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.
That headline sounds so clichéd but that was exactly how the race panned out at the Belgian Grand Prix. Jenson Button took victory from pole position as he was rarely troubled at the front by anyone else and finished a good 14 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second place. Kimi Raikkonen finished in third place as he continued his & Lotus’ consistent season.
Nico Hulkenberg finished in fourth place in what has been a good hunting ground for Force India in the past with Felipe Massa fifth, Mark Webber sixth and Michael Schumacher finishing seventh in his 300th Grand Prix start. The two Toro Rossos of Jean Eric Vergne & Daniel Ricciardo finished eighth and ninth ahead the second Force India of Paul Di Resta in tenth.
Yet, the talking point of the race would be the first lap action at the first corner which saw not one, not two but four cars come together in a horrific-looking pileup – the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, the Sauber of Sergio Perez and most importantly, the Ferrari of championship leader Fernando Alonso! Grosjean swiped into Hamilton and sent them both careening into the back of Alonso’s Ferrari, with the Lotus launching into the air and flying inches away from Alonso’s head in the cockpit. Perez was on the outside of it all but was hit by the out of control McLaren, thereby ending all four drivers’ race prematurely.
The Formula One season is back after its summer break and the second half of the season started off in earnest at the much loved Spa Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian Grand Prix. And it was Jenson Button who scored his first pole position for McLaren and his first since 2009 as he clocked the fastest qualifying time in Q3. Starting from P2 on the grid would be the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado in P3.
Race favourite and four-time winner Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest ahead of Sergio Perez in fifth and Fernando Alonso on sixth. Red Bull’s Mark Webber was seventh fastest but will drop down five places due to a gearbox change. Lewis Hamilton was eighth, Romain Grosjean ninth and Paul Di Resta tenth.
With Friday’s practice sessions affected by rain, most teams did not have enough mileage on the cars to get the perfect setup and Lotus, who were expected to run their upgraded DRS system opted not to do so. McLaren had to choose whether to run a new rear wing or not and in the end Jenson rode with it & Hamilton without. Other teams had tyre choice concerns as well as gearbox issues – Rosberg & Webber specifically.