The Grand Prix this morning was an interesting one. It wasn't anywhere near as spectacular as Bahrain, however it gave us another indication of how the season is going to develop. My first point is Jense, who is a cause for concern. Despite only being ten seconds off the lead at the end of the race, he still doesn't look like he's got the fight in him to take a win. Not intending to contradict myself, I would still be very suprised if he did not visit the top step of the podium this season. However, I think this will only come about if he's in the right place at the right time, when the other guys around him are having diffuclties. It will be the sort of race where him, Montoya and one of the Williams sneak onto the podium…the sort of race where the really big players (Ferrari, Renault, Raikkonen) have fallen by the wayside.
Which brings me nicely onto my next point…McLaren. Kimi's season is already looking like it will go the same way that it did last season, which would be a shame for us all. Also, am I the only person who thinks that the MP4-21 is really, really ugly? The media seem to love it, but they've seen it up close. I guess I should reserve judgement for myself until I see it at the Silverstone test sesh on the 26th April.
<quick plug>By the way, Warwick Motorsport will be going to watch that test, there's going to be a considerable number of teams there and it's FREE to get in! Bit of a bargin. I'll sling more details up nearer the time…but if you've never seen/heard an F1 car in anger, you really should join us. Regardless of whether you like F1 or not, these cars are absolutely stunning. Whenever I see one being driven as hard as it will go, I'm always astonished by the thought that people actually RACE these monsters? 22 on track at the same time? Legends, the lot of them.</quick plug>
More worrying for McLaren is Montoya…without any major issues he just hasn't performed this season, and today he was extremely average. Which is strange, considering he is supposed to be fighting for the one remaining McLaren seat for next season. Maybe he's already given up hope; more likely he knows something that we don't. Even more likely than both of those….he's just not very good.
Which once again seamlessly links into my next point, Nico Rosberg, who is indeed very good. He gave a legendary qually performance, especially considering that Webber is regarded (perhaps overrated) as a qually specialist. However Nico didn't have time today to make up for his appalling start. He got off the line cleanly enough, and fair play to him for trying to defend himself against Webber, but he carelessly compromised the pair of them and allowed Alonso to just walk into third. Driving your teammate into the wall at the start is all well and good, it's just not an intelligent thing to do when you both have quicker cars behind you to fend off. Once Alonso was past, the two Williams then fell down the order much too quickly for my liking, and as far as I could see this all stemmed from that start.
Bit of a minger with the two V8 Cossies going as well, which was suprising. I thought that with their extensive pre-season testing, they'd be pretty good with reliability. Top marks for Nico's pyrotechnics though, impressive work.
I suppose I should mention Fisichella as well, considering he won the race 8). He drove well, but to be honest the only challenge was from Alonso, which wasn't too much of a problem. As James Allen pointed out, he's the 'forgotten man' of F1 (probably the only reasonable statement Allen made in commentary all weekend), so it was nice to see him justifying his Renault seat. I hope that in Melbourne, McLaren and Ferrari (and my beloved Williams, hope springs eternal 8)) will be able to push the Renaults harder. Melbourne always produces a great race, so if the competition develops at the sharp end of the field, it should be pretty good indeed.