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Formula Fun: The Italian Stallion Vs. The Thunder Down Under

Patrick Hoffstetter April 10, 2017 All Things Hoon, Formula 1 2 Comments

Well another F1 season has kicked off, ushering in a new generation of cars. Wider, faster, and more demanding to drive, when the lights went out down under we exited the uncertainty of the off season and went headfirst into the drama and action of the racing season. We had new drivers, brand new cars, and our first chance to see the sandbags come off and see how everyone truly measures up to one another. Ferrari might have scored first blood, but there is plenty to talk about, in this, the first post-race Formula Fun of 2017.

Mercedes on Saturday, Ferrari on Sunday? – Through most of the weekend it looked like this year might well be the Lewis Hamilton show, with Ferrari just behind, and Red Bull rounding up the top three off the other two. But, as the lights went out on Sunday afternoon, it was another story all together. While the Mercedes duo of Bottas and Hamilton still showed the blitzkrieg pace that we have expected from the Silver Arrows, they found themselves unable to run away from the two Ferrari cars, and the game was on from there. While the Mercedes W08 EQ+ whatever-the-hell looks to be the outright fastest in practice and qualifying, it seems that the Italians finally have an answer for them on race day. Where the Mercedes struggled Vettel and his car thrived. It’s not often you hear a panicked Lewis Hamilton on the radio, but during the race we heard complaints about tires, balance, and brakes. Meanwhile Vettel was nothing but skill and composure, looking everything like the four-time world champion he is. The finger was back in Australia, and Ferrari looks to have found the silver bullet for the near invincible Silver Arrows, and it’s very much game on in 2017.

Red Bull On The Back Foot – Even after showing up with what looked to be a completely different car from what they brought to testing, Red Bull still seems to be far behind the top two teams. Add to that an incredibly poor weekend from Daniel Ricciardo, and it seems that the RB13 might just be as unlucky as the name would suggest. And speaking of the world’s happiest Aussie, there were no smiles at his home GP following a crash in qualifying, and a DNF during the race. Issues coming to grips with these new for 2017 cars? Or just an off weekend on all fronts from the team? We can only wait until the cars hit the track in China to see if RB can shake off it’s bad start to the season and reclaim some of the ground it lost over the winter.

The Italian Super Sub – The 2017 Australian GP also ended up being the surprise debut of one Antonio Giovinazzi, the Ferrari third and reserve driver, who ended up replacing Pascal Wehrlein for both the Australian race and this upcoming Chinese Grand Prix. It was a shocking debut, as Pascal himself was the one who made the decision not to race during the Aussie GP weekend after he raised concerns to the team that he wasn’t fit enough to complete the race distance. With these new cars being far more demanding to drive, our drivers have been forced to up their fitness levels, and with his neck injury at the RoC in Miami, Pascal was unable to bulk up as he had wanted to. Thus, we had the first Italian on the grid in far too many years, with the Ferrari junior impressing a whole lot of people, myself included. Even if he didn’t exactly set the entire world on fire, he was quite fast and competent behind the wheel. I look forward to seeing him more in the future, and seeing what he can do with a full weekend.

And there you have it! Late as hell, but better than never, it’s the first Formula Fun Post-Race of 2017! Lemme know what you all would like to see more of, and as always, listen to The DFL Show!

  • outback_ute

    Nice summary Patrick, Hamilton will definitely look back on this as one that got away. Ricciardo was lucky to start the race after having the car shut down on the formation lap.

    But the most significant thing, or perhaps the most disappointing from my point of view, even if it was highly predictable, was that the cars still can’t follow each other closely to set up overtaking chances.

    The Chinese GP may have been an improvement however.

  • Van_Sarockin

    And Honda continues to screw MacLaren…





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