The Formula One season has started back up and what a gripping start it was too! Due to one thing and another I didn’t get to watch as much I would have liked (Kate and I were away visiting relatives).
The new qualifying format is much better. Two 15 minute knockout sessions where each time the six slowest cars get kicked out. Then there was a 20 minute session where the remaining 10 cars compete for pole position. The first two sessions were great, but I didn’t quite get the logic of the final session. The cars were fuelled with race fuel levels and seemed to lap round for 18 minutes until they decided to get their arse’s into gear and put in a flying lap. Perhaps it’ll become clear in time?
It was a pity that Michael Schumacher was on pole but it just goes to show he hasn’t lost his edge. What really amazed me was that Massa was second! Given his lack of experience I suspect its the car and setup that helped him get there. It looks like Ferrari have put 2005 behind them and worryingly (for non-Ferrari fans, i.e. me!) built a good car. Jenson was a sound third and I was happy to see Alonso fourth. I was curious to see how he’d do given he’s already announced his switch to McLaren in 2007 (which can’t be good for morale at Renault) and whether he’d have the motivation.
My worries were misplaced. Alonso put up a good fight and due to some slick timing managed to snick past Schumacher after his final pit stop. He then easily kept Schumacher at bay to finish the race 1st. Jenson had a terrible start and wasn’t able to get 3rd place back. He really needs to work on his starts. Kimi had an excellent race to finish 3rd considering his awful starting position (22nd).
Steve Ryder was OK presenting ITV’s coverage. He fluffed and looked at the wrong camera a few times, but I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it. The fact that he loves motorsport goes in his favour.
The final podium looks like a good indication of the season to come. The top teams seem to be on form from the beginning and the change from V10 to V8 engines hasn’t phased them. I had to laugh at Gerhard Berger saying that BMW Sauber would be very reliable in the race because they were still using V10’s. I therefore took great joy in watching Villeneuve’s Sauber grenade itself down the back straight!
Can’t wait for the Malaysian GP next weekend :)