The 2007 season started with a bang in Australia, and the gist of it is that Super Aguiri made it to Q3 with Honda’s old car, Honda almost didn’t make it even to Q2 with their new car (the mind boggles at how much the team has spent to actually go backwards). Honda ought to seriously consider switching cars with Super Aguiri – just a thought. McLaren, Renault and BMW were every bit as competitive as they looked in preseason testing, and Ferrari clinched pole despite still having some reliability issues. Toyota and Red Bull did better than exected, with the Toyota duo as well as Mark Webber finishing in the top 10. One should also mention the very impressive debut of Lewis Hamilton, who will start the race tomorrow from 4th position on the grid – this seems to be a very special talent that we are looking at. With Takumo Sato qualifying 10th on grid, it will be interesting to note how many drivers Sato will take out tomorrow as they try to pass him. Everything is set for an exciting race day ahead.
Kimi Raikkonen (or is it James Hunt?) powered his Ferrari straight to pole position on debut for the Maranello squad, and hopefully that ought to silence his critics for a while. When asked about his snowmobile racing, Kimi had responded with “None of your ruddy business” (or “It has nothing to do with the race weekend” if you want to stick to facts) and he is right. Honestly, it shouldn’t matter even if Kimi decides to spend his spare time hanging uspide-down from the ceiling and making like a bat as long as delivers on race weekend. That is just one of the Ferraris though, and the other one (Felipe Massa’s) didn’t make it into the top 10 owing to gearbox problems – Felipe watched Q3 from the sidelines and looked understandably miffed. This is unfortunately the third reliability issue that has cropped up in the last three races for Ferrari, starting with the Suzuka ’06, Brazil ’06 and now Australia 07 – just one of those odd coincidences hopefully. Spyker ended the day by finishing last on the timesheets and immediately proceeded to file an official protest against only Super Aguiri. Clearly Colin Kolles must have felt that irrespective of running a customer car, STR’s plight remains the same – looks like they chose the wrong chassis to share (with David Coulthard also finishing along with them in the bottom rung). However with the stewards refusing to make a decision on this, apparently the matter is headed for arbitration, and Red Bull has also been pulled into the mess.
With Ferrari’s pace over long runs looking really good, we at FFN are keeping our fingers that the car stays reliable for the race. Alonso clearly has a very good car at his disposal, and with fuel levels not exactly known, the stage is set for a good fight.