Grand Prix of Australia – Race


Yesterday’s Qualifying was the first real chance to see the relative performance of the new cars.

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, VET, VER, LEC, GRO, MAG, NOR, RAI, PER, HUL, RIC, ALB, GIO, KVY, STR, GAS, SAI, RUS, KUB

The only penalties so far have been financial penalties for unsafe releases by Haas in Q1 and before that McLaren in FP3.

Cars arriving on the grid
Apparently GRO has a radio problem
Aha! This is the 998th F1 race, so that means China will be the 1,000th.
Minute’s silence for Charlie Whiting and the Christchurch massacre
Drivers getting into their cars
Rear of the grid are mostly starting on medium tyres; KUB on hard compound; of course the front of the grid are all on the soft tyres they used in Q2

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
Interesting stat: the pole sitter has only won once in the past 7 Australian GP

01/58: Everyone off the grid
BOT makes a good start
RIC has lost his front wing

02: BOT, HAM, VET, VER, LEC, MAG, GRO, HUL, RAI, NOR, ALB, PER, STR, SAI, KVY, GIO, GAS, RUS, KUB, RIC
KUB and RIC into the pits
Replay of the start shows RIC alongside PER, then using some of the grass; looks like he hit a bump in the grass and lost his front wing

03: BOT fastest lap 1:29.662
DRS now enabled
Radio for RIC reporting some damage to the barge boards too

04: BOT 1:29.246
Remember there’s the new rule whereby the fastest lap setter gets an extra point, provided they finish in the top 10

05/58: Replay of the start shows LEC getting a good start and going around the outside of teammate VET into Turn 1; VET squeezed LEC and the newbie had to back off, dropping back to P5

07: BOT has opened ~2.5sec lead over HAM, who in turn is ~2.3s ahead of VET

09: LEC takes a trip across the grass

10/58: BOT, HAM, VET, VER, LEC, MAG, GRO, HUL, RAI, NOR

11: Smoke from SAI’s McLaren
SAI enters the pit lane but stops his car just before the pit lane gets narrow

13: BOT 1:28.633
RAI pits; mediums go on

14: BOT f/lap but is immediately beaten by HAM 1:28:616
HUL pits, followed by PER

15/58: BOT 1:28.300
VET pits from P3; mediums; rejoins P6
MAG pits, as does ALB
MAG rejoins just ahead of GRO; GRO attacks but MAG defends quite forcefully

16: BOT 1:28.217
HAM pits; rejoins P4
GRO and NOR pit
Slow stop for GRO – problem with the front left wheel

17: VET 1:27.954

19: HUL takes P10 from GIO
GIO lets teammate RAI take P11

20/58: BOT, VER, LEC, HAM, VET, STR, KVY, GAS, MAG, HUL, RAI, GIO, NOR, GRO, ALB, PER, RUS, RIC, KUB; retirement: SAI
BOT f/lap

21: BOT 1:27.832
GIO puts pressure on NOR and takes P12
Radio for NOR telling him he needs to pass GIO

22: BOT 1:27.815

23: Radio from HAM asking why he pitted early but BOT is still going; told it was to cover off VET

24: BOT pits; rejoins P2 behind VER who has yet to stop
NOR still looking for a way round GIO

25/58: VER, BOT, LEC, HAM, VET, STR, KVY, GAS, MAG, HUL
GIO has a train behind him – NOR, GRO, ALB, PER

26: VER pits; mediums ogo on; rejoins P5
BOT 1:27.338
NOR finally finds a gap and takes P12 from GIO

27: GRO and PER pass GIO

28: GIO pits; slow stop – problem with the front left

29 = half distance: LEC pits; hard tyre goes on; rejoins P5

31: VER attacking VET; steals P3
RIC pushed into the Renault garage and retires from his home race

32: GRO has pulled off track and parked his Haas; looks like the front left wheel is loose
BOT 1:27.235

33: VER under 1sec behind HAM

34: Radio from HAM – “I’ve got no rear end (grip)”

35/58: BOT, HAM, VER, VET, LEC, GAS, MAG, HUL, RAI, STR, KVY, NOR, PER, ALB, GRO, RUB, KUB; retirements: GRO, RIC, SAI

37: KVY off, across the gravel at T3

38: BOT 1:27.108
GAS pits; last of the scheduled stoppers

39: LEC has a 25sec lead over MAG, so will Ferrari pit him, throw on some new softs, and try to steal the 1 point for fastest lap?

40/58: BOT 21secs clear of HAM

42: BOT 1:27.043
Radio for GAS discussing the overtake button; sounds like GAS isn’t feeling any difference

43: BOT 1:26.739
Radio from VET – “Why are we so slow?”; “We don’t know at the moment”
LEC now 6sec behind his teammate and closing on him

45: BOT, HAM, VER, VET, LEC, MAG, HUL, RAI, STR, KVY, GAS, NOR, PER, ALB, GIO, RUS, KUB
Radio for VER – “Aim for 10 laps of fun at the end”

47: LEC under 4sec behind VER; presumably Ferrari won’t let him pass VER

48: Another train developing – HUL (P7), RAI, STR, KVY, GAS

49: VER runs wide in T1, across the grass

50/58: BOT, HAM, VER, VET, LEC, MAG, HUL, RAI, STR, KVY, GAS, NOR, PER, ALB, GIO, RUS, KUB; retirements: GRO, RIC, SAI

51: BOT closing on the tail of the HUL-GAS train
LEC is under 0.5sec behind VET; will he take P4?
BOT laps GAS

52: Radio for BOT telling him he still has fastest lap; BOT asks if he should pit (for new tyres) to ensure f/lap; told they don’t want to take that risk; BOT says he really wants 26 points

53: BOT continues making his way through the midfield

55/58: VER 1:26.540
Radio for VER – “focus on getting HAM”

56: Radio from HAM – “I need that point Bono!”

57: The top 3 (at least) are pushing for the fastest lap point

58 = final lap: BOT 1:25.580

Chequered flag
BOT P1
HAM P2
VER P3

Provisional result: BOT, HAM, VER, VET, LEC, MAG, HUL, RAI, STR, KVY; GAS, NOR, PER, ALB, GIO, RUS, KUB
DNF: GRO, RIC, SAI
Fastest lap = BOT