So the result of the Australian Grand Prix 2016 is in – as widely expected it was a 1-2 for Mercedes with Ferrari trailing in 3rd place.
But that doesn’t tell the story of what was actually a pretty good race, especially the early laps.
Mercedes seem to have a proble with their “launch control” system, both Silver Arrows swamped at the start by not only the Ferraris, but in Hamilton’s case he also lost out to another 2 cars, partly due to his team-mate getting in his way.
Ferrari were more or less a match for Mercedes on the softer compound tyres too, with Vettel building an early lead quite quickly before Rosberg was able to get up to pace. This looks like once again Ferratri are able to “switch on” the softer tyres more quickly than the Mercedes.
The problem for Ferrari (and pretty much everyone else) is that the Mercs are simply too quick on the mediums and these will be probably the most often used tyres all season.
But assuming Mercedes cannot sort out their starts we should see some good races especially at tracks with a nice run down to the first turn, Ferrari 1 and 2 at the end of lap 1 may be a common theme and if they can get the soft tyres to last a bit longer it could be game on all race. This is likely to be the case at least at the tracks where tyre wear isn’t an issue.
The red flag caused by Alonso’s massive shunt probably help Mercedes a little but you have to question Ferrari’s decision not to go onto the medium tyres, maybe they knew they would not be quick enough on them?
So I think we can see a lot of Ferrari vs Mercedes action with Ferrari being able to win more races this season than last – Monza, Sepang, Monaco and Spa should all be tracks where they can take the fight to Mercedes. Assumoing Vettel beats Kimi as he did last season and both Mercedes drivers take points off each other, we could even see a 3 way fight for the driver’s title too.
Other than that Red Bull looked reasonably handy being closer to the podium than expected, which should bode well at tracks where power isn’t so important or if it rains. I can see them possibly winning a race or two if things go their way with a bit of luck or good strategy.
Haas had a good debut with solid points from experienced driver Grosjean, I can see them possibly grabbing a podium if we have a race of high attrition, possibly a wet race or a big pile-up at the start benefitting them.
Williams disappointed and must improve quickly.
McLaren were OK but nothing special, a reasonable improvement over last year but I still don’t see them doing better than fighting for the lower points scoring positions.
From a Fantasy F1 League point of view, Ricciardo was good value as he not only came 4th, but got a bonus 5 points for fastest lap and also another 4 points for making up 4 places from his grid position. Also Grosjean who finished 6th and made up 7 places from his grid slot.
Haas were also good value as they scored 8 points for Grosjeans 6th place yet only cost £2M.
The usual suspects grabbed most points, but they also cost most so the podium was pretty much as expected.
Here’s to Bahrain, could be a good scrap in the desert