2013 Australia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: It appears the most important design aspect this year will be the car which handles the tires best. Not aerodynamics, mechanical grip, or power alone. But the combination which enables minimum pit stops.
EVENT: Another Australian Grand Prix. Another call from critics to get rid of the race. Same old, same old.
QUALIFYING: For those who actually believed Red Bull was in trouble from their lack of speed during winter testing, go get a tattoo of the definition of sandbagging on your arm for easy reference.
RACE: Riveting strategy and some fantastic dicing.
TRACK: Love the tracks which can supply two DRS zones, but this year it made some of the passing a bit too easy.
START: The more things change, the more things stay the same -- Vettel pulls away, Webber coughs up another hairball, and Alonso is as aggressive as ever. Meanwhile, Massa is solid and Hamilton and Raikkonen thrill the crowd.
RAIKKONEN: Kimi definitely knows what he's doing. In every stint, he went faster at the end of his tire life ... with only two pit stops.
LOTUS: Race engineers definitely know what they're doing. This car was dialed in for the new, less stable tires.
GROSJEAN: Romain did not know what he was doing as he was off the pace of his teammate, and was forced into three stops. Well, at least he didn't hit anyone.
ALONSO: Started out a lot better than last year. Fernando has to be happy about the Ferrari's performance ... and beating Vettel.
MASSA: May have finished fourth, but Felipe raced well, especially after the big crash in the aborted qualifying session.
VETTEL: Magnanimous in defeat, but privately Sebastian must be upset of the missed opportunity.
WEBBER: A faster lap than his teammate, but he, too, fell to the woes of their cars.
RED BULL: Still fast, but now setup will the ultimate key.
HAMILTON: So far, Lewis is looking at getting the last laugh. But, still a ways to go.
ROSBERG: Before the electrical gremlins, Nico was also enjoying the Mercedes.
MERCEDES: So far, so good. The only drawback to any success will be Niki Lauda claiming all the credit...
SUTIL: Adrian deserves to be in F1 over a lot of other drivers. Second chances are rare in life. Adrian has certainly made the most of his so far.
DI RESTA: Maybe Paul isn't so upset he didn't get the McLaren ride...
FORCE INDIA: Have had moments in the past, but can they truly maintain consistency throughout a season?
BUTTON: "Hey, Lewey, buddy old pal, you wouldn't mind if I were your teammate again, would you?"
MCLAREN: Sometimes a new car is a dud. Sometimes, it's a turd. The rumor that McLaren was actually considering bringing last year's car to Malaysia is a good indicator which description fits.
MALDONADO: Maybe Pastor needs those rumble strips on the side of the road to alert him to when he drifts off...
WILLIAMS: A close runner-up to McLaren for the worst car debut of 2013.
HULKENBERG: Nico's season hasn't started, yet.
ROOKIES: Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas are the only drivers in contention for most rookie points by virtue of the teams they are on. The only benefit the other three rookies have is trying to pick up girls in a bar by telling them they're F1 drivers.
MARUSSIA: A back of the pack team with a lousy car hires two rookies to lead the way. Yeah, that's the ticket...
NBC: Great debut job for the new American home of F1.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Degradation.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 3 -- the number of positions Raikkonen gained (from seventh to fourth) in the first two laps which ultimately allowed his two-stop strategy to work.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: In 63 previous world championships, the driver who won the first race went on to win the title 32 times.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Jenson Button on why there was just too much water to allow qualifying to continue, "When you hit that water you are completely out of control and you might as well close your eyes and take your hands off the steering wheel."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Kimi Raikkonen on the victory, "It was one of the easiest races I have done to win."
SCHEDULE: Melbourne is notorious for being a poor indicator of the season ahead. Thus, Malaysia is eagerly anticipated.
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