Monaco marked the first appearance of the purple marked ultrasoft Pirelli tyre at a race weekend. Introduced at the start of this season and initially billed as a qualifying tyre, the compound seems decidedly similar to a supersoft in both pace and longevity. An assertion supported by Haas and Renault’s decision to take just soft and ultrasoft tyres to the Canadian Grand Prix, avoiding the supersoft completely.
Daniel Ricciardo certainly capitalised on home advantage last weekend, as he took his Red Bull RB12 to fourth position. However, being in Australia had no bearing on the power output of the TAG Heuer branded Renault powertrain, as Ricciardo was seemingly able to compete on the straights – something the team have been unable to do in this era of the sport.
Having finished just 24 seconds off the lead despite being on a decidedly compromised strategy, Red Bull seem set for a stronger 2016 campaign.
Rosberg capitalises on Ferrari’s strategic mistake
The 2016 F1 season is underway and some things never change. Mercedes achieved their second consecutive Australian Grand Prix one-two finish, while Sebastian Vettel occupied the final step of the podium for Ferrari. However, read only the final result at your peril, as this year’s season opener was a thriller. With Ferrari matching their pre-season performance and challenging Mercedes down to the wire, it is game on in 2016.
300 races, 19 seasons and 35 race victories amassed by talents such as Rene Arnoux, Alain Prost and Fernando Alonso, amounting to two drivers titles both claimed by the latter. Renault is a works team with an illustrious history and with us F1 fans being a nostalgic bunch, their return to the grid in 2016 is significant.
Now back at the Enstone base where they enjoyed title success in 2005 and 2006, the French marque will hope that they can rekindle that achievement over a stint in the sport which will span until 2024 at least.
Following a tortuous 2014 driving an E22 which was notoriously unpredictable, both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were hopeful that 2015 would see Enstone return to the upper echelon of the field. While the successor to last season’s twin-tusked machine is a marked improvement, the E23 is yet to show any of the race winning credentials that were possessed by the Lotus’ that propelled Kimi Raikkonen to his 19th and 20th career wins. This fact, combined with a heap of misfortune and occasional driver errors means that Lotus have a right to feel a touch disappointed with their points tally at the halfway mark.
The second and final day of in-season testing at Barcelona in 2015 saw Lotus’ Jolyon Palmer secure a mini victory, finishing the day fastest after a late effort on the supersoft tyre saw him usurp Mercedes’ pilot for the day, Pascal Wehrlein. After missing yesterday’s running, in which he was billed to drive at Force India, due to illness, the German recorded 137 laps, once again underlining the reliability of the W06. It has been a great week for Mercedes in general – but then again – its been a great season so far…