Melbourne Formula One Race Preview of Exciting Season?

The race in Melbourne is over.  The action on track is wrapped; the cars are being loaded into their haulers, and the drivers and mechanics are getting some much needed rest.  Now it’s time for the media to speculate as to what is going to happen this year.  So, as many others will do, I will share my “two cents.”

First, Ferrari won!  Sebastian Vettel was able to take the fight to Mercedes and beat them by passing Hamilton.  Unfortunately the “passing” was not done on track but in the pits!  Mercedes brought Hamilton in early as he was not happy with his tire performance.  Vettel stayed out, stayed out, and stayed out.  Hamilton got stuck behind Max Verstappen and Vettel was able to gain enough time to make a pit stop and come back out ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton.  It was close but Ferrari was able to make it work with a very quick pit stop.

It seems the improved aerodynamics and wider rear wings, while making the cars faster, also makes them more difficult to pass.  Max Verstappen was very clear in his interview as he indicated that anytime you got within “2 seconds” of the car ahead, you lost traction.  So the second take away for this year is that we are back to the days when races are won and lost by team pit strategies.  Definitely less entertaining than watching the cars battle for position on the track.

Maybe this is partly because this is the first race of the year and drivers are just getting familiar with their vehicles.  We will have to wait and see.  The Ferrari win does suggest that the year will be interesting to watch.

Third, the American Haas team looked very good in qualifying as Romain Grosjean put his car in the sixth spot.  Unfortunately, the race results were not as good.  Both Haas cars dropped out with mechanical problems.  Still, let’s hope this is a preview of good things to come.

The next race is in two weeks’ time in Shanghai, China.  I’m looking forward to it!