Is there a lesson to be learned from the opening practice sessions in Australia? There most likely is and that lesson is multi-faceted for me.
Mercedes still seem to be the team to beat and with their “Party Mode” qualifying engine map—which they haven’t ran yet—they most likely will be tough to beat on Saturdays. A front-row start is always good but the race pace is still the slightly less visible from a couch in the middle of America.
I was reading the F1 sage Mark Hughes this morning and he articulated what I thought I was seeing as only he can. Red Bull’s race pace was there or thereabouts with Mercedes and Ferrari and whether this is the latter disguising their true pace or a real fuel/economy issue or other performance issue is anyone’s guess at this point. I suspect P3 will unravel even a bigger tale with regards to qualifying.
Ferrari’s 4-time champion Sebastian Vettel says he isn’t too worried as they have more pace to be found. We’ll see. As for Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo suffers a 3-place grid penalty but his teammate, Max Verstappen, the race pace seemed very encouraging and a trimmed out rear wing may be able to claw back time against Mercedes in the twisty bits.
So how did you see the FP1 and FP2? Is there a story to be told from these sessions? Do you feel Red Bull have leapt over Ferrari or are Ferrari holding something back?What about Haas? Fernando Alonso took notice pace of Romain Grosjean in his “Ferrari Replica” as the Spaniard put it.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m24.771s||0.745s||26|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.063s||1.037s||25|
|11||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m26.494s||2.468s||25|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.605s||2.579s||30|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.767s||2.741s||26|
|18||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m27.745s||3.719s||16|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m24.058s||0.127s||34|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m24.721s||0.790s||28|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.413s||1.482s||30|
|15||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.888s||1.957s||33|
|16||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m25.925s||1.994s||41|
|17||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m25.945s||2.014s||39|
Just from watching on the sofa I would say the positives of the session were;
Mercedes(especially Lewis), looking formidable.
Red Bull, look on the ball pace wise but could lose based on availability of “party mode” in qualifying.
Haas, Ferrari copy or not, they have a good car, very impressive.
Renault, bit disappointing but may see more later on.
Force India, looking a bit behind the 8 ball.
Williams, breakdown and not particularly quick.
F1 is back though, which is the main thing.
Maybe Haas has improved to be a top 10. Honda has not, but maybe that’s Torro Rosso as well.
Here’s my thought on the Haas issue. I could be wrong but if they have a much better car in Oz, then Ferrari and Dallara may have helped a lot but the concern I would have is development over the balance of the season compared to Renault and McLaren. Not sure they can engage in a development war quite like those two can.
Agree with your thoughts, would like to add that “some” the usual certain people are already pushing-out hints of a HAAS being a copy of last year’s FERRARI protest.
I’m sure I’m being a bit pessimistic, but at the start of FP2 Simon Lazenby said, “If your watching us on ESPN in the US”… “we hope you stay with us for the course of this new season”!? It struck me as odd. Maybe a reference to the OTT(?) or just a welcoming comment?
First thoughts. Good on HAAS, don’t think they’ll be able to keep it up with the big teams but here’s hoping they can fight it out near the top of the middle this year. I fear Williams might be in a lot of trouble this year and I’m look’n at the drivers on this one. I hope it really is a 3 way race this year. But lets see if Merc is sandbagging as usual. If you are gonna watch the ESPN 3 stream do NOT click on the F1 tab at the top of the page! That takes you… Read more »
“Is there a lesson to be learned from the opening season in Australia?”. For sure there is, like there always was, more so for those that cannot but have to follow on from those certain nationalistic rhetoric and biased fan-clubs who are in a race between themselves for the number one spot. SKY and the rest of the British F1 “fan clubs” seems hell bend on making Mercedes as some kind of an extraterrestrial car which is miles away of others. The real picture so far (FP1 and 2) shows that although temps and track conditions are/were the same as… Read more »
I really hate to be that guy, but… what I mainly took away from FP1 and FP2 was the Halo completely ruining the onboard shots. The view from the camera on top of the airbox was passable (although I found myself constantly mistaking the Halo for a very large steering wheel), but on some cars they’d chosen to use the camera mount on the side of the airbox. In those shots, the Halo blocked almost all of the track in front of the car. While I am aware that the regulations require the camera positions to be decided in june… Read more »
hmm. . .
-the halo is really ugly
-the americanization of F1 is annoying:
-i don’t need a giant driver’s head in order to know that it’s driver X’s radio i’m hearing
-i don’t need to hear an engine sound every time we change from a replay to a live camera
part of why i no longer watch indy is because the sport, including it’s coverage, has been dumbed down to the point of absurdity.
obviously i need a snickers.
Having Paul di Resta on the SkySports commentary team is awesome! Also the Martin Bundle track side observations is really cool as well. On the downside, I just discovered that ESPN NEWS is not an HD channel on my cable line up. It’s in HD on the App, but that doesn’t bode well for DVR’ing certain sessions (FP3 this weekend).