Gentlemen and lady, start your engines…
Melbourne’s Albert Park is the glorious setting for the first Formula 1 Grand Prix Race of the 2014 Season – and what an exciting season it promises to be, with a huge shake-up in technical rules, including complex new turbocharged engines and new energy recovery systems, which have already provided a few teams with reliability and overheating problems in winter testing.
Today, we’re also announcing the first of our season-long FVL F1 Podium Winners Competitions – click here to find out how to enter and win a £50 voucher with your podium predictions for the Australian Grand Prix.
And, referencing that lady, Williams will be letting Susie Wolff get behind the wheel at the British and German Grands Prix for Practice Sessions this season. Now powered by Mercedes, this team have been showing promising reliability and good pace in Winter Testing. Go girl!
What happened in First and Second Practice at the Australian Grand Prix?
For the first time, we’ve seen the 2014 teams performing under similar race conditions and similar fuel loads, so we can make a more accurate comparison of relative performance. First and second practice took place early this morning UK time, and the big news is that after a disappointing first practice where his car stopped on its first lap, Lewis Hamilton was fastest in second practice, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso, who had topped the timing charts in Practice 1.
Red Bull seem to have recovered from their disastrous winter testing with Sebastian Vettel fourth and Daniel Ricciardo sixth, split by the McLaren of Jenson Button.
- Looking Strong: Mercedes, Williams, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull
- Looking Weak: Caterham, Lotus
- Biggest Surprise: Red Bull got the car working
Watching second practice, it was clear that the Mercedes cars seem to put the power down most effectively, but Red Bull appear very quick into corners, but seem to have more difficulty getting drive out of the same corners. Former F1 driver Martin Brundle noted that Williams seem to be very well behaved in and out of corners, but Grosjean’s Lotus appeared to be a very difficult beast to handle, and just before the end of Practice 2, he lost the rear end under breaking, and side-swiped a barrier to break his left rear suspension, ending up in a gravel trap. His team-mate Pastor Maldonado did not make it out of the garage at all.
Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat, driving for Toro Rosso, seemed to be having some difficulty getting out of the way of faster cars on more than one occasion, and is likely to be having a wee chat with the race stewards. All of the drivers have been getting used to having less downforce, with quite a few going wide and visiting the limits of the track or ending up backwards in the gravel. However, the nastiest gremlins that plagued the Renault hybrid engines during winter testing seem to have been overcome for now.
Weather is predicted to be dry and settled for qualifying and race days.
What happened in Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix?
The headlines first: P1 Hamilton P2 Ricciardo P3 Rosberg- and Vettel P13. Yes, 13. It was very windy, it was dry, then it rained, Kimi crashed out, rookies Kvyat made P8 and Magnussen P4. It was exciting, and messy. Rain forecast for tomorrow, but it was not forecast for today. Looks like this race will be very interesting.
Official Qualifying Times from Qualifying at the Australian F1 Grand Prix 2014
Official Times from Second Practice (P2) at the Australian F1 Grand Prix 2014
Other Useful Formula 1 Resources
- The Ultimate Formula 1 League Table – using the current Formula 1 points system, BBC Sport ranked drivers from 1950-2013 based on wins, poles, points and titles.
- FVL Formula 1 2014 Season Preview – with all Team Web Sites, Driver Profiles, Team and Driver Twitter Accounts, and a summary of the new rules and technical regulations that will make 2014 a fascinating competition.
Enter our free FVL F1 Podium Winners Competition to win a £50 Voucher
As with every Formula 1 race this year, we will hold the FVL F1 Podium Winners Competition – just guess the correct 1-2-3 on the podium by entering your prediction at least an hour before the race starts, to win.
The prize for a correct entry is the winner’s choice of a £50 value of either an iTunes Gift Card, a Google Play Gift Card or an Amazon Gift Card. A winner will be drawn at random if more than one entrant correctly posts the winning 1-2-3. Full Terms and Conditions are here but in essence, you have to be UK resident, and aged 18+. We won’t add you to any mailing list, or share your details.
To enter, just add your 1-2-3 in a comment below – at least an hour before the race starts, please! For example, you might enter –
- Fernando Alonso
- Sebastian Vettel
- Lewis Hamilton
- Please use the hashtags #f1fvl and #myfvl if you share your entry socially, and do join FVL socially online. Good luck!