hree time World Champion Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team were left stunned as they were beaten by Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari in a fantastic display in Australia.
Hamilton lead the early stages, but it was Vettel who used the undercut at the pit stops to get past Hamilton and go on to claim his 42nd career victory and overtake the great Ayrton Senna on the all time victories list.
Mercedes and Hamilton were clearly surprised by the sheer pace of the Ferrari, which there had been talk of throughout testing in Barcelona, but played down by Vettel and the team. It would seem however that Mercedes might not have it all their own way this season, and it might not be a one horse race after all.
The new regulations for this season have made the cars wider, with wider front wings, lower and wider rear wings, and much wider tyres, particularly the rear tyres. However, they seem to have created the prospect of an exciting F1 season, which we don’t seem to have had for the last 3 years, purely because of the dominance of the Mercedes car.
As much as I like the look of the new cars, I still think that the sound of the cars still is not correct. Albeit, it is better than it was when the V6 hybrid were first introduced back in 2014.
The new American owners of Formula 1 has vowed to get the sport back to what it was. What I do like is that the Americans have a great sense of sporting theatre, particularly in the like of NASCAR. With a bit of luck, they can brig a bit of that drama, excitement and sense of occasion back to Formula 1. Something that been distinctly lacking in recent years.
So, Vettel has struck the opening blow in this year’s F1 season long battle, and it is going to be intriguing to see the 3 time World Champion at Mercedes take on the 4 time World Champion and see who comes out on top. I for one cannot wait.
Next time on Formula 1... Shanghai, China.