Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…I’m back, baby!
After a brief two year hiatus I have returned to the world wide web to bring you my erratic brand of “Formula One journalism” and what better place to reintroduce myself to the interwebz than my home grand prix!
So without further ado, lets say “G’Day” to the Albert Park circuit and to the 2018 season.
LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO!
Astoundingly we managed a clean start and all 20 cars made it through the first lap without incident.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull received some very mixed messages from his engineers over the course of very few laps. First he was told to activate “Wonder Kid” mode and get around the Haas – I’m not sure which driver of which Haas because HALO. Then, after a beautifully executed but utterly detrimental
pirouette spin , was promptly told that NOW the engineers want Max to be careful and manage his tyres. Do you want an angsty teenager Red Bull? Because that’s how you get an angsty teenager.
Among all of this we lose our newest Russian, Sergey Sirotkin, to a brake failure and Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber to a power steering failure.
And then there were 18…
Not one to break with tradition, Fernando Alonso blessed us and his McLaren team with some A+ radio sass.
A mere 15 laps into the season opener we also managed to lose Pierre Gasly in the Toro Rosso (hey there Honda engine, we see you) but he managed to slowly limp back into the pit lane thus avoiding a safety car or even yellow flags. Slow clap.
As we approached the mid race mark the Ferrari’s were told to push which is unsurprising, no doubt wanting to go for Sebastian’s new hairstyle…the undercut.
Two laps later Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari pits and re-joined in third. THE STRATEGY BEGINS as Lewis Hamilton pits his Mercedes in response to the Ferrari strategy. Strategy in F1 is like Game of Thrones but way more predictable and with less dragons. If it were still up to Bernie Ecclestone I think the suggestion of introducing fire and ice into the races would have piqued his interest.
It is at this point, around lap 23, that the real shit show began for team Haas. First we lost Kevin Magnussen to what initially appeared to be engine failure except it happened suspiciously soon after his pit stop. Then we lost Romain Grosjean almost immediately after his pit stop.
Essentially Haas were having A DAYTM with their stops. Upon review it looked like something happened with both of their cars during the tyre changes that caused the aforementioned engine failure. Is that a thing? I don’t know. I’m not an engineer. I write a very rudimentary blog. However this was generally super disappointing because HOLY SHIT Haas had come out swinging this season!
Either way the result of Grojean’s car crapping out on the side of the track was that yellow flags were waved and the safety car was deployed.
And HOOOOOO BOY Ferrari saw that yellow flag and just thought to themselves “You know what? For once we’re actually going to implement a decent strategy” and let me just say Forza fucking Ferrari. They went and pitted Sebastian Vettel and got him back out on track in first, in front of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. They went and did the thing. Grazie.
At some point during the safety car Max Verstappen overtook Fernando Alonso which is of course a big no, no so old mate Charlie Whiting (aka the dad of F1) told him to give the place back. This resulted in some rather hilarious footage of Max quite literally trying to wave Fernando past him to retake the position – just like when you’re pulled over in the car park waiting for a spot and you’re trying to wave the guy behind to to go around. Formula One drivers, they’re just like us!
On lap 31 the race restarted, the safety car came in and despite some tense moments between the top five all being within DRS zone of each other, nothing changed. Everyone held position.
With the end of the race in sight Carlos Sainz reported that he had lost power in his Renault but managed to stay out on track and maintain 10th position, likely being told by his engineers “Have you tried turning it off and then on again?” We were then lucky enough to have Mark Webber temporarily suspended his commentating duties during the race to sing the praises of Fernando Alonso during the broadcast. #WebonsoForever
Daniel Ricciardo decided to go full honey badger mode and attack Kimi Raikkonen on every closing lap of the race stating “I don’t want to let him breathe” over team radio. Wow, Daniel. Maybe listen to a little less Parkway Drive before getting into the car mate? Just kidding. You do you.
Lewis Hamilton spit the dummy due to being stuck behind the turbulent air of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari lap after lap. He could get close but never close enough to overtake due to the hot air messing with his cars temperatures. Despite this Lewis decided he didn’t want to listen to the team, he is too #blessed to take orders, and he went off to attack Sebastian.
And with that we were onto the final lap! Red Bull gave Daniel Ricciardo everything in their arsenal to assist him in his podium fight and his teammate Max Verstappen was still trying to overtake Fernando Alonso for fifth. FIFTH PEOPLE. FERNANDO ALONSO WAS IN FIFTH. Hamilton had given up and dropped back significantly but still held on the second.
All in all it was a good race and it’s always such a thrill to have F1 back in our lives. Case in point: I wear a Fitbit which monitors my heart rate and I can tell you that during the two hours of racing action my pulse was noticeably elevated. To the point that my Fitbit thought I was doing some form of light exercise when, in reality, I was just sitting on the couch typing with very sweaty palms.
But fam, we need to talk. I need you to stop the damn booing. I dislike certain drivers as much as the next person and seeing on the podium is always a downer but for the love of all that is holy STOP BOOING. Just don’t cheer. It’s honestly not that difficult. Sit down, be quiet and show big love to your faves.
Side note: the crowd cheering “KI-MI! KI-MI! KI-MI!” warms my heart.
My final thought on the race aren’t actually related to the race itself but instead with the Channel 10 broadcast of the grand prix. The wildest thing about trying to watch the F1 live in Australia without having to pay is the immense amount of advertising breaks you have to sit through during a live race. It is abysmal.
That’s all folks! Until Bahrain, peace out.