The first Grand Prix of the season allowed us to know truth and reality. The hunt for the two Mercedes, which will once again rush, as we already know, has just started.
Ferrari was back on the podium, winning the challenge of the “numbers 2” and we had seven different cars in the top ten positions, but I would beware. Only 16 cars out of 20 started and, in addition, there were two players missing, like Red Bull-Renault and McLaren-Honda, in late considering the schedule.
The Grand Prix must be analysed with a correct interpretation, and not as an ultra. Confirmation is Mercedes, which races at crazy pace, after a stratospheric Qualifying for Hamilton benefit, while Rosberg made some mistakes in the test sessions – never worrying the teammate during the race. They have a huge advantage over the competitors. Ferrari won his challenge against the current Williams rivals. After closing Qualifying with the fourth time result behind Massa, Vettel gained the podium to Brazilian driver’s detriment. A result that will have to be won, race after race. Although Raikkonen was missing (forced to retire with a pits’ mistake, something unusual for Ferrari), the SF-15T proved to be reliable, thanks to the important development that makes them stand before Red Bull and McLaren. A podium that is certainly moral, especially considering the great changes that took place in Maranello this winter. An incentive to continue to do better.
However, reality has to be seen in comparison with numbers. Stopwatch in hand, the Circus had a very important evolutionary step, thanks to the chassis, Power-Unit and tyres, but, basically, nothing has changed in terms of the gap between Mercedes and its rivals. On Saturday, Vettel’s gap from the pole was 1″4 versus Alonso’s 1″5 in 2014. During the race, Sebastian gets the third placement, with a gap of 34″. Twelve months ago, Alonso had finished fourth at 35″. This is the harsh reality of the chronometric results. Those left behind, for the moment, are Red Bull and McLaren; according to my information, the latter would have raced without electric engine. The chassis is up to the competition, but at the moment the problems come from the Japanese Power-Unit. Red Bull is still an unknown element. Ricciardo struggled with a knife between his teeth, with a car that is not competitive and unreliable, as demonstrated by the withdrawal of Daniil Kvyat in the warm-up.
Great debut for Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, who gained immediately points with Ericcson. Last year they were missing. Well done even for Sainz Jr. who collected points with Toro Rosso, forced to fight all the Grand Prix with a damaged car right at the first corner, showing great difficulty in the final. Verstappen is less lucky, forced to retire because of technical problems when he was in the Top 10.
In short, we get to know the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship. We leave Melbourne, a street circuit with special features, to fly in a fortnight in Malaysia – permanent circuit -, which will be the real test bench for teams’ performances.