Connect with us


F1 season predictions: Mercedes, Mercedes, Mercedes

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: The headline is the prediction for the car that will win at Melbourne, the team that will win the Constructor’s Championship and the team that will provide the World Champion this season.

It’s the beginning of the new Formula 1 season. Melbourne is the first race. And there has been enough hype to fill an Agatha Christie bibliography: The Mystery of Sauber’s Secret Driver, the Strange Affair of Alonso’s Crash, The Case of the Youngest Rookie and McLaren’s Perilous Car. Despite all the hype, most fans think that this season will be a continuation of the last one.

I am writing this before the qualifying in Melbourne, but Mercedes looked strong throughout last season, and in testing looked equally powerful. The only question is whether Lewis Hamilton can become England’s first ever back-to-back champion or whether Nico Rosberg can thwart him. Nico was excellent at qualifying last season, but slightly less successful at winning.

The real question is what about the peloton? Williams is also fielding an unchanged team. Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas did very well last year, and Williams has probably improved the car over the close season. I think they will do well this year too.

But Ferrari is widely expected to stage something of a revival. Sebastian Vettel, having leaped from Red Bull, must be fired up by a chance to be popular again, and Kimi Räikkönen surely must do better than last season when he was quite dismal – I expect some fireworks from them.

I would expect either Ferrari or Williams to be on the podium in Melbourne with Mercedes, and I expect them to battle it out throughout Sunday. But if betting were legal, I would take a wager that Sebastian Vettel would take third place.

Red Bull has retained Daniel Ricciardo who did well last season, and has added Danny Kvyat. I expect they will win some races, and Ricciardo would dearly love to win in front of his home crowd. He would have to be lucky to do so, but no-one should ignore Red Bull’s capacity to surprise.

Everyone is writing-off McLaren. People say that Fernando Alonso is demoralized, Jenson Button is on his retirement season, the car is dangerous and Honda is too new to the game. But it is too early to write them off. We would all be surprised if they won in Melbourne, but with a few races under their belts they certainly could rise again. I really hope so.

That brings us to the rest of the field. Force India, Toro Rosso, Sauber and Lotus are competing with each other really to see who can become a force in the second tier. And there is a newly revitalized Marussia that is widely expected to carry the Red Lantern in every race; so they have nothing to lose, and will try everything.

The Albert Park circuit uses sections of road around a small lake. The surface of the track is quite smooth, fast and relatively easy to drive, though there few true straights and it is not conducive to overtaking. So qualifying is pretty important.

Turn 1 is a medium-speed corner that comes at the end of the first DRS zone, but is not a prime overtaking spot. The drivers accelerate into the full throttle Turn 2, and the second DRS zone begins down the following straight. Turn 3 is the most popular overtaking place as it is reasonably easy to outbrake the car ahead and pass on the inside or, preferably, on the outside which gives the inside of Turn 4. Turn 5 is a flat-out right-hander with high g-force, while turns 6, 7 and 8 form a complex at the back of the circuit. Turns 9 and 10 make up a slow chicane that leads to a short straight. Turns 11 and 12 are a high-speed, left-right chicane where the curbs can be an issue. Turn 13 is sometimes useful for overtaking. Turn 14 is an exciting right-hander followed by Turn 15; the slowest point on the circuit. Then, it is important to get a good exit from the near-flat-out turn 16 to race all the way down the pit straight.

As a rule of thumb, whoever qualifies on pole wins at Melboune. However, there are many examples of upset due to equipment failure in the lead car. The real excitement is that it is the first time that we will see the new cars, and new cars often have new problems. In 2012, Polesitter Lewis Hamilton lost an engine cylinder at the start of the race, and he was a DNF. In 2010, Polesitter Sebastian Vettel suffered from lost torque drive between the front left axle and wheel, and recorded a DNF. In 2006 Polesitter Jenson Button blew his engine. There are also a large number of incidents at Albert Park, perhaps because it is the first race and the Safety Car can be a big factor. And last of all, it is Melbourne, so the weather is never certain, and rain can always spice up the race. So don’t miss it.

The race starts at 8pm tomorrow. Qualifying is today at 9pm. Both will be shown on The Big Screen at the Green Man.

— The Digby


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand1 hour ago

US calls meeting with Thai officials to resolve donated vaccines

Thailand2 hours ago

10 Burmese migrant workers arrested in Songkhla

Thailand2 hours ago

Over 50 million vaccine doses administered in Thailand

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Sunday Covid-19 Afternoon Update: Provincial Totals

World3 hours ago

China announces cryptocurrency trading is illegal

North East3 hours ago

Stolen 72 year old elephant returned to owner after 18 years

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Pattaya readjusts tourism goals for high season

Thailand5 hours ago

Phuket relaxes checkpoint requirements to help tourists and health officials

Phuket5 hours ago

Phuket Covid-19: 2 deaths, 4 Sandbox infections, 10k total cases

Thailand6 hours ago

Facebook page that claims to sell dog meat met with scorn on social media

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand welcomes its first AI influencer, “AI Ailynn”

Thailand8 hours ago

Umbrellas out, more monsoonal rain in the wake of ‘Dianmu’

Thailand9 hours ago

Sunday Covid update: 125 deaths and 12,353 new cases

Thailand18 hours ago

Record-breaking 1 million Covid-19 vaccines given yesterday

Technology21 hours ago

Junk messages must now be blocked by Thai mobile carriers

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11