There were so many questions going into Australia and almost all of them have now been answered after what was a thrilling race. Although nobody looked like touching Kimi all day (and rather worryingly I think he had his engine revs turned down from the half way point) there was lots of excitement behind him.
One of the biggest disappointments came from the gearbox failure of Massa. Because of this we were denied the promising race between the Ferraris. I still feel that Kimi is the faster by quite a way, but I do think that Massa will trouble him from time to time. Also despite his difficult start to the season at least he got some points, and also I think Massa is mentally stronger than a Rubens or a Fisi who might have been so distraught that they wrote off the season. Massa will be back, but will he be faster?
The rookies had a pretty poor time in general. Heikki and Kubica both had a torrid time. Which for both started out all the way back on Friday with a lack of running time. Heikki because of mechanical problems. Kubica because of team policy. But neither really has any better excuse than a lack of experience. Both, but especially Heikki will have to up their game. Heikki will have Flav’s criticism ringing in his ears for the next three weeks.
Anthony Davidson did quite well and finished the race but may have made a non obvious rookie error. Right near the beginning of the race he was crashed into which jarred his back. He drove on in crippling back pain because he has always had this bugbear about how in his three outings he has never finished a race. Perhaps it would have been better to retire as the experience has landed him in hospital. The amount of track time lost by drivers like Ralf due to his bad back must be massive. And Anthony should bear that in mind. Finishing is important, but so is finishing in one piece.
Hamilton was obviously sublime. A fantastically measured performance through the whole weekend. He even managed to unsettle Alonso, causing Fernando to have to use more sets of tires in qualifying to keep in front of him. He did make a few tiny mistakes but they were minor and to be expected when you’re driving that close to the edge (literally of the track). Alonso, with the team, engineered the overtake in the pits. And we will probably never know the true situation there. With no team radio we don’t know if Alonso was being held up by Hamilton and wanted past or if it was simply that the team decided to give the position to their team leader. I doubt the later frankly, but we shall see as time goes on. Hamilton was awesome, and Alonso will have to watch his back. But remember that in about 5 races time Hamilton is going to start getting tired. Even with Mark suggesting that Hamilton is the fittest man in F1, I think it will all starts to wear you out unless you’re completely used to it.
A final word on Ferrari. Just before he went on the podium Kimi received a phone call. James, quite reasonably, guessed that the call was from Luca Mont but actually it was from Michael Schumacher. In typical Kimi form when he was asked what Michael had had to say he responded that because of a bad line he hadn’t been able to hear a word of it. If only they’d still had that Vodaphone contract etc.