Star of the Race
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 3rd
You can judge the excellence of Lewis Hamilton's performance by comparing him to fellow rookie, Renault's Heiki Kovalainen. At a track which is tricky for inexperienced drivers Heiki qualified poorly, drove inconsistently and underachieved. Lewis qualified well, started brilliantly, pushed his team leader, drove consistently and got a podium.
It was a stunning debut by anybody's standards and though he did it in far better machinery than Messrs Hakkinen, Schumacher and Alonso, his performance easily eclipsed their first times out.
Though he was in front of Alonso for a lot of the race, it's more than likely that the World Champion had something in reserve. Fernando knows more than anyone else that you have to be consistent over the course of the season and score points all the way through, so a straight comparison is probably not a good idea. However Hamilton could hardly have done a better job than he did and it's rare you can say that.
Overtaking Move of the Race
Nico Rosberg on Ralf Schumacher, Lap 37
Nico Rosberg's pass on Ralf Schumacher for 6th place was a rare moment in a race with few overtaking moves. Not only is it difficult to overtake in Australia, it's almost impossible to do it outside of Turns 1 and 3 - as Nico did. And when you have the same engine as the car in front and a third of that team's budget it makes it even more special.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1st
Raikkonen became the first man to win on his team debut since Nigel Mansell did it for the Scuderia in 1989 and what an appropriate comparison. Both Mansell and Raikkonen are of the balls out, sod-it-let's-go-for-the-win mentality who are an absolute joy to watch and a pain to listen to.
Raikkonen got a double whammy in Melbourne. Not only did he win the race, he put a seven-point gap between himself and team-mate Felipe Massa. The Finn was on excellent form and on Laps 40 and 41 put in two frighteningly fast laps that showed the true potential of the 2007 car.
Whether or not the Ferrari has a cooling problem is hard to tell. In the latter stages of the race he reduced his pace quite a bit. What was slightly odd was that he was a good fifteen seconds clear of the nearest McLaren (which was making no impression on him) when he put in his two fastest laps - almost like he was putting down a marker to somebody, possibly Felipe Massa.
Given that the next race is the engine-consuming Malaysian GP you'd have thought he would have managed his pace to that of the car behind and cruised to the finish - the Schumacher way.
Of course the hot laps may have been thrown in as a warning to McLaren, BMW and Renault - in which case they will certainly have been warned.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 2nd
A steady, faultless race from Alonso who got boxed in by Heidfeld's BMW at the start and after which he had to play the patient game until the pit-strop strategy could unfold.
What will be most alarming to the World Champion will not be Hamilton's hustling, but the ease at which Heidfeld got ahead at the start. He might have to face a season of being extremely watchful going into the first corner.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 4th
A great start from 'ickle beardy Nick' who lost the strategy battle to Kubica, but benefited from his retirement. Nick will be a happy boy to establish himself in front of his extremely quick team-mate, but will realise that what happened to Kubica could easily happen to him next race.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 5th
Last season Giancarlo picked up fourth and fifth places on days when Fernando Alonso won with exactly the same machinery. So it's hard to know if Giancarlo drove his socks off to take fifth place, or if it was another run-of-the-mill performance made to look good by his team-mate's woes.
Nico Rosberg, Williams, 7th
When the season started in Bahrain last year Nico Rosberg got the fastest lap, and to administer a fair old battering to Ralf Schumacher's Toyota in Melbourne was another good start to his campaign. What's more, the independent Toyota team beat the official Toyota team in front of the Toyota top brass.
Considering Ralf Schumacher is one of the top three drivers in F1 (*all his own words, not ours) that must mean that the Toyota chassis is absolute ****.Either that or Ralf is not one of the top three drivers in F1 and the chassis is just fairly ****.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 8th
He beat his team-mate and brought the car home, so it was a fair start to his year.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 6th
Massa may have driven as well as he could to claim 6th place, but his prospects took a dive the moment his gearbox fell apart on Saturday afternoon. From that point on it was all damage limitation. Two or three races like this and the for-now even-handed Mr.Todt might well develop a special relationship with the hard-drinking memberof his team.
Massa may have been a lot of people's favourites to be World Champ in 2007, but then again a lot of people thought Heiki was going to spank Fisichella and look what has happened there.
Heiki Kovalainen, Renault, 10th
It's not good when your team boss openly criticises you on your debut. Flav's comments about Kovalainen after the race may well have been meant to gee him up - as though anyone should need to be incentivised to go out and perform in their debut F1 season. What Briatore has done is add an unnecessary level of pressure.
Former lover Heidi Klum's aunt once referred to Flav as a "wrinkled old has-been" and this is a theme we will return to a little later in the season.
Kovalainen made a few mistakes at a difficult circuit as most rookies generally do their first time in Melbourne. Even last year Felipe Massa (not a rookie at the circuit) crashed two Ferraris and started murmurings at Maranello, and look at him now.
It was not a good debut, but then again the Aussie street circuit is one of the few that Giancarlo Fisichella excels at. Let's hold judgement, Mr. Wrinkles.
Robert Kubica, BMW, DNF
A good combative start from Kubica or as he's affectionately known in the P-F1 office - Lurch. By the time the first pit-stops were over he was through to fourth and it looked like we were in for another paint-swapping, wing-nudging battle with team-mate Nick Heidfeld. Until his gearbox blew. As did all the BMW "We've Got Our Reliability Sorted" headlines from after the Bahrain test.
Honda: Rubens Barrichello, 11th, Jenson Button 15th
Considering how much Honda pay Jenson Button you'd think he might be a bit more positive after races. Jenson, mate, nobody really enjoys seeing a ginger beard up close, so make it easy on us and say something less whingey while we're shielding our eyes. You may have a boss who speaks with all the boyish optimism of a Christian Youth Leader, but that's no reason to take the opposite tack.
You don't have to call the car crap - we can see it's crap.
David Coulthard, Red Bull, DNF
The more you look at David Coulthard's accident with Alex Wurz's Williams, the more you think that the toothy plankmeister should have been paying attention. That's not to say it wasn't DC's fault, it clearly was.
Except we've all seen passes where the guy in front knows there's someone fast and desperate behind and given them room, if only to keep their own car intact. Montoya and Rosberg had a similar accident in Montreal last year. JPM had put the same kind of move on Schumi earlier in the race and Michael had cleverly got out of the way. Rosberg stuck to his line and was bounced out of the race.
F1 Team Kit Designers
With all the team rebranding and new sponsorship colours for 2007, there has been some pretty rank team kit designed to match the cars.
Spyker's rear jacket logo looks like it was designed in the 1980s by Athena. Ferrari's introduction of white panels to the team kit makes it look a bit cissy. Call me a traditionalist, but I like my Ferrari kit to be Italian racing red through and through, not with lots of white, which makes it look like the ill-fated Dallara F1 team.
However even more difficult to love is the Renault team kit which looks like it was designed for a downmarket French supermarket.
McLaren's team kit is okay, an improvement on last year's orange and black which made the mechanics resemble bar staff from a homosexuell nightclub. However the single worst piece of new team uniform was worn by Ron Dennis. Again it looked straight out of a downmarket supermarket, but this time, it was the body warmer used by the staff who have to put things into the refrigerated cabinets. From Hugo Boss to Mr.Buyright in one swift step is not good.
Fun with Mark, James, Ted and Louise
We had a veritable festival of fun with the ITV commentary team this weekend and enough gems from Mark Blundell to fill his very own feature. The off-season has energised Mark "Git orf me barra! I'm a right royal cockney geezer" Blundell and sent him to a new level of performance, Steve.
Mark has now got it into his head that the word "durable" can be substituted for the word "reliable" and instead of having "reliability" issues, there were a lot of durability (the ability to endure) issues. As in:
"To be fair to Massa, Steve, he had durability problems over the qualifying. He achieved a great result compared to what was out there traffic-wise."
"The teams that finished have shown that the durability is there."
"Super Aguri look to have got their durability fixed."
James Allen had a few "I've made my mind up what I'm going to say, let's hope the facts don't contradict it." In Qualifying 2 on Saturday we had:
"The two BMWs haven't shown their hand so far..."
Heidfeld, at the time was sitting in P2 on the timesheets.
Louise Goodman showed that being all mumsy on Mothers' Day is not good for your career. She asked Ant Davidson if he "was like a kid at Christmas", when in fact he's like a kid who needs a booster seat to sit in the back of most family cars. Louise interviewed him and failed to ask the two important questions: Why did you get stuck on the line and what happened with Sutil to make your car jump up in the air?"
Not too difficult is it?
Ted Kravitz failed to ask Kimi's engineer Chris Dyer why - if his radio wasn't working - we heard Jean Todt talking to him over the radio after he'd won, and Kimi thanking the team in his own strange Finnish way.
- Andrew Davies