On the Shanghai circuit we saw one of the best grands prix of recent seasons. The new regulations and the introduction of the wider tyres have given us true overtaking manoeuvres and not artificially ones created by the DRS. The actions of Verstappen and Vettel at Daniel Ricciardo’s expense are to be applauded. The German’s overtaking manoeuvre at his team mate’s expense was beautiful.
After Melbourne’s first race of the season the battle between Mercedes and Ferrari is becoming an interesting reality. The team from Maranello has confirmed that it is in clear making up the gap. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will be the true protagonists of this year’s world championship and we have all the conditions for a great fight for the whole season. Mercedes has shown that it has an advantage of about 0.2-0.3 seconds which, unlike last season, remains constant in both qualifying and in the race
Ferrari can aim for the Constructors title, assisted by a Mercedes that has been weakened by Valtteri Bottas – the protagonist of an amateur’s mistake which could quickly reopen the driver’s market – but Ferrari needs Raikonnen to be decidedly more reactive. A twenty second gap from Sebastian Vettel is clearly too wide, as well as having the possible come back on Mercedes’ British driver thus losing seconds that proved decisive.
The people at Maranello must watch over their shoulders for a Red Bull that leaves nothing to chance. The third and fourth places of Verstappen-Ricciardo are annoying in regards to points. The Dutchman gave us many passing manoeuvres and quickly reached the top places after starting well back, together with a good struggle with his team mate which ended with a move on the outside.
It was a difficult weekend for Antonio Giovinazzi. After the ingenuous mistake in qualifying (after having reached Q2) he repeated the performance in the race. The choice of slicks was a risk and the team had the job of protecting him. Instead of taking a risk, it would have been more useful giving him the chance to grind out kilometres. Unfortunately this all cancelled the good work in Australia. I hope that in the six days until Bahrain that he will have the chance for a quick comeback.
It was a risk that paid for Toro Rosso with an important seventh place for Carlos Sainz. He should that he is a great driver with a good future in front of him.
In a week we will have the third chapter of a championship that looks interesting.
Gian Carlo Minardi