There’s always a bunch of contenders for Top Dog at the first race of the season. Many drivers want to make a name for themselves on the first day back at school in their new kit, and this year’s race was no exception.
Take Felipe Massa for example; managed to nip his car ahead of Fernando by 0.003 of a second to outqualify the Spaniard and then have the measure of him in the early stages of the race. The fact that strategy on the road and the decisions of when to bring him in held him back in the end, but the old Felipe is slowly making himself known again. And good for him.
Then there’s eventual race winner Kimi Raikkonen, who made one less stop than anyone else to take the victory at the season opener. He diced well with Lewis Hamilton in the first stint and put in some scintillating laps to keep his advantage ahead of a charging Fernando. It was a great effort, but it was a performance we know the Finn can pull off without breaking a sweat.
No, the real impact made was by F1 returnee Adrian Sutil. All the rumours of just how much trouble Force India were/are in have been dispelled thanks to a clever strategy starting on the prime tyre and leading not once, but twice. Considering it’s been 18 months since the German drove the car in anger, it’s an absolute dream return. If only the tyres had lasted a little longer than they did, he could have got a much more deserved result than the eventual 7th place.
Seems like taking a bit of time away from F1 is the in thing to do…