Well, where did that come from Valterri Bottas? The Finn knew coming into this season of Formula One that he would have to up his game. How did he do this? He avoided the lime-light, went rallying, cleared his head and spent time with his dogs. Anyhow, a dominant win and a benchmark set. Here is the 2019 Australian Post- Race Analysis.
Crucial point of the race?
The most crucial part of the race was certainly the start of the race. For the first time in 2019, the lights went out and the drivers raced towards turn 1. This start was crucial as Valterri Bottas was able to nip ahead of Lewis Hamilton going to turn 1. Hamilton suffered a lot of wheel-spin which caused the sluggish start for the Brit. It was a nice start for 5th place Charles Leclerc who saw space on the left-hand side of the track leading to turn 1. The Ferrari driver was able to just get alongside team-mate Sebastian Vettel but had to back off otherwise contact was going to be made – there was nearly contact between Leclerc’s front wing and Vettel’s left-rear tyre.
Behind it was a good start for both Renault’s however, it was such a good start that left Daniel Ricciardo wingless heading towards turn 1. Ricciardo decided to go to the right hand-side of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, having to take to the grass – his right hand-side tyres were on the grass. Unknowingly to the Australian, the grass split and broke his front wing on a gutter in spectatorial fashion which more or less ended his race.
The coveted Fastest Lap bonus
New for 2019, a bonus point for the Fastest Lap will be awarded to the driver who finishes in the top 10. Race winner, Bottas, held onto the fastest lap for most of the race until 3 laps to go when Verstappen nabbed it. Bottas responded, having just gone through traffic, to claim it back and taking the extra point.
The end of the race felt like a qualifying session with near enough every driver trying to beat this time set by Bottas. This is a big change. In the past, we’ve seen if drivers are not under pressure at the end of the race, they’ll slow and conserve the tyres and engines. Now, it seems like this will be more occurring at the end of races – drivers pushing for just 1 extra point. When interviewed by Sky Sports F1 Rachel Brookes on how important the bonus point was to drivers, Lewis Hamilton’s said “it’s 21 points.”
Questions to be asked at Ferrari
Wow! After Pre-Season Testing, it looked like Ferrari were going to come to Melbourne and all of the other F1 races this season and just simply win. However, 7 tenths back in Qualifying and nearly a minute behind race winner Bottas, Ferrari have to ask what went wrong. Vettel was able to keep up with Hamilton in the early stages of the race but after being overtaking Max Verstappen, his pace fell away while Leclerc’s pace picked up. Leclerc closed within a second with only a handful of laps to go. However…
Leclerc was told to hold station. A mature question from Leclerc to the pit-wall at Ferrari was asked: “Should I stay behind Sebastian? Yes or no?”. The response: “Yes, and back off to have some margin.” The reason behind this decision was that the Scuderia did “not want to take any risks.” The team did say that they would review the decision not to pit Leclerc at the end of the race and go for the fastest lap bonus. Fingers crossed that a “different” Ferrari will turn up in Bahrain.
Drivers of the Day
- Valterri Bottas, 1st: As mentioned earlier, a fantastic and much-needed comeback after a difficult and winless year in 2018. A strong first lap in Qualifying and simply dominant come race. What else has changed for the Finn, he’s grown a beard!
- Max Verstappen, 3rd: A superb drive by Verstappen to claim a podium finish. Overtaking round Albert Park is difficult but the Dutchman incredibly overtook Vettel for 3rd in the middle of the race. This result will boost Red Bull and Honda’s spirits. It was also Verstappen’s first podium in Australia.
- Daniil Kvyat, 10th: A fine return to the world of F1. After a missed opportunity in Qualifying to go 15th, Kvyat ran longer than most in the race and was able to jump a number of drivers. A great overtake on Pierre Gasly, coupled with good attacking (bar one mistake) and good defending, a solid return to the Russian.
- Lando Norris, 12th: After a great effort to make it to Q3 and qualify 8th, Norris was “upset” not to score points on his debut. He lost a few positions at the start and after his pit-stop, he was caught up behind Antonio Giovinazzi. He took his time and overtook the Italian. Onwards and upwards for the young Brit.
1.Mercedes 44pts 2.Ferrari 22pts 3.Red Bull Racing Honda 15pts 4.Haas Ferrari 8pts 5.Renault 6pts 6.Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 4pts 7.Racing Point BWT Mercedes 2pts 8.Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1pt 9.McLaren Renault 0pts 10.Williams Mercedes 0pts