Formula 1

2016 Opener: Australian GP

First of all, that crash between Gutierrez and Alonso was about as scary as that time Webber flipped end over end in his Red Bull several years ago. That McLaren was unrecognizable when Alonso got out… but the both got out and they both walked away. Incredibly grateful it wasn’t worse. It was tough to tell if Alonso misjudged or if Gutierrez moved to block.

Second, the new qualifying format was terrible. Absolutely terrible. I’m glad they recognized the failure and bailed on it. If I had spent money to go to the Aussie GP to watch that disaster, I would have wanted my money back for that day. I do, however, like the teams being able to choose two tire options between three offered by Pirelli. That seems to be a genuine improvement.

Third, poor Kvyat for not even being able to start the race. Hamilton’s start wasn’t great, but both Ferraris were lightning fast. Absolutely amazing. They definitely found their missing ingredient and Mercedes better watch out.

Then, Kimi’s car caught on fire as he came into the pit?!? That has to be a frustrating way to end a drive. Especially since he was one of the many DNF’s last year. But in true Kimi fashion, he jumped out of the car and walked away like it was no big deal.

Overall, much better race than last year where only 11 cars finished. Certainly not short on drama. Obviously, I hate that Hamilton didn’t win. Especially when he loses to Rosberg. It wasn’t his day – couldn’t get around Verstappen early, then stuck behind Sainz, adjusted trie strategy went to hell with that red flag. Given all that, it’s still impressive Hamilton finished second, especially with that battle for Vettel the last few laps.

Verstappen had some words for his pit on lap 34 and then more on 48. I know a lot of people don’t care for it when a driver starts ripping into his crew, but I appreciate the passion and the desire to win. When something beyond your control puts you in a worse position, I get the temptation to lash out at the ones who slowed you down. Pit stops are crucial, and there’s a reason they drill those multiple times a day between races.

Same issue for Vettel on lap 35 with his front left not coming off. It’s crushing when you lose the lead that way. Machett suggested the mechanic had the wheel gun set the wrong way. For that mechanic’s sake, I hope not.

Finally, great showing for Grojean and Haas F1. A sixth place finish is impressive for a brand new team.

SO happy F1 is back!

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