Ferrari were expected to have a good weekend. But the gap between them and the others was probably bigger than many (including me) expected. Realistically Massa was the only driver that could challenge Kimi, Kimi was the only driver that could challenge Massa. Mechanical problems were the only thing that could prevent Ferrari 1-2 finish. Unfortunately for Massa that is exactly what happened. Kimi ran almost perfect race with only a small hiccup few laps from finish.
Massa lost quite a lot of time bottled behind Hondas early on and drove heavy car for big part of race due to his 1 stop strategy. At the end his low risk approach meant 3 points and that is good result after staring 22nd on the grid. He might have tried harder to overtake Fisichella during final laps, but perhaps he prefers to start the season with safe 3 points than getting involved in some last gasp incident and loosing all.
McLarens had solid race, both drivers obviously happy with their podium positions. Hamilton had a dream start to his F1 career. True, he has one of the top cars unlike other rookies. But his car is almost the same as the car of defending world champion and man, he gave Alonso run for his money. Compare his debut performance with Kovalainen’s, with whom he raced for glory in GP2 2 years ago. Keep in mind that unlike Kovalainen Hamilton had no luxury of 1 year testing in F1…
BMW did not disappoint and showed they are as fast as expected and still not as reliable as they would wish.
Fisichella had pretty anonymous race, he did not do anything wrong, brought some points home, and defended his position ahead of Massa at the end of the race. To be fair, he probably could not have much different race. Ferrari, McLaren and BMW had better cars, the others had cars that were far worse, so he had no one to race with, except his team mate. But Kovalainen was long way down the order having a nightmare of a race branded as “rubbish” by his team boss.
Williams could not wish for anything better than scoring points in the first race and finishing ahead of Toyota. They must be quite happy with how their season started. They also must be glad that Alex Wurz still has his head on his shoulders. Toyota team did pretty good job in getting the cars set for this race. The weekend looked like a disaster for them as late as during Q2 on Saturday. Having 2 drivers in top 10 and scoring a point is much better than everybody, probably including themselves, expected.
Super Aguri are the last team that can be satisfied with their showing. Their performance places them firmly to the midfield and among the point scoring contenders. Davidson was a bit unlucky with his problems at the start and collision with Sutil later on. At least he saw chequered flag for the first time in his F1 career.
Now the loosers. Honda had a race that was “all crap” according to Button, and it would be hard to disagree with him. Barichello managed to finish ahead of Aguri, but that should not be their goal. Red Bull had good early part of the race with Webber keeping the car in top 8. But later on he faded down the order. Coulthard then decided to make the news and he managed by hitting Wurz almost decapitating him in the process. It was one very stupid maneuver and that even DC admitted and apologized for. Albers paid more attention to his earplugs than to his driving and beached the car, Sutil trashed side of Davidson’s Aguri and sent him to hospital with sprained back. That is about all that can be said about Spyker. Toro Rosso is just about worth mentioning as a team that was on a starting grid and that’s about it.
Now we have 3 weeks to the next race in Malaysia, with 3 days of testing on the Sepang track next week. A lot can change in these 3 weeks. At end, all that we saw was the first race of the season with many drivers and teams just getting to know their new machinery in racing conditions.