2023 Australia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: The big picture was totally lost on this weekend.
EVENT: Can't rave enough about it. Except for those idiot fans who invaded the track and put the whole event in jeopardy.
TRACK: There was some really fun racing produced by the track.
QUALIFYING: Verstappen worked through his battery and downshift issues, Mercedes finds speed somewhere, Sainz surprises Aston Martin, Albon in a Williams most impresses with eighth and a purple sector, Gasly and Hulkenberg make it to Q3, and Perez gets beached.
RACE: It certainly was entertaining. Whether it was sporting is another matter.
START: Verstappen gets swallowed up, it's like the old days as Mercedes ends up 1-2, Stroll has nowhere to go as Leclerc ends up in the gravel, in a thrilling partial first lap.
RESTART: Hamilton keeps the lead, Verstappen gets aggressive to keep Alonso behind him, Russell jumps a spot, and De Vries takes a flier.
RE-RESTART: This time Verstappen moves over to block Hamilton and behind them ... CHAOS! But then, what did the FIA expect having the field do a standing start with two laps to go? Of course every driver was going to lose their mind.
VERSTAPPEN: Lost in all the craziness was how once again Max was dominant, having no problem retaking the lead and running away.
PEREZ: Excellent comeback drive, aided by the safety cars and red flags.
RED BULL: Suffered from front tire lockup syndrome.
HAMILTON: Lewis looked strong, but obviously not strong enough.
RUSSELL: First screwed by the FIA. Then, screwed by his engine.
MERCEDES: Wouldn't it be a kicker if their major updates (changes?) have them going backwards?
ALONSO: Should we just put a permanent plaque with Fernando's name on the third step of the podium?
STROLL: A solid drive which Lance needed.
NORRIS: Helped a bit by the final start, but Lando still earned a solid finish.
PIASTRI: What was Oscar thinking when an Alpine passed him? Just wondering...
MCLAREN: It's not like they rounded a corner, but hopefully something to build on.
HULKENBERG: Another great performance for Nico. Amazing he has such a good handle on a car he never drove, while his Haas experienced teammate doesn't.
MAGNUSSEN: Did the car break or did Kevin just screw up?
SAINZ: That was harsh by the Stewards.
LECLERC: Charles should have known to leave room during any standing start which is always hectic.
GASLY: Terrible decision to move all the way over when Pierre should have known he was slower than the rest of the field after going off and back on to make that move.
OCON: To be a fly on the wall during Esteban's debrief...
ALPINE: A great, huge points scoring haul spoiled by ... oh dear, good luck dealing with that.
SARGEANT: A great debut followed by two mistake riddled weekends.
FIA: Where do we begin? A red flag for gravel? A red flag for debris? The constant irritating red flag rule which allows work on the cars which essentially completely screws the race up, especially if you're going to start throwing red flags willy-nilly? The inability to make quick decisions? The total lack of interest investigating two massive crashes on the third start but the quick decision to penalize someone for a tap? When fans are pining for the return of Michael Masi -- the architect of the worse race decision in F1 history -- that should be telling you something. But the FIA is so deaf, dumb, and blind, it has no clue a message is even being sent.
F2: Is Ayumu Iwasa making a claim to Yuki Tsunoda's F1 seat? He took the feature win to move into the points lead. Norwegian Dennis Hauger won the sprint.
F3: After the sprint race, the entire MP Motorsport team was disqualified on a technical infraction, taking the win from Franco Colapinto and handing it to Brit Zak O'Sullivan. Brazilian Gabriel Bortoleto won his second straight feature race in an incident and safety car filled weekend for F3.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Befuddled.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 11 -- The number of world championships represented by the three drivers on the podium.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Remember the days of old when a red flag would cause the race to be run in two parts with the results based on aggregate time? Well, we don't want to go back to that rule, but...
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: From @ScrewderiaF1: Getting 5 second penalty for a lap that doesn’t exist is the most Carlos Sainz thing I’ve seen in a while.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Alonso when notified about the second red flag, "What?!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Max Verstappen perfectly summarizes the hypocrisy, "I just didn't understand why we needed a red flag. I think if you would have had a safety car and then just had a normal rolling start we wouldn't have had all these shunts. So they created the problems themselves at the end of the day."
SCHEDULE: A summer break in the Spring thanks to the cancellation of China. Then, we head to Baku. And you thought Australia was insane.
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