The Fast and the Spurious

Image by Mercedes AMG Petronas

Back in the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus announced that “very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: The conscientious historian will correct these defects.”

Consider Sunday’s Grand Prix in Melbourne; a fantastic result for McLaren and Sauber, real promise for Williams and Lotus, a disaster for Ferrari, work in progress for Red Bull, Mercedes and Toro Rosso, a surprising point for Force India, a dismal performance from Marussia, two retirements for Caterham and an early bath for HRT: Those are pretty much the facts. Yet even before the race had ended, media centres along the pitlane were frantically despatching Tweets, posting blogs and compiling reports, some of which tell a very different story:-

Marussia: “Both drivers delivered calm and assured performances in today’s race, at the conclusion of the most pressured of weekends. Timo was rewarded with the best birthday present he has had in several F1 seasons – he celebrates his 30th birthday in Melbourne today – and Charles’ Grand Prix debut really could not have been any more positive.”

Caterham: “ . . . we were quickly up to speed with the likes of Force India, Williams and even Ferrari, and that’s very encouraging for next week in our first home race of the season in Malaysia and the season ahead.”

So what truths can we take from this year’s F1 season opener? With incidents befalling a number of the key players, it’s hard to assess how the race might have ended, but what we can do is look at the way each car (other than the HRT) was delivering potential during the race. To do this, I’ve taken the fastest race lap of the each team, up until lap 38 when the second Caterham retired and it makes for some interesting reading:-

Position Car Fastest Lap On Lap By
1 Red Bull 1:31.156 35 WEB
2 Mercedes 1:31.190 36 ROS
3 Sauber 1:31.335 35 PER
4 Lotus 1:31.553 36 RAI
5 McLaren 1:31.593 26 HAM
6 Toro Rosso 1:31.598 30 RIC
7 Williams 1:31.807 35 SEN
8 Ferrari 1:31.855 36 ALO
9 Force India 1:31.916 35 DIR
10 Caterham 1:33.214 27 PET
11 Marussia 1:34.642 28 GLO

To their credit, Ferrari have been more than open about the disappointment over their performance and there’s good reason to believe that by Barcelona, they’ll be back, challenging for honours; Caterham, Marussia and HRT, however, may well have to rely on their own versions of events.

* Image by Mercedes AMG Petronas

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