News and views on motorsports

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Australian GP Qualifying

Once again, the qualy results this year have pretty much followed the script set in winter testing. Jenson Button is on pole and one wonders whether this is finally his time to take the top step of the podium. Friday practice saw Anthony Davidson set the pace but these Hondas are usually quick in practice but are unable to keep pace with Regie in the race. Still, Jenson's pole is some 0.4 seconds quicker than Fisichella's time.

Giancarlo Fisichella is looking fresh from his Malaysian GP win will start alongside Button on the front row. Surprisingly this is Fernando Alonso's best qualifying result this year. This time though, he wasn't hampered by fuelling problems. It should be interesting to see if Alonso will be given the "overtake" signal in the race.

Ron Dennis is convinced that his cars are fueled longer than the folks in front of Kimi and Montoya. We'll see about that. I think only strategy will be able to win it for McLaren. However, the folks at Renault are no fools. Somehow I think they'll struggle to live with the folks in front. A repeat of Malaysia is at hand, though I admit the McLarens are much closer to the Renaults this time. Its going to be tough.

Nice to see both Toyotas in the top ten. Ralf Schumacher leading Trulli although the Italian's machine has some gremlins in the electrical bits.

But what about those Ferraris? As you know, I loathe these guys but I am very surprised to see Michael Schumacher being unable to make the cut. His best lap is some 1.5 seconds out from Jenson Button's time. Now that is a big surprise given that Albert Park has always been kind to the team. Michael Schumacher admits to being rather mystified by all this although I was quite amused to hear that he drove off with the cooling fan still attached in the radiators in the second session which was rather hectic after Filipe's off.

Best Bridgestone runner? That'll be the Toyota. Mark Webber being the next best runner. I really wonder what the problem is with the Ferrari now. I suspect they'll do well to catch the Toyotas in front this weekend. Whatever it is, it could be back to the drawing board.

Nico Rosberg also failed to make the final cut. Perhaps his young age is showing but he was evidently overdriving his Williams. He's been off the pace all weekend. I was very surprised indeed to see him staying in the pits on Friday's first practice. One would have thought he'd be out pounding the car and learning the circuit.

Poor Rubens. Now back in a team where he can get equal treatment but he's not making the best of it. Blocked by the hapless Yuji Ide during his run, he failed to make it to the second session. Thats three races now he's been absolutely annihiliated by his teammate. Its not going to do his morale any good. Still, its a new environment and a new car. One would have thought though that he'd fit in a lot better than this.

Should be a good race tomorrow though I'm not sure if we'll see much overtaking on the road. We didn't see much of that last year I think. Jenson Button described the track as a point and squirt sort of deal. Lots of braking in a straight line with no trail braking opportunities around the circuit. Well, he clearly enjoys it.

No comments: