Today, the roar of F1 echoed across the skies at Melbourne, Australia that even the city noise couldn't tame it. As clear as the sun, it was clear that F1 has changed. However, some things never change.
Thank you Charlie
But first, I would like to give my respects to the family of Charlie Whiting. His passing at the start of the weekend is a tragedy to the sport, as he was a staple of F1. From my early days of following it, he was there. Thank you Charlie.
Unchanged was the statistic that of the last eight races as Melbourne (including today's), the pole sitter only won once. Today, Valtteri Bottas was the dominant force that even the pole sitter and teammate Lewis Hamilton was not able to match, let alone challenge.
Changed was the surprising motivation of Bottas not just to win the race, but to "leave with the full 26 points" as he told his team over the radio, with confidence that I have not seen from him since Abu Dhabi in Nov 2017.
Unchanged was Ferrari's horrible selection of strategy and tire. It seemed that the team did not learn from their practice or Q1 and Q2 sessions to select a different plan from their rivals, but instead matching the tire selection and hoping for the best. It was painful to see the team that I love dearly fall into these mistakes as if last season was not painful enough or the one before that.
Changed was the fight for position in the midfield, and it was entertaining, exciting and exhilarating to witness the rise of new talent that will potentially be big names in the next few years. Thank you, F1 for the rule changes that brought us this. I want to give special mention to, Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo, who showed great skill at keeping more experienced drivers at bay for long stints, but the strategy agreed with the team failed him. I see potential in him that if he stays the course, he will be one of the stars of F1. Maybe Jeremy Clarkson will rejoice that an Alfa Romeo driver is making the news.
Maybe this is just the start. Also, Melbourne GP is a street race that is not reflective of race tracks and with very difficult overtaking, but it was a taste of things to come. I believe that things will be different in Bahrain in two weeks, but for this F1 junkie, it seems that the fight in the midfield will be a bit more fun than usual, and I for one am racing towards it.