Thursday, 15 March 2012

Australian Grand Prix Preview

The season commences this weekend, and here's my preview of the first race, at Australia.

After four months of waiting, we're finally here. This is the one we've been counting down to since Mark Webber's victory in Brazil in November. The season is about to start, and it looks like it's going to be a good one. And what a venue we kick 2012 off at. The traditional home of the first race is Melbourne, and thank God we begin here again. It just seems right that Australia is the first race, such is the brilliant atmosphere and feel for this track. It's also a brilliant track, with lots of fast corners and there isn't really a track like it on the whole calendar. You can read my track guide here.

Vettel was the Melbourne master in 2011
The track nearly always produces memorable moments, and there's no reason why 2012 will be any different. 2010 saw one of the most dramatic races in recent years, with the unpredictable weather playing a part as Jenson Button won a brilliant race, making the right tyre choices even when they looked stupid. This was Button's second Melbourne win on the bounce, after the shock that 2009 produced, where Button led home a Brawn GP 1-2 in the team's first ever race. 2008 was another great race, Lewis Hamilton taking victory this time in an eventful Grand Prix. Last year's race might not have been one of the very best at Melbourne, but it certainly wasn't bad. Sebastian Vettel produced one of his trademark marvellous drives to cruise to victory in the season opener. The German took pole position with a blistering lap, and never looked back from there. Lewis Hamilton finished 2nd for McLaren, but the star man was in third place. Renault's Vitaly Petrov produced a brilliant drive, and took his first ever podium finish. In hot pursuit of the Russian was Fernando Alonso in fourth.

So, Melbourne is our first chance to see if the 2012 season is going to be as close as it looks. Red Bull will certainly be the favourites for the race, particularly as Sebastian Vettel has being on pole position in the last two races here. Home hero Mark Webber will be looking to end his bad run here, and begin his charge against his team mate. McLaren will be pretty confident, and with Jenson Button, who has won this race twice, and Lewis Hamilton, who has one here once, they have good experience of this circuit. Lotus will be hoping that their brilliant pre-season testing form can be carried on into the race, as will Mercedes, who have a buzz about them right now, as they prepare for the season which will hopefully propel them into the top tier of teams. And of course, Ferrari. Surely the team under the most pressure right now, its time to see if they are in just as much trouble as it looks.

Here we go then, F1 2012 is go, and what a place to start.

The season starts in Melbourne, and keep with my blog for all the news and reaction from the first Grand Prix of the season.

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