It was a walk in the Albert Park for Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton started off the season with a win at the Australian Grand Prix ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel finished third on his Ferrari debut (ditto Kimi, eh!)
Ferrari’s improved showing was kinda soured with Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement because of an ill-fitted tyre at his second pit stop.
The 2015 Formula 1 season is underway with the Australian Grand Prix and it seems we picked up where we left last year – Mercedes in front & the others chasing them!
Lewis Hamilton took pole position ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg with Felipe Massa (yep, not Valtteri Bottas) starting third.
Ferrari & not Red Bull were next on the grid with Sebastian Vettel ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Some positives after last year’s troubled times. Honda, as (un)expected, were at the back of the grid.
Red Bull broke their hoodoo at the Circuit Gilles de Villeneuve as pole sitter Sebastian Vettel took a commanding victory in what turned out to be a dry race after Saturday’s wet qualifying session. Second place went to the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, who also drove quite brilliantly after his disappointing race at Monaco and finished ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in third place. The margin of Vettel’s victory can be put into perspective by his 15 second lead over second place and that he lapped everyone from 6th place downwards as he romped to the chequered flag.
Mark Webber finished fourth ahead of the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in fifth, Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric-Vergne in sixth and one-stopping Force India of Paul Di Resta in seventh. Felipe Massa made up some good places in the race to finish eighth ahead of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen in ninth – his drive hampered by brake problems on his car and the need to conserve fuel towards the latter part of the race. Adrian Sutil took the last point in tenth place, having dropped from sixth place to serve a late drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags.
At a circuit which has seen several safety car excursions in the past, today’s race was cleaner but equally exciting in some places. Red Bull stuck to their tried and tested plan of “qualify at the front and blast away at the start to stay off DRS” and Vettel abided by it perfectly, with a clean start and maintaining his lead through the pit stops. Drive of the day was arguably by Fernando Alonso, having started sixth and made his way past Bottas at the first lap into fifth place, he then passed Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton on his way to second place.
It was Red Bull’s turn to take the pole position back from Mercedes as Sebastian Vettel emerged fastest of them all in a wet qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix at the circuit Gilles de Villeneuve in Montreal. Try as he might, Lewis Hamilton could only manage P2 ahead of the surprise entry of the session – the Williams of Valtteri Bottas in P3.
Nico Rosberg will start in fourth ahead of Mark Webber in fifth, Fernando Alonso in sixth and Jean Eric-Vergne in seventh. Adrian Sutil managed eighth fastest in what was Force India’s 100th grand prix, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in ninth and Daniel Ricciardo in tenth. Both the the McLarens didn’t make it to Q3 with Perez only 12th fastest and Jenson Button 14th fastest. Felipe Massa suffered his third crash in as many weeks and will start from sixteenth on the grid.
It was at the end a predictable yet incident packed race at the principality of Monte Carlo as Nico Rosberg took a lights-to-flag victory at the Monaco Grand Prix, followed by the two Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Predictable, because the pole-sitter eventually won and much of the race was a procession of sorts. Incident packed, as it saw two safety car periods and a red flag stoppage for around 25 minutes.
Mercedes could not convert their one-two start into a one-two victory as Lewis Hamilton could only finish fourth, ahead of the Force India of Adrian Sutil and McLaren of Jenson Button. Fernando Alonso finished seventh – finishing lower than he started for the first time in 2 years barring accidents & retirements – ahead of the Toro Ross of Jean Eric-Vergne in eighth, Paul Di Resta in ninth and Kimi Raikkonen in tenth, thus continuing his continuous points scoring finishes to 23 races! That almost didn’t happen as Kimi was forced into a late pit-stop with five laps to go after a collision with the McLaren of Sergio Perez and dropped to the back of the pack. But with fresher tyres, he stormed up the pack to claim the solitary point for tenth place.
The AMG Mercedes F1 Team’s dominance of the pole position continued as Nico Rosberg emerged fastest in the Saturday Qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix at the glamorous street circuit. It was Mercedes’ fourth pole of the season and Rosberg’s third consecutive one. Team mate Lewis Hamilton was second fastest with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel third.
The grid will line up in a Mercedes 1-2 and a Red Bull 1-2 as Mark Webber was fourth fastest ahead of the best of the rest – Kimi Raikkonen fifth for Lotus, Fernando Alonso sixth for Ferrari, Sergio Perez seventh for McLaren, Adrian Sutil eighth for Force India, Jenson Button ninth and Jean Eric-Vergne in tenth for Toro Rosso.
Light rain at the start of qualifying ensured that the initial runs were made on the intermediate tyres but the latter sessions were dry enough which saw the slicks come into play and although Red Bull put up a brief fight with Webber & Vettel holding the one-two positions provisionally, the last runs saw both the Mercedes pip them and claim their own one-two.
The 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix ended with the same top three finishers as last year as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel took the race victory with the two Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finishing second and third.
Force India’s Paul di Resta equalled his best ever finish with fourth position ahead of the charging Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in fifth. McLaren’s Sergio Perez finished sixth with Mark Webber seventh, Fernando Alonso eighth, pole sitter Nico Rosberg could only finish ninth and Jenson Button took the last point in tenth place.
Vettel made the win in the first few laps of the race as he embattled Rosberg & Alonso in some scintillating passing and re-passing manoeuvres to emerge in the lead after four laps and eked out a sizeable lead to remain untouched by DRS. Fernando Alonso could have had the race pace to challenge Vettel but it was scuppered by a malfunctioning DRS flap that remained stuck open and he had to pit twice in the opening stages to fix it. The fix meant Alonso had to run the remainder of the race without DRS, effectively ruining his podium aspirations. Ferrari had a doubly misfortunate day as Felipe Massa suffered two inexplicable right-rear punctures and multiple excursions into the pits meant he could only manage a lowly 15th place finish.
Mercedes took their second consecutive pole position of this season as Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time of all in Q3 for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull & Ferrari are also in the reckoning with Sebastian Vettel in second & Fernando Alonso third.
Lewis Hamilton & Mark Webber were fourth & fifth fastest but will drop down by five & three places on the grid due to a gearbox change and a penalty respectively. That promotes Felipe Massa to fourth in the grid with the two Force Indias of Paul di Resta & Adrian Sutil in fifth and sixth places. Webber slots in seventh with Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen eighth, Hamilton ninth & Jenson Button tenth.
As has been the case this season, tyre strategy will be key for Sunday’s race and though Rosberg starts on pole, it remains to be seen if the Mercedes has the consistent race pace that Ferrari or Lotus have shown so far.
I’ll go for a back-to-back win for Fernando Alonso & Felipe Massa to finish second with Raikkonen third.