We are finally back at the upside-down land of wallabies and thongs you wear on your feet. I missed this track so much and will be definitely giving us some emotions tomorrow morning.
The weekend has been positively confusing especially after seeing the Mclarens climb up the grid slowly but surely with Norris clocking the fastest lap time in FP3. The papaya team seem to have pulled a switcheroo with the Haas team which struggled to find pace throughout the entire weekend. The Ferraris and Redbulls put on an amazing show for the Australian spectators this morning with Leclerc claiming the pole in the last lap and Verstappen and Perez close behind.
Vettel was issued a 5,000euro fine by the FIA by going into an empty track with a scooter which is apparently more dangerous to the FIA than a missile attack on a fuel compound next to the track… At least we know were security concerns fall at FIA.
Q3 started with a redflag caused by Stroll who turned into Latifi on a cold lap who landed in the wall. This was a very confusing action by Stroll who seems to have ignored completely oncoming traffic with very dire consequences. His actions cost his team a chance of putting a time on the clock since Vettle wasn’t even out on the track due to work being performed on his car last minute after crashing in practice.
The Williams and Astons ended on the bottom end of the grid unfortunately. The Haas cars have struggled to find pace and Kmag was eliminated in Q3 being out-qualified by Mick who was eliminated in Q2.
The Alfas also seem to have had a very hard time today and not even Bottas could save the team. In fact he didn’t make it to Q3 for the first time since 2016!!
Alonso was very fierce this weekend and on q3 he seemed to be clocking the fastest sectors up till the Apline’s engine and hydraulics shut down abruptly mid-turn. This left the flying Spaniard without controls and subsequently landed in the wall causing the second red flag of the qualy session.
Apline have a remarkable car, but just as suspected pre-season, the engine is temperamental and unreliable. We saw it in Jeddah and now today. Very unfortunate since I have been enjoying seeing the Alpines on track.
As i said before the Mclarens have made an amazing comeback and have had a very solid pace. They have been clocking times close to both Mercedes. They went from the bottom of the grid to the top half and this makes me happy. Norris landed in P4 but might start in P3 as Perez is under investigation for not slowing down during a Yellow flag.
The Mercedes team performed remarkably well despite their lack of pace compared to the Ferraris and Redbulls and their heavy porpoising problem. The on-board camera on Hamilton’s car was very hard to watch in the straights and looked almost comical.
Carlos Sainz made some mistakes and the second red flag came at a very unfavorable time. He was far off his team mate’s pace but I am sure he will make up for it tomorrow.
All in all it was a very positive weekend with some shuffling within the grid. Some teams have been hard at work at fixing their performance issues whilst other fell behind. I look forward to seeing Danny Ric on the track welcomed by the amazing support of the locals hopefully seeing the papaya team were it belongs.