Grand Prix of Australia – Race

After a less-than-ideal Qualifying session, the provisional grid was: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, VES, MAS, SAI, RIC, PER, HUL, BOT*, ALO, BUT, PAL, MAG, ERI, NAS, KVY, GRO, GUT, HAR*, WEH.
*HAR had a 3 grid spot penalty (for a collision with GRO), dropping him to P22
*BOT has a 5 spot penalty for a gearbox change [FIA]

So the grid will be: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, VES, MAS, SAI, RIC, PER, HUL, ALO, BUT, PAL, MAG, ERI, BOT*, NAS, KVY, GRO, GUT, WEH, HAR*.

Track temperature 37°C

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
The top 8 start on the supersoft tyres they used in Q2; behind them it’s a mix of soft and supersoft
Long wait for HAM as the last of 22 cars find their grid spot
Except it looks like KVY has stopped in the middle of the track, so it’ll be an aborted start
Yes, flashing yellows send the rest of the grid round for another lap while the marshals push KVY’s Red Bull into the pit lane
KVY is out of the car and they’re pushing it to the other side of the track – I wonder why he didn’t stay in it and get it into the pit lane?
Marshals now pushing it to the pit lane, just as HAM et al return to the main straight
Smoke from the middle of the grid – is that MAG?

01/57: VET makes a great start and leads into Turn 1
RAI blasts past the Mercedes too
HAM falling back behind ROS … and more!
Radio for MAG – told to pit

02: VET, RAI, ROS, VES, MAS, HAM, SAI, HUL, RIC, ALO
Radio from GUT – problem with the engine

03: VET fastest lap 1:31.664
DRS enabled

04: VET 1.9sec ahead of RAI
HAM finds a way past MAS to move up to P5
Replay of the start shows lots of sparks from the rear of MAG as the result of a puncture
Also see HAM lose a piece of his front wing on ROS’ rear left tyre

05/57: VET, RAI, ROS, VES, HAM, MAS, SAI, RIC, HUL, ALO; PER, BUT, PAL, WEH, ERI, BOT, NAS, GRO, HAR, GUT, MAG, (KVY still listed but he’s still in the garage)

06: ROS f/lap 1:31.575
ROS closing on RAI and HAM closing on VES

07: HAM takes a look but VES not fooled

08: How much longer will those used supersoft tyres last?

09: SAI pits

11: HAM still stuck behind VES, unable to find a way

12: MAS pits
BOT attacking PAL but the newbie holds his line and defends well
BOT keeps fighting and finally takes P11

13: ROS pits from P3; soft tyres; quick stop
ROS rejoins alongside HUL; takes the lead into Turn 1

14: VET pits from P1; supersofts
VET rejoins just inches ahead of ROS
Radio from RAI asking to box

15/57: RIC inside BUT for P7
VES and SAI past MAS
ROS f/lap 1:31.298
VES past BUT
SAI now past BUT too

16: VET closes on HAM and makes the pass look easy
VET f/lap 1:30.757
When will they pit HAM?
HAM not making it easy to let ROS past

17: RAI pits; supersoft
HAM pits; mediums, so is he just 1-stopping?
GUT in the gravel trap … and so is ALO
Safety car deployed
ALO’s car looks a mess!
ALO is limping away; GUT running over to check on him

18[SC]: Lots of pit stops
Replay shows ALO closing on GUT; ALO switches side to pass; GUT brakes for the turn and ALO’s front right hits GUT’s rear left
ALO takes out a polystyrene braking board, into the gravel, goes airborne and barrel rolls across the gravel, into the tyre wall
Red flags – race is suspended
There’s a lot of debris to clean up, as well as the cars
ALO and GUT escorted by the FIA doctor and marshals

Rest of the cars follow the SC into the pit lane
Teams are allowed to make changes to the cars, so will HAM stay on mediums?
New helmet for MAS?
Many of the drivers out of their cars
Marshals still working hard to clean up the track
The race clock is still running; there’s a 4 hour limit, but that shouldn’t be an issue today
MAG’s car is wheeled to the front of the grid – he’s a lap down

Race control: incident involving cars 14 (ALO) and 21 (GUT) will be investigated after the race – causing a collision

Drivers returning to their cars
3mins to restart; all wheels must be on cars
MAG has been sent out of the pit lane, to do a lap and join the back
Tyre warmers coming off – ROS is on mediums; both Ferrari on supersoft

19/57[SC]: SC leaves the pit lane, followed by VET et al.
The medium tyres will take a bit more to warm them than the supersofts
SC in at the end of this lap
VET slows everyone down to bunch them up
Radio from HAM – “how do I turn the alarm ofF?” “Afraid I can’t tell you”

20: VET, ROS, RAI, RIC, VES, SAI, HAM, MAS, GRO, HUL, BOT, PAL, PER, BUT, ERI, NAS, WEH, MAG
SAI locks up as HAM closes up

21: BUT inside PER for P13

22: VET f/lap 1:30.374
DRS enabled

23: RAI pits!
Radio from RAI – “something happened; I broke something”
Fire coming from the airbox above RAI’s head as he slows in front of the garage
VET f/lap 1:30.207

24: BOT lining up HUL

25/57: VET, ROS, RIC, VES, SAI, HAM, MAS, GRO, HUL, BOT, PAL, BUT, PER, ERI, NAS, MAG, WEH
Retirements: RAI, GUT, ALO, HAR, KVY

26: Incident involving car 9 (ERI) under investigation – working on the car at the 15 seconds signal

27: Drive-through penalty for ERI
VET will need pit for new tyres (soft?) in a few laps

28: ERI serves his drive-through penalty

Half distance

30/57: VET, ROS, RIC, VES, SAI, HAM, MAS, GRO, HUL, BOT

31: GRO locks up

32: SAI pits

33: VES pits but the team isn’t ready with tyres; long stop; bad call
SAI inside PER for P10

34: Frustrated radio call from VES – “how many times did I tell you I had problems with the tyres?”
ROS closing the gap to VET; have Ferrari messed up the strategy?

35/57: VET, ROS, RIC, HAM, MAS, GRO, HUL, BOT, PAL, SAI

36: VET pits; soft tyres; slow front left change; rejoins ahead of MAS
SAI and VES closing on PAL

37: ROS, RIC, HAM, VET, MAS, GRO, HUL, BOT, PAL, SAI

38: Radio from VES asking to pass SAI; told yes

39: SAI locks up
HAM quicker than ROS and RIC, but VET faster than HAM
PAL doing a great job of holding off the Toro Rosso

40/57: ERI coasting back to the pits
Radio for SAI telling him “push or we swap”

41: VES takes a look, SAI locks up

42: HAM closes on RIC on the main straight… and immediately dives down the inside into Turn 1, takes P2
SAI fights his way past PAL
VES immediately attacks PAL and follows his teammate through

43: RIC pits from P3; supersoft; rejoins behind MAS
ERI retires

45/57: ROS, HAM, VET, MAS, RIC, GRO, HUL, BOT, SAI, VES, PAL, PER, MAG, NAS, BUT, WEH

46: RIC passes MAS on the main straight; his home crowd love it

47: ROS 10.4 sec ahead of HAM, who has VET 4.3 sec behind
Another frustrated radio message from VES

48: RIC f/lap 1:29.466

49: HAM and VET continue to close on ROS
RIC f/lap 1:29.420

50/57: ROS, HAM, VET, RIC, MAS, GRO, HUL, BOT, SAI, VES
RIC f/lap 1:28.997

51: Radio for PER telling him his brakes won’t last to the end at current rate

52: HAM runs a little wide; VET catches right up

53 = 5 laps left: VET close enough to get DRS
VES spins, recovers
Replay shows SAI locked up & VES hit SAI

54: VET 0.5sec behind HAM, who is under 9sec behind ROS but P1 should be safe

55/57: ROS, HAM, VET, RIC, MAS, GRO, HUL, BOT, SAI, VES, PAL, PER, MAG, NAS, BUT, WEH; retirements: ERI, RAI, GUT, ALO, HAR, KVY
VET locks up, runs deep into the penultimate turn

56: Radio from VET – “sorry guys”
VES is all over the rear of his teammate (SAI) again

57/57 = final lap: ROS takes the chequered flag
SAI still harrying BOT

Provisional result: ROS, HAM, VET, RIC, MAS, GRO, HUL, BOT, SAI, VES; PAL, MAG, PER, BUT, NAS, WEH
DNF: ERI, RAI, GUT, ALO, HAR, KVY