An exciting start to the season in prospect in Melbourne

2012 Australian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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On 15 occasions last year we headed into a race with Sebastian Vettel on pole position and little prospect that he might be caught.

In comparison, the curtain-raiser for the 2012 season looks alive with possibilities and fascinating storylines.

Who will prevail in the battle of the McLarens? Can Red Bull move forward from row three?

What can Romain Grosjean achieve from third on the grid – and how will his team mate fare starting among the stragglers?

It promises to be a highly exciting start to the season. Here’s a look at the data from today and how the race could unfold.

Full qualifying results


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1’26.8001’25.626 (-1.174)1’24.922 (-0.704)
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’26.8321’25.663 (-1.169)1’25.074 (-0.589)
3Romain GrosjeanLotus1’26.4981’25.845 (-0.653)1’25.302 (-0.543)
4Michael SchumacherMercedes1’26.5861’25.571 (-1.015)1’25.336 (-0.235)
5Mark WebberRed Bull1’27.1171’26.297 (-0.820)1’25.651 (-0.646)
6Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’26.7731’25.982 (-0.791)1’25.668 (-0.314)
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’26.7631’25.469 (-1.294)1’25.686 (+0.217)
8Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’26.8031’26.206 (-0.597)1’25.908 (-0.298)
9Nico HulkenbergForce India1’27.4641’26.314 (-1.150)1’26.451 (+0.137)
10Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1’27.0241’26.319 (-0.705)
11Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’26.4931’26.429 (-0.064)
12Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’26.6881’26.494 (-0.194)
13Kamui KobayashiSauber1’26.1821’26.590 (+0.408)
14Bruno SennaWilliams1’27.0041’26.663 (-0.341)
15Paul di RestaForce India1’27.4691’27.086 (-0.383)
16Felipe MassaFerrari1’27.6331’27.497 (-0.136)
17Sergio PerezSauber1’26.596
18Kimi RaikkonenLotus1’27.758
19Heikki KovalainenCaterham1’28.679
20Vitaly PetrovCaterham1’29.018
21Timo GlockMarussia1’30.923
22Charles PicMarussia1’31.670
23Pedro de la RosaHRT1’33.495
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT1’33.643

Looking at the grid it’s not hard to spot a few drivers ‘out of position’.

Kimi Raikkonen is the first who jumps to attention – he’s 17th (after Sergio Perez’s penalty) in a car that’s good enough for at least third.

According to Raikkonen: “There’s no issue with the car. I made a mistake and there was a communication issue so the timing wasn’t right to get another lap.” That suggests he should be in a position to make up places in the race.

So should Fernando Alonso from 12th following his spin. But how much progress he will be able to make in the evil-handling Ferrari F2012 remains to be seen.

He could quickly end up with Raikkonen on his tail, which is a prospect to relish.

Then there’s Nico Rosberg. Qualifying was his forte last year, but that lock-up on his only new-tyre run in Q3 cost him dearly.

Merely repeating his lap from Q2 would have been good enough to put him fifth – row two was certainly possible. He should be able to make progress in the race, aided by the controversial Mercedes F-duct-style system.

Both Saubers should also expect to make progress. Sergio Perez, is set to start from the back of the grid after his gearbox trouble.

And Kamui Kobayashi clearly had the pace to reach Q3 – he Q1 lap would have been good enough to make the cut.

Straight-line speeds

PosDriverCarSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Sergio PerezSauber316.7 (196.8)
2Lewis HamiltonMcLaren314.0 (195.1)-2.7
3Michael SchumacherMercedes313.4 (194.7)-3.3
4Nico RosbergMercedes313.2 (194.6)-3.5
5Kamui KobayashiSauber312.5 (194.2)-4.2
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren310.7 (193.1)-6.0
7Romain GrosjeanLotus310.2 (192.7)-6.5
8Kimi RaikkonenLotus310.2 (192.7)-6.5
9Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso309.2 (192.1)-7.5
10Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso308.6 (191.8)-8.1
11Pastor MaldonadoWilliams308.1 (191.4)-8.6
12Paul di RestaForce India308.1 (191.4)-8.6
13Bruno SennaWilliams308.0 (191.4)-8.7
14Nico HulkenbergForce India308.0 (191.4)-8.7
15Vitaly PetrovCaterham307.3 (190.9)-9.4
16Heikki KovalainenCaterham307.1 (190.8)-9.6
17Felipe MassaFerrari305.5 (189.8)-11.2
18Fernando AlonsoFerrari305.0 (189.5)-11.7
19Sebastian VettelRed Bull303.7 (188.7)-13.0
20Mark WebberRed Bull302.6 (188.0)-14.1
21Narain KarthikeyanHRT302.4 (187.9)-14.3
22Charles PicMarussia301.0 (187.0)-15.7
23Timo GlockMarussia300.7 (186.8)-16.0
24Pedro de la RosaHRT297.7 (185.0)-19.0

Last year Red Bull dominated races with a car that was all about having a high average speed throughout a lap – they were among the slowest on the straight, but always the quickest in the corners.

As Vettel often showed, that worked brilliantly as long as you were starting from pole position. But as Mark Webber often showed, it worked less well when starting in the pack.

Row three of the grid is not where they wanted to find themselves. In a straight line, they’re slower than anything else in the race bar the two Marussias.

They could be sitting ducks through the consecutive DRS zones and powerless to pass in the braking zones. Red Bull’s reliably canny strategy calls and super-quick pit crew will be invaluable if they are to move forwards.

Remember also Vettel’s scorching first-lap pace in 2011, which could serve him well here.


This chart shows the longest stints by each driver in final practice with their lap times in seconds:

Sebastian Vettel87.66893.10389.9591.47886.735
Mark Webber88.21493.34887.03186.99694.59286.926
Jenson Button87.80286.80193.67186.897
Lewis Hamilton85.83697.76297.49999.47385.681
Fernando Alonso88.14697.13194.53287.985
Felipe Massa89.38195.6291.23689.46
Michael Schumacher93.10892.38792.67
Nico Rosberg94.53293.51993.38194.14394.03893.4793.71
Kimi Raikkonen89.75193.23692.00594.55686.73788.274
Romain Grosjean86.83189.04686.89789.66686.973
Paul di Resta94.45293.55893.92693.21894.65494.1593.19693.39
Nico Hulkenberg95.45894.57193.76994.04496.87893.71993.72493.91
Kamui Kobayashi87.91491.89291.89887.44896.95787.138
Sergio Perez93.3192.78493.60396.43994.67892.03292.30492.016
Daniel Ricciardo89.03487.81596.4588.875
Jean-Eric Vergne89.56189.50188.18287.645
Pastor Maldonado88.20697.5187.783108.54387.187
Bruno Senna91.13587.37595.70887.77387.612
Heikki Kovalainen94.11188.83396.87990.79990.972
Vitaly Petrov93.15190.55998.13192.6189.697
Pedro de la Rosa95.78498.94295.43
Narain Karthikeyan98.33193.261
Timo Glock92.50897.55996.67392.032
Charles Pic92.974108.0992.337

Unsurprisingly, all the drivers in the top ten who set times chose to run on the soft tyres, which means they will start the race on those tyres.

Those further back have a free choice of tyre, and the ‘out-of-position’ drivers are most likely to make a start on the harder rubber and potentially make an early switch during a safety car period. Melbourne is a track where the possibility of a safety car appearance is more than likely.

Poor conditions in practice meant the teams have not been able to test the tyres as extensively as they would have liked.

Of the short stints they ran in final practice, Red Bull’s look most promising. They seemed to find more more time as the fuel load dropped – though of course we don’t know what those initial fuel levels were.

The question of strategy is especially interesting when it comes to the two McLaren drivers. Last year Button was often able to make his tyres last longer than Hamilton – and potentially make one fewer pit stop.

Pirelli have brought softer tyres this year and reduced the size of the performance gap between them in a bid to create more varied strategies. This race will be the first sign whether that has worked.

Your thoughts on the race

Who do you think will win the Australian Grand Prix?

Will Red Bull bounce back from their qualifying disappointment? Where will Alonso and Raikkonen finish after starting outside the top ten?

Have your say in the comments.

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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    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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    85 comments on “An exciting start to the season in prospect in Melbourne”

    1. At least one (and probably both) of the Red Bulls should run a two stop race, with a set of primes for a long middle stint. Might just get them up into the mix for a podium, depending on race pace. Otherwise, with their low top speed, they’ll be nowhere.

      If Hamilton gets a clean start, he ought to win fairly comfortably.

      1. It’ll have to be Vettel if he goes for the 2 stopper.

        On the other hand, Gary Anderson (?, the new BBC tech guy), suggested that a 4 stopper would be marginally quicker than a 2 – which I’m sure Webber would love if he gets to be super aggressive throughout the race

        1. @mole Both the 2 and 4 stoppers would certainly be interesting. I still think the pace advantage of the 4 stopper wouldn’t be enough for the Red Bulls because they’re down so much in the speedtraps.

        2. I remember last year Abu Dabi Vettel was on a 2 stopper and was a sitting duck for Lewis in the latter stages who was on a 3 stop strategy!!!

          1. Vettel dropped out after the first corner in Abu Dhabi..

            1. Possibly China?

    2. With rubbish straight line speed – the real hope for the Red Bulls is really a counter strategy

      1. Yeah, but stopping more often would work pretty bad for them, I guess, as that normally relies on passing quite some cars on track. Not something you would want to be doing with a car that is going slow on the straights.

    3. Pitty about Kobayashi, he showed that he can be the fastest of the midfield just behind the Red Bulls and Rosberg. It’s nice to see such a tightly packed midfield!
      No doubt tomorrow will be exciting, Perez; Koba and Kimi starting at the back with Toro Rosso, Ferrari, Williams and Force India infront of them with lower straightline speed promises lots of overtaking. As pointed out it will also be interesting to see how the Red Bulls will be able to defend themselves.
      I can’t wait for tomorrow!!!

      1. Yeah I don’t think we’ve seen the full potential of the Sauber yet. Peter Windsor commented on twitter that he’d like to see what Vettel or Alonso could do in that car, implying that it might be as fast or faster than cars they’re in… which in the case of the Ferrari at least might not be a stretch!

    4. I wonder how Hamilton and Massa are going to meet up in the race, maybe when Felipe gets lapped?

      1. Hamilton: “I was controlling the race from pole and eventually came up to lap Felipe, and he just turned in on me.”

        Massa: “Leuis (sic) cannot use his mind.”

    5. I hope the Mercs start just like last season… very strong. Schumacher could jump Grosjean and Rosberg maybe Vettel (ehh i dont really think so)… Nice Information Keith, the Topspeed chart is very interesting. I really wish Schumacher gets his first podium since his comeback. Hats off to Grosjean, great lap. I think Button will win befoer Hamilton…. But furthermore.. i hope i hear my alarm at 6:30 am XD

      1. If you’re in the UK that may be too late!

        1. one timezone to the right.. Germany ^^

          1. We’re the best timezone, aren’t we? :)

            1. You bloody are, I don’t like being slap bang in the middle, all these asian races are to early..

              (I know Australia isn’t in Asia..but time-zone wise..)

            2. Yeah you guys are the best timezone, it really bites getting to watch it at 2pm in the afternoon here in Australia! ……………oh wait, no it doesn’t! ;-)

            3. Polishboy808
              18th March 2012, 5:33

              Haha, nah, U.S Eastern time is the best, cause you get to wach none but three races at a decent time, all the other ones are at 12-4 am….

              Oh sorry, did I say best? I meant ABSOULETLY WORST….

      2. If he gets off the line ok I think Schumi will be able to muscle Grosjean out the way fairly easily – I think Romain will yield in a 50/50 so as not to risk a good result.

    6. very difficult to guess…. maclaren & mercedes shows good performance in quali but will it shows the same during the race? but my bet is button – rosberg – vettel and if he maintains a cool head, hamilton will be in the top 3.

      1. Wow, 4 drivers in the top 3. That would be awesome!! LOL!

      2. Either way I hope you’re right, I’m a fan of Button and I’ve got a sneaky bet on Rosberg getting a podium! (Nothing big, but another £40 wouldn’t be turned down ;) )

    7. Rosberg really blew it in Qualy. He was mighty out there and had he lined up behind the maccas, he could’ve well been a serious contender for the win, in my view.

      Sad he starts 7th. I bet Grosjean specially it’s going to make it harder for him to reach Button and Hamilton if he manages to get through the Red Bulls and his team mate.

    8. I really can’t wait for tomorrow. It should be a very interesting race, with lots of battles up and down the field.

      I think Button might just have the edge on Hamilton when it comes to strategy, especially if there are changing conditions. I think that the Mercs will be very strong as well. Their ‘super DRS’ as Crofty was referring to it, should really help in moving forward, and Rosberg might just be able to get in front of the Red Bulls, and we might just see one on the podium.

      Although, that wouldn’t do me any favours in the predicition Championship, as I have Vettel and Webber in 3rd and 5th respectively, with Rosberg in 4th.

      1. I’m sick of the myth that Button is better than Hamilton in “changing conditions”. Hamilton is an incredible wet weather driver (it doesn’t take a fool to realize how much more confidence he has in wet weather than other drivers- just look at him pressure Vettel off the road in Hungary, or his blistering pace in Canada until Button crashed into him). The only races (bar Japan last year) that Button has won have been because his teammate wasn’t there to win them for him (because of dubious strategy calls by both he and his team).

        1. dont forget that HAM aborted his final lap, thus saving a lap’s worth of degradation. BUT did one more lap.

        2. @mpw1985 You seem to be saying ‘Hamilton’s as good a Button in the wet, except when it comes to choosing his tyres’.

          I agree Hamilton is extremely good at driving an F1 car in the wet. But he clearly doesn’t always get his tyre choices right (China 2007, Hungary 2011) and I don’t think you can ignore that as being a vital part of an F1 driver’s craft – especially those we call ‘wet weather aces’ like Ayrton Senna.

          Would Hamilton have got that tyre call right at Donington in 1993 as Senna did? I’m not sure – I think he might just have done whatever the team told him to.

          Would I trust Button more than Hamilton to get that kind of call right in those kinds of conditions? Absolutely.

          And as for “Button crashed into him” in Canada, that’s a highly selective reading of events. Attempting to pass a driver between their car and a wall the racing line takes them towards is risky enough to begin with. Doing it in wet conditions when visibility is hampered by spray only amplifies the risk Hamilton chose to take – and paid the price for.

          1. On the crash in canada, bear in mind Button knew he got a bad exit, but chose early on the straight to stop looking in his mirrors. Surely he should have known Hamilton would be behind and about to have a go. It wasn’t a case of he couldn’t see him, he just didn’t look for very long. Racing incident, but 60-40 to Button. Could have been avoided had he paid abit more attention and you can’t blame a driver who’s just had a setback and is trying to make up ground on his, at the time, much slower team mate.

          2. @Keith Collantine
            Perhaps I came across too strongly in my defence of Hamilton, but I just hate to see F1 “talking points” get thrown around like this. It’s like a broken record- some pundit or commentator makes a point (e.g. Button is the smoothest driver, Vettel struggles at overtaking), the F1 masses pick up on it, and it comes to define the driver (and how he’s perceived). That just really annoys me. I liked to see intelligent, ardent fans pick up on the nuances of strategy and racing themselves, and not have their viewpoints simply be recycled.

            I will agree, additionally, that Button has been better at choosing his tires in mixed conditions than Hamilton has, but I feel like it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” type situation for Hamilton. Button has the confidence of knowing he’s made the right call in the past, whereas Hamilton really just can’t catch a break. While a praise Button for ability to make the correct call, I think it’s unfair to blame Hamilton for making the “wrong” call, as it’s really just a 50/50 gamble. I think Hamilton’s problem has been that he just trusts his team too much, and, having done that in the past, is kind of stuck with that decision. He certainly doesn’t want to disobey or go against the team’s weather/tire predictions and then be incorrect (a luxury that Button has, having successfully done it in the past), because then he’d look like a REAL idiot. I think Hamilton has just enough intuition to make the same calls as Button, but he just assumes his team know better than he does with all of their information (wrongly), and this has come to undermine some of his results.

            The point I was trying to make, however, was that I think any true observer can see just how much quicker Hamilton is in “changing conditions” than Button. Hungary 11, Britain 11, Canada 11, and China 10 all come to mind as evidence.

            And finally, I don’t totally agree with your last point. While it’s true that I would say it was a racing incident, more of the blame lays with Button than Hamilton. I think everyone was very quick to draw conclusions when they saw Hamilton coming into contact with another car, but again, it wasn’t quite that simple. Most of the BBC team (especially Jordan), agreed that Button was overly aggressive and could totally see Hamilton (he didn’t move off the racing line for fun), and that, if anything, it was a racing incident with Button mostly at fault.

          3. Button knew that Hamilton was all over him for the entire lap leading up to the crash, he was clearly struggling, losing positions prior as a result. The only reason he even got back past Hamilton was because of Schumacher. Watch the footage. It was inevitable that Hamilton was going to overtake as he was quicker and more comfortable at that stage on those tyres and in those conditions. A poor exit from the last corner was the only invite Hamilton needed. Button should have yielded – or at the very least left room – however he did neither.

            Suggesting the collision was Hamiltons fault is conveniently disingenuous.

            Also, tyre choice and timing in changeable conditions is down to blind luck, it’s simply delusional to imply drivers somehow have a sixth sense at their disposal in addition to any actual demonstrable talent.

            All drivers/teams make good and bad tyre calls – yes even the legendary JB.

            1. You say Button was struggling but maybe he was just being cautious, as Ron Dennis was reputed to say ” to finish first, first you have to be Finnish” or something like that. :<)

        3. So Myles, who managed tyres better this time?

    9. The most important question is: How will I be able to sleep this night?

      I think Hamilton is gonna win this race (he better do that as I have F1F predictions championship points to gather) and I expect Schumacher to be on the podium, too. I believe Raikkonen and Ferrari are gonna struggle tomorrow as well. It will be particularly interesting to watch Vettel, he hasn’t been starting that far behind the PP for some time.

    10. The difference in straight line between Hamilton and Button is pretty interesting, surely the extra wing will help keep the tyres alive.

      I suspect Hamilton was running less wing for a faster qualy pace,he probably couldve gone faster on the second go, but didnt and aborted his last run to save tyre deg.

      Gonna be a good one!

    11. At first thought maybe the Merc’s could threaten Mclaren. But then i remembered their tier degradation of pre-testing. I think Redbull is more likely to put pressure on Mclaren.

      What has impressed me the most is Grosjean really. Simply outperformed Raikkonen all weekend. Ferrari i think will again be in trouble. Massa probably crashing out, and Alonso outside the top 10. Can’t wait for tomorrow :)

    12. It’s really too early to call as we haven’t seen what tyre degradation is like between the various cars.

      Schadenfreude: feeling good about the first red bull-free first row since Monza 2010… We’re all there, unless RB pays our salary :D

    13. As Keith pointed out, Red Bull will have hard times defending and without their superior cornering speed they might not have what it takes to run away from DRS range of 1 s. Therefore I think Red Bull are out of the equation for podium, possibly can even get kicked out of the top 10 when the race progresses.

      Whereas the head of the field goes, I think Button will edge Hamilton using strategy rather racing brawn. Lewis will be susceptible to errors, especially when pushed by Schumacher and Button. Grosjean is an absolute mystery for me and I don’t have a slightest idea about how he may fare. Also I don’t expect much from Alonso. Yes, he is one of the few who can drive faster than their car allows, but I think it’s not the case when he will have to fight the car for survival on track. Then again, Kimi might get as high as 6th (if both Red Bulls drop out). That’s basically my idea for the race.

    14. Grosjean is the wildcard here. Hes youthfull and enthusiastic as GP2 promotees usually are and that makes him unpredictable. He might get the perfect get away and harass the leaders (or lead), or make a Trulli-less-Train giving the leader breathing space. He might also muckup his start and gift some places to those behind. I really believe that the result of the race will to some large extent rest on what he does over the first few laps.

    15. Dimitris 1395 (@)
      17th March 2012, 19:22

      I strongly consider Hamilton as the premium contender to win tomorrow. Also, I can foresee a battle between Button and Schumi for 2nd. Behind them, everything can happen… Everything

    16. Whilst I’m a Macca fan, I’ve just put a £5 each way bet on Schumacher. Just feel with his top speed, experience & skill he’s got a chance to at least gain a podium.

      Still hoping for a Ham/But 1/2 (in either order)

      1. @mattb – This seems like a good opportunity to ask what the ‘each way’ part means in a bet?

        I’m gutted that I never put money on McLaren for this season. I had a feeling that they’d be very quick, and would make a great challenge for the Constructor’s this year, but never got around to it. Then they get a 1-2 in qualifying and make me ecstatic and annoyed at the same time!

        1. @jamiefranklinf1 A “£5 each way” bet is essentially two bets, each for £5. The first is for him to win. My odds for this were 16/1 (ie, if I were to win, I get 16 times the amount I put on the bet, plus my original money). The second bet is for him to come in the top 3, but at much lower odds (5/1). If he wins, I win both bets and get 16 x £5, plus 5 x £5, plus the original £10 I put on.

          I’d like to add that I don’t know what @keithcollantine ‘s thoughts are on betting, and certainly don’t want to encourage it here. I always bet on the first race of the season, plus the British GP and no others. Otherwise, it could be even more expensive than my subscription to Sky…

      2. Lewis’s top speed in Q3 was faster than the Mercs’ so no worries there.

    17. I’m not so sure about Merc’s race pace, they can put in a great qualifying lap due to the free use of DRS, in the race they will only be able to use it if they hit the right criteria in the right place.

      1. Yes, but with the double DRS and single activation point, I think they’re gonna be strong!

    18. Keith you seem to have forgot what for many of us is THE MOST exciting possibility namely that of Schumi getting a podium or maybe perhaps fingers crossed challenging for victory!

      1. I think a win is a bridge too far at this point – in the dry, at least. McLaren is just too good and I think Vettel will be keeping Schumacher very busy on defense. But I do still think Schumacher will finish 3rd.

        But if it rains, the form book goes out of the window.

      2. I have a feeiling the Mercs will not be in contention for the race as much of their speed comes from their decreased drag during DRS. As the DRS is limited for races they will loose a lot of advantage. However I do not think the red bulls are quick enough to challenge the Mercs so I predict the result will be Ham, Button Grosjean as they will all break free quite early. I do think Rosberg will take the Redbulls though as he has a much higher top speed.

    19. Remarkable performances by Grosjean, Schumacher, Maldonado and, to an extent, Hulkenberg.

      1. Yes and didn’t Maldonado mess up the 2nd to last corner on his fastest lap. I think without that mistake he would have been ahead of Webber!
        This year’s Williams does look a lot better. Now Maldonado needs to show he can race and maintain his grid position maybe even move forward instead of always going backward like last year.

        1. That mistake was in Q2 so it wouldn’t have mattered.

    20. I started watching F1 in 1999, and since then I’ve been supporting McLaren. I’ve enjoyed seeing them win races and two driver’s championships. But never I’ve seen them win a constructor’s championship. I really hope that this year is the one I’ve been expecting for 13 years! McLaren has been the next best team for too long : it’s time my favourite team becomes champion once again, and today I felt McLaren could do it.

      I’m really excited for tomorrow’s race. I believe Button or Hamilton have a very strong chance to win it. There are still many unknown parameters (what are the race paces of Red Bull, Mercedes, Lotus? Are the Enstone cars still capable of great starts? Will there be safety cars? ), but overall, I still think McLaren have the best chances to win tomorrow’s GP. It won’t be easy, because the gap over the other teams is small, but that’s what makes it exciting!

      1. same here mate!
        I started watching F1 in 99 too and I’ve supported Mclaren since! and i still feel gutted about 2007 when Mclaren didn’t won constructors only for spy gate scandal…

        1. I would say that was a good enough reason wouldn’t you?

    21. Looks like it wil be an exiciting season.I can’t wait untill the race anymore,the teams are so close in terms of performance but I think McLaren just got it right with the nose and they’ll have a step forward.Red Bull struggling and Vettel don’t find the grip that’s a bit strange.But anyway Lotus-Renault have also a good car and Grosjean just made an impressive qualifing lap.Kimi will be back in race I am sure about it.Ferrari dissapointed me with the results I think the staff should think really on doing something very rapidly,otherwise is another season lost for Ferrari.Know somebody the weather forecast for race?

      1. The lack of grip for the red bulls may well be to do with the new exhausts causing flow issues. There have been reports that the rear end of the red bull is overheating as the exhaust flow is not going fully where they want it too. It was after all a late addition and they also then lost a days testing with it. The Ferarris look dangerous! They look like they are driving constantly in the wet so imagine what will happen if it does get wet! The car seems to want to leave the circuit at ever moment…

    22. Lets go Williams!

    23. Well about the only thing that looks familiar is the speed trap data. Sauber and Mercedes running high which gives you an idea that their philosophy hasn’t changed much.

      Mercedes clearly have gone for a more aggressive aero route. I hope it does pay off for them, I really do.

      1. Force India is much slower in the speed trap than recent years though…

    24. looks like we’re all set for a close season!

      I just hate to see people (and mostly Mclaren fans) calling Vettle untalented only because he doesn’t have a fast car for pole anymore. Hamilton had the same situation on 2009 but no one called him untalented,kid with broken toy, etc. VET is definitely of the most precise drivers on grid and he didn’t get two WDC just because of Newey!

      BTW, I’m a Mclaren fan myself.

      1. I havnt seen anyone say Vettel is bad just because he dosnt have pole, but it is overtly obvious he/his car is suffering without having a car thats on rails, and it is going to be very interesting to see how he deals with having alot of quick cars around him tomorow.

      2. Hamilton has proved again and again that he has huge amounts of talent, he consistently ends up near the top of the table for the number of overtakes.

        Vettel seems to be very quick when it comes to simply driving the circuit but we will now finally get to see just how good or bad he really is at fighting for positions as there are many cars around him that are either quicker or close to the same speed. It may be telling that the moment the car is not perfect Webber out qualifies him, or perhaps it is just one of those days.

    25. Hollis Graham (@)
      17th March 2012, 21:35

      Sure Vettel is talented and I’m sure he is in the top 5 along with HAM, BUT, ALO and WEB imo. (no particular order)
      But you can’t say he got two world championships because he is the best driver. Personally I think against one of the others (On form) in the same car the title would be a lot closer and Newey is defiantly more the reason than Vettel.

      1. very true statement,
        you can not compare drivers in different cars,
        one car for all, same track so many laps, and you would find they are not more than .100 of a sec apart, which proves they are all great drivers.
        it is the reason we keep watching the sport, hopping our driver has a great car this season. we all thing our driver is better but in reality he is only as good as the car he drives.

    26. McLaren were 6/10ths of a second slower than last year and Lotus 1/10th slower, Red Bull were 2 seconds slower while Mercedes were a tenth faster!

    27. Did anyone hear anything else about lotus protesting Mercedes?

      1. It seems they have not yet lodged an official protest, but they along with Red bull are not happy.

        In red bulls case it is a bit of Pot Kettle Black….

        1. I hate mid season protests. Once a car is deemed legal nothing should change that. But like everything else in life it needs drama. Drama keeps us talking about it. The more we hate something the more we can love something else.

    28. How many incidents was Hamilton involved in his short time in that race? It was more than one?

      How many times last year did Lewis crash trying to over take someone? Quite a lot . How many laps was Lewis stuck behind MS at Monza? About 20 if I recall, how many was Jenson? None I think. Of course MS was being a bit naughty.

      Lewis is pretty immense in the wet. I think Button is better when the track is just greasy. I’ve seen Button excel on that kind of track on slicks when everyone else is on inters.

      And let’s not forget Nurburing 2008. Button over took almost the entire field in the wet in ONE lap. And Canada 2011, he came back from last to win that race. As for the incident between Lewis and Button, Lewis fans will always see it their way and Button’s fans their way, but ultimately it was an impartial Stewards decision that decided the outcome of that one.

      Lewis made a lot of mistakes last year. Button didn’t. Lewis has always out qualified Lewis on the whole but Button has always performed better in the race.

      Button has a great chance of a win tomorrow, but obviously Lewis is in the best position to control the race.

      Let’s see how the tyres fare. Lewis has a habit of being harder on them.

      1. Im not a Hamilton fan. But when you drive that fast people better get out of your way. The only issue he had was to think any of it was his fault. 10 years ago it would all have been racing incidents.

      2. Mate there wasn’t a race at the Nurburgring in 2008.. which race is it you’re thinking of?

        1. Germany, probably hockenheim. The Honda was as effective as a toiltet brush and the awful rain over the first part of the race enabled Button to dance by everyone.

          He did however hit a big ‘puddle’ and aquaplaned off. If I recall, even Lewis lost it that race and received a push back into the race.

          1. Surely Hamilton’s finest wet-weather drive of 2008 was Silverstone?! He beat 2nd place to the flag by just over a minute.

            And there’s no way you can mention 2008, Lewis Hamilton and wet-weather and not think of Spa…!

      3. Sounds like a bit of wishful thinking. Button is going to have to beat him straight up this year. Tires, smoothness, strategy, luck, stewards won’t protect him from a Lewis in a proper frame of mine and a good car.
        If he – Lewis – can get good support from his team and keep Whitmarsh’s mouth shut he will be alright this race and for the rest of the season.

    29. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      17th March 2012, 23:12

      I’d love to see Hamilton get the win! (and the championship) with button in second, I also hope that Kimi can get at least in the top 7 despite the qualifying error.

    30. Personally, I think that Mercedes are number one at the moment, had they had the tires in Q3, you could almost be sure they would have challenged for pole, Mclaren are very close in 2nd. Lotus is surprisingly strong and had the 3rd best car today. Red Bull are actually quite weak, I was expecting much more from them. Ferrari are just horrendous.

    31. Hamilton: “I was controlling the race from pole and eventually came up to lap Felipe, and he just turned in on me.”

      Massa: “Leuis (sic) cannot use his mind.”

      1. Its Lewis not ‘Leuis’, you speeled it wrong when you wrote this exact quote on James allen’s f1 site too ;-)

        1. @ Aussie Fan
          Please show me the same exact quote. I just made it up so would be gutted if someone thought of it before me. It’s definitely “Leuis” mate, listen up at the next Massa interview haha

    32. First 2-3 laps will be something to savour,it will be a great race for sure.Top 3 HAM,BUT & a Mercedes!

    33. I predicted Button and Button did it.

      A very very dry race. Button also gets FASTEST lap.

      Anyone want to tell me how lucky he was or how unlucky Lewis was? Actually Lewis had the worst luck with the safety car. But there was no way he was beating Button today.

      Anyone STILL doubting?

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