2008 starts here

I always feel the year doesn’t get going properly until mid-March. The first couple of months of the year are just a time you have to get through, but now it’s starting to stay light a little way into the evenings, the weather is turning milder, trees are starting to blossom and come into leaf, and the Formula 1 season has started up.

This year’s Australian grand prix was more like the season-openers of a few years ago: instead of the high-reliability processions of more recent times, we had shunts, reliability problems and significant variation from the expected form book.

The only thing missing was a race for the lead, and that was compensated for by its root cause: a lot of fast drivers having scrappy weekends. So let’s not take anything away from Hamilton: he was faster than anyone else bar Raikkonen, and unlike Raikkonen he didn’t throw it off the road.

But I fully expect Ferrari to recover next weekend: really, their main problem was a slight flakiness in terms of reliability – although Massa spinning of his own accord down into the first corner was not impressive. Also unimpressive was David Coulthard’s finger-pointing after he and Massa collided: at worst it was a racing incident, but if Coulthard suddenly found Massa had vanished from his mirrors, surely he should have reckoned that Massa might be somewhere forward of his rear wheels and left some space?

All told, an exciting race – let’s hope this continues into Malaysia.


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