After the relative dullness of the Bahrain Grand Prix 2 weeks ago, today’s GP in Australia was the kind of race that reminds us all why we love Formula 1. From the start to the very finish there was drama, excitement and wait for it, overtaking! I kid you not, cars were passing other cars under normal racing conditions, and a fair amount of that was done by Lewis Hamilton.Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com
Lewis Hamilton drove arguably his greatest race to date, up there with Japan 2007 for me personally, and that was the race that made me into a Formula 1 fan, so high praise indeed. After the disappointment of yesterday’s qualifying I was thrilled to see Lewis in such a racing mood, it’s what has always delighted me as a fan of his. If there was a chance to overtake than he took it, and a special mention has to go out to both Robert Kubica and Fernando Alsonso who brilliantly defended against a much faster Hamilton. In the case of Kubica it was Hamilton’s inability to get past that had the team bring him in for a tyre change, a move that ultimately led to Hamilton losing places, a probable podium place at that.
Later in the race, when chasing down Fernando Alsonso, it was Mark Weber who dealt Hamilton a a second blow when he shunted him into the gravel. At that point I was livid, and had it not been for the presence of my little boy then a fair few expletives would have been thrown the Australian’s way! Luckily it only cost Hamilton one place and he ended up finishing 6th, a result which is far better than the 11th place he qualified but worse than he should have got, had other circumstances and decisions gone his way. Hamilton’s lambasting of the team over the radio during the race wasn’t his finest moment but forgiveable, given the emotions that must have been coursing through him as he saw race positions taken from within his grasp.Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com
The man in the photo above is none other than Jenson Button, 2 races into his career as a McLaren driver and already a winner. If I’m completely honest I’d have preferred Lewis Hamilton to win, but I won’t begrudge Jenson his victory and for the McLaren team it’s a fantastic result. Kudos to Jenson for making the decision to come in for an early tyre change to slicks, it won him the race, with a little help from Sebastian Vettel’s second problematic Grand Prix in a row. It’s astonishing that Jenson went so long and at such a high performance level on the second set of tyres, but if anyone could it was going to be him.Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com
At the start of the season I will hold my hands up and admit (you can read old blog posts so I can’t pretend otherwise!) that I thought Lewis was going to outperform Jenson easily over the course of 19 races. Though he did just that in Bahrain, and though there were mitigating circumstances leading to Lewis’s almost disappointing 6th place, Jenson Button has marked out his intention to succeed with today’s race and currently leads Lewis by 8 points in the Drivers’ Championship. The combined effort of both drivers puts them on 54 points, 16 points behind Ferrari.Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com
Lewis Hamilton is ominously missing from this team celebration, but then so is Martin Whitmarsh – maybe they were discussing the second tyre change at the time of taking this photo! All in all it was a great day for McLaren and for Formula 1 fans everywhere – what a fantastic race. I have no doubt that Jenson’s victory will have lit a fire under everyone in the team, especially Lewis Hamilton, who doesn’t like playing second fiddle to anyone, especially not his team mate.