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Australian GP features just one racing pass

NEWS STORY
26/03/2017

Mat Coch writes

Sebastian Vettel's victory at the season opening Australian Grand Prix went a long way to easing concerns that the 2017 campaign would be another Mercedes cake walk.

However, if that was the good news, the bad news is that the new formula has delivered the type of racing we all feared it might.

With the latest generation of cars producing greater downforce, there were early fears that, rather than producing more exciting racing, it would instead be more processional.

And so it transpired, with a grand prix that resembled a high speed parade more than a motor race.

"We have to reserve judgement until after two or three races," insisted Red Bull boss Christian Horner, whose driver, Max Verstappen, acted as a roadblock for Lewis Hamilton following the Mercedes driver's pit stop.

"Melbourne if you look historically, there's never been a lot of overtaking," Horner added. "Let's wait for China and Bahrain which are two of the easier circuits to overtake on before drawing any judgement."

Hamilton also waded into the discussion, lamenting his inability to follow closely enough to attempt a pass.

"Unfortunately it's harder than ever to get close to cars, which is a shame," the Briton explained. "We can't even have a close battle, but who knows, maybe in the future…"

"In the years before it's been difficult to follow once you get within one and half-a-second because of the turbulent air," added Valtteri Bottas. "Now, as more of the grip from the car is relying on the aero, it's a bigger effect and the cars are wider so I think there's more turbulent air now.

"It's more like two seconds or even two-and-a-half because you can actually feel quite a big effect from the car in front, and that way in the corners it's more difficult to follow," he added. "Obviously you have a bigger slipstream on the straight but if you can't follow in the corners it's tricky to get a slipstream. That's the problem."

Backing up the two Mercedes driver's concerns was the fact that, during the course of the Grand Prix' 57 laps, there were just five on-track passes and three of those came as a result of Jolyon Palmer suffering brake issues, with the remainder of positional changes the result of the pit stop cycle.

2017 Rolex Australian Grand Prix On-track Passes

Lap 9: Lance Stroll passes Marcus Ericsson for P16

Lap 11: Jolyon Palmer loses three places due to braking issues

Lap 41: Toro Rosso drivers switch position Kvyat on a two stopper passes Sainz on a one-stop strategy

The three-way dice between Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg isn't included since Alonso retired at the end of the lap, meaning the changes aren't scored as a pass at the finish line.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by NS Biker, 27/03/2017 17:20

"If Max V. had pitted around 5 laps earlier, the general discussions, and the race result of course, would be totally different.
All of this ruminating after one (and only one...) race. Quite the joke.
Look on the bright side ... BIG news at the next race will be how much McLaren has improved. Is there any other direction to go.??
"

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 27/03/2017 10:06

"Moto GP brilliant once again, so glad my subscription money went that way!"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Spindoctor, 27/03/2017 9:01

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme old dross."

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4. Posted by edllorca, 27/03/2017 1:47

"The only people that predicted this outcome were the fans and they knew it on DAY 1 ! Other than the excitement of the seasons first race, it was boring as hell. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by hussainahm, 26/03/2017 20:49

"Can we at least know how many there were in 2016 for reference?"

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6. Posted by Mad Matt, 26/03/2017 19:17

"Well, the new colours made for a pretty procession but I prefer floats and dancing girls...

The cars didn't look any faster either but that was obvious before they started too. 2 or 3 seconds a lap just aren't noticeable on TV, lack of overtaking is.

I can only hope that there was something about this circuit but I don't feel very optimistic."

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by ryanhellyer, 26/03/2017 18:56

"Wasn't this obvious the moment the regulations were announced?

I still don't understand why they didn't just go for bigger tires and leave the rest of it as is."

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8. Posted by F One, 26/03/2017 16:11

"Who cares? Mercedes where slower than Ferrari. That alone made it a great race!"

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9. Posted by Acq, 26/03/2017 15:41

"Mat, you must not have seen a pink car make incredible RACING passes on both Toro Rossos. One at the sart of the race vs Kvyat and later in the race around Sainz which almost clipped his wing. "

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10. Posted by testa rossa, 26/03/2017 15:09

"Lewis warned everybody for this failure last year already but the wise guys knew better.. So much money wasted... LMFAO . And who sees these few seconds faster laps times ,.... nobody ..
























"

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