2019 Australia Thoughts
WHITING: Shocked, doesn't even begin to describe the news that Charlie Whiting passed away so suddenly. It is very rare, if not near impossible, for someone in his position to be so well liked, well respected, with nary an enemy around. That is all you need to know about the man Charlie was.
THE BIG PICTURE: Once again, we were all duped. Or at least, F1 tried to dupe us. We all knew Mercedes was sandbagging in testing. A few years ago, they also cried us a river, and then completely kicked butt in Australia. The key this time is Ferrari showed last year they can still comeback and put up a fight. Let's hope so.
TRACK: The new aero rules did appear to do what they were intended to do -- allow the cars to run closer. However, this track is not conducive to passing even when the cars run close to each other.
EVENT: 324,000 over four days. The largest since 2005. What were all those naysayers spouting about F1 losing fans?
QUALIFYING: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Hamilton snatches pole on last lap, Ferrari takes the second row way behind, Haas is strong, Norris is impressive, Renault disappoints, and Williams is pathetic.
RACE: It was like the early days of Mercedes domination. However, it left a lot of intrigue -- the Honda may be up to Red Bull's standards, Renault still has a lot of work, McLaren just may be turning the corner, and the midfield battle is even closer. Oh, and Williams sucks.
START: Bottas starts the season splendidly, Ricciardo starts the season horribly, Norris' first start goes blah, and Hulkenberg makes the best of his start.
BOTTAS: Valtteri emphatically makes a statement that he is not ready to be pushed aside just yet ... or not for a long time.
OCON: While Esteban thinks, "Crap!"
HAMILTON: As stunned as Ferrari.
MERCEDES: Please Toto Wolff, stop insulting our intelligence by suggesting everyone, even Williams, has caught up.
VERSTAPPEN: Same old aggressive Max is back for another season. Much to the delight of us fans.
GASLY: Pierre has a way to go before he can properly fill Ricciardo's shoes.
RED BULL: Once again, their chassis is very strong.
HONDA: And if the engine really can produce, this might turn out to be a great match after all.
VETTEL: What is really going through Sebastian's head?
LECLERC: Initial indications are that Charles is living up to the hype.
FERRARI: Good luck there Mattia Binotto...
MAGNUSSEN: Best of the rest.
GROSJEAN: But, the team threw away a bunch of points again.
HAAS: You could consider the glass half full in that only one car suffered pit stop wheel issues. But this is F1. No mercy. Haas screwed up again.
HULKENBERG: The silver lining for Renault.
RAIKKONEN: The silver lining for Alfa Romeo. We're looking forward to what Kimi can do on a small team like when he was with Lotus.
NORRIS: The silver lining for McLaren. Lance was impressive in his F1 debut.
RICCIARDO: Maybe Daniel should just skip his home grand prix...
GIOVINAZZI: Antonio has got a long way to go to prove himself.
SAINZ: While Norris shined, Carlos went up in smoke.
KVYAT: Yeah, Daniil went off. But all in all, a solid comeback.
ALBON: We're not so sure about Alexander. He needs more time. The problem is, Red Bull gives you wings but not time.
KUBICA: No doubt, Robert's comeback is one for Hollywood. We're just not sure it's going to have a happy ending.
RACING POINT: So, when their owners took over for Force India, they renamed it Racing Point. A temporary (boring) name they said. Over the winter, they made a big deal about a big launch in Canada with a new name to unveil. The anticipation grew. And that new name is ... drum roll please ... Racing Point. What the...?
WILLIAMS: Wretched. Pathetic. Embarrassment. Heck, at this rate, they may fail to qualify within the old 120% rule. Never mind the current 107% rule.
RUSSELL: George and Lance Norris had great battles in F2. They were billed as the next generation of British greats. Anticipation grew for their battles to be taken to F1. But, we won't be seeing that for awhile. Not while Russell drives an excrement for a car.
FIA: Their toughest task in years is going to be to fill -- not replace, because that's impossible -- Charlie Whiting's shoes and the many hats he wore.
SEBRING: Super Sebring lived up to all the promises as American sports car fans got a wonderful double dose of WEC and IMSA.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Tragic.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 8 -- The number of poles Hamilton has at Albert Park, the record for a single venue. However, it also has only been once in the past eight years that a driver has won from pole in Australia.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Daniel Ricciardo is not the only Australian to be jinxed at his home grand prix. (Remember when he finished second in 2014 and then got disqualified?!) In fact, despite also having Alan Jones, David Brabham, and Mark Webber, an Aussie has never won it when it was a World Championship event which has been since 1985. Prior to that, an Aussie won it virtually all the time, but then it was mostly a local event. Jones was the last one in 1980 driving a Williams-Cosworth after he won the World Driving Championship.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Valtteri Bottas after winning the race in dominating fashion obviously had certain feelings towards his doubters, "To whom it may concern, fuck you!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Sebastian Vettel referring to Mercedes possibly sandbagging during testing when it was apparent the Ferrari was way behind on Friday, "What was all that bullshit about with them being out of shape and so on?"
SCHEDULE: Bahrain should show us the real potential of Ferrari. Let's hope it's for the better or the
dead prancing horse is in huge trouble.
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