We have patiently waited through several years of F1 predictability. Red Bull and Vettel dominated for 4 years. Then in 2014 it was the turn of Mercedes, albeit with the thrills of watching Hamilton and Rosberg go at each other like rabid dogs. And we thought 2015 would probably be much of the same again…
But maybe not. Last weekend during practice and qualifying the Ferrari looked fast and Mercedes were struggling with reliability. No excuses however on race day. It was a fair fight.
Hamilton got a great start and the Mercedes duo stormed off in front. However Raikkonen ended up at the back after limping back to the pits on a punctured tyre sustained at the start. Another easy win for Mercedes and Hamilton? Surely…?
Not! Vettel and Ferrari pulled off a master piece of tyre management to get the edge, and the pace of the Ferrari meant that the final position was a site for sore Ferrari-red eyes: 1st, Vettel/Ferrari, 2nd Hamilton/Mercedes, 3rd Rosberg/Mercedes, 4th Raikkonen/Ferrari.
Its early days in the tournament but we could be in for a vintage year. We have the bitter intra-team rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg. We have the vitally important inter-team tussle between Mercedes and Ferrari. Vettel is hungry to prove his previous success was not just due to being in the right place at the right time. And Raikkonen should never be discounted as his record of wins shows.
Its just over a week until the battle starts again in China.