2015 Australia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Last year, everyone was worried about reliability at the season opener with the new engine rules. For this year's season opener, one team was gone, five cars didn't even make it to the grid, Lotus was out in the first lap, and Sauber almost didn't make it out of court.
EVENT: The fans didn't get to cheer on their local hero to a podium, but they also didn't have their local hero excluded.
QUALIFYING: The wonderful thing about racing is the stopwatch doesn't lie. Once you get past the testing with its sandbagging and practice sessions with their setup work and into qualifying, you get the cold, hard truth of the stopwatch. What the stopwatch told us in Australia is Mercedes is still dominant, The McLaren-Honda, so far, is an unmitigated, colossal disaster, and the junior team is just as fast as the senior team.
RACE: As with last year, the fun will be watching everyone behind Mercedes.
TRACK: Albert Park is never a good indicator of the season to come, but we get the feeling this year it is a good predictor.
START: Hamilton never looked back, Nasr looked strong, and the obligatory midpack wheel banging.
HAMILTON: We got a kick out of Lewis enjoying seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger more than actually winning the race.
ROSBERG: How much longer can Nico's confidence hold up?
MERCEDES: They certainly didn't sit on their laurels.
VETTEL: A fine debut with the Prancing Horse. Maybe Alonso really did wear out his welcome.
RAIKKONEN: Better than last year, but Kimi's bad luck still plagues him.
FERRARI: They appear to be much improved ... yet, they were 34+ seconds behind Mercedes, the same as last year's season opener.
MASSA: Appears his in-lap cost him a podium.
BOTTAS: Back injuries, especially for race drivers, suck. Hopefully, this is not a recurring problem for Valtteri.
WILLIAMS: Like Ferrari, they too made strides. It will be very interesting watching these teams fight for position.
NASR: A ride buyer? Yes. But so was Lauda at one time. There are ride buyers and then there are ride buyers. Felipe, ride buyer or not, appears to be the real deal.
ERICSSON: Marcus, on the other hand, appears to be the other type of ride buyer, but he did do well in his maiden Sauber effort.
SAUBER: Speaking of the Swiss team ... wow. After all that went down, they obviously have a very good car, and could play spoiler for a few well established teams this year.
KALTENBORN: Is Monisha the worst team manager in history? Or, is she the worst contract lawyer in history? Or, both?
RICCIARDO: How long will the smile stay on Daniel's face this year?
RED BULL: Waaaaaaaahhhhhh! Waaaaaaaahhhhhh! Waaaaaaaahhhhhh! Waaaaaaaahhhhhh!
SAINZ: Carlos ended up grabbing the young driver headlines for his team.
VERSTAPPEN: But that was because Max's engine failed him. Otherwise, a nice debut.
TORO ROSSO: Wouldn't that be a kick in the bull's backside if the toro takes top energy drink billing this year?
BUTTON: Jenson's patience will never be tested as it will this year.
MAGNUSSEN: When it rains, it doesn't pour ... it hails.
ALONSO: Maybe Fernando should start claiming an ingrained toenail. Anything to avoid this career killer.
HONDA: Has the Japanese lost their magic?
MALDONADO: Even when it's not his fault, Pastor ends up in the wall.
LOTUS: They showed some promise after last year's lackluster performance ... and then the first lap came...
FORCE INDIA: This may be a very long season for them.
MANOR: They were this close...
CATERHAM: It was nice knowing you...
GERMAN GP: A goner?
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Repeat.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 17 years, 166 days -- With the new FIA rules, it appears Max Verstappen's record of the youngest driver in F1 will never be broken.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: It is amazing to think that Felipe Nasr made the greatest debut for a Brazilian driver in F1 history. In fact, he is the only Brazilian to ever score points in his first race. That includes Ayrton Senna (retired in Brazil with Toleman in 1984), Emerson Fittipaldi (8th, British GP, Lotus, 1970), Nelson Piquet (retired, German GP, Ensign, 1978), Rubens Barrichello (retired, South African GP, Jordan, 1993), Felipe Massa (retired, Australia, Sauber, 2002), and Carlos Pace (17th, South Africa, Williams, 1972).
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Toto Wolff said what everyone who follows F1 wanted to say about the Red Bull crybaby act, "I think just get your fucking head down, work hard and try to sort it out."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Nico Hulkenberg echoing what many drivers felt over the Sauber affair, "Geido wants what he was promised, what he signed for and, I think, also paid for. It's his right. It's not a way to do business and to screw people like this."
SCHEDULE: With Honda having heat issues and the hottest, muggiest race of the year coming up in Malaysia, will the team even see double digit laps? For the whole weekend? The two cars combined?
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