In the opening race of the 2011 Formula One season, 2010 World Champion Sebastian Vettel took first blood by winning the Australian GP, dominating the race from start to finish. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton finished second, showing us that McLaren finally is a proper contender for this season, while the biggest surprise of all, third place finish by Vitaly Petrov of Lotus Renault. Meanwhile, Malaysian connected teams like Team Lotus and Mercedes Petronas did not fare well, with the former hit with a retirement from Heikki Kovalainen, while Jarno Truli finished in 13th place. Mercedes Petronas meanwhile hit with double retirements.
Here are our HzR Automotive Blog mini awards to award the heroes and zeroes of Australian GP:
Most Improved Driver:
Vitaly Petrov. His rookie year in 2010 is best described as underwhelming, being caught with a lot of DNF (Did Not Finish) due to accidents or mechanical failures. He has been pressured by Renault bosses to perform or get fired should he under perform in 2011. Looks like he took the pressure well by finishing strongly in the opening round of the 2011 season.
Sauber F1 Team. The Sauber team has been striped off their 7th and 9th place from the driver’s championship and constructor’s points due to technical infringement involving the uppermost element of the rear wing. A massive blow otherwise a strong weekend for Sauber.
Worth mentioning are Team Lotus for their poor racing pace, and Mercedes Petronas for double DNF’s.
Worst Driver of the Week:
Rubens Barrichello. He has every reason to forget his miserable weekend in Australia 2011. Not only he started in 17th place, he hit Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg in the middle of the race, forcing Rosberg to retire eventually before Rubens retiring in lap 48 due to transmission problem.
Worst Team of the Week:
HRT. Their car was not even ready to race due to their delays during the winter test. To make matter worse, their car was only properly run during Saturday’s Qualifying which is already too late. That resulting to both HRT’s car failed to make it to 107% qualifying rule. If these continues, don’t expect this cash strapped team to last long in 2011.
Rookie of the Week:
Sergio Perez. His first F1 race ended in 7th position and finished above his senior team mate Kamui Kobayashi. Most impressive was Perez did a 1 pit stop in the unfamiliar and unpredictable Pirelli tyres. Just too bad about Sauber’s disqualification due to technical infringements.
Man of the Race:
Vitaly Petrov. This should be given to Sebastian Vettel for leading the race from start to finish. But Man of the Race goes to Vitaly Petrov for a very solid performance to finish from qualifying in 6th to finishing the race in 3rd place. That gives Petrov his first podium finish and shows the Renault R31 is one solid machine.
Next up is the Malaysian GP on April 8-10 2011 in Sepang!