2011 Formula 1 Qantas Australian grand prix :
The first race of the 2011 season was supposed to be held in bahrain,but due to certain political riots happening in the country,the race had to be cancelled.So the entire F1 industry had to wait for two more weeks for the season to begin.
Being the season opener, all eyes were open on all the teams, on how they would perform. Three teams that were particularly looked were the redbull, Ferrari and Mercedes. The McLaren had performed dismal in the testing and they accepted that they were slower by a second compared to their competitors, but they were working on major upgrade that they were planning to bring in Australian grand prix which kept their hopes alive.
The practice session in the Albert Park could conclude tell one thing-red bull is as fast as the team expected. The major surprise however was the McLaren topping the second practice session. Their upgrades did work and better what the team predicted. The Ferrari drivers couldn’t see beyond 3rd place and Mercedes were competitive to Ferrari.
The weather was calm as the session took place. The Hispania racing team took their cars out first time on the track, and hence had to settle for the last place. Heidfield in Renault couldn’t score better than 18th place, whereas his teammate Petrov could achieve 5th place. Barrichello was blocked by Hamilton hence secured 17th place.
None of the force India cars could qualify for Q3, which would have put mallaya in a fix. Schumi’s luck didn’t last beyond 11th place, which was quite a shock.
Q3 wasn’t so nail-biting like the one’s we had last season. Vettel grabbed the pole with a 0.7s lead to second place Hamilton. Webber was 3rd for red bull with button occupying 4th. The Spaniard driver of Ferrari, Alonso made a slight error in his flying lap which resulted him being 5th.Petrov, rosberg and massa grabbed 6th,7th and 8th respectively. Buemi had a good time, being able to qualify in q3 for the first time in his career.
The Race Day
Sunday, Race day saw a pretty good climate with temperatures around 17degrees. Hispania racing team driver’s narain and liuzzi were to sit out as their cars didn’t qualify the 107rule in qualifying, but the team was pretty happy with their progress and promised they would perform better in the next race.
The red bull team decided not to use their KERS in the qualifying and in the race because they had some problems with their KERS unit and they didn’t want it to hamper their cars reliability.
The first lap of the race, vettel lead the corner followed by Hamilton and Webber. Button pushed Alonso to the edge due to which the Spaniard dropped to 9th.Massa was able to take the edge over button.
Surprisingly, there were no major crashes or accidents at the beginning of the race. Michael Schumacher had contacts with Alguersuari due to which he had to make pit stops immediately and later retired .Rosberg lost his engine due to his crash with barrichelo. An extremely bad result for them as they were the ones who started working on the 2011 car earliest compared to the other teams.
Massa was followed by Button who was trying aggressively to overtake him. He skipped a chicane in the process and overtook Massa. All this drama was closely watched by Alonso who overtook two cars after his bad start .Then Massa made a error and Alonso overtook him. Massa was told to come for the pits and hence button didn’t have an opportunity to give back his place and hence was given a drive through penalty which spoiled his race. He was later able to overtake Massa in the lap 54 and brought the McLaren in 6th place.
Petrov who slipped to 3rd place in the first lap continued to dominate his position until Alonso grabbed his position after the first pit stop. But he was able to get back the place as Alonso did a 3pit strategy whereas he was on two.
Sergio perez stunned the paddock by doing a one pit race which pushed him to 7th place ahead of his team mate kobayashi.Later the sauber team was found guilty of certain technical rules and hence disqualified. This enabled the force india drivers to come inside the points.
Pastor Maldonado had a transmission faiure in lap9.The same with his team mate barrichelo ,who retired in lap48. They need to solve the transmission issue quickly.Jarno trulli of lotus finished 15th followed by ambrosia of marrusia-virgin team.
The red bull front wing was seen bending down during the race,which caused quite a stir in the paddocks. Critics belived that the wing is flexible and it bends down, thereby causing more downforce in the front.
The coming race, the Malaysian grand prix might be more interesting. Red bull has confirmed the use of KERS in the next race. Ferrari hopes to improve their down force by analyzing the various data collected over the weekend. McLaren seem to be heading in the right direction, Mercedes needs to pray for luck to score some good points.
Sauber Ferrari will have to correct their technical infringements before next week. They will be bringing out an exhaust design similar to the red bull’s by a months time. Renault will face a even tougher competition next week and they must be prepared to tackle it.Force India is still a long way from their goal of achieving a podium finish in the first ever Indian grand prix.Williams need to inspect their gearbox failure and rectify it.The same goes with lotus where focus on reliability is the key.
Hispania Racing team and Marussia virgin have a lot of homework to do and they might struggle for another 2-3 races.
Speaking about the tire wear, scott perez showed the teams that the race could be done with one stop strategy also. Choosing the soft/hard compound will depend on whether it’s going to be a 2 or a 3 pit strategy race which in turn depends on track position and weather conditions. The Malaysian grand prix has always been accompanied by rains, so finding a right strategy is a important. Its hard on the tires ,so we can expect even 4pit stops from some teams.
DRS might prove more helpful in the sepang international circuit, for its long straights and corners. Few more races need to pass by to judge the real success of it .KERS will prove important in the first and the last straights where chances of overtaking is high.
I hate to say this, but Red bull and McLaren look good to continue their dominance unless the rain goddess gets bored and decides to play with the race.