Australian GP – THE POINT….by Gian Carlo Minardi

The racing season has finally started. The green light switched on and the curtain rose on the 2013 F1 world championship. The opening race met our expectations; the heavy rain affected qualifying (divided into 2 days) and the GP was dominated by the 5 top teams, with a disappointing McLaren and an amazing Force India.
Three world champions got onto the podium and four finished in the top five. That means that this world championship will be so difficult and competitive. Amazing race for Lotus and Kimi Raikkonen, who showcased they can manage tyres very well and finished the first race by pitting only two times in comparison with 3 pit-stops strategy of the rivals. The Finnish driver powerfully fitted into the struggle for the world title; his Lotus has the right stuff to bother the pretenders for the world title. They confirmed all the good things they showed during tests.
Good start for Fernando Alonso. Overtaking Hamilton in the first laps was the cherry on top. He showcased to have cold shoulder, self-control and to be clear headed. His racing speed during the race was like the one he kept up during the qualifying session. The Ferrari showcased to be very close to the top during the race, but the car fails a little bit in the single qualifying lap, in which Red Bull usually takes over. The Scuderia from Maranello handled a good race and pit-stop strategy. Massa’s fourth place allows the Italian team to start the season on top.
Force India is secondary teams’ leader, as Di Resta was able to lead the Q3 and both its drivers scored points. Good return into F1 for Sutil who, together with his teammate, drove a great race and scored points. Thumb down for McLaren. I would have expected Button to be much more performing than he was. He’s always driven a great race in Melbourne and has always managed tyres very well. The race car showcased some failures, which forced drivers to run a defensive race. Maybe the English Team’ choices for the 2013 racing season were driven by economic needs rather than by technical needs. At the end of the year the team will have to replace Vodafone, so this could be the reason why they chose Perez as a driver, giving the fact the Mexican enjoys the support of the richest man in the world. As a consequence Hamilton considered worthwhile to take a look around choosing Mercedes, a car company whose performances got better than in the past season. The car is good in the single qualifying lap, but it has to improve reliability and racing speed.
Grosjean closed up the top team and the score zone. The Frenchman drove a race like a team’s second driver. He didn’t want to take any risk at the beginning and scored one point.
Talking about qualifying again, I think that Charlie Whiting & C were too much precautionary. I think they should have been more respectful towards those people who paid the ticket to see qualifying. They had to wait many hours under a heavy rain.
In seven days drivers will be back on track at the Sepang circuit, in Malaysia, where they will have the use of different compounds (P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White Medium). Only after the first few races, we’ll have a clearer overview of the situation. After the Malaysian GP the season will have a three-week-stop before the Chinese race to be held in Shanghai, where the teams will display all their car developments.

Melbourne – Gara
1. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus-Renault – 58 giri
2. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – +12″4
3. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – +22″3
4. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – +33″5
5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – +45″5
6. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – +46″8
7. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – +1’05″0
8. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – +1’08″4
9. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – +1’21″6
10. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – +1’22″7
11. Sergio Perez – McLaren-Mercedes – +1’23″3
12. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – +1’23″8
13. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – +1 giro
14. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Renault – +1 giro
15. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Cosworth – +1 giro
16. Charles Pic – Caterham-Renault – +2 giri
17. Max Chilton – Marussia-Cosworth – +2 giri
18. Giedo van der Garde – Caterham-Renault – +2 giri