Melbourne’s Eleven

15 Mar

F1 is back, ready to rock and roll in Australia and set the world alight once more. The pinnacle of motorsport returning with some old faces, and plenty of new ones too. Unfortunately, there’s just one problem…

Only 15 cars lined up on the grid.

Neither Manor cars even made qualifying, whilst Flying Finn Valtteri Bottas managed to damage his back.That left 17 supposedly lining up, but before even the warm up lap had begun, Kevin Magnussen’s car exploded into an amazing cloud of smoke and Daniil Kvyat’s gearbox decided it wanted a holiday.

During the race a further 4 cars- Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado, Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen- all retired to leave just 11 cars to finish, headed by race winner and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

However, all drivers need still be given equal treatment, and so all 20 will be subject to my very own race ratings! And, this year, along with the ratings, i’m introducing bonus points. Each race, 5 bonus points are on offer between the drivers for act of extraordinance (And they don’t even have to be good), with 2 points available between the teams.

So, let the games begin.

Mercedes: 10/10

A pretty flawless performance by the current Constructors champions, with both drivers finishing 1-2 and well ahead of the competition. Another year of dominance perhaps?

Lewis Hamilton: Finishing Position: 1st
Rating: 10/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded the first of the 5 bonus points for totally dominating the race from start to finish, it was exactly the type of performance you would have expected from the reigning World Champion as he looks to defend his crown.

Nico Rosberg: Finishing Position: 2nd
Rating: 8/10

Nico lead a pretty flawless race himself, but simply could not keep up with Hamilton in the long run. If Rosberg wants to take this year by storm then he’s going to need to get himself back on the top step of the podium

Ferrari: 7.5/10

Racking up their first podium of the season in the first race shows a remarkable improvement from last year, and their rating would be much higher to reflect how well they’ve done…

But then they decided they’d forget to put Kimi’s wheel on properly. *Slow Clap*

Sebatian Vettel: Finishing Position: 3rd
Rating: 9/10 +1 Bonus Point

I’m starting to like Seb. Putting him in a Ferrari, it just feels right, and he had such a great first race to show for it. Of course, he wasn’t going to get near the Mercedes, but he was the best of the rest and that’s really something.

Then he decided to start speaking Italian over the radio so I had to give him a bonus point.

Kimi Räikkönen: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 7/10 +1 Bonus Point

Kimi Räikkönen looks like a changed man- he actually looks like he can work with this Ferrari and show his speed. He wasn’t doing half bad in the race either- not fantastic, but decent. Aaaand then his wheel fell off. Literally.

I guess sometimes F1 isn’t fair but he at least deserves a bonus point for having an incompetent pit crew.

Williams: 8/10

Williams are back this season, continuing the form of thee last one, and that can only bode well for them. Their race was solid, even of they could only run one car- imagine how they could have done with Bottas fit and ready. All in all though, it’s a good start to what could be a great season

Felipe Massa: Finishing Position: 4th
Rating: 8/10

Felipe drove a solid race, and was fortunate enough not to endure the poor luck he’s had in the past, with 4th a good finishing result. Could potentially have challenged Vettel if he hadn’t spend so long fighting those around him, but all in all it was a result he should be happy with.

Valtteri Bottas: Finishing Position: DNS
Rating: 7/10

Obviously, after not taking part in the race, this rating is based off the Friday and Saturday sessions, where he looked good and performed well, 3rd in Practice 1 on the Friday. Taking into account his injury, 6th on the grid was a feat in itself. Who knows how high he could have got if he was fully fit.

Red Bull: 7/10

Red Bull have problems, but most of them aren’t faults of their own. Most of them belong to Renault, but Red Bull are their major team and so the package comes as one. Yet, despite losing Dani Kvyat before the start, Daniel Ricciardo battled hard for points. Top stuff.

Daniel Ricciardo: Finishing Position: 6th
Rating: 7.5/10

Daniel did what he could with the car, battling with Felipe Massa and co to try and force his way into the high points. Largely, it was a success, finishing 6th and collecting 8 points, but finishing behind the Ikeamobile of Felipe Nasr is just a little bit embarassing (Props to Nasr though).

Dani Kvyat: Finishing Position: DNS
Rating: 2/10

Qualifying 13th is surprisingly unsurprising for Daniil Kvyat, who didn’t look like someone who had any confidence in the car that he was driving. Even if his gearbox hadn’t failed before he made the grid, it would be hard to see him challenging the top 6 in any capacity. He needs to get his head around the Red Bull if he’s going to score points any time soon.

Sauber: 10/10 +1 Bonus Point

I didn’t have much faith in Sauber before the start of this race, especially with Ericsson down in 18th on the grid and the car looking like IKEA on wheels (That had been designed by a 5 year old on steroids). But, what a performance they put in. It was incredible- not only did they have reliability, they had the performance. And to symbolise me eating my words (For this race at least), i’m giving them the first Constructor bonus point.

Felipe NASA: Finishing Position: 5th
Rating: 10/10

Well, that’s certainly one way to introduce yourself on the world stage- 5th place in the opening rounds, beating a Red Bull and generally driving fantastically. Infact, he made it look effortless, and didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend. Bravo my man, and onto Malaysia!;

Marcus Ericsson: Finishing Position: 8th
Rating: 8.5/10

So I may have, on occasion, been a little harsh to Marcus, but most of time he’s warranted it. However, this race may just prove a turning point in his career, as he now has his first points! A solid and well worked drive where he managed to mix it with the big boys.

However, he still finished 3 places behind his teammate, so it’s not all roses just yet…

Toro Rosso: 7/10

Toro Rosso- solid, yet unspectacular. Pretty much how it’s been for most of the seasons they’ve been in F1, but they showed promise in Melbourne and look good. Carlos Sainz Jr managed to score points and Max Verstappen looked decent in his first ever race, only to be taken down by a technical issue.

Carlos Sainz Jr: Finishing Position: 9th
Rating: 8/10

It’s never easy being a rookie in F1, especially being thrown into the deep end with Red Bull’s sister team, but Carlos Sainz Jr (CSJ) handled the occasion well. He looked fast and aggressive, but also controlled and relaxed, and managed to grab a couple of points despite having issues. In addition to that, he didn’t have a half bad qualifying either.

Max Verstappen: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 8/10

The expectation that rested on Max Verstappen, entering F1 at just 17 years of age, was immense, but he showed that he can handle the pressure fantastically and even drive a half decent race too. Despite having a mechanical problem, the future looks bright for young Max.

Force India: 5/10

Despite getting both cars in the points, it was hardly Force India’s finest hour. Infact, if the whole grid had run, I very much doubt they would have scored many, if any, points at all. They need to get themselves together quickly for Malaysia, and try to push further up.

Nico Hülkenberg: Finishing Position: 7th
Rating: 7/10

Not particularly much to report from Nico Hülkenberg, but he ran a good race in a less competitive Force India. Whilst most of his position gains were due to other’s problems, he managed to keep himself out of trouble and score some good points of his own.

Checo Perez: Finishing Position: 10th
Rating: 5/10

Whilst Nico Hulkenberg managed to stay out of trouble and score good points, Sergio Perez spent most of his race trying to get past the underpowered Honda of Jenson Button, and most of the time he didn’t even have much luck. Out of 11 finishing cars, he almost didn’t score any points.

McHonda: -3/10 +1 Bonus Point

Oh it really hasn’t been a great weekend for McLaren has it? Slower than HRT in their prime and sporting less power than North Korea’s opposition party, they only managed to get one car to the starting grid- and the one car they did, started and finished last.

But the point here is that one car did finish, and nobody expected that. BONUS POINT FOR YOU!

Jenson Button: Finishing Position: 11th
Rating: 10/10 +1 Bonus Point

The fact JB finished this race is in itself worthy of a knighthood, but unfortunately i’m not in a position to give them so i’ll just give him a bonus point. Even though he was massively down on power, he managed to have a fantastic battle with Sergio Perez, and even managed to hold him off for a while!  Top stuff from JB.

Kevin Magnussen: Finishing Position: DNS
Rating: 6/10 +1 Bonus Point

I couldn’t really give Kevin anything more than 6, but equally I couldn’t give him anything less. We don’t know how he’d have done in the race, but considering the guy had just one day of testing before this weekend we can’t have been surprised to see JB outqualify him.

Besides, at least he provided some entertainment with an incredible engine failure. That is worthy of the final bonus point.

Lotus: 3/10

Things looked so promising for Lotus, with both cars managing to qualify inside the top 10, but then everything went wrong inside the first 30 seconds of the race- Romain Grosjean’s car refused to work and Pastor Maldonado had a trip into the barrier. And that was that.

Romain Grosjean: Finsihing Position: DNF
Rating: 6.5/10

Considering he didn’t get far, a default 6/10 would seem fair, but he gets an extra 0.5 for putting the car in the top 10 ahead of his teammate. I think he deserves that.

Pastor Maldonado: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 6/10

Pretty much reads the same as RoGro, except Pastor didn’t qualify ahead of his teammate (Naturally). At least this time the crash wasn’t his fault…

Manor: 0/10

I feel for Manor- after everything, the cars still couldn’t run. But at least they made it to Australia, which shows potential- it’s not over yet.

Will Stevens: Finishing Position: DNQ
Rating: 6/10

6 is the standard rating that all the ratings are based off of, and considering he didn’t do anything all weekend, there’s no reason for that to change.

Roberto Merhi: Finishing Position: DNQ
Rating: 6/10

See Will Stevens

So that is it, the first set of ratings of the season. Now we move onto Monsoon city (Malaysia), where we can only hope that more cars start the race, and less of the end up retiring.

Until next time…

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