What the hell just happened? I think Jenson Button just won the Australian Grand Prix. Amazing. More about that later.
It was an event filled race to say the least, and not in a good way.
But before I get stared with all that, let me just say way to go to Bernie Ecclestone, the toxic vampire in charge of the F1 money, for insisting that they stage the Australian Grand Prix at 5pm local time. He did this so his precious European viewers would not have to get up and watch the race at 5am, but could instead have breakfast and racecars at the much more reasonable hour of 8am. There was just one small catch. The drivers couldn’t see because the sun was in their eyes. Here’s what our race winner had to say
…But with the glare from the sun and the change in light from the trees it was so difficult. It was so easy to put a wheel wrong and the problem was the bad light was always on the most difficult corners, so it made it tough…
From the official post-race press conference. So way to risk the drivers’ safety so your European viewers can sleep a few more hours. Yeesh.
Alonso started from P10 on the grid. He had qualified 12th but after both Toyota cars and Lewis Hamilton got slammed with grid penalties, he moved up. Unfortunately it didn’t help him much as he got caught up in the traditional first-corner hijinks and dropped way back. I hate when that happens. He ended up finishing fifth, which was not the best, but after a bad start I was braced for worse.
At about lap 18 Kaz Nakajima crashed his Williams. It looked bad, and there were bits of carbon fiber and tires all over the track, but Kaz thankfully was unharmed. Cue the safety car!
I had a scary moment a few laps later. I had been fast-forwarding a commercial break and overshot the end of it. All I saw was a Renault spinning in fast forward mode. My heart stopped for a moment. Then I hit rewind and watched it again at the normal speed only to discover it wasn’t Alonso, it was his teammate Nelson Piquet Junior. Whew!
Meanwhile, while all this was going on it was a regular Sunday drive for Button up at the front in his Brawn GP cruiser. This is an amazing story. Brawn GP was the Honda factory team last year and they were terrible. They were worse than terrible. Then in December Honda announced the team was for sale and that if they didn’t find a buyer they were closing up shop. Ross Brawn and Nick Fry pulled off a management buyout at the last minute, but it was a near thing. So, Button went from driving for the doormat of F1 to spending the winter thinking he wouldn’t be driving at all this season to winning the season opener. A real Cinderella story.
Now we are in the last laps of the race. Oh this is so exciting. BMW’s Robert Kubica and Red Bull’s Sebastien Vettel are duking it out for second place. But wait! Kersmash! They take each other out instead! Tragic. Here comes the safety car again. There were only three laps left so that is how the race finished, behind the safety car.
The top three finishers were Jenson Button for Brawn GP, Rubens Barrichello for Brawn GP and Jarno Trulli for Toyota.
But wait, there’s more! After the race Trulli was busted by the stewards for passing Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car. That is a big no-no. But, Lewis let Trulli pass. The way I understand it (and I don’t understand it very well) Trulli had been running third and Hamilton was 4th. But Trulli had an off-track excursion behind the safety car and came back onto the track behind Hamilton. McLaren then told Lewis to let Trulli pass because they were afraid Lewis would be penalized for passing behind the safety car. Then, they protested the result because Trulli passed Lewis behind the safety car because they let him. Is any of this making sense to you? Me either. Toyota is appealing the penalty. I hope they win.
So, that’s the race in a nutshell. You really should look elsewhere for accurate, objective and fact-based reporting though.
Next weekend is the Malaysian Grand Prix. I love back-to-back races!