Daniel Ricciardo believes changes made to the Australian Grand Prix track will lead to more exciting races in the nation’s biggest motorsport event.
After a race off for my new column, I thought I better catch up and try and dissect all the action that happened at Interlagos. Let’s get to it.
A good race, but not amazing
I think people need to take a step back and think about the race in full, not just the opening and closing few laps. Yes, those parts were incredible, don’t get me wrong, but outside of that what else did we have?
Some interesting strategy was playing out between Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari sure, but anything else? In this era of Formula One where it’s all about the show rather than the strategy (hence these 2021 rule changes), it’s slightly misleading to call this race a classic and compare it to Germany earlier this year.
Even the official Formula One highlights package acknowledges this, basically showing nothing as happening between laps 22 and 55 before then skipping to lap 60. A couple of days of reflection I feel will have this shown through a little clearer.
We officially have the youngest ever podium in the history of Formula One with an average age of 23 years, eight months and 23 days. The previous youngest podium? Italy in 2008, when Sebastian Vettel famously won for Toro Rosso ahead of Heikki Kovalainen for McLaren and Robert Kubica for BMW with a combined age of 23 years, 11 months and 16 days. Incredible.
You also have to look back 2072 days since McLaren last graced a podium, which came in 2014 at the Australian Grand Prix. Back on that day at Albert Park, that race also was the last time two drivers scored their debut podiums at the same, with Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen gracing the podium for the very first time.
Of course, Ricciardo sadly had his podium promptly taken away from him, which means the last time two drivers officially scored their debut podiums was the 1994 German Grand Prix when Olivier Panis and Eric Bernard finished second and third, respectively, for Ligier.
Stewards fail Sainz
Why on earth could the stewards not have made a decision that allowed Carlos Sainz to rightfully take his place on the podium quicker than they did? All the evidence was clearly in front of them and Lewis Hamilton admitted he was at fault and even didn’t bother going to the stewards to give evidence as he knew he was to blame.
Remember Mexico 2016? That was decided pretty quickly to demote Max Verstappen from the podium, so why not now? It’s a shame for Carlos not to get that true atmosphere up on the podium after waiting for so long. Sure he got his own little ceremony afterwards but it’s not the same. Hopefully, for Carlos, his second podium won’t have to have such a long wait.
The three-way battle that could’ve been
We’ve had three different teams win races this year with five different drivers taking those victories. On paper that sounds like an exciting season. But 2019 won’t really be remembered for that. Remember the opening eight races? I’m yawning right now thinking of them and it’s a shame. Imagine if we were heading into Abu Dhabi with three teams in with a shot at winning both championships?
That last happened in 2010 and we all remember how epic that season was. Hopefully, 2020 can deliver some more consistent results for our big three teams to allow the battle to last a bit longer than it has over the last five years. Bugger 2021. I’m impatient. I want it to happen now!
Given I didn’t do an article for the Mexican Grand Prix, I feel as though both Lance Stroll fans out there have been let down by lack of coverage for our main Canadian man. Mexico wasn’t exactly a race to sing home about for little Lancey and, sadly, neither was Brazil.
There was another poor qualifying performance (come on Lance, get it together my man!) before things actually looked promising with a great start and some good early battles.
However, it wasn’t to be, with a suspension issue putting end to his race on lap 65. I’ll just also ignore the fact that this happened on the same lap as both Ferraris went out and was caused by that crash, because, you know, I’m already sad enough that three of my four guys (Dan made up for it at least) all were out on one lap.
Stroll said after the race that they were in a good position for points had that not happened. And given his teammate Sergio Perez once again capitalised on that, it has to be said he probably was right. Let’s bring home the bacon in Abu Dhabi Mr Stroll! Give me something to smile about to close out 2019!