Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald
[For those who are new to the page; TJ13 attempts to remove certain aspects of the race to give a fairer reflection of the race result.]
The return of what proved to be a popular feature in its inaugural season throughout 2013 (until Vettel ran away with the Championship) starts with an immense undertaking. Correcting the first race of 2014 was always going to be a challenge, but I will endeavour to be fair. If you don’t agree with my assessment then please do comment below.
History would suggest that being on the front row was a necessity at Albert Park, although this was not the case this year. However, 2014 is not going to be like other years with such a huge overhaul of the regulations shaking up the field entirely.
Winning by 26 seconds and setting the fastest lap in the process, Mercedes showed who the class of the field is. A solid, if not spectacular performance from Nico Hulkenberg went largely unnoticed. A dark horse in the midfield some might say.
Unfortunately, it was not to be for Super Max Chilton as claimed 13th place in the race. With a little more luck those first illustrious points for Marussia could have come in Melbourne. With rain predicted for all 3 days in Sepang, maybe it will present a better chance for them!
So what really happened?
Lewis Hamilton: Well given it was Nico who had all the bad luck last year, it was surely only a matter of time before something went against Lewis. The man from Stevenage finished well ahead of his German teammate in 2013; but in the final Victims of Circumstance report from Brazil, the German finished 1 point short of the Brit. Had his sixth cylinder not given up, Lewis would have surely claimed 2nd position given the might of the car. The flying start of Rosberg would have been hard to chase down.
Felipe Massa: The truest of ‘Victims’ here as he was an innocent bystander in the one man space mission of Kamui Kobayashi at turn 1 on the opening lap. In a strong car and placed well, the Brazilian would surely have been expecting more than the 150 metres he managed. Given that Magnussen was 0.472 quicker in FP3 it is hard to take away the final podium spot from the Dane. Massa is awarded 4th place.
Sebastian Vettel: Probably the most difficult of all to place properly as the quadruple World Champion had been down on power throughout Saturday and Sunday. It seems the Renault powertrain is only willing to work a 5 day week! Had he been with proper power he could have hoped for higher, but in truth Vettel had looked to be playing catch up to Ricciardo for much of the weekend. He is awarded 15th place.
Daniel Ricciardo: After much deliberation in TJ13 towers a conclusion was reached as to the fate of the smiling Aussie. Should his result stand, a penalty be applied or be reinstated to the podium he so clearly deserved. The decision to keep the disqualification is hard on Ricciardo, but in truth the only realistic decision. You win as a team and lose a team. Unlucky Danny boy!
Kamui Kobayashi: As mentioned above, the brake failure which brought Massa’s race to a premature end was also Kobayashi’s downfall. Even if he had made it past the first corner unscathed, the Renault powertrain seemed fragile to say the least. A weekend that had so much promise on Saturday for Caterham ends with such disappointment. He is awarded 19th position.
Pastor Maldonado: Formula One is a funny sport with some playing the game better than others. When Maldonado criticised Williams back in Austin and accused them of tampering with his car, a bitter taste was left in the mouth of the Grove team. Pastor took his petrodollars and hopped off to Lotus to what would seem to be a competitive car. 4 months later and it’s Williams who had the last laugh, with Bottas’ suspension holding in place somehow; with Pat Symonds giving the credit to Pastor. When the Venezualan practiced his parallel parking on lap 29 it must have been a hard bitter pill to swallow. Given that the Lotus pair are still yet to complete a race distance it is impossible to reinstate them – Maldonado is awarded 21st position.
Romain Grosjean: As stated above, not being able to make a race distance is the reason the Lotus pair are not awarded a higher finish. Better luck in Malaysia.
Marcus Ericsson: The oil pressure problem which resulted in the Swede pulling out of the race on lap 29 was unfortunate. In what could prove a fierce battle for 10 this year, letting Marussia take first blood could prove crucial at the end of the year. Having been slow all weekend, the chances of finishing high up were low at best. Ericsson is awarded 19th place.
This leaves the revised results table looking like this:
|Revised Race Position||Driver||Result comparison||Points||Points Difference||Grid Position|
What they would have said
Hamilton would have lamented the changes to Formula One blaming the poor start on the new cars regulations. Rosberg would have taken the race win leaving Hamilton in his shadow, as he did in Monaco last year. It’s interesting to see how much of a favourite Hamilton is compared with Rosberg when both have proven to be race winners. Nico now takes a crucial early lead in what many believe to be a two horse race for the World Drivers’ Championship.
If Magnussen did not already get enough attention after the race, if he had rounded been the only driver to take the fight to the Mercedes pair it would have reflected even better on his debut performance. Those who feel Button has a genuine challenger in the Dane are correct, with Button now facing serious competition. Is it too early to say he may be fearing for his long-term future with the team? Ron Dennis summed up the day as he saw it saying, “We’re pleased but we’re not ecstatic. We save ‘ecstatic’ for wins.”
The paddock would have been awash with praise for the return to form of Felipe. Roll on Sepang where we can see what the Williams team are capable of when not playing bumper cars – be it with the walls or competitors.
Quote of the Day
This week’s quote comes from Thomas Jefferson who needs little introduction.
“Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”
The humble words are directed at Valtteri Bottas who proved how cool his head was after slamming his car into the wall. Not panicking, but instead slowly working his way up the field to claim 6th (which became 5th) place. Same nationality as the original ‘Ice Man’ there is a new kid on the block!