The beginning of the race was halted over a stalled Marussia and this caused an additional formation lap. Probably to be expected given the delicate nature of the new power units.
It was clear from the start that Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg’s muted commentary post-qualifying was due to his having a plan and that plan immediately materialized at the start with a shot from a cannon into the lead.
It was also clear that his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, had an engine issue, as he became a sitting duck for the drivers behind him. He would later retire the car.
It was also a bit of bad luck for a reinvigorated Felipe Massa as his Williams F1 car was struck heavily from behind by Caterham F1’s Kamui Kobayashi as his car had a braking issue that seemed to be no brakes at all given the incident.
One can’t ignore the drive of Valtteri Bottas and although he caused his own grief and was mad at himself for clouting the wall and bringing out the Safety Car, that full-course caution actually saved his bacon and got him back into the race to finish and impressive 5th.
Kevin Magnussen proved to be the star of the show as well with an impressive 2nd place beating his venerable teammate Jenson Button who placed 3rd giving McLaren the lead in the constructor’s championship.
As for teammates and comprehensive butt-kicking, Force India’s Nico hulkenberg proved, yet again, why he should be Fernando Alonso’s teammate as he pummeled Force India’s Sergio Perez. Nico finished 6th while Sergio floundered in 10th with tire puncture caused by a collision with fellow countryman Esteban Gutierrez. In Perez’s defense, he had to make an unscheduled stop costing him any real potential of finishing close to Hulkenberg.
Toro Rosso has to be pleased to get both cars in the top ten with an 8th for Jean-Eric Vergne and 9th for rookie Danill Kvyat who displaces Sebastian Vettel as the youngest driver to ever score a world championship point.
Don’t miss the huge news that Marussia has claimed 13th and 14th on Sunday. This is massive news and thanks to the reliable Max Chilton, the team could have just secured 10th in the constructor’s championship should the teams only progress from here with reliability and performance which would make it very difficult for Caterham F1 to best a 13th place finish in the season ahead. This means millions of dollars for Marussia.
I guess you’d have to pick the Red Bull fuel-flow rate sensor as the big culprit in today’s race. Red Bull says the sensors have been dodgy all during the pre-season testing and that they feel it was giving bad readings during the race. They say the FIA sensors are crap and that their injectors measured the correct flow and the car was compliant to the regulations of 100kgs per hour. Regardless, Ricciardo was disqualified from the race.
The team will appeal the decision but regardless, the big loser is Daniel Ricciardo who drove brilliantly and got on the podium for his home race…I feel terrible for him.
You could certainly put your finger on the 8 cars that didn’t finish as having lost the plot for the season opener but we knew all along that attrition was going to be an element this weekend. Some feared over half the field would fail to finish the race and others envisioned nearly all the cars falling short of the finish line. Those fears were a little over the mark.
Williams F1’s Felipe Massa has to be one of the biggest losers of the race having been punted by no fault of his own spoiling what otherwise may have been double points haul for the team and a good finish position for the Brazilian.
Both Red Bull and Mercedes have serious reliability issues with their most-favored drivers in Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton respectively. I’ve maintained that if Mercedes can come on song, Nico Rosberg would be the man to beat at Mercedes and so far, it seems to be the case but as quick as you can suggest that, Hamilton can turn the tables just as quickly and this is why the Mercedes teammate duel is the one to watch in 2014.
Lotus F1 has to be this weekend’s comprehensive loser in context given their performance last year. The team are beside themselves with the loss in pace, reliability and progress. Development this year will be key and it could very well becoming the threshing floor for Lotus F1 as well as Williams and Sauber if they do not have the cash to support an aggressive development cycle.
While not as bitten as the above, Ferrari has to be displeased with their efforts so far. Running 5th in the race and inheriting 4th on red Bull’s disqualification can’t be what they envisaged heading into the 2014 season. Some felt the team could be hiding pace during practice but it seems the Scuderia are plainly out matched this year too. Can they develop the F14T chassis into a winner? Heaven knows they have the cash to do so and yet they haven’t been able to accomplish it in the last three years.
The media I’ve read says that I will get used to the new sound of Formula 1. That F1 needs to be eco-friendly and lead the way in hybrid technology. Some journalists say that I need to respect what the teams have achieved in little more than 24 months. They say the sound is not a big deal and that the friendlier, quieter F1 is actually much nicer if you’re trackside or in the paddock.
They argue the racing is more exciting now too. They say I should really respect the notion of a more green racing series and how innovative the new engines, hybrid systems and entertainment constructs are—I have news for them, No I don’t.
Putting a positive spin on the current state of affairs in F1 is fine and understandable but there are major disconnects for F1 fans at home. The lack of that visceral sound has taken away the tangible way in which we knew the drivers and cars were going flat out. Where they put throttle input, where they braked, how much energy they were putting into a turn or a high-speed corner. We have lost nearly all of our ability to actually hear that on TV now. We assume they are going fast but we certainly can’t hear that they are. It’s like watching The Walking Dead with the sound off…how the hell do we know when a zombie is coming if we can’t hear that haunting, gurgling sound?
I suggest F1 needs closed captioning now with someone typing “WHAAAAaaaaaaaa, WHAAAaaaaaaa, WHAAAaaaaaaa” just so we know when someone is giving it some welly.
The Delphic journo core is right, I’ll get used to it in time. This, of course, means that I will get numb to it over time but I will never like it because it isn’t F1. Someone may have done well to ask fans if being green with electric cars is something they want. Formula E won’t have a muted 6-cylinder making sounds like a Toro Leaf Blower masking the sound of the electric whirring of the power unit so in that case, maybe we’ll be able to hear something of note. The combination of the V6 masking the ERS means that everything sounds muddled and unidentifiable.
Our own Adam Vella was at the race and posted his first-hand experience of the sound here. I agree with him, I’m about as gutted as F1 is right now. Surely revving the V6 higher would help? Or would it?