Thoughts on the Australian GP grid

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There have been a few changes to the grid ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, with Timo Glock falling ten places and Adrian Sutil opting to start from the pits.

Who will be in the lead going into the first corner? Here are my thoughts on the grid:

2008 Australian Grand Prix grid

1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber-BMW

3 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari

5 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber-BMW
6 Jarno Trulli Toyota

7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota
8 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault

9 Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari
10 Rubens Barrichello Honda

11 Fernando Alonso Renault
12 Jenson Button Honda

13 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota
14 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault

15 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari

17 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari

19 Timo Glock Toyota
20 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda

21 Nelsinho Piquet Renault
22 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda

Heikki Kovalainen reckons that starting on the left-hand side of the grid will give him and team mate Lewis Hamilton an advantage as they will be on the clear side of the track. McLaren will be looking to get their cars out of turn one first and second and control the race from there.

Hamilton started one position in front of Robert Kubica last year as well, and Kubica passed him on the way to the first corner. But Hamilton of course re-took the position (along with Fernando Alonso’s). And on that occasion Hamilton had started on the dirty side, Kubica on the clean side.

But even if Kubica can’t get past Hamilton at the start he appears to be running with less fuel (as the rabbit to team mate Nick Heidfeld’s hare, who seems to have more fuel on board) and may try to pass the McLarens early on.

Timo Glock has been relegated to 19th on his return to F1 after picking up two five-place grid penalties – one for his gearbox vhange, the other for impeding Mark Webber.

Adrian Sutil will start from the pits as he has had to change chassis, falling foul of a new rule for 2008. He damaged his undertray with his spin at turn 12 at the end of the first part of qualifying.

There are several big names out of position further down the grid: Fernando Alonso 11th, Mark Webber 14th and Kimi Raikkonen 15th. Each of them had car trouble in qualifying. They’ll probably brim their tanks full of fuel and do a long first stint, no doubt hoping to profit from the (likely) intervention of the safety car.

The safety car could prove a real joker in the pack. As last year drives cannot pit at the start of a safety car period, and as only one car can be serviced at a time an early safety car period could really mix the field up.

With no traction control or launch control the start of the race will be fascinating. Turn one is fairly tight as well and has seen some big crashes, especially in 2002. There’s a good chance of an incident at the first corner.

A tricky track, no driver aids, fast drivers in the bottom half of the grid, and questionable reliability – that’s got to add up to a good race!

What are your expectations ahead of the first race of 2008?

Join for LIVE discussion of the 2008 Australian Grand Prix as it happens. From 3:15am British time.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Thoughts on the Australian GP grid”

  1. Alonso and Raikkonen from back remind me Suzuka 2005

    Greetings from Chile

  2. I just hope it’s a good race. After qualifying, I definitely hope there’s some good action. I really hope Fernando has a good race!

    By the way, I love the new design, it looks great.

  3. Thanks guys – will either of you be joining us for the live discussion during the race?

  4. I won’t Keith, unfortunately. My dad turns the modem-thing off when he goes to bed. I’ll definitely join in during a day race though.

    Not long to go! I still don’t know whether to sleep for a few hours or not.

  5. I’ll be glued to the teevee, glass of Prosecco in hand, so I’ll miss the discussion, but thanks for the thoughts.

  6. as long as ITV’s feed is up I’ll be joining live :)

    can’t wait for the start of the race so far all the clips I’ve seen of the cars sliding this way and that has really got me excited for this season, I can imagine carnage if one of those cars slide during the entry to turn 1!

  7. go Kimi!

  8. I am so excited! It is 2 AM, 1.5 hours to go until coverage starts and i am awake! Time to crack out the tea and bacon sandwiches. What about that slide hamilton held in qualifying today…OMG i think the racing is gonna be intense this year!

  9. theRoswellite
    16th March 2008, 1:58

    Keith, let’s hope for a safe start and race, and I do hope to share a comment or two online.  Again, your pre-race coverage has been very well put together, and, hopefully, you’re Down Under enjoying the real thing.

  10. I also can’t wait for the start of the action- it’s the first F1 race i’ll have ever intentionally tuned in for!! Although i’m still bummed (and will be even more so as we go along) about the US not being represented in the schedule, I’m still excited for the season to kick off.

    I’ll try to drop in a few comments on the live feature as well. Enjoy the race everyone!!!

  11. Your being very generous in  calling Webber a "big name"; so far he has not delivered as expected. Talented, yes, but not a big name.

    Can’t wait to see what strategy they put Kimi on and watch him carve through the field, not to mention what Alonso and Renault can deliver.

    Fill up on your favorite caffeine beverage of choice and enjoy, everyone!

  12. well up and awake – must be doing something wrong? – half asleep/awake – maybe the mighty midget has apoint as live comet not loading – anyway – morning all

  13. Comment – told you not awake – where’s the coffee/

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