Grand Prix 2017 Australian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

The phony war is over, F1 returns on March 26th with the traditional season opener in Melbourne, Australia. Lots of changes over the winter. Following the retirement of Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas has left Williams and joined the all conquering Mercedes team. Felipe Massa has come out of what is probably the shortest retirement by any F1 driver to partner rookie Lance Stroll in the Grove team.

Ferrari keep the faith with Vettel and Raikkonen, as have Red Bull with Ricciardo and Verstappen, but there have been a few moves elsewhere. Manor won't be on the grid for 2017, which is a shame. The two drivers who ended their 2016 campaign have moved to Force India (Ocon) and Sauber (Wherlein) where they will team up with Perez and Magnusson respectively. Nico Hulkenberg has moved to Renault where Jolyon Palmer has held on to his seat for a second season. The Hulks arrival at Renault has meant Kevin Magnusson has moved on to Haas to partner Romain Grosjean. Toro Rosso continue with the two who finished the 2016 season, Sainz and Kyvat, and with Jenson Button hanging up his helmet Stoffel Vandoorne will partner Fernando Alonso at McLaren.

We have some new rules for 2017, just in case we had got used to how things were. Bigger tyres, offering more grip, greater down force from the aero with lower rear wings and delta shaped front wings. The under side of the car should also help stick the cars to the ground and we have been promised lap times between 4 and 6 seconds faster than 2016.

What did we learn from the pre-season tests? My take is that there could be some battles between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull at the front but you never know what the teams are keeping in reserve during these tests. Williams and Force India look to be behind the front three but better than the rest. The mid-mid-field will be made up of Renault, Haas and Toro Rosso whilst at the back Sauber and McLaren will be fighting to try and not be in last place.

The cars have been quicker in pre-season, it remains to be seen if we will see the promised reduction in lap times but the drivers seem to be enjoying the cars more and can push them through the corners. The only possible down side is that overtaking could be more difficult with a greater dependency on aerodynamic grip not allowing the cars to get close to one another.

I have great hopes that we should see some closer times between the top teams but I am worried that the races could end up being decided in the final qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Roll on the 26th - the clocks go forward so we have a 6 a.m. start.


Champion Elect
Yes, maybe. It just seems to me strategy is a mega Achilles heal for Mercedes.

If they absolutely had to bring Lewis in that early, back out behind Max Verstappen was probably the worst place they could have put him.


Race Winner
Race GP Australia 2017: Teammates difference by Maximum Speed
Team -
Driver 1 - Driver 2 - DifSpeed
Renault -
N.Hulkenberg - J.Palmer - 23,2
Haas -
K.Magnussen - R.Grosjean - 21
Williams -
L.Stroll - F.Massa - 17,3
Mclaren -
S.Vandoorne - F.Alonso - 16,1
Red bull -
M.Verstappen - D.Ricciardo - 11,5
Ferrari -
S.Vettel - K.Raikkonen - 10,3
Toro Rosso -
D.Kvyat - C.Sainz - 8,7
Force India -
E.Ocon - S.Perez - 8,4
Sauber -
A.Giovinazzi - M.Ericsson - 8
Mercedes -
L.Hamilton - V.Bottas - 1,7


World Champion
Premium Contributor
Can anyone explain the booing at Hamilton on the podium? Have I missed something out of season ?


Champion Elect
Unless my memory is playing tricks on me - which is entirely possible given I was up at 4:30 - it seemed to start when he went on about "the great fans here"... Maybe people are starting to find that a bit tiresome since he tends to say that at every single race these days, which makes it sound a lot less genuine....


Champion Elect
I thought it was an ok season opener i gave it a 6, as the 1st half was better than 2nd half, Despite a being a Lewis/brit fan. Vettel winning Australian gp is great & important for f1 because when your racing yourself where's the joy in victory & like ive said alot for 1st time since 2010 we got a intrateam battle.
who doesnt love hearing Italian national anthem it was going back to my school days. Italian is The best national anthem in the world

I really Feel for Riccardio because of all the races to have the worst luck of your career. To have it in front of your fans who you wait all year for must be devastating

It was a steady 2nd half but i feel we are on the right road because cars look great. Tyres were proper. it nice that drivers able to push instead of babysitting tyres or race engineers "do you mind not attacking" or "can you just drop back" as that infuriated me as you don't get that in any other sport. I feel if ross brawn can find a way to reduce dirty air or effect of it so cars can race like they can in GP2 & f1 will be in much healthier position


Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I can imagine the reaction if Mercedes had ignored his complaints and left Hamilton out and he'd been passed by Vettel on the track.

Not that being passed on track seems to be a particular hazard in 2017.

Other than that it all felt a bit like last year, except for the lack of pitstops and (therefore) position changes. McLaren are in dire trouble, but Renault didn't look too clever either. Toro Rosso did well and Giovanazzi had a sensible debut so Forza Italia all round.

P.S. 2 overtakes on track!


Champion Elect
On the booing....... Someone I know who lives near the track suggested it could have been because apparently Lewis suggested Melbourne alternate with Adelaide to host the Australian GP. Something the locals are obviously not keen about. .
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Valued Member
Well, it's back to the mid-00s. An absolutely genuine multi-team battle to win races in which overtaking is broadly impossible. Which is exactly what anyone with a modicum of sense expected.

Raikkonen did a passable impression of Eddie Irvine circa 1998 there. Wehrlein may come to regret his injury now Giovinazzi has shown his skill. Magnussen was probably humiliated most, though.


Champion Elect
As much as everyone was excited that drivers were going flat out to race.. my worst fears have been confirmed that the harder tyres with more downforce is making cars more difficult to follow each other and therefore making it difficult to overtake

Hamilton with what should be fresh rubber advantage over Verstappen just could not even get close to him to have a go ...

I am dreading places like Barcelona already


Champion Elect
Still if Ferrari can focus on the track then they will give Mercedes more headaches and you'd expect Red Bull to catch up soon ... I don;t however expect Mclaren Honda to do the same

Interesting is if the current Ferrari was designed and lead by James Allison who is now at Mercedes. It will take until probably the European season for him to feel at ease at Mercedes and unlock the car potential and develop it . So as long as Ferrari can hang in we could be in for a great season


Champion Elect
Esteban Ocon - a point on his Force India debut - could be a sign of his future potential once he feels fully comfortable with Force India.

That Mercedes seat is up for grabs if he continues to perform

Kyvat - the guy did not nothing wrong and a late pit stop meant he finished behind Sainz

Hulkenberg -A good place for Renault to start who will surely move up the grid with their resources

K Mag - how long was it he got 2nd on his debut at the same track?

Alonso - how was it the Mclaren was still in the points till the end nearly ?


Champion Elect
Its funny how everyone was saying F1 was artificial and drivers were not being tested to the full under the old regulations so when they make car's faster no one seems to remember that if aerodynamic grip increases to create increased speed, then the opposite is true especially when you 're stuck behind a slower car. Pirelli were told to make more durable tyres but that means there is less mechanical grip when you need it most to make passes


Podium Finisher
Its funny how everyone was saying F1 was artificial and drivers were not being tested to the full under the old regulations so when they make car's faster no one seems to remember that if aerodynamic grip increases to create increased speed, then the opposite is true especially when you 're stuck behind a slower car. Pirelli were told to make more durable tyres but that means there is less mechanical grip when you need it most to make passes
The drivers just have to learn how to surmount the laws of physics. Then we'll be back to exciting racing............


Champion Elect
Incidentally in case you have missed it Alonso said Mclaren Honda performance is the worst and a pretty damning assessment said they should have been last or 2nd from last .

More of these punches coming out of Alonso - the more I think HOnda will simply be pummeled into a corner and quit... not saying he is wrong but Honda have a massive job to do .. the trouble is they are not listening to anyone outside
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