Sorry that I’ve failed to keep up with things, so time to catch up.
For Rosberg and Mercedes things finally came good, the former-Brawn squad had two disappointing seasons after their championship year, but a first pole and win for the German driver provided a glimpse of what they can deliver. The cooler temperatures in Shanghai meant the Anglo-German car did not suffer from its usual issue of high tyre degradation, and this combined with the inherent stability their double-DRS system gives the car allowed them to show impressive form all weekend. The manner of victory was crushing with Rosberg finishing 20 seconds ahead of the McLarens and ran the whole race untroubled by anyone. A stellar weekend for the Brackley-based team was only let down by a costly pit error that led to Schumacher leaving the pits with only three wheels secured to his wagon.
One race down then, so what have we learned? Well it would appear to be good news for most, but especially to those of us watching, competition all through the field is always a good thing.
Jenson Button leaves Melbourne with a smile on his face; he claimed to be more nervous than normal before the race, possibly because he realised he was sitting in the best car he’d had since the start of the 2009 season, but nervous or not, he was imperious. Button took a page from the Book of Vettel and scampered off into the distance to the tune of three seconds – well away from the danger of DRS – but was able to keep the tyres in good shape thanks to his smooth style. Hamilton is less happy, he failed to convert a superb pole into a win, he never looked capable of challenging for the win, but second looked assured until Petrov parked up in a dangerous position and the resulting safety car allowed Vettel to jump him at the stops. Hamilton will most be upset by his lack of pace against his teammate, you get the impression that the 2011 demons won’t truly have been exorcised until Lewis gets the upper hand over Jenson for a few races straight.
As we approach the end of pre-season testing, a picture of where the teams stand is beginning to emerge. We may be subjected to some horrific looking noses on this year’s cars, but it would appear we will see some more competition for the top step of the podium. So in order of last year’s constructors’ championship, let’s see where we stand going into the 2012 season.