Mark Gallagher – Thoughts on Melbourne – Original post at

19 Mar

Originally at –,F1:_Oi_skeyeis_gia_ton_prwto_agwna.html

The demeanour of the three drivers who finished on the podium told me everything I needed to know about two of the major questions arising from the opening race of the season in Australia.

The first is that a supremely confident Jenson Button is going to continue the excellent form he has shown since joining McLaren, to the extent that his win in the new McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 was a depressing experience for team mate Lewis Hamilton. The 2008 World Champion has been telling everyone that he has put the difficulties of last season behind him, but his face told a different story. Button is on top at McLaren – in and out of the car.

The second is that although Red Bull Racing struggled a little in practice and qualifying, their race pace was competitive and Sebastian Vettel looked relaxed as a result. The double World Champion is not going to panic; the RB8 is competitive, and simply needs to be optimised. The McLaren V Red Bull battle will continue.

There was so much to talk about in Melbourne that it can only mean one thing; this year’s Formula One World Championship is going to be fascinating. Mercedes Benz AMG is competitive, Roman Gosjean and Kimi Raikkonen have reason to be optimistic of achieving success with the Lotus E20, and Ferrari have begun a long fight-back after a disappointing start to the season for the F2012. Alonso salvaged a truly remarkable 5th place, while Massa had an awful weekend has did not help his chances of staying with the team.

Perhaps the most pleased aspect of the weekend was the fact that a beautiful looking car won the race. The ugly ‘platypus’ nosed F1 cars will be a one-year aberration, so while the Technical Working Group and FIA managed to forget their responsibility to make the cars look great, at least McLaren have shown that there is only one ‘step’ that matters; the top step of the podium.

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