Mar 18

Formula 1: 2013 Australian GP

Sebastian Vettel Australian GP 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

The first Grand Prix of 2013 got off to a tumultuous start last weekend as weather and scheduling issues complicated practice and qualifying.  Is the  first race of the 2013 Formula 1 season an indicator of what is to come?  Hit the jump to find out.

The Australian GP in Melbourne is one of a handful of races held on public streets.  As a result weather, namely rain, can complicate matters.  Paint stripes, the crown on the road and inadequate drainage were the causes for the treacherous conditions that plagued the 2013 Australian GP during both free practice and qualifying.


Ferrari and Red Bull 2013 Australian GP

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

Teams struggled with new cars and weather during the Thursday and Friday practice sessions and the excellent lap times put down by a number of midfield drivers created a lot of speculation for the upcoming season.

Among the big surprise of the weekend was the amazing lack of pace for the McLaren’s.  Both Button and Perez were well down the order during the practice sessions and Buttons 10th place in qualifying was nearly three seconds behind Vettel’s blistering 1:27.407.  It seems that McLaren has a lot of work to do if they hope to be competitive this year.

Sebastian Vettel 2013 Australian GP

© Red Bull Media House

Subject of much speculation the Mercedes team showed that they have the potential for some great finishes this year.  Hamilton and Rosberg both showed that the Mercedes has the pace and potentially a tire wear advantage.


Nico Hulkenburg 2013 Australian GP

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

The big news before the race was the postponement of Q2 and Q3.  Saturday’s rain soaked Albert Park Circuit was simply too dangerous and due to scheduling the organizers simply ran out of light and had to postpone Q2 and Q3 until Sunday morning.  In an attempt to make viewing easier for a world wide audience the Australian GP starts later in the afternoon than most.  As a result, the window to complete qualifying is dramatically shorter causing the necessary postponement.

Kimi Raikkonen Australian GP 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

Once Q2 and Q3 got underway the usual suspects took over with Vettel and Webber finishing 1 and 2.  Hamilton was a slightly suprising third, though in the mixed conditions of Q1 fellow Mercedes driver  Rosberg was well up on the entire field and looked very comfortable in the car.

During the race Webber made his typical start and fell immediately to 7th while Vettel shot out to an early lead with the Ferraris of Massa and Alonso hot on his heels.  The Mercedes showed good pace through out even if they didn’t ultimately have enough to challenge for a podium.

The real revelations of the race were Raikonnen and Sutil.  Kimi showed that he really does still have it by simply driving away from everyone.  The Lotus looked incredibly smooth and Raikonnen didn’t put a wheel wrong the entire race.  Force India’s Sutil looked like a man on a mission.  He drove his way up from 12th to finish 5th, after dropping back from 1st with over cooked tires. At two point during the race, not only was he leading but he was also pulling away from the chasing Vettel and Raikonnen.




Sebastian Vettel 2013 Australian GP

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

It’s difficult to say whether the first race is an true indicator of the season.  McLaren is always a strong team and it seems unlikely that they won’t be able to overcome any problems they’re currently experiencing.

Can Sutil continue showing good pace? What about Rosberg?  Judging form how quick he was in practice and qualifying it would be hard to count him out of the points.  Obviously, we’ve seen that Kimi is fast but Albert Park is an unusual circuit and does that speed translate to the enormous number of Tilke tracks?  Are we seeing a second Ferrari renaissance?  We’ll probably have a little better idea after next weekend as the F1 carnival heads to Sepang International Circuit.  Let us know what you think and don’t forget to sign up for our F1 Fantasy League.



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