It’s finally back! Formula One 2019 kicks off this Sunday in Melbourne for the Australian GP. However, fans, drivers and pundits mourn the death of FIA Race Director, Charlie Whiting, who has died at the age of 66.
‘He was a pillar of F1’
Drivers, fans and pundits of Formula One woke up this morning to find out that long-serving FIA Race Director, Charlie Whiting, had passed away at the age of 66. The FIA said Whiting suffered a pulmonary embolism this morning which led to his death. This comes as a massive shock to the F1 paddock who are gearing for the first race weekend of the season. Drivers including Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean were just a few to paid tribute to one of the most respected, influential and well-liked figure the paddock has ever seen.
Who’s looking good?
Despite only taking 2 wins round Albert Park (2008 & 2015), Mercedes Lewis Hamilton has been the man on form taking 7 pole positions. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel however has taken 3 pole positions round here but not as a Scuderia driver yet. The German has 3 wins, in 2011 and most recently in 2017 and in 2018. Red Bull’s last win here was with Vettel in 2011 however taking fastest lap last year will boost their spirits.
As for home-favourite Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, the popular Australian hasn’t finished on the podium, barring his 2014 disqualification from 2nd place. His team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg, could spring a surprise and take his first-ever podium.
Ferrari and McLaren are level on 12 wins each but the chances of the British team winning are very slim, bearing in mind their last F1 podium was here in 2014. The struggling Williams team have 6 victories while reigning Champions Mercedes have claimed 3, their last win dating back to 2016.
Among the other teams, Haas look to be in for a good points haul if the American team can avoid the disastrous pit-stop mistakes which potentially cost the team good points as both cars were in the top 5 at the time of the mistakes. Racing Points Sergio Perez has a run of 8 consecutive finishes, barring a disqualification. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr however has scored points at every Australian GP he’s raced in.
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel have opted for just 1 set of the Hard tyre, along with the Red Bull’s of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo and both Haas drivers of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. The other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc has opted for 2 sets of the Hard tyre.
It’s the same way when it comes to the Medium tyre with Leclerc taking 2 sets while his team-mate, both Mercedes and both Red Bull’s opting for 3 sets each. Ricciardo and the McLaren’s of Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris have opted for 2 sets of the Medium tyre. Interestingly, the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg has only opted for just the 1 set.
When it comes to the preferred Soft tyre, both Ferrari’s, both Mercedes and both Red Bull’s have opted for 9 sets while both Renault’s have opted for 10. Racing Points Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll and Williams George Russell and Robert Kubica have opted for only 8 sets. Russell, who makes his F1 debut, deciding to go for 4 sets of the Medium tyre.