BushyÕs FGP

 

AUSTRALIAN GP      

 

 Round 1 - Albert Park, 24 - 26 March 2017

 

All times UK:

Day

Session

Times

Sky

Channel 4

Fri 24h 

FP1

0100 to 0230

0030 to 0245

 

 

FP2

0500 to 0630

0445 to 0655

 

Sat 25th

FP3

0300 to 0400

0245 to 0410

 

 

Qual

0600 to 0700-ish

0500 to 0740

Highlights: 1300 to 1450

Sun 26th

Race

0700 to 0830-ish

0430 to 0910

Highlights: 1400 to 1640

                                                                   

Tyres:

 

Ultra Soft

Super Soft

Soft

Medium

Hard

Intermediate

Wet

 

Tyre allocation:

I understand that individual driversÕ tyres will be allocated by Pirelli for the opening races. I canÕt find anything just yet about quantities.  What I do have isÉ

Drivers MUST have at one set of the softest tyre (Ultrasoft in Oz) for Q3.  (This set will be returned to Pirelli after Q3 for those who qualify in the top 10.  Remaining drivers will not have used them in Q3 so will not hand anything back.)

Drivers MUST use at least one set of SuperSofts and one set of Softs in the race. (Turns out this is not so!!)

 

FP1:

Dry but overcast. The session went pretty much as expected with no surprises. The cars are much faster, as testing showed. One or two drivers didnÕt get the running they needed: OconÕs Force-India had a brake problem, VandoorneÕs McLaren had a water leak and PalmerÕs session ended early when a CV boot (transmission) split.

Pos

Driver

Car

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

2

Bottas

Mercedes

3

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

4

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

5

Raikkonen

Ferrari

6

Vettel

Ferrari

7

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

8

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

9

Hulkenberg

Renault

10

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

11

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

12

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

13

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

14

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

15

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

16

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

17

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

18

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

19

Palmer

Renault

20

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

FP2:

Another fairly standard practise session. Nobody had major problems at the beginning but after about half an hour PalmerÕs Renault let go at the back as he went through the final turn and he backed it into the barrier at high speed, giving us a reminder that the higher cornering speeds and the subsequent results of a loss of grip is the reason the governing body spent ten years progressively introducing measures to slow the cars down!! Towards the end MassaÕs Williams developed an electrical fault and deprived him of all effective control of the carÕs systems and he pulled off the circuit and walked back to the pits.

Pos

Driver

Car

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

2

Vettel

Ferrari

3

Bottas

Mercedes

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

5

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

6

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

7

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

8

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

9

Hulkenberg

Renault

10

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

11

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

12

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

13

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

14

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

15

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

16

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

17

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

18

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

19

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

20

Palmer

Renault

 

FP3:

Wehrlein declared himself unfit to race so handed his car to Antonio Giovinazzi (a Ferrari test driver) for the duration.  Team managers with Wehrlein in the team/s will get a Òfree transferÓ and still get points for Wehrlein depending on how Giovinazzi does (badly, I suspect!!)

Stroll put his car into the barrier with 8 minutes to go and badly bent the right hand wheels.  Red flags were brought out but the clocks continue to run so that was that.

As usual you can interpret practise session times any way you like, so we wonÕt know just how fast Ferrari really is until qualifying in a couple of hours.

Pos

Driver

Car

1

Vettel

Ferrari

2

Bottas

Mercedes

3

Hamilton

Mercedes

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

5

Hulkenberg

Renault

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

7

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

8

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

9

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

10

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

11

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

12

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

13

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

14

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

15

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

16

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

17

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

18

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

19

Palmer

Renault

20

Giovanazzi

Sauber-Ferrari

 

Q1:

Palmer had a bad time and complained that the car was rubbish.  With Hulkenberg up in 5th maybe heÕs got a point!

StrollÕs Williams was bearly put back together so he struggled to get a decent time.

Giovinazzi did very well to only just miss out on Q2.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m 24.191s

2

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

3

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

4

Bottas

Mercedes

 

5

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

6

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

7

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

8

Vettel

Ferrari

 

9

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

10

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

11

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

12

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 

13

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

14

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

15

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

1m26.236s

16

Giovinazzi

Sauber-Ferrari

1m26.419s

17

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

18

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

19

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

20

Palmer

Renault

1m28.244s

 

Q2:

Apart from Bottas setting his time right at the beginning of the session and not being threatened thereafter, not much to say about Q2, except perhaps that more was expected from Hulkenberg.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Bottas

Mercedes

1m23.215s

2

Hamilton

Mercedes

 

3

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

4

Vettel

Ferrari

 

5

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

8

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

9

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

10

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

1m24.977s

11

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

1m25.081s

12

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

13

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 

14

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

15

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

1m26.465s

 

Q3:

With 8 minutes to go and, along with Verstappen, Grosjean Kvyat and Sainz, no time on the board, Ricciardo lost the back of his car and spun heavily into the barriers. He was OK but his car was not. That puts him in 10th for now, but the damage looked bad so he may have a penalty for a new gearbox.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m22.188s

2

Vettel

Ferrari

 

3

Bottas

Mercedes

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

7

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

8

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

9

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

1m24.512s

10

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

No time

 

GRID:

So far, Stroll gets a 5-place penalty for a gearbox change after his excursion in FP3, and I expect Ricciardo will as well.

Pos

Driver

Car

Pts

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

20

 

2

Vettel

Ferrari

19

 

3

Bottas

Mercedes

18

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

17

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

16

 

6

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

15

 

7

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

14

 

8

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

13

 

9

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

12

 

10

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

11

 

11

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

10

 

12

Hulkenberg

Renault

9

 

13

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

8

 

14

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

7

 

15

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

6

 

16

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

5

 

17

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

4

 

18

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

3

 

19

Palmer

Renault

2

 

20

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

1

Penalty

 

RACE:

Not only did Ricciardo get a late penalty for a gearbox change the sensor on that gearbox failed as he drove around to the grid.  Some confusion ensued as the other cars lined up and Kvyat went to the wrong place and the start was aborted. RicciardoÕs car was returned to the pits and Red Bull worked on it and got him out, albeit a couple of laps down, so he could get some valuable mileage on the car. As it was he lost fuel pressure after only 25 laps and had to retire.

Once the race was under way there was a coming together between Ericsson and Magnussen, and although they both got going again they both retired later, Ericsson when his hydraulics failed as a direct result of the accident.

As for the race itself, it wasnÕt all that exciting, but then Melbourne rarely is. Overtaking is fairly difficult there so any effect of the new regulations on overtaking wonÕt be really obvious until they get the Shanghai in a couple of weeks where overtaking happened in abundance last year.  From where I was sitting it seemed to me as though theyÕre going to need to keep the DRS because they have successfully created an aero formula where closely following another car destroys your downforce enough make car-handling in close proximity rather hit and miss. Still, give it time, says I.  Mind you, when Hamilton pitted to change tyres around lap 17 he came out behind Verstappen and couldnÕt get past.  Vettel, now in the lead, pulled away from the pair of them and stayed out for another seven laps. When he came out he was still in front of Vertappen and Hamilton was still stuck. Eventually Verstappen pitted, letting Hamilton go.  Max came out behind Raikkonen and started to slowly reel him in. Hamilton complained about his tyres, and then about fluctuating power, thus covering himself for the failure to catch and pass Vettel.

While all this was going on the onboard camera looking forwards from VestappenÕs car showed us a nice shot of the front winglets flexing in the wind – which is, of course, illegal. At speed the multiple winglets tended to close together. I imagine thatÕs designed to decrease the downforce, and when they open again as the car slows for the corners the gap between them opens and they become more effective.  Anyway, what do I know.  I canÕt have been the only one to notice and there are people there with much more knowledge than me.  I might go on one of these internet forums and see what my fellow nerds think.

We were treated to one particularly good bit of racing towards the end when Ocon, who was closing on Alonso, had Hulkenberg closing on him.  As Ocon had a go at Alonso, Hulkenberg had a go at the pair of them, getting in front. Unfortunately, Alonso then reported a problem with the car and retired, and Hulkenberg lost the position back to Ocon.

Pos

Driver

Car

Laps

Pts

 

1

Vettel

Ferrari

57

20

 

2

Hamilton

Mercedes

57

19

 

3

Bottas

Mercedes

57

18

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

57

17

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

57

16

 

6

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

57

15

 

7

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

56

14

 

8

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

56

13

 

9

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

56

12

 

10

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

56

11

 

11

Hulkenberg

Renault

56

10

 

12

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

56

9

 

13

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

55

8

 

14

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

50

7

Suspension

15

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

46

6

Mechanical

16

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

40

5

Brakes

17

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

25

4

Fuel pressure

18

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

21

3

Transmission

19

Palmer

Renault

15

2

Brakes

20

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

13

1

Engine

 

 

© Ian Bushnell, 2017