Yesterday saw the beginning of the 2010 F1 season with the Bahrain GP. The Australia GP usually starts every F1 season so die-hard fans were already a bit miffed about that change. But the change everyone is talking about it the lack of refuelling during races (and resultant yawn-fest).
No refuelling was introduced this season as a cost-cutting measure. It means the return of low-fuel qualifying sessions, which makes those more exciting than last season. Also, the top 10 drivers must start the race on the same tyres they set their fastest lap on. So, drivers from positions 11 onwards get new tyres and a full tank of fuel and those at the front have worn tyres. Perhaps qualifying sessions will become more of a must-see than the race this season?
The first lap saw a bit of excitement when Mark Webber's engine blew a lot of smoke. I thought his engine had blown but it was most probably an over-full oil tank. The resulting thick smoke meant Kubica couldn't see and he hit Sutil, forcing both cars to the back of the grid. They both managed to finish the race, unlike most of the rookies (exception: Hulkenberg) and two of the new teams (Virgin and HRT).
I was impressed that both Lotus cars finished the race, well done to them. The HRT cars seem well built, Senna's car lasted a fair few laps. Chandhok was unfortunate to hit a bump he didn't know about and crash, but the guy had only driven 5 laps in the car ever! Hopefully he'll get more practice time in Australia. The Virgin and Sauber cars retired during the race.
We saw both McLaren cars gain places during their pit stops, but apart from that they were off the pace and not a real threat this race (hopefully they will pull back ground in Australia). The Ferraris (which went on to a 1-2 finish) seem fast, but with two engines used already they could have a problem. The Red Bull car seems fast but is already showing some signs of reliability problems (again); let's hope not. Mercedes, Williams and Force India appear to be steady mid-field cars that could produce some one-off great results but IMO are not title contenders. I wasn't paying much attention to Renault, except the yellow livery is very striking!
It was great to see Alonso win on his debut for Ferrari, although I would have preferred Massa to win (because he's one of my drivers in my Fantasy F1 team!). Sad for Vettel that his car lost power while he was leading, but at least he held off Rosberg to finish 4th. Lewis Hamilton managed to finish on the podium, but that was a lot down to luck and a little to being a great driver. And Schumacher finished a credible 6th, in front of Button (who I was disappointed didn't manage to keep up with Hamilton).
So, off the top of my head, those are the best highlights I can think of. Not a race that memories are made of. But, it's the start of the season and fabulous to hear the roar of engines again! Makes me long for Silverstone in July; I cannot wait to experience my first-ever GP. I just hope some rules are changed to make the race itself more exciting.