Surprisingly eventful race down under, with 4 SC periods. It was amazing to watch how drivers experienced and novice made error after error, all ending up in spectacular crashes.
Alonso demonstrated relentless Renault pace, not allowing one bit of doubt who will dominate the field. Four times he built the time advantage and four times it was shattered by Safety Car coming out to the field. Fisico was out of the win racing early by stalling on the race start.
That event saved Montoya from great embarrassment - he managed to spun at the end of the warm-up lap. He would’ve start from the back of the grid if it wasn’t for the Fisico problem and the repeat of the warm-up lap. But even that flash of fortune was not enough, as Juan Pablo made an error 11 laps from the end on the final turn and damaged the car so much that the engine turned itself off. I must admit that this is the first time I hear about such system and can’t really grasp what is its use. If the car is badly damaged, driver would not be able to drive it as it should be running - reason enough to either pit or park. Really strange.
It was sad watching Montoya trying to talk to anyone from McLaren - Witmarsh (managing director) listened him for barely a minute, while mechanics turned their heads as he tried to talk to them. Unless JP does some really great races towards the end of the season, I think his days in McLaren are numbered after only two years. He made just too many mistakes.
The most tragic loser of the race is certainly Jenson Button. Engine blowout at two turns from the end of the race and car stopping 50m from the finish line - man, that is harsh. In terms of disappointment, this could only count along with Mika Hakkinen’s engine dying 200m from the finish line in Barcelona, few years back.
Toyota is showing signs of improvement. In the last race they scored points and now Ralf drives (with 2-stop strategy + drive-through penalty) to last step on the podium - huge improvement over terrible season start. Williams' terrible season start (usual for them, actually) continues - I was so very wrong thinking that Cosworth V8 will help them; this Cosworth is far from the legendary V8 that terrorized competitors for over 20 years in the 60’s-80’s.
Interesting thing to point out is that Renault and McLaren are the only teams not having tyre temperature problems. Honda and Toyota are/were the most vocal about their cars not being able to raise the tyre temp to the required limits. Toyota seems to have resolved that problem (that was the real reason of their poor performance in Bahrain) but Honda seems nowhere close to solution
All teams will have two testing sessions now, before Imola comes and EU campaign starts. Last season title was decided on first 2-3 EU races; we’ll see what will happen now.