Despite whispers and hopeful rumors that Mercedes’ dominance may be a thing of the past, the 2016 Formula 1 season started off the same way 2015 ended: with Nico Rosberg driving his Mercedes-AMG Hybrid to the win.
All eyes were on Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg on the front row when the lights went off at the Australian GP after an extra parade lap caused by a stalled Red Bull TAG, and the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen blasted past both Mercedes. Young Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso, too, put the moves on Lewis as he fell back in the running order, but it was a scary crash for McLaren-Honda’s double World Drivers’ Champion Fernando Alonso that set the outcome of the race.
Alonso Crashes Out of 2016 Australian GP
If you already watched the video, I told you it was scary! If you haven’t, you probably shouldn’t want to- and, except for the facts that Alonso walked away from the wreckage and that his McHonda was looking pretty racy against a Haas-Ferrari that eventually finished sixth, there wasn’t much else in the way of good news from the McLaren garage, which ended up pointless again after so much off-season hope.
The crash set off a red flag that saw many drivers move onto the medium tires in a bid to run until the end of the race. Vettel’s Ferrari team had him on a much softer compound, however, gambling that the mediums wouldn’t make it. Nico’s mediums, however, proved to be more than enough for the task at hand and he began closing on Vettel before the four-times WDC was forced to pit … but things could have gone the other way.
It was revealed in post-race interviews that Mercedes nearly retired Nico’s car with brake trouble, which would have put both Vettel and Ricciardo on the podium alongside his rival, Hamilton!
Slightly further back, the Toro Rosso boys tangled both on the track and over the radio, with Verstappen claiming that Sainz was holding him up. After nearly a dozen laps spent burning up his tires behind a yellow Renault, Sainz finally put in a move that stuck- and Verstappen was right there with him, doing in 10 seconds what took his teammate 10 laps. As the lap counter wound down, Max was on Sainz until he spun trying to get inside the Spaniard in a corner- but even that didn’t stop Max, who put in a series of hard-charging laps to close the gap to Sainz yet again.
Carlos Sainz may have finished ahead of Max Verstappen today, but anyone watching with a critical eye could see that Sainz was holding him up. It may yet be too easy to get under Max’s skin- he’s only eighteen, after all- but there is no more denying it: the kid can drive.
Up slightly ahead, Romain Grosjean drove his Haas to sixth place and a massive points haul for the new American F1 team. It was a clean, graceful drive that showed Grosjean’s newfound maturity- and will make for another interesting footnote in F1 history as the Haas team, which changed Grosjean’s tires during the red flag, completed the race without a single pit stop.
That’s enough from me- although I’d like it noted that I called the top three finishing teams in my season preview. You can complain about the race in the comments section at the bottom of the page, and check out the rest of the results of the 2016 Australian GP, below. Enjoy!
|FORMULA 1 2016: AUSTRALIAN GP RESULTS – FINAL|
|3||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING||4|
|27||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA||7|
|55||CARLOS SAINZ||TORO ROSSO||9|
|33||MAX VERSTAPPEN||TORO ROSSO||10|
|11||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA||13|
|26||DANIIL KVYAT||RED BULL RACING||DNS|
Source | Images: Formula 1.