Ah, the smell of fresh bread out the oven, the aroma of a just brewed coffee and fresh cut grass – there are few things in life that make us all smile.

But today, we all smiled a little bit more as the wrapper was well and truly taken off as a brand new shiny Formula 1 season got underway, over in Melbourne.

Everyone is desperate to impress on the first race, engineers and team managers want to see their car ahead of their rivals, many times the winner has gone on to be champion and for the rookies it’s a chance to give their career and quickly forming reputations a boost.

And of course, there’s the matter of being TOP DOG – the award officially given by Badger GP for each and every race of the season. To be the first TOP DOG of the year is a huge privilege and for Australia it went to a rookie, a complete Rookie at that. Well done…

Antonio Giovinazzi

As of Friday he was just a former GP2 driver, hanging around at Sauber in the dreaded ‘reserve/test/development driver’ role. And then, come Saturday he got the call to come in and replace Pascal Wehrlein. The young Italian driver thought this was a joke, but Sauber weren’t having a laugh. 

I received a text message this morning from Ferrari and my manager. Actually they informed me last night, but it was too late for me – I was already in bed – so I found out only this morning when I woke up – Antonio Giovinazzi being interviewed on F1.com

Wehrlein’s back issues from a crash sustained at the Race of Champions in the winter ruled him out of being fit to race and so Antonio Giovinazzi stepped in without any proper prior F1 experience, did Saturday practice, nailed qualifying – so very nearly beating his far more experienced team mate and then had a stellar race to boot.

Sure, he finished 12th and 2 laps down, but he’s in a Sauber, his first race, made no mistakes and brought the car home – a small but important positive for Sauber after a tricky start to a difficult looking season for the team.

And a nod to…

As ever, there’s always more than one personalty that catches our eye for TOP DOG and this race is no different, we have to give an honourable mention to Bob Fernley for wearing his new Force India pink trousers, and wearing them well. As well as can be expected at least. Top work Bob.

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