The Australian Grand Prix was the most exciting world championship round for some time, comments CAR deputy editor John Bentley.
Thanks, Max… and thanks to the Melbourne weather! The Australian Grand Prix was the most exciting world championship round for some time, with the result in the air until the last few laps – and even then, the fight for second, third and fourth was a cliff-hanger.
Although Ferrari looked to have everything sewn up after qualifying, the rain – as well as the need to make quick decisions without sufficient reconnaissance – proved to be their undoing. And, in an ironic twist, victory went to the team and driver who had been the most vociferous in their condemnation of the new system.
The new rules place a premium on icy cool level-headedness, and almost everyone was found wanting at some stage of the weekend. David Coulthard played it down the middle throughout: no brilliant patches, just steady percentage performances in qualifying and the race, and it paid off.
Without the weather wild card, however, Ferrari still has a slight advantage. But McLaren is definitely a lot closer, and could be on par when its new car arrives five or six races down the track. Unless Maranello’s F-2003 GA is another quantum leap ahead…
The biggest loser of the weekend? Undoubtedly Jaguar, which has a promising car but is paying the penalty of opting for an inexperienced driver line-up.
Antonio Pizzonia was undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of the Melbourne weekend, and the team principals must be rueing the day they dropped Eddie Irvine… – John Bentley