2016 Australia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Steve Matchett said it best, "Ladies and gentlemen, I think we got ourselves a championship." Don't worry about the actual results. The Ferrari in race trim is competitive.
TRACK: Having said that, let's also point out that Melbourne is typically not a good indicator on how the season unfolds. Let's wait to see what happens in Bahrain before we go totally ga-ga.
EVENT: It's become a nice tradition having Australia kick off the season. Now, if we can only get Brazil to end the season instead of god forsaken Abu Dhabi.
QUALIFYING: If qualifying is dependent on the timing of where you are on the track versus actual speed on the track, then by definition, qualifying is a colossal failure.
RACE: The top three may have virtually duplicated last year, but this year was a whole other story.
START: Who needs a whacked out qualifying system to shake up the grid? A crazy start will do that for you.
ROSBERG: Now Nico's winning when it counts. But, he started the season the same in 2014...
HAMILTON: A new, mellower Lewis? He actually seemed happy after not winning a race.
MERCEDES: The Silver Arrows is still the team to beat, but maybe ... or is it desperate hope ... they are not as far ahead as the past two years.
VETTEL: Sebastian would have won this race had it not been for the red flag, botched pit stop, and poor tire choice. Sure, that's a trio of "ifs" but it points out how competitive Ferrari just may be.
RAIKKONEN: Even Kimi was running well, until his luck continued to get worse.
FERRARI: Okay, it appears you got a good car. The red flag was just bad luck. But, why did you have to go aggressive on the tire choice when you probably did not need to?
RICCIARDO: Not so fast, Toro Rosso youngsters. I'm still the top Red Bull driver.
KVYAT: Just like 2015, your season has yet to start. Daniil should have stayed in Russia.
RED BULL: What, no whining?
MASSA: Once again, Felipe either doesn't impress or quietly gets an excellent finish.
BOTTAS: Once again, the "future" star Valteri is beaten by Massa.
WILLIAMS: Nice, smooth fast pit stops. Imagine that!
TORO ROSSO: Looks like they borrowed the Williams pit crew...
SAINZ: Carlos always believed he was just as good as Jos, but circumstances prevented him from proving that last year. He plans on fixing that this year.
VERSTAPPEN: Max's teenage impatience finally caught up with him.
HAAS F1: For the past year, many fans on message boards, mostly Europeans, were criticizing Haas F1 at every opportunity in a seemingly xenophobic anti-American Formula 1 attack as if an American team cannot possibly be successful. Now, those fans are eating crow. A heaping tray full of crow.
GROSJEAN: Unable to see his former team in the mirrors. So far, Romain is very happy with the risky move to a brand new team.
RENAULT: Welcome back to F1. We'll give you a year to reverse the sad saga of Lotus.
PALMER: Not a bad performance, all things considered.
MAGNUSSEN: Welcome back to F1. Despite the team, Kevin needs to prove himself this year.
ROSSI: Disappointing Alexander couldn't stay in F1.
HARYANTO: But, it's tough to beat out someone who had an entire country paying his way.
WEHRLEIN: However, Pascal deserves this shot.
RED FLAG: Thirty years ago, maybe less, Alonso would have been dead. Certainly back in the so-called but untrue good old days of the 60s and 70s. Which is why those people criticizing the halo makes us sick. We are long past the time where drivers should die in a race car.
ALONSO: Interesting how Fernando is not laying blame on anyone. Is it because he knows he screwed up? Or, is it truly because he's just glad to be alive and truly sees it as a racing incident.
GUTIERREZ: Also interesting Esteban just so happens to be the one involved.
SAUBER: Once again, money problems. Couldn't happen to a better team principal...
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Thankful.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 0 -- The number of pit stops Haas F1 actually performed despite one car finishing sixth.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The last team to score points in its debut race was Toyota in 2002 at Australia. Mika Salo finished sixth, which back then was worth one point. Toyota would get just one more point the rest of the entire season -- two races later at Brazil, Salo would score another sixth place finish -- and that would be it for the year.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Christian Horner absolutely nails the key reason why the new qualifying system was such an abject failure, "Qualifying should be building up to a crescendo."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Then there's a fan's message board posting which also nailed it, "What? Is F1 trying to be the new IndyCar? Just keep trying to "fix" things until nobody's interested anymore?"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP 2: Romain Grosjean understanding the great irony, "A French driver in an American team, never say never."
SCHEDULE: Yeah, they should still dump Bahrain, but it's worth looking forward to if for nothing else to really see where Ferrari stacks up against Mercedes.
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