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Australian GP 2009 – Race Report

Posted by f1cafe on March 31, 2009


It was clear from the first three practice sessions that Williams, Toyota and Brawn GP were strong. Surprisingly Brawn GP didn’t top the timesheets during practice, but both cars were near the top anyway.

Come qualifying, Brawn GP cars set the pace, with Rubens Barichello topping Q1 and Q2, but Jenson Button coming good in Q3, where it mattered the most. Disappointing performances in qualifying from the usual suspects like Ferrari and McLaren, but the Toyotas, Williams and Redbull showed impressive pace.

Jenson started from pole and impressively pulled away from the rest, without a trouble. Endured a couple of safety car periods and still came out on top to comfortably win the race. To his credit, he won the race on merit, unlike his first win (Hungarian Grand Prix 2006), where he was aided by the misfortunes of others under difficult circumstances. This goes to show Formula One these days is so much about the car than the driver. I only wish we can see one day, how the other drivers in lesser teams will do given a competetive car.

Same can’t be said of his team mate Rubens. He had a troubled start with anti-stall kicking in. Had a few collisions during the race. But still managed to finish second behind Jenson, due to cars in front retiring. Never the less, a great achievement for Brawn GP, to have had 1, 2 in qualifying and the race. Its clear that they have a great car. How long before the others catch up with them, we don’t know. But McLaren seem to be preparing for victories by the time the European races start.

Good drive from Lewis Hamilton, though he was lucky to finish 3rd. He took advantage of the failing cars, and seems to have used KERS to good effect in passing. The impressive thing about his driving is that he never gave up, not made errors, and avoided problems. That’s the sign of a good driver. His team mate Heikki Kovalainen was involved in a first lap incident and retired eventually.

Very disappointing race from the Italian marque Ferrari. Both drivers made mistakes, and car wasn’t that performant either. Nothing great to write home about.

Prior to the race, everyone was talking up the chances of Nick Heidfeld due to him being lighter and running KERS, but its Robert Kubica who lead the proceedings at BMW Sauber. He lined up fourth on the grid, and always kept up with Button and Vettel. But a stupid racing incident caused both Vettel and Kubica to lose out on potential podium finishes with a couple of laps to go. Very unfortunate and I do believe it was a racing incident, but the FIA got involved and served some heavy penalties for Vettel, which is disappointing. But both Kubica and Vettel showed their class and I have a feeling that they are going to win some races this season.

Disappointing start to the season by Renault. The double world champion Fernando Alonso was lucky to finish in points (fifth) and his team mate Nelson Piquet Jr. was nowhere near the spaniard Alonso. I hope Flavio Briatore stops whinging about the clever designs by other teams, and starts concentrating on improving his own car.

The Toyota car and its drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock showed great promise in race and qualifying. Unfortunately for them, they started the race from pit lane, due to them being found in infrigement of rear wing flexibility regulations. They fixed the issue in time for race, and showed good pace during the race. Unlucky Trulli ended up with a 25 seconds penalty during the final safety car intervention when he traded places with Lewis. Nobody is sure what exactly had happened, and there’s no video evidence that I can find to backup either drivers’ version of the story.

Sebastien Beumi made an impressive debut for Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari. He outqualified his reputed team mate Sebastien Bourdais, and finished one place ahead of him to grab the final point for Toro Rosso.

While Vettel was mighty impressive during the race, his team mate Mark Webber appeared to struggle. Hope the Aussie comes good in the next few races. He was desperate for a good car last few seasons. Now Redbull seem to have made a good car, but he broke his ankle pre-season. Hope that’s not going to spoil his season.

Nico Rosberg had the better of his team mate Kazuki Nakajima in both race and qualifying. Nico was very impressive and was set for a podium or fourth, but some late problems with his car dropped him down to sixth, but he still collected good points for Williams. They finally seem to have made a fast car. All the best to Frank Williams this season.

Force India seem to have made a step up with the new Mercedes engine and a technical partnership with McLaren. Still failed to get out of Q1 though. Vijay Mallya is optimistic still, and all the best to them with their 2009 targets.

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