In the round-up: Max Verstappen admitted he was “a little bit surprised” to see Mercedes qualify second and third behind him on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix.
Verstappen “surprised” to be joined by Mercedes on grid
George Russell secured Mercedes’ first front row start of the season in Melbourne with team mate Lewis Hamilton taking third.
After a disappointing start to 2023 for Mercedes, pole winner Verstappen said he had not expected to find them starting directly next to him on today’s grid.
“I’m a little bit surprised,” Verstappen said. “Maybe they are also a little bit surprised! But I guess it’s a good thing.”
He believes the changes in the competitive order in Melbourne is largely down to the performance of Pirelli’s rubber. “It’s all about just having the tyres in the right window and I guess they did a good job with that as well,” he said.
Tsunoda explains weighbridge frustration
All drivers can be randomly summoned to the weighbridge during qualifying when entering the pitlane to check their car meets minimum weight. Tsunoda was called to the weighbridge with just over five minutes remaining in Q2 while sitting in 11th place and appeared to gesticulate in frustration when an FIA official directed him to reposition his car.
“It’s really tight,” Tsunoda explained. “It was, without the weighbridge, already a really tight schedule. So it just really frustrated me. Try to at least a little bit show that we [need to] hurry! To be honest they don’t care much about that. But in the end I got a good lap, so I’m okay.”
Tsunoda eventually returned to the track with under four minutes left and completed a final flying lap, improving his time but being eliminated in 12th.
Cohen penalised for Barter clash
Ido Cohen has been given a five-place grid penalty for the Formula 3 feature race in Melbourne after colliding with Hugh Barter.
Cohen gave the Campos Racing driver a puncture after hitting his rear-right tyre while attempting to overtake into turn nine in Saturday’s sprint race. The Carlin driver then lost control and hit the barrier before skidding into the gravel.
Stewards deemed Cohen “wholly responsible for the incident” and because he retired from proceedings, the standard 10-second in-race time penalty was converted to a grid drop. Two penalty points have also been added to his licence.
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Motor racing links of interest:
Masi's door open to Mercedes but Wolff won't be knocking (Reuters)
"The choice is theirs. I've always had an open door policy and will always have an open door policy, since the moment that I arrived in this F1 paddock and that continues."
Do I regret joining Williams? No - I was too comfortable at Mercedes’ (The Telegraph)
"I like to challenge myself. And I found I just wasn't any more. And for me, I wasn't in a situation in my life where I wanted to accept several more years without properly challenging myself. That is when the opportunity came up at Williams. And well, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime."
Fire breaks out at Australian GP and interrupts Russell interview (Independent)
"I saw the flames and could smell something from the front-left corner. I could smell it and see the flames so just tried to get to the pits. We have all the fire stuff to save to the car but I’m not sure what’s going on."
Angela Cullen points out Hamilton habit F1 fans should keep an eye out for (Mirror)
"Watch for Lewis' hands when he is sitting in the car in the garage, if they are dancing you know he is in the zone. Let's go, you can have a perfect quali as a driver regardless of end position, that is the goal."
Spotters play critical role for IndyCar drivers at ‘terrifying’ Texas Motor Speedway speeds (Yahoo)
"It’s a bit alien. It has to become another sense to you. I’d probably say it wasn’t until Iowa and Gateway where I really started to not need the mirrors and to be able to rely on what my spotter was saying. Whereas (at Texas), I was so distracted by all the cars around me that it was so hard to be able to subconsciously focus on what he was saying."
Pato O'Ward is closest to home when IndyCar runs at Texas Motor Speedway (NBCDFW)
"I feel very grateful and very lucky that I had that opportunity (with McLaren). They’ve given me the best opportunity that I could have asked for. And I’ve definitely delivered in what they’ve wanted, and probably more."
Schoolboy racer off to Williams F1 is on to a winning Formula (Tunbridge Wells Times)
"I am going to Williams F1 in Oxfordshire for a week’s work experience. I will attend each day on my own without my parents, although my mum is coming with me to stay for the week, as our accommodation isn’t included.I did get picked out of over 2,000 people, and I am guessing no more than 50 (will be attending)."
Nissany: Bittersweet ending to Melbourne sprint but points only a matter of time (Formula 2)
"It’s not an easy emotion to get over. Not an easy fear, but it was a good call to stick with slicks. So, it's bittersweet because all the calls were right, pace was great, overtakes were done. We were sneaking around all the obstacles we had, but at the end, just less than a second away from the point. We take the positive out of it, and we see progress every race. So, if we keep going like that, it's a matter of time."
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Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:
Very happy with my Quali and to be on Pole here in Melbourne!
Looking forward to tomorrow's race @redbullracing 💪 pic.twitter.com/1NeVSsLwbd
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) April 1, 2023
This one is a tough to swallow. But we will work together as a team to solve the issues in the car and to minimize the damage in tomorrow’s race. We're going to try our best as always. #nevergiveup #australiangp pic.twitter.com/rInhIu93Gw
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) April 1, 2023
Didn’t drive well enough and a messy Q3 means we’ll only start P7. But the race is tomorrow, and I’ll give everything to come back 👊 pic.twitter.com/L8mEWOXN1e
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) April 1, 2023
we tried pranking @yukitsunoda07 for April Fools…
he wasn’t falling for it 😂 pic.twitter.com/Wld6DCZjpj
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) April 1, 2023
Whatever Mercedes do tomorrow, surely they must pursuade one driver to start on Softs and the other on Mediums so at least one is on an opposite strategy to Max.
I'd go George on Softs giving him the chance to outdrag Max to the first corner …
— Tiff Needell (@tiff_tv) April 1, 2023
Based on the close performance of the cars across the grid, I'm expecting a number of DRS trains tomorrow. Overtaking is not easy here, especially with the track changes. That made Qu even more important today #F1
— Mike Caulfield (@MikeCaulfieldF1) April 1, 2023
I put my headset on and felt something tickling my ear 😭😭 I knew Australia had some critters but come on.. not in my ear 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/CUePXx7qel
— Pietro Fittipaldi (@PiFitti) April 1, 2023
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- Find more official F1 accounts to follow in the F1 Twitter Directory
Comment of the day
After yet another miscommunication at Ferrari, MichaelN wonders how much patience Charles Leclerc will continue to display…
One shouldn’t read too much into a clip, but the exasperation of Leclerc in Saudi Arabia was pretty striking when he noted “Xavi!… awkward pause… You need to tell me that before!” To which he somewhat casually responds: “Copy.” and an increasingly agitated Leclerc says: “No, but come on!”
I’ve probably said this before, but if Leclerc isn’t going to stand up for himself then – at this level – nobody else is either. Can you imagine Schumacher, Hamilton or Verstappen putting up with this for years? Absolutely not. And Vettel’s increasingly strained radio discussions with Adami were pretty awkward, too. This is not a new problem for Ferrari.
I like Leclerc as a driver, and he seems a fine guy as well. But this is his fifth (!) year at Ferrari, and I’m not seeing a path that arcs towards championships here. It’s perhaps not fair on anyone to be compared to Schumacher, but it was definitely there then, and to a lesser extent with Vettel too. These guys were visibly pushing the team. Maybe it won’t work out, and that’s fine. There can only ever be one winner in sports. But right now I don’t get that sense from Ferrari, and unless Vasseur announces some big changes with the start of the European season – I’m not sure where that change is going to come from either.
Happy birthday to Majormilou, Nico Savidge, Ripping Silk, Christopher and Nic Morley!
2 comments on “Verstappen “surprised” Mercedes are closest threat to Red Bull in Melbourne”
2nd April 2023, 3:10
Tsunoda’s hurry-up gesturing was funny.
2nd April 2023, 15:49
So is your 3 hour delay to post…
Comments are closed.