing for it. The team didn’t get the exception even though they did ask for it.
The start was pretty smooth without any accidents. Sebastian Vettel blasted off and was leading the race from this time till the end. Also Felipe Massa and Vitaly Petrov had a good start. Alonso lost some positions though.
The actual race was pretty smooth; Mark Webber began the pit stop sessions in the 12th lap. However, the stewards gave out two drive-through penalties. One was for Jenson Button for cutting the track when he overtook Massa. According to the rules, he should let Massa back in front of him. However, Massa was also overtaken with his team-mate Alonso, so Button couldn’t do it and was punished.
Second drive-through penalty was for Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian was way too optimistic while overtaking Nico Rosberg. Barrichello ran right into him and knocked him out. In the end even Barrichello didn’t finished the race.
Sebastian Vettel won the Australian GP gaining the first 25 points for himself and some points for his team Red Bull Racing. Lewis Hamilton finished second. Surprisingly, Vitaly Petrov finished third! Yes, it’s that Vitaly Petrov, who was destroying cars last season. Finally he has shown something. Petrov even become the first Russian to finish on the podium stand. Fernando Alonso finished fourth and Mark Webber was fifth.
Newbie with the best results was Sergio Peréz. However, the whole team Sauber was disqualified for breaking some rules. So the best newbie of the first race has become Paul di Resta, who finished 10th and gained his first point ever in Formula 1.
photo: Getty Images, Sutton Images, Daimler