Category Archives: Australian

Free practice in Australia looking good for McLaren

I couldn’t sleep this morning so I gave up trying and turned on the TV to watch FP2. I was surprised but delighted to see Lewis and Jenson doing so well and when they ended up first and second fastest at the end of the session I wondered if my season was about to get a lot better.

I know you can’t read too much into the practice sessions but the MP4-26 is looking pretty good and capable of competing for podiums, something I didn’t think possible just a few hours ago. Of course we will know more this tomorrow when my world could come crashing down and we have a Red Bull front row, which let’s face it, would be utterly boring. That’s no slight on Vettel and Webber, it would just be nice to mix it up a bit, and yes, have McLaren at the front, particularly Lewis Hamilton!

Lewis Hamilton in his MP4-26

(Photo credit: McLaren.com)

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Filed under Australian, Free Practice

McLaren: Year on Year Comparison – Race 2, Australia 2010

After the poor start to the 2009 season and Jenson’s victory in Australia this past Sunday, I have a feeling the gulf between the 2009 and 2010 points total is about to expand, a lot!

2009 Points System

2009 2010
LH HK McLaren LH JB McLaren
TOTAL 2 0 2 TOTAL 9 12 21
Australian 0 0 0 Bahrain 6 2 8
Malaysian 2 0 2 Australian 3 10 13

 
 

2010 Points System

2009 2010
LH HK McLaren LH JB McLaren
TOTAL 5 0 5 TOTAL 23 31 54
Australian 0 0 0 Bahrain 15 6 21
Malaysian 5 0 5 Australian 8 25 33

 
Interesting to see how the new points system has meant that McLaren have accrued two and half times as many points for 2010 than if we’d still been on the 2009 points system. The way the points have spread out also sees Jenson Button catapulted into an 8 point lead over team mate Lewis Hamilton who was 7 points ahead of Jenson after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Compared to 2009, 2010 has been a roaring success and whether you are comparing the seasons under the 2009 or 2010 points system, the evidence if clear for all to see. Unless something catastrophic happens I don’t think we’ll see the 2010 points total dropping off to anywhere near the 2009 levels. Even with Lewis Hamilton’s resurgence in the second half of 2009, I’d predict that the second half of the 2010 will out-perform last year thanks to having two drivers who are equally capable of big points hauls – something that Heikki Kovalainen couldn’t achieve last season.

Lewis and Jenson at the launch of the McLaren MP4-25

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

This time last season McLaren were 7th in the Constructors’ Championship with just 2 points, behind Toro Rosso. In 2010 they are 2nd to Ferrari, and though they are 14 points behind, they have closed the gap – thanks in large part to Jenson Button’s victory. With the way the points system has changed it’s not inconceivable to think that McLaren could be heading the Constructors’ Championship after this coming weekend’s race in Malaysia.

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Filed under Australian, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Year on Year Comparisons

McLaren in Australia in Pictures (2010)

Jenson Button & Lewis Hamilton drive round Fernando Alonso at the start
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Lewis Hamilton overtaking team mate Jenson Button
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Lewis Hamilton passes Felipe Massa
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Lewis Hamilton chases down Robert Kubica
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Jenson Button en route to victory
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Jenson Button wins the 2010 Australian Grand Prix
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Jenson Button celebrates hi first McLaren win
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Jenson Button on the podium after winning the 2010 Australian Grand Prix
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Filed under Australian, In Pictures, McLaren

Button Wins, Hamilton 6th and F1 is back, baby!

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.

Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix

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.

Jenson Button cruises to victory in Australia

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.

Jenson Button celebrates victory on Australia

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.

Team McLaren celebrate Jenon Button's victory

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.

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Filed under Australian, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, McLaren, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel

Race Prediction: Australian Grand Prix 2010

1st = Sebastian Vettel
2nd = Fernando Alonso
3rd = Jenson Button

5th = Lewis Hamilton

I have a feeling that luck won’t be on Weber’s side in his home Grand Prix. I’m banking on Lewis to have cleared his mind of off track shenanigans of yesterday and to be totally focused on gaining places and getting as many points as possible – in the zone there a few who can do what he can.

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Filed under Australian, Race Predictions

Qualifying: Australia 2010 – Jenson P4, Lewis P11 & Lewis Hamilton has a police incident

Yesterday, Friday 26th March 2010, Lewis Hamilton was pulled over by the police in Melbourne, Australia and quoted as saying afterwards:

I was driving in an over-exuberant manner and, as a result, was stopped by the police. What I did was silly, and I want to apologise for it.

This would apparently not affect his qualifying today but one has to wonder if that is true after Hamilton failed to get through to the P3 after being only 11th fastest in P2. In fact the official word from the McLaren camp after qualifying was that yesterday’s run in with the police had affected Lewis going into qualifying. Jenson Button made it through to P3 and lines up 4th on the grid for tomorrow’s race, with Sebastian Vettel on pole, Mark Weber in 2nd and Fernando Alonso in 3rd.

Lewis Hamilton in Australia

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

Earlier in the week I entered the @McLaren_eShop prediction contest with an entry of Lewis Hamilton to come 2nd, and Jenson Button 5th. I’m thinking a few miracles may have to happen tomorrow for that to come true. However, with that notorious first turn at Albert Park a few of the cars in front of 2008 Champion Hamilton could fall by the wayside.

It’ll be interesting to see how Jenson Button fairs against the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso in front of him and Felipe Massa behind him. They were clearly faster in Bahrain but Massa did struggle a bit in qualifying with P5 being quite flattering of his overall performance this morning,

Jenson Button at Albert Park

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

After the Bahrain GP I’d have put money (I didn’t) on Lewis qualifying ahead of Jenson, who seemed very uncomfortable in his McLaren MP4-25. However, it’s the 2009 Champion who is flying the flag for McLaren after this morning’s qualifying session and as a driver he seems much more at ease with his car.

After winning in Australia in 2008, Lewis Hamilton is having a run of bad luck – let’s hope he puts that to rest in the actual race tomorrow.

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Filed under Australian, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Qualifying

McLaren Moments #2 – Australian Grand Prix 2009

After the disappointing testing sessions in Spain I was looking to the Australian Grand Prix with a mixture of hope and fear.

Lewis Hamilton at the Friday practice session in Australia
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The Friday and Saturday practice sessions didn’t do a great deal to alleviate my fears that McLaren were going to have a rotten race, and probably a rotten season too. Qualifying didn’t prove to be the saving grace for McLaren as Hamilton ended up 15th with Kovalainen 14th. I didn’t end there, a gear box change meant that Hamilton dropped 5 grid places to 20th – at the very back of the grid, not an auspicious start to the 2009 season for the 2008 World Champion!

Thankfully problems with other drivers meant that Hamilton actually started in 18th, not on the back row at least. In the first 5 laps Hamilton had charged his way up to 10th place, a sure sign that he was not resigning himself to defeat, despite driving a car far below his race winning expectations. By the end of the race he was up to 4th place, and behind the safety car he overtook Jarno Trulli when the Italian went off the race track, a legal manoeuvre. Trulli rejoined the race track and then overtook Hamilton to take his 3rd place back, an illegal manoeuvre. An inquest would see Hamilton given 3rd place back, but this was after the race and he didn’t get to claim his quite remarkable podium place.

Lewis Hamilton during the 2009 Australian Grand Prix
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Heikki Kovalainen wasn’t as fortunate as a first corner incident with Mark Weber saw the Fins race finished before even one lap had been completed.

At this point Hamilton was 3rd in the drivers Championship and things weren’t looking as bad as I’d initially feared – in fact I was positively thrilled with Hamilton’s performance and McLaren’s turn of fortune. However, that was all about to change, but we’ll wait till McLaren Moments #3 to discuss the nightmare of the media labelled lie-gate!

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Filed under Australian, Constructors, Drivers, Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, McLaren Moments