Australian Grand Prix – Race

My race notes are after the jump, in case people haven’t seen it yet …

It’s raining in Albert Park!

Grid: SV, MW, FA, JB, FM, NR, MS, RB, RK, AS, LH, SB, VL, PdlR, NH, KK, JA, VP, HK, JT, TG, LdG, BS, KC .. except TG & LdG are starting from the pit lane

SV leads everyone away – looks like everyone’s on intermediate tyres – it’s clearly too wet for slicks
Then again, the second half of the track looks fairly dry, which could degrade the inters fairly quickly
SV slowly rolls to his starting spot so he doesn’t sit stationary too long waiting for the grid to re-form

01/58: SV stays ahead into Turn 1
Good start from FM – up to P3 before T1
Contact in T1 – FA spins
MS has damaged his front wing
NH and SB in the kitty litter
Safety Car deployed

02[SC]: SV, FM, MW, RK, NR, JB, LH, AS, RB, VP; retirments: SB, NH, KK, JT
MS pits for a new front wing
Replay of T1 shows JB & FA coming together – on board with JB it’s clear that FA closed then hit JB
Replay of the second incident: KK loses his front wing and can’t help but slide through the next turn and smash through NH

03[SC]: Bernd Meylander leads everyone around, driving the Safety Car is going as fast he dare but it’s only about half the speed of the F1 cars

04[SC]: Safety Car in at the end of this lap
SV holds back, opens a gap then floors it as the race goes green again

05/58: MW wide out of the last turn – chance for RK – can’t make it stick
FA all over the tail of TG – easily takes P16
Ferrari graciously announce they won’t be going to the stewards about the Turn 1 incident – that’s very good of them, considering it was their driver who caused the accident!

06: LH takes P6 from his teammate
MW has passed FM for P2
JB pits – changing to slicks?

07: Yes, JB goes for the soft (option) compound slick tyres
Pit-car for SV says rain soon
JB runs wide – it’s too soon to go to dry tyres

08: SV, MW, FM, RK, NR, LH, RB, VP
McLaren are preparing to switch LH to slicks too
AS loses three places in one corner

09: MW closing on teammate SV
Lots of front-runners pit for slicks

10/58: SV pits from P1 but MW stays out on inters
JB sets the fastest lap time and he’s up to P3, although it’s hard to tell because of all the pit stops
VP off in the gravel – he’s stuck – will they deploy the SC? No – there’s a crane on Turn 3

11: MW pits from P1 – rejoins behind NR
LH attacking MW

12: SV, JB, RK, NR, FM, MW, LH, RB

13: Mike Gascoigne says forecast is for a few drops of rain but not enough to warrant wet tyres

16: MW and LH pass FM
LH has a look at MW – MW taps LH’s front wing as MW out-brakes himself – MW off into the gravel but trying to escape

17: SV, JB, RK, NR, FM, LH, FA, MW
KC runs wide into the gravel
JA holding off MS

18: MW sets fastest lap – 1:30.369
MS still can’t find a way past JA
SV lead over JB almost 4secs

19: VL pushing PdlR for P10

20/58: SV, JB, RK, NR, FM, LH, FA, MW, RB, PdlR
Pit-car for NR says no more rain expected

22: FM makes an error in the penultimate corner – LH strikes and takes P5
FA loses P7 to MW

23: MW closing on FM
Replay shows LH broke his front wing as he got too close before pulling out to pass FM

24: VL takes P10 from PdlR
LH closing on NR so the wing damage can’t be too bad
FM swerving one side then the other in front of MW

25/58: SV, JB, RK, NR, LH, FM, MW, FA, RB, VL
FM runs wide again

26: LH sitting on the tail of NR
SV is off – he’s stuck in the gravel, so JB now leads the race
LH passes NR around the outside to take P3

27: MW passes FM for P5

28: FM will have to let his teammate past

29 = half distance: JB, RK, LH, NR, MW, FM, FA, RB, VL, PdlR
LH takes a look at RK
LdG retires in the pits

30/58: JB, RK, LH, NR, MW, FM, FA, RB; retirements: SV, LdG, AS, VP, BS, SB, NH, KK, JT
MS pits for new option tyres

31: BBC report that SV was on the radio to his team complaining about vibration at the rear end just before he went off

32: LH keeps looking at where to pass RK
FM still ahead of his teammate – the team can’t directly tell him to let FA pass but they’ll have a coded version of the same message

33: MW pits from P5 – new soft (option) tyres
LH back under the rear wing of RK but still can’t find a way past
Replay of SV’s off shows the car lurching as he brakes for a corner – he’s off and reports over the radio that his brakes failed

34: MW passes NR after they’ve both stopped for fresh rubber

35: LH pits from P3 … as his teammate sets another fastest lap
BBC report LH had to brake part-way down the pit lane – did he break the speed limit?

36: JB has a 11sec lead over RK
MW fastest lap 1:29.086

38: LH f/lap 1:28.7??

39: MW f/alp 1:28.737

40/58: JB, RK, FM, FA, LH, MW, NR, VL, PdlR, RB; retirements: SV, LdG, AS, VP, BS, SB, NH, KK, JT
JB’s lead 12.6sec over RK
If JB’s going to pit, he’s got to do it soon

41: JB continues to open his lead at just over 1sec/lap

43: RK is holding up the Ferraris, but unless FM lets FA pass they’re not really going to challenge him

44: Pit-car for LH tells him that he’ll catch the Ferraris before the end of the race but they won’t pit – LH seems surprised that they’re not stopping

45/58: TG retires in the pits
MW f/lap 1:28.483
Pit-car for FM telling him to attack RK because LH is catching them

46: MW is closing on LH, and the two of them continue to close on FA

48: MW f/lap 1:28.358

49: FM nearly loses the tail as he exits Turn 7

50/58: JB, RK, FM, FA, LH, MW, NR, VL, PdlR, RB; retirements: SV, LdG, AS, VP, BS, SB, NH, KK, JT
LH is now within striking distance of FA

51: LH starts taking a look at FA – he’s got to do it quickly if he’s going to catch FM and then RK

52: FA is looking a little untidy but LH just can’t get close enough to strike
RB passes PdLR for P9

53: LH complains his tyres have gone off – it’s probably because he’s in the dirty air behind FA – doesn’t matter because he can’t pit anyway

54: JB still opening the gap to RK at the front
MW takes a look at LH but he’s not quite close enough

55/58: JB, RK, FM, FA, LH, MW, NR, VL, RB, PdlR; retirements: TG, SV, LdG, AS, VP, BS, SB, NH, KK, JT
MS finally manages to pass JA for P11

56: LH whining over the radio – wondering why they brought him in – instead he ought to concentrate on passing FA and holding off MW
LH close enough to strike now
LH sees a gap – he’s alongside FA – FA brakes late and hard – MW hits LH and they’re both in the gravel – both trying to claw their way out to get back to the pits

57: MW makes it into the pits for a new nose cone
Did LH make it out of the gravel?
MS takes P10 from PdlR .. and JA follows him through, pushing PdlR down to P12

58: JB starts his final lap
Clean & tidy lap for JB

JB takes the chequered flag
RK over the line for P2
P3=FM, 4=FA, 5=NR, 6=LH, 7=VL, 8=RB, 9=MW, 10=MS
P11=JA, 12=PdlR, 13=HK (+2 laps), 14=KC (+5 laps)
DNF: TG, LdG, SV, AS, VP, BS, SB, NH, KK, JT