It’s time! After what has felt like an eternity, Formula 1 is blasting back onto our screens! First up, Melbourne, Australia.
This race will mark twenty years of hosting the Australian GP at Melbourne, and this ‘kat aims to be awake for the 5am start!
58 laps will be run, covering over 300KM (barring protracted safety car spells) in what should hopefully be a good showcase for the progress (or lack thereof) of the teams over winter and testing. This will also be the first occasion that the new ‘elimination’ qualifying format is introduced. Might this unhinge the established pecking order? Time will tell.
Predictions: for all the progress made by Ferrari and the other teams, it is still Mercedes’ race to lose, and despite the apparent strength of Rosberg in testing, it will Hamilton who will look sharper on the day – it’s Hamilton who has the greater talent and, more importantly, desire.
Should a challenger emerge from elsewhere, it will be Vettel, who was able to lurk just beyond the Mercedes last season. Will he actually be able to close the gap on race day? He has the hunger to win more titles and if Ferrari are closer in terms of performance, he also has the ability to be a nuisance, but I don’t think Ferrari are quite there yet.
The first race is all about setting markers – I expect Hamilton to do exactly that.