2022 Australia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: It is so wonderful to go to a country which truly loves F1, with passionate fans, and huge turnouts. Money isn't everything, Formula 1.
EVENT: Nearly every seat taken for a Friday morning practice. The Aussies have been starving for F1 to return, and the fans produced the largest Australian weekend sporting event in history.
TRACK: The changes were definitely good. Faster. More passing and action. It's now the Down Under Jeddah.
QUALIFYING: Delays and delays. Stroll and Latifi get into a Canadian civil discourse. Alonso, while on a wickedly hot lap, losses hydraulics and smacks the wall. Leclerc pulls it out with a dominating lap. Sainz is caught out by the red flag. As is Haas. And Bottas' 103 Q3 streak ends.
RACE: The action lacked this time for the lead, but there was still plenty of intense action behind them. The new rules continue to work.
START: Clean as clean can be. Leclerc checks out, Hamilton does a 2021, and Sainz's weekend goes from bad to worse.
LECLERC: Charles is looking very, very comfortable. Very comfortable.
SAINZ: Carlos needed a safety car more than anyone else. But, creating your own safety car kind of defeats the purpose...
FERRARI: They got their first grand slam -- pole, victory, lead every lap, fastest lap -- since Singagore in 2010 by Fernando Alonso. It's the 26th grand slam in F1 history.
VERSTAPPEN: Another massive goose egg in points.
PEREZ: Sergio, impressively, picked up the pieces.
RED BULL: For all intents and purposes, it's the same powertrain and peripherals as last year with essentially the same personnel working on it. So, what gives?
RUSSELL: His first Mercedes podium. And let's face it, his first real podium.
HAMILTON: Caught out by the safety car. Where have we heard that before...?
MERCEDES: Inherited two sold positions. Reliability counts. Points count.
NORRIS: Lando may continue to be pessimistic about his car, but he's turned in two fine drives in a row.
RICCIARDO: His first points this year, appropriately at home.
ALBON: That was certainly an interesting strategy. It got Williams a point, though.
MAGNUSSEN: On the flipside, the problem with the strategy of running long on hard tires from the start is you are screwed if a safety car comes out early. And, at Australia, that is very likely.
ALONSO: Just imagine if Fernando could have finished that super impressive qualifying lap. That would have turned the storylines on their head.
STROLL: Situational awareness, Lance. Situational awareness.
VETTEL: Perhaps Sebastian wishes he still tested positive for this weekend...
HAAS: That was disappointing after such a great start to the season.
ASTON MARTIN: A very expensive weekend. The only team without a single point. Even Williams has scored. Can we watch Lawrence Stroll's head explode? Please?
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Return.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 5 -- After five consecutive night races, F1 returned to daytime running to a track with five corners changed with a fastest race lap five seconds quicker.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: When Australia was the first race of the year, their fans had the opportunity to see a debut driver get on the podium. This happened three times. Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams-Renault did it first in impressive fashion, taking pole before settling for second after an oil leak in 1996. In 2007, Lewis Hamilton took third in a McLaren-Mercedes. Lastly, Kevin Magnussen, also in a McLaren-Mercedes, took second in 2014.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: From WTF1, who wrote, "Lawrence Stroll when he sees Aston Martin on 0 points" followed by the first five seconds of his public outcry speech two years ago, "I do not often speak publically. However, I'm extremely angry."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen putting it bluntly concerning his lack of speed and the DNF, "These kind of things, if you want to fight for the title, are unacceptable."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Lando Norris telling Alex Albon he should have just finished without pitting, "Screw the rule mate."
SCHEDULE: Of to Europe and Imola, which is no longer year-to-year with a new long term contract. And, the return of the sprint race.
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