F1 »

Your views: 2013 kicks off

Lewis Hamilton attempted to shadow Raikkonen's strategy, but despite having started his second stint four laps later than the Lotus he ended it three laps sooner. He locked his tyres badly in a battle with Alonso on lap 31, forcing him to pit early and wrecking his chances of making it to the end without a third stop.

Nico Rosberg retired early on in the sister W04 with an electrical problem while running in third. Despite this, promising pace in practice allied with devastating speed in the wet means that the real potential of the Mercedes is still uncertain.

The comparatively disappointing pace of the McLaren, with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez finishing in ninth and eleventh respectively, means that at least one mystery of the 2013 season has been resolved, with Mercedes emerging as the initial winners in the game of driver musical chairs conducted towards the end of last year.

At Ferrari, the scene of Massa leading Alonso in the early stages was a welcome interlude from three years of Alonso dominance, but normal service was resumed after both came in for their second stops, with Alonso using the undercut to find his way past the trio of Sutil, Vettel and Massa. The Spaniard looked like threatening for the win at times, but his car wasn't able to do the race in two stops and he ultimately had to settle for second.

Despite not taking the victory, Ferrari come out of the weekend leading the Constructors Championship; a result that represents a vast improvement from 2012. Given that Alonso was able to take the title fight down to the final race last time round the pressure on Vettel this year is likely to be unrelenting.

Adrian Sutil was impressive in his comeback race for Force India. After a year on the side-lines, the German returned to the sport armed with a spanner, which he duly threw into the works during his exceptionally long first stint, finding himself in the lead of the Grand Prix on two occasions.

Although Sutil eventually dropped down to seventh following a disastrous final stint on the super-softs, his early long-run whilst fully-laden with fuel is the hallmark of a car that is easy on its tyres.

Force India appear to have found Sauber's blueprints on how to create a giant-killing midfield car, and Nico Hulkenberg will be praying that the coming races will still reveal his move to the Swiss-team to have been the right one, with fans having been deprived of a true comparison by the German's withdrawal due to a fuel-pump issue. With Williams appearing to have taken a major step backwards, how the midfield battle plays out will be a fascinating theme throughout the season.

In the battle of the back-markers, Jules Bianchi's impressive drive to fifteenth place cemented Marussia's new found superiority over rivals Caterham. Tony Fernandes, a hapless common-denominator in the plights of both Caterham and Premier League football team QPR this season will be hoping for a re-write of the draft of the next few races, whilst Marussia look to have stumbled upon a rookie that is more than a match for the pace of departed team-leader Timo Glock.

As with any good chapter, the first round of the 2013 World Championship answered the most burning questions, yet posed many more. After such an enthralling and exhilarating Grand Prix at Albert Park, the stage has now been set for another gripping race in Malaysia next weekend.

by Joshua Bonser

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
17.03.2013- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 race winner, 2nd position Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 and 3rd position Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9
17.03.2013- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 race winner, 2nd position Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 and 3rd position Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9
17.03.2013- Race, Chequered flag, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 race winner
17.03.2013- Celebration, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 race winner
Paddy Lowe - Williams Martini Racing
Sergio Perez - Sahara Force India
Kimi Raikkonen  - Ferrari SF70H
Force India VJM10 with BWT sponsorship
Force India in the pink with radical livery change
Force India reveals radical livery change for F1 2017
Sahara Force India F1 Team freight heading to Melbourne.
Red Bull Racing freight heading to Melbourne.
Red Bull Racing freight heading to Melbourne.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 is pushed down the pit lane.
Mercedes AMG F1 freight heading to Melbourne.
Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08.

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Piercarlogassolini - Unregistered

March 20, 2013 3:38 PM

I quite like KR, so my test of a gripping GP would have to be, would I have found it interesting if someone I like less had won? The answer is a definite NO, so my vote goes for 'boring start to the season'

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.