BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson
« Previous | Main | Next »

Awesome Vettel lays down intimidating marker

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 10:49 UK time, Sunday, 27 March 2011

"I don't think it was an easy race," Sebastian Vettel said after winning the Australian Grand Prix, but it certainly looked that way.

The world champion was never more than nine seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton's chasing McLaren until the Englishman ran into trouble with a damaged floor on his car midway through the race. But the Red Bull driver always appeared to be in total control.

The German was 2.5 seconds clear after the first lap, when admittedly Hamilton had been compromised by having to hold off Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber at the start, and he pulled out another 0.8secs on lap two.

Although Hamilton pegged him after that, the suspicion must be that Vettel was already in cruise mode, even though he said after the race that he was struggling with tyres in that first stint.

It was probably not a coincidence that the margin between the two men on that second lap was pretty much exactly the same as it had been in qualifying. That's how much faster the Red Bull appeared to be in Melbourne, at least in Vettel's hands.

There was a sharp intake of breath along the pit lane in Albert Park when the sheer speed of the car was finally unleashed in final practice on Saturday morning and nothing that happened after that did anything to diminish that impression.

Following Vettel's pace in qualifying, his fastest race lap was nearly half a second quicker than Hamilton's. On that evidence, McLaren and the rest have some work to do if they are to stop Red Bull running away with the championship.

That said, it is unwise to read too much into the results of the first race of the season - particularly in Melbourne - and it remains to be seen whether Red Bull's advantage will be as big at other circuits this season.

Albert Park can be a bit like that. If a driver and team get everything just so in conditions that leave others struggling a bit - exactly what appeared to happen in Saturday's cool weather - it is possible to eke out a quite extraordinary advantage.

The mind immediately turns to 1997, when Jacques Villeneuve was on pole position in Australia by 1.8 seconds from his Williams team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Michael Schumacher's Ferrari was third on the grid that weekend, 2.1 seconds slower than Villeneuve - and yet the title battle went to the last race of the season between the Canadian and the German.

The common denominator between that Williams and this year's Red Bull is Adrian Newey, then Williams's chief designer, now Red Bull's chief technical officer and for some time F1's pre-eminent genius - and I do not use that word lightly.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


Like the Williams FW17, the Red Bull RB7 is the third iteration of a car-design concept. This is what Newey is like - he does not always nail the key to unlocking a set of regulations but when he does, as he has with this generation of Red Bulls, he just keeps chipping away, refining the concept, and the others find it very difficult to catch up.

Further evidence of Newey's uncompromising approach to design emerged after the race on Sunday, when Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed that the team had decided not to use their Kers power-boost system after Friday.

The fact that Red Bull's drivers did not use Kers in qualifying led to tongues wagging in the F1 paddock on Saturday, when there was speculation they had a mini-Kers system that would be used only at the start.

The truth was more mundane. Red Bull have been struggling with Kers reliability all winter and the team decided it was more trouble than it was worth in Melbourne.

Red Bull's problems with Kers have been created by Newey's absolute determination to make the car as fast as possible - and to trade off performance as little as he can.

"Adrian being Adrian would not compromise the car around the system," Horner told BBC Sport, "so the systems had to fit into his aero shape."

This has led to problems with reliability - not for the first time with a Newey design honed to the nth degree. In this case, the car is so tightly packaged that the team are finding it hard to manage the heat the Kers system generates.

Red Bull say they are working hard to get the system on to the car for the next race. But Vettel's performance in Melbourne may well reignite the debate that has been raging in F1 since Kers was first introduced to the sport in 2009.

That is as follows - putting Kers on a car makes it about 0.3secs a lap quicker. But, under the current regulations, can a car optimised without it - or in the case of Red Bull, designed with fewer compromises than normal - actually be made to be quicker? There is no definitive answer to that question for now; perhaps one will emerge over this season.

There were many more subjects about which the same could be said.

Most striking of all, perhaps, is what on earth happened to Webber in the second Red Bull? He and the team both shared the general mystification about the massive gap between the Australian and Vettel.

Fernando Alonso's post-qualifying prediction that Ferrari would be stronger in the race was proved right with a fighting drive back to fourth from a terrible first lap, during which he was briefly down in 10th. There was nothing fake about Ferrari's pace in pre-season testing - what can they achieve when they have a smooth weekend?

Alonso just missed a podium thanks to a superb drive from Renault's Vitaly Petrov in a car that is genuinely quick. It immediately made you wonder what the injured Robert Kubica could have achieved in that car.

There will be no quick answer to that one as the Pole continues his recovery from the terrible injuries he received in his rallying crash last month. But even with Petrov in it the car is a contender. The Russian's experienced team-mate Nick Heidfeld will surely bounce back from a poor start. Can Renault keep up with the breathless pace of development at the front?

The much-talked-about moveable rear wing, or drag-reduction system as it is officially known, seemed to work pretty well - in that it made overtaking possible but not too easy, although the debate about whether it is a step too far in terms of artificiality will doubtless continue.

If Sauber's Mexican rookie Sergio Perez continues in the manner he has started - notwithstanding the team's disqualification for a technical infringement - how long before the rumour mill starts wondering about this member of Ferrari's driver academy replacing Felipe Massa as Alonso's team-mate?

All these and more will keep people guessing for much longer than the two weeks before the Malaysian Grand Prix.

But there is no doubt about the biggest question of all. Hamilton said afterwards that he was confident McLaren could catch Red Bull. Is he right? On the evidence of Melbourne, the season could depend on it.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    So despite all the efforts of DC to talk up Lewis' car failing scrutineering it looks like his second place is secure. Fantastic job Lewis (which I think you should be getting more credit for) and Jenson could have been on for a podium if he'd not got the penalty too.

  • Comment number 3.

    Andy I am one of those people that out of frustration wrote McLaren out after the winter testing. Being thier fan it was anooying looking at the vibes which were coming from our team.

    But after seing Q3 I thought, wait a minute, we could win this thing after all. Yes Red Bull are the team to beat but, if we look at how far we have come in the last two weeks, I can`t help but be confident.

    The only annoying thing is we leave everything late. I know our team wanted to surprise everyone hence the risk they took in starting to test late. We might close the gap as we go on as long as we don`t repeat the mistakes of last year of trying this and that in every race. I like what LH said after Q3-IMPORTANT to bring the car home. He made a lot of mistakes last year trying to fight a lost cause.

    Once Webber sorts himself out, the rivalry between the two Red Bulls will resume and who is to say they won`t take each other out again this year?

    Vettel will panick once he doesn`t get pole. A long way to go but LH has just made us believe we can compete.

    Come on you Brits!

  • Comment number 4.

    The sooner Mr Lauda's comments (forum) are listened too the sooner we may get overtaking during a race and not just where the FIA seem to think it should happen!
    Open up the whole track not just a part to the rear wing flap, or are we just going to have a "controlled" race dictated by the FIA and who they beleive may benefit from thier rules?
    For a first race it was good to see some competition and that the tv coverage covered battles down the feild more than just following the leader or local driver.
    Graphics on tv still too small and lack a lot of info - which tyre? which set of tyres? (a lot of which could be just a list of position numbers with simple codes along the side of the screen all the time. Indianapolis like?)

  • Comment number 5.

    A lot of spelling mistakes in the post above! lol.

    Yeah FF01, coming second after all we have been through should feel like it was a victory. If any thing, I expected Andy to be singing McLaren praise but hey!

    Well done Lewis. Unlucky Jenson.

    Keep pushing guys you never know what happens. The truth is we`ve seen a lot of surprises in F1. Not long ago-Brawn! Hello!!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    ACE a bigger screen TV would be better for the graphics.

    Try a 50" TV. They are cheap now!

  • Comment number 7.

    As a McLaren fan I have to say congrats to Vettel who made it seem very easy! However our guys did pretty damn good given the noises they were making during testing! Lewis 2nd in 1st race and Jenson 6th despite a drive through! I'll take that for starters!

  • Comment number 8.

    Excellent recovery from McLaren considering the way pre season testing went but a massive congrats to Vettel for the sheer domination of the race. Will be hard for anyone to beat him again this season.

    The race was made more interesting with the way the tyres dropped off. Didn't really see any major moves with either KERS or the DRS. Not convinced these gimmicks are really needed and the way RB won without needing either adds weight to that argument.

  • Comment number 9.

    At lot of people are talking about Lewis and Jenson and their McLaren. I'm delighted with how well they did today considering the McLaren's winter testing was terrible and that Jenson never did more than 18 laps on the same run.

    However, my favorite part of today was Paul Di Resta who put in a great drive to finish 12th (and then up to 10th). He looks like he has a bright future and if put in the right car, we could have yet another British World Champion.

  • Comment number 10.

    Red Bull are obvious favourites but there are glimmers of hope for other teams. The fact that both driver's struggled with their tyres in the first stint is a potential weakness. It's also going to be important over the coming season to get their act together with the KERS system, and you never know how that will affect the whole car balance.

    It's also interesting that sauber were able to implement a one stop strategy. This just shows that everyone has plenty of scope for improvement.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think everyone is a bit unfair on Petrov. Kubica is a very good driver, but he's had several years of experience. He didn't light up the world in his first year either.

    I was at turn 9 Abu Dhabi 2010 and Petrov held his nerve against Alonso excellently. He had touches of speed against Kubica last season too. He drove an excellent race today and I think people need to give him some credit. It's really a bit unfair to keep going on about what Kubica would have done in that car. Don't automatically assume he'd be a second or two quicker.

    Perez looks like a real talent too.

    Renault, Sauber, Merc and Williams all look capable of taking podium places this year in addition to the 'big 3' teams.

    Good riddance to Bahrain, let's start with a decent race like this every year please.

  • Comment number 12.

    Vettel was supreme again and his post-race antics were entertaining as always, it will be interesting to see how he handles himself this year in races where he's not out in front though.

    The highlight of the race for me was Petrov's performance, especially after all the criticism he received last year. It was nice to see him still holding the trophy long after the presentations had finished, it clearly meant a lot to him.


  • Comment number 13.

    JB receives a drive through for all 4 wheels over the yellow line but SV did same passing JB on lap 16 and no mention of a penalty!

  • Comment number 14.

    "Vettel will panic"? Ha ha! There's noone on the grid to touch him. The only way to stop him is to do a Damon Hill on him, i.e. deliberately run into him. So much talent, skill, ability, self confidence, modesty, smiles, brilliant person. World champion for the next 7 years at least, then early retirement.

  • Comment number 15.

    Chris,
    You will find that Button took a short-cut to pass. Vettel didn't.

  • Comment number 16.

    Is it just me who's fed up of hearing Jenson Button constantly moaning about drivers who do not let him pass, I mean this is racing and its the job of a driver to defend not just move over and let hime pass. I'm not a Hamilton fan but I've never heard him make the same complaint.

  • Comment number 17.

    Slightly off topic but having Brundle and DC commentating is about as exciting as watching paint dry. The BBC really need to have a rethink about that with MB sticking to the co-commentator role (need some excitement). Also it doesn't help when we have DC and the rest of the crew becoming the Red Bull/ SV cheerleading society. Don't get me wrong but Red Bull has had a hugely superior car for the last two years and they won the World Championship marginally last year. It would be good to see SV with an inferior car ie LH and FA last year and compete.

    I think it was a clear drive through penalty for SV for overtaking JB on the outside of the circuit area. This seems to have been politely dismissed by MB and even the normally honest Eddie Jordan. DC is the only one who pointed it out. Sadly, Mclaren probably didn't complain about it and probably the stewards didn't pick it up.

    It would have been great to have seen how SV would have reacted if LH had taken the lead at the start. I haven't seen SV do an overtaking maneuver in anger for a long time (wasn't anything memorable anyway).

    Also the BBC's analysis seems to have gone back to the dark ages. No visuals or graphics or computer simulations, just MB sitting behind a screen pointing in the general direction of the incident concerned. They need to up there game.

  • Comment number 18.

    For me, DRS worked...it provided some overtaking without guaranteeing it (though Lauda does make a good point about not limiting its use). Was a little dissapointed with the BBC teams attitude towards it though on the forum, they were negative and seemingly dissapointed cars were not blasting past each other back and forth every lap...but isn't that exactly what we didn't want?? Reagrdless it's use was on one of the shortest straights all year and it was clear it was really kicking in towards the end, which will only be the middle, of the straight in say Malaysia.

    Seperately, would Vettel have got past Button without leaving the track...no, he'd have had to back off and stay behind if for example a wall was there, that raises serious questions about what the stewards were doing...

    Plenty to deabte and a great season in store

  • Comment number 19.

    Forgot to mention the great performances by Petrov after being criticised as a financial choice last year and also Perez and Kobayashi for their great drives. Felt very sorry for Rosberg with Barrichello losing his marbles very unlike him.

  • Comment number 20.

    decent good race, told us a lot about McLaren's skill and the Will to get it right. I like when Lewis said they know where extra speed can be found. but what I can take from this race is that Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso are still the class of the field, and all throughout had at least half a second per lap advantage through qualifying than their rivals. Webber, Button and Massa have major work to do.
    also good TV coverage, I found myself confused about which version I wanted to watch. yes we've been kicking the BBC over the years for not showing F1 in HD, and
    now we have that, GREAT!........but now all the digital info is displayed on
    the red button which I find more interesting, like follow each Car with live
    in-Car sounds, or a computer print of where each Car in the field is, which
    I found really interesting because you could see how each team plans their
    pit stops, and what Cars have gone off the field... but the problem is, all of
    this is in SD, not HD! and the mini screen for the race in this mode is way too small.
    maybe an idea is to have a split screen instead? top half the data, and the bottom half could show the race?. but so far I'm pleased with what I've seen. and I believe after this race some teams will quickly take out their KERs and this rear wing issues might be extended to just more than the home straight!. because it had very little effect today.

  • Comment number 21.

    Quite an interesting race really, but I don't think you can judge all that much from it, I certainly don't think Red Bull will run away with the championships. The McLaren probably exceeded fans and drivers expectations here, and race by race you can see the gap coming down to the Red Bull's, but I can't see Red Bull standing still though. Their advantage will come down but they look to have the car to beat. As Andrew points out, sometimes a team will start of with a huge advantage like Williams in 97 and McLaren in 98 only to see their advantage trimmed within a couple of races. It has to be said though, without in season testing, its a lot harder to make up.

    Sepang will be a different challenge and a different kind of race, with the long drags on this circuit and higher temperatures I can see Ferrari giving a stronger showing. And perhaps again, a surprise like Petrov's podium today may be in the offing, particularly as Webber and Massa look badly out of sorts. Those guys really need to find some pace in Malaysia to make proceedings a touch more interesting.

  • Comment number 22.

    Andrew,

    When red bull say they didn't use the kers does this mean the whole unit was removed from the car and if so do you believe this to be an indication that the extra power produced is not enough to compensate for the extra weight?

    Also if vettel has the same advantage over webber in Malaysia do you think rumours will start about vettel getting a better car than his team mate?

    Good job from mclaren, I hope they can manage a 1.5 second improvement every week!!!!! Not sure that will happen somehow.

  • Comment number 23.

    Lorus59,
    You are allowed to overtake just as long as you have two wheels inside the race track line. SV had all four wheels outside the race track outer line and just because it has some tarmac there it doesn't mean that he is allowed to overtake at that point. Vettel should not have won that Grand Prix if the stewards had done their job.

  • Comment number 24.

    CitizenX, at it again, cussing down Vettel to make his favourites look better.

    First of all, great article Andrew.

    Yet again, we have haters on here who can't accept what a brilliant driver Seb Vettel is.
    He one the championship marginally last year, because of reliability problems that plagued his season. It would have been easy for him to say "This isn't my year, we'll try again next year." But no, he fought on, put in some absolutely breath-taking performances, and emerged the deserved winner. You can say oh well LH or FA need to drive that car. Newsflash: they're not driving a Red Bull, they don't belong to a team that is "just a drinks company" (Hamilton really needs a re-think there).

    Vettel also showed that he can indeed overtake, as some people seem to think he is utterly clueless on this area. Not many drivers would have tried what he did. It was perfectly legal and those who suggest otherwise are perhaps slightly bitter.

    Roll on Sepang (one of my favourite tracks) and lets see if Seb can make it 2-in-a-row at Malaysia.

  • Comment number 25.

    well done to vettel for dominating the race. and quali. i just wonder tho whether we're starting to see the real difference between vettel and webber. as much as people want to say he's red bull's 1st son, he does seem to be better than webber.
    the mclarens were definately second best today. well done lewis once again he shows his critics what a class act he is! just thought... imagine lewis in a red bull. i reckon he would be quicker than vettel. however imagine vettel in a mclaren i doubt he'd b quicker than hamilton!
    as for button well i have always said he is good but lets face it he's not really on the same level as hamilton, alonso, vettel. and people thought he would have an advantage this year- he started complaining about his tires way before lewis did. pirelli have done a good job tho in making sure that the tires degrade quickly this will make for interesting racing this year.
    one thing i'm not sure about is the dsg rear wing thing. we saw sutil spinning out in quali, n i fear it might not turn out to be safe. as eddie jordan said drivers have too many things to do in the cockpit these days. formula1 is back!

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 3

    I too was one to unleash a tongue lashing at Mclaren a few weeks ago during testing when the car was going as fast as my golf. But fair play to all the engineers and technical staff at Mclaren they have turned it around quite remarkably. I would have happily eaten some of that humble pie Ron Dennis gave to Eddie Jordan yesterday. Great drive from Lewis and Jenson did well to come back from the penalty!

    Red Bull are clearly still miles ahead. Their car is technically been in development since 2009. Totally agree with Andrew...Adrian Newey is a genius! However, I think by the time we get to Europe the advantage gap will not be as big. In the mean time i think the key is for Vettel not to be on pole, because when he has space in front of him in that car, there is virtually no stopping him. He is however less convincing when he is not at the front of the grid. Hopefully Webber can pick up his game. He is a great driver and one of the more popular ones with the fans.

    So happy F1 is back!!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Redsloz,
    The problem we always have in formula one is that all things being equal who is the best driver in F1? I have no doubt about Vettels ability as an "out and out" quick driver and he has been exceptional in this area. I think he can mix it up with LH and FA in this area and it is just everyones opinion whom would come out on top. For me it would be LH but I respect everyones opinions if they think its FA or SV as drivers whom can top the charts. The areas where "Vettel has still to prove his mettle" is when he is in a car which is not so superior and when he has to fight his way through grids with superior or similar cars. This is where LH and FA standout and have shown their ability to adapt to weakness of the car and still eke out an advantage.

    Notwithstanding that, it is not Vettel's fault or problem that he has the best car on the grid, and you are right, that he should not be apologising to anybody about that. He can only beat what is in front of him and he has done that well.

    Red Bull have done a fantastic job in Formula One by destroying the dominance of the big teams ( and being a drinks company). Red Bull has been a breath of fresh air for F1 and they have had the big boys of F1 scratching their heads in dismay. Long live Red Bull

    I still think that he should have been penalised for going off the track on the overtake.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Good job Lewis. Yes we should be in contention for the WC if what happened to day is anything to go by.

    Lewis please take JB for overtaking lessons, the boy is so scared that he gets his knickers in a knot.We also need the constructor's WC. There is no free overtaking space in F1. Is it mental??

  • Comment number 30.

    I have Vettel as one of my drivers in a pool ...
    I am going to go crazy if Martin and David don't get the pronunciation of his name right and consistant.
    David C says "VET TEL"
    Martin B says "VETL"
    I'd really appreciate a note to them to figure it out and get it right.
    Thanks!

  • Comment number 31.

    @17

    I'm sorry if this sounds rude, but can you (and other people) please give the Brundle-Coulthard partnership time to work. I'm quite sure this is precisely why Jonathan Legard got unceremoniously canned after two seasons, people on these forum pages started complaining they didn't like him, they thought he was rubbish etc. Murray Walker and James Hunt didn't start off well, but they lasted until his death in 1993 and are considered now one of the great commentating partnerships.

    As to my opinions on the race, massive congratulations to Vitaly Petrov for his first podium. Well done to Paul DiResta and Sergio Perez for finishing their first race, although I do feel really sorry for the two Sauber boys. Raced their hearts out for 90 odd minutes only for it to be a complete waste of time

  • Comment number 32.

    I think I can be proud to say i'm a Mclaren supporter. I also find your comment about Perez replacing Massa (although obviously lurid) completely sensible. Massa was poor all weekend. I cant help but feel the DRS zone should have run from the last corner to turn three or at least one whole sector.

    However, for every reason, Malaysia will be completely different. The straights are longer for that DRS and most crucially, its going to be a lot warmer, we could well see these Pirelli not make ten laps n Sepang. Also the likely-hood of rain is massively high, to which no one, other than those who ran the last wet day in Barcelona, have properly experienced.

    As a Mclaren supporter, i am well and truly impressed today, but I wont get carried away just yet. Malaysia will be a different race altogether

  • Comment number 33.

    it looks like vettels car is faster than webbers again. being aus it really annoys me and id like to see them swap before qualifing just to see if vettel is deliberatly getting an advantage.

  • Comment number 34.

    I just can't believe the hype that surrounds Vettel, he has had a car that has atleast averaged a second faster than any other teams car for over a season now, he's a great driver when he's out infront with that kind of advantage, but who would n't be.

    Rebulls dominance is about to be challenged for the first time truly by Mclaren, if Mclaren can bring a brand new car in and get it to do what it's done without testing it and having time to tweak it to it's max potential then undoubtedly there is much more pace to come from Mclaren.

    Enjoy it while you can Vettel, because you'll soon have the Mclarens right on you in cars that can take Poles and Races.

  • Comment number 35.

    Great drive by the top 3 drivers! All of them fully deserved their places there.
    Good finishes from the rookies aswell. (espescially Perez).

    I can't help but feel that, yes, Vettel is driving brilliantly, but I think he is being over-hyped a bit. Put LH or even FA in there and they will be unbeatable too. These three drivers are aggressive, risk takers, while Massa, Webber and Button are more passive most of the time, and that is the difference. That is why SV, LH and FA are leading their respective teams.

    I thought, Martin Brundle and David Coulthard's commentary was good. Nothing spectacular, but I like it without any melodramatics, like Legard used to do a lot of.

    You look back to 2008, and think Felipe must be so upset right now. Because I think that was his one and only crack at the title.

    This season has a perfect balance of type of drivers. you have Rubens, Nick and Schumacher as the elder group. then fernando, Webber and Jenson following them. Then the young experienced drivers, like Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg. then the young guns. Perfect Equilebrium.

    Good job Seb. Brilliant job Lewis and Fantastic drive from Petrov.
    Happy days.

  • Comment number 36.

    @31
    I'm sorry if this sounds rude, but thats just my opinion - some people are allowed to have one.

    I have always preferred the overly excitable, less knowledgeable main commentator and the "ex-F1 driver", technically astute co-comentator and here is where Brundle is brilliant. Having two ex-drivers with each one trying to outdo the other in technical know-how will become difficult to watch over a two hour race day. I think DC should be in the garage and MB should be back to a co-commentator and I would be happy to have Jonathan Legard back as I liked the guy. At least Legard had you on your toes throughout the race even he if got the facts completely wrong. I just think they have the combo wrong - Time will tell.


  • Comment number 37.

    Vettel's looking ominously good again, it didn't look like he was breaking a sweat for most of the race but just managing the gap to cover off his stops. Hamilton had a great day finishing second with a damaged car and McLaren proved alot of doubters wrong, I'll hold my hands that included me. The stars of the day have to be Petrov and Perez though, Petrov performing brilliantly despite all the flak he's had to take and Perez getting a one stop strategy to work on his debut. It was unfortunate about his disqualification but hugely impressive, I think you're right Andrew, a potential Ferrari driver for the future.

    It's difficult to know how Malaysia will go, Red Bull will obviously be at the front and I think McLaren and Ferrari will be chasing again. Renault are definitely one to watch, I don't think they can run at the front right now but if they nail the set ups then maybe they can achieve podiums like today.

    @CitizenX 27, I guess Vettel winning in a Torro Rosso bypassed you? He was consistently in the points that season with a car that shouldn't have been, so I think he's more than proved himself with inferior equipment, same as Alonso in Minardi. In fact, I'd go as far to say Hamilton is the one who needs to prove himself on that front having had a car capable of competing at the front for all but 1 year.

  • Comment number 38.

    I was disgusted with the Australian “Fans” booing Vettel just because they supported Webber. Vettel won fair and square and Webber never looked like winning. If anyone deserved booing it was Massa for playing a blocking game on Button to allow Alonso to catch up. _____ I also think Coulthard was trying to influence the decision regarding the damage to Hamilton’s car clearly he is a Red Bull/Ferrari man.

  • Comment number 39.

    How nice it was to hear Martin Brundle so relaxed in his commentary. It appears that he is so more at ease working with David Coulthard instead of trying to work with Jonathon Legard.
    What a difference it has made to the enjoyment of the program. Well done.

    I do find it difficult to equate two incidents that rsulted in the same penalty of a drive through though. On the one hand Jenson Button apparently went off line to get a better position over Felipe Massa and on the other hand Rubens Barricello collided with Nico Rosberg putting him out of the race through damage yet both incidents warranted the same penalty? It does seem a little lop sided.

  • Comment number 40.

    I would like to comment about Martin Brundle's analysis session. I think its brilliant martin is doing that. I also think its fantastic BBC putting together analysis session so quickly after the race and I appreciate the complexity and time it takes to put that together. But instead of martin pointing finger at the television with his analysis can bbc make available some kind of graphic tool which martin can use to draw circles, lines and arrows etc. We love his analysis and it would be great if we could just hear his analysis and videos in full screen with all those graphic markings. I don't like saying this but...."how hard can it be?"

  • Comment number 41.

    Good race today. It's not had much time, but I think I'm a fan of the moveable rear wing device. It helped to create some good moments of close racing today.

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel seemed invincible today, but what was wrong with Mark Webber? Not a great race for him, and he clearly showed his feelings after crossing the line.

    McLaren also seem very quick, which is great, as I support the team! Of course, it wasn't without incident, with Lewis Hamilton's floor coming loose and Jenson getting held up by Felipe Massa's Ferrari (who defended very well) and then getting landed with a drive-through penalty.

    Ferrari have a lot of work to do, but pace is there, as we saw with Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.

    Massive congratulations to Vitaly Petrov, Sergio Perez and Paul di Resta, who all drove exceptional races, and really showing some much more experienced competitors up. Massive shame that both Sauber's were disqualified, as the team have really produced a good car this season.

    Hoping McLaren can close the gap in Sepang, and the Sebastian Vettel + Red Bull Racing combination looks hugely impressive.

  • Comment number 42.

    I thought the Brundle/Coulthard commentating partnership worked really well - having two people with a lot of racing experience meant they could pick up on things the other had missed and do so with the credibility of those who have been there and done that. I'm glad BBC Sport has toned down some of the computer animations that were being used last year though I do miss the rendered overhead swooping shots of the circuit near the beginning of the broadcast.

    I think it would be better if Martin Brundle could have delivered his insights into the race a little earlier into the forum - it seemed a little unfair to leave him stuck in the shed while DC got cake!

    The post-race interactions between JH/DC/EJ made what was not one of the most exciting races ever into one of my favourite F1 broadcasts.

  • Comment number 43.

    This "Sport" is a joke. The fact is it isn't a level playing field or about the individual. It is about big business. Like club football. Rubbish.

  • Comment number 44.

    Great coverage as always - but the new commentary team really stood out for me. It was a much more relaxing experience watching the race than it has been the last two years! I've long thought Brundle capable of doing "the main job" even since he worked with Murray back in the 90s, and DC was a really refreshing addition.

    Good job all round. Keep it up.

  • Comment number 45.

    why is the BBC using official Red Bull 3d animations in their build up?
    http://www.redbull.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Video/RB7s-Inner-Secrets--Rear-Wing-and-KERS-021242974355844

    isn't this getting too far? with DC working for them, horner/vettel always on video, etc etc

  • Comment number 46.

    I think DC was a bit nervous in his new role, but MB did a brilliant job as usual. DC will soon find his feet.
    Analysis session is a great idea, but the execution is a bit lacking at present.

    And for the reference of the entire BBC crew, SV's surname is pronounced ' Fettle ' , as in what mechanic does to a car...
    -- Tim

  • Comment number 47.

    Kubica_for_a_prancing_horse. Vettel winning in a Torro Rosso has not slipped my mind. I will remind you what I had said about Vettel that he can lead from the front but I have never seen him do anything spectacular when he has to mix it up in the middle of the field. 2008 Italy Grand Prix. Heavy rain meant that Vettel had a chance of qualifying well and he took his opportunity and got pole. Again they race started with the safety car and he led from the front. Good race but nothing spectacular from Vettel.

    LH in 2009 had an awful car with it being probably the fifth best car on the grid at the start of the season. He pulled off 5 podiums and 2 wins by the end of the year. Not bad for a car that was inferior.

    Adding to that - nobody that I can remember had a rookie season as good as he did in 2007 and it was only down to his team that he didnt win the WC.

  • Comment number 48.

    As a true Mclaren fan for many years now i thought they had lost there way and wished for them to prove me wrong, a fantastic effort and it seems Ferrarri have poached the wrong designer as it looks like Mclaren finally have a team to g.ive King Adrian a run for his money, cant wait for the next race to see what they bring and hunt down those Redbulls, Vettel is a worthy champion but for the sake of the sport and good of the fans we need to see him and LH going head to head with competetive cars, not a 0.8 tenth gap

  • Comment number 49.

    How in the world did no-one at Sauber catch the rear wing infringement? - Do the stewards / scrutineers not check the cars til after the race ? - No, so how was this missed? In a sport where good results are very hard to come by for a smaller team like Sauber - this has to be an unforgiveable mistake. Stupid and pointless and completely spoils a fantastic debut by Sergio Perez - such a shame

  • Comment number 50.

    Vettel's 11 wins have only required three overtakes before/at the first corner (2010 - Rosberg and Webber at Malaysia and Hulkenburg at Brazil) and one inherited lead from Hamilton (Abu Dhabi 2009).

    Other than that he has led from pole to victory in the other eight races. Whilst I give huge credit for Vettel in achieving so much at such a young age, the biggest single factor in the Red Bull team is Adrian Newey.

    Granted, Sebastian Vettel is more frequently better and faster than his teammate Webber in equal machinery, but Vettel's (in)ability to overtake cleanly last season was the stuff of legend. The jury is still out on Vettel in this regard - can he win from anywhere other than pole position?

    It is often said that you don't have to be the best driver on the grid to win F1 Championships, rather be in the right car at the right time. And never is that more true than Sebastian Vettel in the RB6 and RB7. Indeed, today's race gave further indication of the superior talents of Hamilton and Alonso.

    Or in other words, this year's Championship could end up being fairly dull if Vettel continues to win from flag to flag largely due to Newey's RB7. From an entertainment perspective I hope Hamilton and Alonso challenge him because I want to see Vettel try to win from behind this season.

    That will really give a guage of how good he really is because this talk of Vettel challenging Schumacher's 7 Championships is breathtakingly premature and a bit arrogant. It is completely disregarding of the superior talent of the likes of Hamilton and Alonso and equal competitors such as Jenson Button. It's all the more galling given the dominance afforded to Vettel by Newey and the question marks remaining over Vettel's all round driving abilities.


  • Comment number 51.

    Petrov's 3rd place just underlines the tragedy of Kubica's accident.

    In the current Renault, my money would be on him to lift the drivers' championship.

    He is a class above Vettel and Hamilton - and even Alonso would struggle, given the Renault's obvious quality.

  • Comment number 52.

    Well here we go again, like MB said a good race but not a classic. Really enjoyed the more relaxed commentary of MB and DC, better than the monotone(sorry) of Mr Legard. Well done to Perez and sorry to hear about the disqualification, great start. Di Resta also fab, although thought it was wrong that Force India got him to let Sutil through.Hopefully this will not become a regular within the team!!

    Cant wait till next race

  • Comment number 53.

    @36
    Sorry my previous comment came across as a bit ranty, but just like you I liked Jonathan Legard and James Allen as well when he took over from Murray.

    I don't mind people having opinions, I prefer not to rush to judgment and give things time to bed in as it were.

    @49
    That was my first thought when I heard the Sauber's had been disqualified. Then I read the regulations they allegedly broke. Let's put it this way, 'Inception' was easier to understand than the technical regs

  • Comment number 54.

    Shall we now talk about what really happened in that race and drop the hysterical comments. I sometimes wonder what even so called experts see when watching races.
    Yes, Petrov drove a good race but he was gifted that position over what happened at the start, which no one seems to have noticed.
    First, Hamilton's car sturggled to get moving in the first few seconds and Button, obviously thinking he had a problem tried to cut to the middle to pass but with Vettel starting smoothly, Webber was able to grab that space, forcing Button to back off, which allowed Petrov and Massa to get by on the outsides. This also forced Alonso back to 7th. Thus started the whole pattern of the race with Button having to spend 12 fristrating laps trying to pass a slower Massa, who IMO went further than just defending his position. In the meantime, the field was stretching away from both Button and Alonso, and Petrov was consolidating a position that was gifted to him.
    I'd bet any of you, that Petrov will not get those chances again and therefore will not finish on the podium again.
    If anyone should have been blamed for absolutely atrocious driving in this race it should have been Barrichello

  • Comment number 55.

    @43
    Dude, if you want level-playing field, then enjoy watching chess :P F1 is first and foremost a show, like any other sport that doesn't want to go extinct.

    Last year was the worst I remember in terms of excitement. Abhu Dhabi was in my opinion one of the lowest points in F1 history. It was almost comical to watch how title-contender Alonso lost the title fighting "Flash" Petrov in his "Lightning" Renault.

    Thanks to the Pirelli's and the movable rear wing things are becoming more interesting this year, not just for overtaking but also to allow the cars to catch their the rivals much faster in the straights, saving spectators quite a few laps counting down fractions of a second for the action.

    The KERS is the last remnant of a long series of stupid decisions made by Mosley. I hope they drop it for next year or they change it in favor of a saving fuel system instead of a booster (the less fuel needed the quicker it gets per lap). The drivers must feel sometimes as if they were driving with a Xbox controller.

  • Comment number 56.

    CitizenX, the point I was making wasn't about his ability to lead from the front, it was your suggestion that he hadn't achieved anything in inferior equipment. His car was heavily inferior yet he won in the wet and in a very commanding way. His whole 2008 season was impressive.

    I would challenge your argument for 2009 as the perceived wisdom at the time suggested that McLaren had developed the car to being the second quickest by Hungary. Before then he was very much struggling with what he had.

    I remember the comparison at the time was to Jaques Villeneuve's debut in 1996. He had an outside chance going into the final race in Japan with Hill on 87 points and starting on 78. Also beyond his control he retired from mechanical failure.

    I'm sorry but we've gone off topic. It's all opinion based anyway, my name obviously shows who I believe was the best on the grid but I do understand what you mean. Hamilton is one of the best on the grid, no question about it, he's won the championship to show it and is always near the front. I simply took exception to the suggestion Vettel hadn't proved himself in lesser cars.

    Getting back on topic I do agree with your view on the use of runoff areas. The FIA made alot of noise about punishing drivers for this but they've fallen at the first hurdle. I personally think they should follow Brundle's suggestion to put grass back on some of the circuits and then we wouldn't have this problem in the first place.

  • Comment number 57.

    Few lessons learned from this first race of the season:

    1) The Red bull is ridiculously quick - and Vettel will be unstoppable if the top dogs can't keep up with development throughout the season.
    2) Webber lost quite a lot in that race, how could he even contest his team-mate supremacy within the team after missing out a front row grid position that was given to him ?(considering the superiority of his car)
    3) Mc Laren and Hamilton are back in the game (good news for the driver championship)
    4) The Renault has a improved big time, well done Petrov but one could wonder what Kubica would have achieved indeed...
    5) Schumacher - Is he gonna make it to the end of the season ? I suspect that neither Ross Brawn or Norbert Haug want to explain why he is not making it to Q3 and is consistently beaten by Rosberg
    6) Thumbs up to the sauber guys, they've been pretty impressive and I reckon they will be fighting for points and maybe podiums this year (if team can keep up with development)
    7) Ferrari 's car is out of pace compared to winter testing results. Alonso nearly made to podium only thanks to his abilities, The Maranello guys need to wake up.


  • Comment number 58.

    I didn't forget Schumacher's era... I simply skipped most of it. It was excruciatingly boring to watch.

  • Comment number 59.

    Good start to the season, Decent race with lots of tactics, unspectacular but enjoyable.

    The redbull looks great (teams need to figure out the bulls flexi wing trick) and the mclarens were very promising considering they just bolted the new parts on and they were on the front row. Hopefully they can gain more performance from analyzing the data they received from the race to make it a decent title battle.

    The new commentary team was good, way better than last year but i have one problem...DC. This guy is so biased towards redbull its insane, when vettel passed button DC claimed it was a great overtake, but when Buemi does the same maneuver he calls for a drive through! DC needs to learn he has to be impartial as a commentator and show some professionalism or he may be catching the same taxi as legard.

  • Comment number 60.

    @14. krautbeckerfan wrote: At 13:14pm on 27th Mar 2011

    If you know anything about this sport you will agree that it`s full of surprises.

    Vettel is a good driver alright and yes he is young and lucky to be in a car which is really fast. I doubt when you say modesty, skill and all that. What we know is he gets twitchy when he hasn`t got Pole. As I said this game is full of surprises and it will be nice to see how he reacts when he hasn`t got pole. Lets wait and see.

    Shame Ferrari have not got their act together yet. I am yet to find out what happened to them.

  • Comment number 61.

    "I thought, Martin Brundle and David Coulthard's commentary was good. Nothing spectacular, but I like it without any melodramatics, like Legard used to do a lot of."

    I actually used to get incredibly frustrated by last years melodramatics - This year I have failed to be inspired by DC and MB's underwhelming and lackluster performance.

    I love F1, but part and parcel is the commentary, and today I was very disappointed.

    Although good result for Lewis!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    @61 : Seriously ? Any commentary team minus Jonathan Legard will be better, I only started watching the race from lap 38 onwards, so I missed a good chunk of the race. However, for the remaining 20 or so laps, Brundle and Coulthard were actually raising some pretty interesting points and not highlighting non-events like Legard did, and just hearing his voice would make me cringe.

    The race itself showed more or less what everybody was expecting : RedBull on top with a diabolically quick car. The impressive is that McLaren somehow actually found 1 second per lap of pace with the combination of their new front-wing, floor and revert to a more conventional exhaust. Ferrari looked out of shape but this was more due to earlier events (at the start) I believe.

    Vettel and Hamilton have made good starts to their campaigns, what remains to be seen is whether McLaren, RedBull and Ferrari will be more matched with each-other or RedBull and Vettel will blow everyone away (not counting reliability problems). The use of KERS has been put into question by RedBull's design, but I think they're the only team who can allow themselves to do what they did : the fundamental basis of their car is just so brilliant, they did their best to alter the minimal amount of it and they've got a really winning formula for themselves here.

    Let's see how things go in the coming races, it would be good fun to have racing battles between Hamilton and Vettel, and Webber and Button squabbling just behind.

  • Comment number 64.

    I am very worried about Vettel at the moment.

    He drove really well today, and he just seems more calm now he's won his first championship, and in a car designed by Adrian Newey, he could win it again this season, although i think Hamilton is a better driver.

    I Think that if Hamilton was in that Red Bull last season, the championship would have been wrapped up by the time they went back to Asia, and he probably would have won the race today if he and Vettel had swapped machinery.

    I was very impressed by Perez and di Resta on their first Grands Prix, and i think Ferrari should stop bigging themselves up in testing so much, (like last season) when they are obviously running lighter cars to seem faster, as they were painfully slower than Vettel today and yesterday.

    Hopefull the Mclaren will improve and there will be a monumental battle for the title between Vettel and Hamilton hopefully going Hamilton's way) as i think they are the best drivers on the grid right now

    Can't Wait for Malaysia!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Kubica_for_prancing_horse: I think Roobie079 @50 sums up my thoughts. Even last year when SV had the best car we did not see him do any overtaking apart from the attempts when knocking out JB and his partner MW off the circuit. I like SV as he doesn't have the arrogance of a MS or the niggly petulance of a FA (even though some Mark Webber fans may disagree). He has time to mature as a driver and todays race showed a great deal of maturity as well as raw speed. It's great for us watching as we have an abundance of riches in F1 talent. Let us see how they all get on. Will be a great season again.

    @53: I actually think that the MB taking the lead stops his ability to concentrate on the minutia. He has to concentrate all the time on the race and takes his key skill to observe the moments away from him, which is why I don't like the formula. MB's analysis of the race incidents was half-hearted at best with him pointing at a screen (you have to blame the BBC for this as well as they should have provided him with some better technical equipment and team maybe). You do need someone to hype up the F1 bandwagon and the main commentator is on the front line to do so. I think it unfair that MB should have to do so. Lets hope it works out for him.

    @59: I have to agree with you on this Chris. DC going into the red Bull garage and celebrating his birthday with champagne didn't help as well. He is supposed to be a commentator with some impartiality. On the flip side, it was DC who pointed out that Vettel should have received a drive thru penalty if JB had received one earlier. DC just needs to get friendly with the RB crowd off camera. On camera he needs to keep it professional.

  • Comment number 66.

    I am appalled that F1 have introduced rules which associate itself with level of sportsmanship which can once again brings the sport into disrepute.
    The ability to use team orders to overtake, in my opinion, breeds and encourages manipulation and bad sportsmanship.
    The drivers should let their driving speak for themselves. The rules should not have the potential to promote one driver over another at the cost of a good viewing.
    The incident with that allowed Alonso to be promoted over Button by deliberately slowing Massa down (how do you go from wing to wing to then tyres and tarmac, so quickly?) thus allowing Alonso to pass which then dictated that Button would lose two places is a clear example of how to use the rules rather than race!
    I feel that this holding up of Jenson, should have attracted a penalty of its own!

  • Comment number 67.

    Interesting blog, nicely poised start to the season, always great to know that there is scope for everyone to improve dramatically.

    The BBC coverage continues to be an excellent balance of serious analysis and humour.

    However I find it very interesting how to a large extent the personalities of the drivers (and perhaps teams?) cause such extreme reactions:

    For some (myself included) Red Bull and SV in particular show a fantastically good natured relaxed attitude while clearly working exceptionally hard and fully deserve their success encapsulated I felt in the post race press conference "A lot of things to learn today". While others clearly find the partying in front of the camera and the general attitude somewhat abrasive.

    In almost complete contrast I find Lewis extremely irritating, I think he frequently comes across as arrogant and often a little complacent again choosing a quote from the press conference "be very proud of ourselves".

    Finally my tuppence worth on the the start:
    The way I saw JB on the first corner he had a difficult start perhaps enforced by Lewis' slow start but approaching the 1st corner by covering off Alonso on the outside he pushed himself so far off the racing line he was always going to lose places, easy to say while watching I guess but perhaps a bit indisciplined to lose 3 places while trying to defend one?

    Then later with Massa slowing JB, even if he was intentionally slowing Button, given teams have two drivers some teamwork trying to get the best possible outcome should surely be accepted and indeed lauded? In the extreme cases it can result in real excitement as with SV and JB!

  • Comment number 68.

    People are saying that Vettel will run away with the season, but I think Mclaren aren't too far away. In qualifying it needs a lot of work, but during the race Lewis was pegging the gap at 3 or so seconds, he only started to go backwards (only a bit!) when he had the floor problem. He was catching Vettel before he had to pit.
    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    I enjoyed the race - it wasn't a classic but it was alright. Pleased for Lewis when I saw he had a under-tray problem all I thought was 'not Lewis, again!' I hope he (and others, I want an exciting championship) can provide a strong challenge to Vettel's crown this year.

    It's a shame for the Saubers, upset for Perez and Kobayashi, both drove very good races. As did Petrov, pleased for him. You can still class him as a rookie. The 'just think what Kubica could do in this car' comments are a little stupid. Yes, if Robert was available he could probably mount a title challenge, but give the Russian a little credit!

    Now, the commentary. I found it quite entertaining, I wasn't at all bored during the GP. For people bashing them, it's the FIRST race they've commented on using this set-up. Give them a chance! The forum was fun, made me laugh a few times.

    On more circuits which are much harder on the tyres we could be in for some awesome races. Imagine Canada! Looking forward to the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 69.

    Is it just me or was the commentary skewed. David Coulthard has long been a vocal Red Bull advocate/ fan, ask yourself this if a Red Bull driver does something illegal or unacceptable does anyone see David Coulthard commenting objectively or glossing over the negative to give a more positive PR spin for Red Bull. Seriously has BBC ever heard of CONFLICT OF INTEREST?????? I disagree with realtea i think its the exact opposite.

  • Comment number 70.

    @61 : Seriously ? Any commentary team minus Jonathan Legard will be better, I only started watching the race from lap 38 onwards, so I missed a good chunk of the race. However, for the remaining 20 or so laps, Brundle and Coulthard were actually raising some pretty interesting points and not highlighting non-events like Legard did, and just hearing his voice would make me cringe.

    Really???????

  • Comment number 71.

    Anyone else think the new pit lane limit of 40mph is irritating!? I thought there was something wrong with hamiltons car when he first pitted crawling along until i realised they had put the speed limit down!

  • Comment number 72.

    @61: Give me Jonathan Legard's non-events anytime. We don't need two technical guys on the commentary.

  • Comment number 73.

    @72 Give me Jonathan Legard's non-events anytime. We don't need two technical guys on the commentary.

    ITA

  • Comment number 74.

    Give the commentary team a chance, guys. In races to come they will probably become more relaxed and joke a bit more.

  • Comment number 75.

    Firstly I would like to add what a completely OUTSTANDING job the BBC are doing with Formula 1.

    Unlike those dreadful ITV years, we are getting extended coverage with experts who are completely up to speed with the sport, Coulthard especially.

    We now have uninterrupted coverage of practice, qualifying, and the race, high definition transmission and a fantastic after-race red button feature where you go behind the scenes and see the sport in full light.

    We would never have got that in a million years with the BBC, and the likes of Coulthard and Jordan have so many contacts they can easily get exclusives.


    As for Red Bull running away with it, I think its foolish to say that so early, especially with McClaren looking so solid with minimal testing! Also Merceded will click at some point and I am pretty sure Ross Brawn will find at least half a second out of that car within 2 or 3 races.

    Going to be VERY interesting when we go to a hot track to see how these tyres get on.

    Lets see how things develop, I think there is a lot of potential excitement once all cars get up to speed!

  • Comment number 76.

    ITV* rather.

  • Comment number 77.

    What is it with most people on this site?

    What makes most people think that Lewis Hamilton is so superior to other drivers?
    When has he ever proved this? When has Hamilton won in an inferior car?

    His title-winning campaign of 2008 was so jammy it was untrue, and since then he has only ever won at tracks that suit his cars potential.
    In 2009, he gained a large benefit from his KERS system, which was by far and away the best in the sport. Red Bull meanwhile, were not dominating the sport as they are today.
    Last year, the McLaren drivers combined good strategy with some very opportunistic performances, which relied on Red Bull shooting themselves in the foot, rather than outstanding driving from either Hamilton or Button.
    Where do you all get the idea that Hamilton or Alonso win in inferior cars through sheer speed? They don't, as has been proven, they won last year mostly because A) the track was more suited to their car i.e Monza where Ferrari (including Massa) and McLaren were far superior to Red Bull all weekend, or B) they preyed upon Red Bull mistakes, which admittedly, were too often an occurence last year.

    It won't be the case this year though, I expect Sebastian Vettel to win, and do it in style. He's terrifyingly fast.

  • Comment number 78.

    I think Coulthard is terrible!

    I personally loved last seasons set up with Jonathan Legard commentating on the race and Brundle giving expert analysis. Now we have Brundle who did well with the main commentating but Coulthard was chipping in with extremely obvious statements which offered nothing really, it's as if he is playing Catchphrase with Roy Walker and just saying what he is seeing... sadly he's seeing what we're all seeing so he isn't adding anything.

    I think Jake Humphreys and 'JUST' Jordan doesn't work, I personally loved Coulthard and Jordan bouncing off their completely opposite ideas of each other. Coulthard was much better suited for this role.

    Sorry BBC but you've got it totally wrong...

    As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    As someone else said, can Coulthard (aka Mr Red Bull) remain impartial? That will be interesting to see.

    Darren
    PS: Great work McLaren, it's good to see us Brits doing well :-)

  • Comment number 79.

    I think that's a wee bit harsh on Vitaly Petrov, he has plenty of pace and guile in his own right. I don't know if he'd compare favourably to a fit Robert Kubica in 2011 but he should be applauded for a fine race and a fully deserved podium finish.

  • Comment number 80.

    Give. Them. A. Chance. It was the first race of the season for crying out loud! I didn't think it was that bad at all. It's the racing that matters, why complain for complaints sake?

  • Comment number 81.

    Good race to start the season, looks promising if McLaren can continue to unleash the performance onto the RedBull.

    What i don't get is the use of the 'DRS'. Why can the drivers use it in quali, but only on the straight in the race?

    Also, wouldn't it make more sense to have the opposite system in place? Following a car in the 'dirty-air' lowers your downforce, so you understeer more etc. What if you could have a part of the front wing that is activated to increase downforce? Think of the long sweeping corners that are taken flat out...

  • Comment number 82.

    Well, it looks like the movable wing will operate as follows - driver A comes up behind driver B, flips his switch, driver B refuses to do the 'decent thing' and move over, so driver A either barges his way through and takes out driver B, or just gets on the radio and demands that driver B is penalised. I can see a lot of stewards meetings, which the journos will say is all part of the entertainment factor. Remember the old days, when moveable aerodynamic devices were banned ? Now they're compulsory - oh well...

  • Comment number 83.

    @66 3S

    So you're suggesting that Ferrari should have held up Alonso in order to help out Button who had just illegally passed Massa?

    Give me a break. Jenson could have given the place back immediately, he didn't. Alonso found out last year what happens in that situation, the precedent is clear.

  • Comment number 84.

    Fine drive from Vettel today. You can have the quickest car but it's what you do with it that counts. No sily mistakes and a convincing win.

    Interesting comment about Perez and Ferrari link Andrew. Was an excellent drive that's for sure and to have only one-stop was blinding. Not even Button managed that. Still I think it's a little early to start making that connection but you are right if that is a sign of things to come Felipe may be in trouble.

    "Aussie rules laid down by Vettel": http://tiny.cc/37pjr

  • Comment number 85.

    Vettel looks the real deal, the only man I can see beating him is Lewis who is still the better driver for me.

    A great second place today for which he deserves more praise than he will ever get in a Benson blog as that usually goes to the cheating Spaniard and this time is no exception. No one seems to have noticed Ferrari swapping their drivers over just after Button's 'illegal' pass. If he needs Massa to move over time and time again then he isn't the driver he should be.

    As for Ferrari showing their testing pace was no fluke???? What race were you watching? He was beaten by a masterful car/driver, an ailing McLarean and a pay driver in a Renault (again). Still we can't be seen to have made a mistake with all the pro-Alonso BS written just before the season started can we now?

  • Comment number 86.

    @3S,
    So what you are saying is that ferrari told massa to purposely slow down button so that when button illegaly passes massa ,alonso would pass massa ,then button would have to let both massa & alonso to go through.
    Sounds like u need help.

  • Comment number 87.

    In response to redsloz, yes your right Hamilton and Alonso have not won in inferior cars but they have shown that they are capable of making the most of an inferior car on many occasions and have progessed up the field because of it and earned some good points out it. Vettle has not shown he can do this yet, which of course is not his fault, but you have to admit Vettle doesnot have a good track record of overtaking if you take a look at last season. So it would be very interesting to see Vettle race in an inferior car to the front runners.

  • Comment number 88.

    Fair comment Gopr. I agree that Alonso and Hamilton can get valuable points from unfavourable situations, if only many of our fellow fans could see that.
    I can't understand, though, how people can say that Hamilton is better than Vettel. We don't know. Both have won a world championship in superior cars, each won by the tightest of margins, the only difference being that Vettel suffered a lot more from unforeseen circumstances. Most of Vettel's wins have come from pole or the front row, the reason being that Vettel is the best qualifier, simple as.
    How many of Hamilton's 14 (I think) victories have come from somewhere off the front row?

  • Comment number 89.

    My 2 pence worth....

    It's a shame that only some of the drivers that gained places by using the run off areas where punished today.

    Kers seems like dead weight and over complicates driving the cars. get rid of it.

  • Comment number 90.

    Redsloz, Post 77.

    Simple - Hamilton and Alonso have both got lesser performing cars to overperform. Or in other words they've finished higher up the placings many time inspite of not having the fastest car. Certainly, neither Hamilton nor Alonso have ever driven a car with the advantage enjoyed by Vettel in the RB6 and RB7.

    2008 "jammy" for Hamilton? You mean the same season where the farcical decision at Spa artificially gave Massa more wins than Hamilton going into the last race of the season? And Alonso was the man who broke Schumacher's dominance - twice, back to back! Moreover, he still managed to win races on his return to a not particularly great Renault 2008 - 2009.

    Heck, we can even go back to 2007 and see how tough it was for Hamilton, Alonso and eventual Championship winner Raikkonen. There was very little between those cars meaning each driver had three similar fast cars to fight off. When has Vettel ever had that? Granted he seems to have got the better of Webber now for nearly half a season so credit to him for that.

    And no-one is denying that Vettel is quick...in a quick car. But if ever there was an example of a Championship being won as much due to driver as car it is Vettel in the RB6. And again in the RB7 it is there for the taking. Need we go over his many ham-fisted attempts at overtaking last season!? And his many mistakes?

    Look, Vettel could run away with many Championships in a Newey designed car. It doesn't necessarily mean he is the best driver though! Alonso and Hamilton have also both proved "terrifyingly fast" in a quick car. But crucially they've both shown they can overtake brilliantly, get more from a car than they should, and win from places other than pole position.

    But you don't have to be the best driver to win F1 - but just good enough in the right car at the right time. Look at Alain Prost - a skillful off the track politician and fairly dull, safe driver on it. He won 4 F1 Championships to Senna's 3 and Mansell's 1. But was he a better, quicker or more natural racer than Senna or Mansell? Was he heck!

    Sadly, I can see Vettel going the same way and "terrifyingly fast" seemingly being offered as explanation whilst convenitently ignoring the Newey designed machinery at his disposal. Vettel still has plenty to prove to suggest that he is the all-round driver of Hamilton and Alonso. Or put another way, put those three guys in the same car and I'd expect Hamilton and Alonso to outrace Vettel all day long.

  • Comment number 91.

    To redsloz, yes agreed but imagine in the future if Hamilton and Vettle were team mates and they had a car that was 'inferior' that season for some reason. I reckon that Hamilton would probaly come out of the season with more points then Vettle. Being the best driver on the grid is not just about being the fastest in the best car but also about being able to adapt well to bad situations and not rely on getting pole position everytime to get points.

  • Comment number 92.

    redsloz, post 88.

    "Superior cars" comment. Nonsense. The MP4-23 which Hamilton won his Championship in did not have anywhere near as much performance over the field as the RB6 did for Vettel last year. It was far closer and tougher for Hamilton fighting off the Ferraris - and if Kovaleinen had been up to the challenge another McLaren.

    Vettel "the best qualifier - simple as." Yeah, in the Newey designed RB6 and RB7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're simply ignoring the huge advantage of these two cars compared to the rest of the field just to suit your argument. In fact, that Hamilton got within an eight of a second of Vettel in qualifying is mighty impressive.

    Hamilton's victories from outside poll? 3-4 I think...from memory.

  • Comment number 93.

    Reasonable race, dreadful commentary. What happened to some emotion? MB was fine technically, but the robotic,monotone Red Bull biased DC made me nearly switch off for the first time since 1978.
    Bring back Leger or even better, Murray. Keep DC in the pits.

  • Comment number 94.

    On lap 16 when Vettel overtook Button, all four of his tyres were outside the lines denoting the edge of the track. Can someone help me understand how that is OK?

  • Comment number 95.

    hear hear

  • Comment number 96.

    I would say the commentary was an improvement of somewhere between 99 and 100%.

  • Comment number 97.

    Vettel did what he had to, he beat the rest in the best car. Well done, i'm sure that it was harder than he made it appear.

    Great races from Lewis, Vitaly & the Sauber boys. Massa needs to sort it asap.

    Looking forward to the double header next up.

  • Comment number 98.

    Legard was rubbish, he always said the driver's names wrong. DC way better.

  • Comment number 99.

    is it just me or did we just watch a race where the rules were only applied by the stewards when they felt like it. obviously not wanting to derail the vettel train they choose to ignore the fact that he was considerably outside the track limits as he overtook button. a move that was then commented on by coulthard when it was done by another car later in the race. if the rules apply, unfair advantage was gained the place should have been given back, or as button then pitted a drive through issued to vettel. if you recorded the race watch it back and see vettel was both wheels over the line by more than half a cars width. surely this not legal. drive through time woukd have brought hamilton to the front. what do you think people. as for mr coulthard i know your heavily red bull but a biased commentry is not what we expect.

  • Comment number 100.

    Petrov is the first Russian F1 driver, & now on the podium.
    In the post race forum JH, EJ & DC, having willingly entered into lengthy conversations with all the drivers & F1 people they met, only spoke briefly to Petrov - quickly congratulating him, asking him a couple of jokey questions (never mentioning his achievement for Russia) - before turning away & talking to his Renault team boss about Kubica, while Petrov stood there looking a little dejected. Even the Renault boss seemed a little miffed that the conversation had so quickly changed to Kubica.

    I don't know whether the commentators have a problem with Petrov, but their actions appeared somewhat insulting to me. I hope Petrov's 'Webber like' remark to Ted Kravitz wasn't spurred by this.

    It can't be easy living in some ones shadow, & Petrov's a big boy now, but JH, EJ & DC are supposed to be professionals, by now anyway, & we pay them. They should have bestowed the correct amount of praise & shown some courtesy. Like they did with everyone else.

    Oh, & no, I'm not Russian. No connections at all. Just objective.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.