Round 2: Winners and losers from Australia.

March 30, 2010

Kubica will have moved himself up to the top of a few shopping lists for 2011

So with Round 2 now completed how are things shaping up in 2010? Here’s my latest take on the winners and losers.

Winners

Formula 1: Well it was a great race for a start, no dip in the middle but a whole series of dramas as things unfolded and the differential speed of the competitors created some great TV. My favourite moment was when Alonso’s engineer radioed him to tell that Hamilton was now only 3.5 secs behind him – his response was ‘I don’t want to know!’ Great stuff. Let’s just hope that we don’t have to have rain to have a great F1 race.

Jenson Button: I thought Jenson’s move to McLaren was going to be a bit of a disaster for him, but it looks like I was totally wrong. As Martin Brundle predicted, his smooth driving style meant that he was far less troubled by tyre wear than anyone else, and of course, he wasn’t exactly slow either. This now creates a very interesting dynamic in McLaren – more of that later!

Robert Kubica: It is interesting to note that Kubica is the driver that the other drivers rate, and he showed why at Melbourne. Maybe the Renault is actually better than we thought at the start of the year, but there is no question that his second place was a stellar achievement. Kubica has just moved to the top of the front runners’ shopping lists for 2011.

HRT: Hispania were looking the most troubled of the new boys at the first race of the year, with Chandok effectively doing his shakedown in the race which only lasted for one lap, his team mate Bruno Senna went a bit further and retired after seventeen laps. However at Melbourne Chandok brought the HST car home, a real achievement given the trials and tribulations they have been through, albeit five laps behind, but it is still a finish.

Losers:

Michael Schumacher: Melbourne was not a good race for my 2010 predictions (although Ferrari are comfortably leading the constructors championship), I don’t think that Michael envisaged he would be fighting with Jaime Alguersuari for 10th place in his comeback year, but that was what happened. My theory is that Michael will start to turn things around, but if things don’t change we could see him bowing out early as battling with the Toro Rosso’s is not what he expected to be doing when he returned to F1.

Lewis Hamilton: Lewis drove a typically aggressive race, fighting all the way through, but he also showed his fragility when losing his cool with the team, not a good idea when your team-mate is showing everyone else the way home. The battle for number 1 at McLaren is going to get very interesting.

Red Bull Racing: ‘To finish first, first you have to finish’ this is something that Red Bull have struggled with, particularly with Sebastian Vettel in the cockpit. Their cars are very fast, but do not seem to be as strong as the Ferrari or McLaren. Mark Webber clearly wanted to win this one, but things just seem to go against him, not a lot of breaks for the Milton Keynes based team, let’s hope things turn around for them in Malaysia.

Virgin Racing: As you probably know, I’m a bit of a fan of Virgin Racing and their approach to developing an F1 car, but things are tough for them at present. First, they’ve had to request permission from the FIA to redesign their car with a larger fuel tank so that it can finish some of the longer races – a pretty fundamental problem. And also they have not managed to finish a race (so it isn’t even clear if the fuel tank can take them full distance on any circuit). Glock and Di Grassi both retired, although Glock did manage to complete 41 laps out of a 58 lap race. Things can only get better!

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