The Albert Park seemed to throw up nasty challenges for 16 out of the 22 cars that had lined up for the F1 season opener on Sunday, March 16th. Only six could complete the 58 laps of the Grand Prix and sadly for us, Force India wasn’t on the right side of the list.
While Lewis Hamilton of McLaren-Mercedes took the laurel of the evening battling it out from behind safety cars on three occasions and still managing to make it to the finish line the first, Nick Heidfeld smoothed in his BMW-Sauber to the second position in a performance that was classy. Nico Rosberg finished in the third position. The young German was running the fastest in his Willaims-Toyota.
Alonso is back with Renault now after a troublesome stint at McLaren but brought little relief to his manufacturer with his fourth finish. The biggest heartbreak of the championship was, for sure, when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen’s car died in the 54th lap.
McLaren could had well done both the top positions with Heikki Kovalainen doing pretty well before Toyota’s Timo Glock’s accident led Raikkonen and Alonso to overtake him. The super-rookie from Finland rounded up on the fifth-position after Alonso.
As I said earlier, Albert Circuit was a disaster for Force India Ferrari. Giancarlo Fisichella dropped out of the race on the first corner, after being sandwiched by Nelson Piquet Jr. of Renault and Timo Glock. This “first corner” drama also led to the retirement of Honda’s blue-eyed darling Jenson Button, Red Bull’s Webber, Super Aguri’s Anthony Davidson and Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel.
Force India’s Adrian Sutil did try to pull up the game on his own. At the finish of seven laps, he was in the 13th place ahead of Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Bourdias. This was how far it would go though. Sutil’s performance was stymied a lap later by a hydraulic failure.
Hamilton’s parting quote? “…Physically the race was a breeze and great preparation for Malaysia, so bring it on, I’m really looking forward to it.”
P.S. The next Grand Prix is scheduled for March 23rd in Malaysia. Stay hooked.