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It’s been a long time coming, but Formula 1 racing is finally back – and yet, there was still plenty of nonsense around the race worth remarking on too.
Pre-race in the paddock is an interesting affair. With more hangers-on than a coatrack, the teams’ hospitality suites are absolutely teeming, and it’s fun to watch people pretend to be important.
Case-in-point, former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland walks in with two bodyguards, each holding an umbrella to shade her from the scorching 24 degree sun. I guess it goes to show you can be just as much a diva as Beyonce, with only half the talent.
Further down the paddock, I ran into Haas owner Gene Haas (I wonder if that’s connected?), who was in the midst of enjoying the airshow put on by the RAAF boys. At least temporarily they’d ditched the jets for the propeller planes.
I was happy to take it in with him, although he made a good point that I should enjoy the sonic booms while I can, as they’ll stop flying so low once the inevitable bird-strike induced accident happens. Not gonna lie, he was a pretty cool dude.
It was also amusing to see Stoffel Vandoorne presented with a cake for his 25th birthday – I’m sure he would’ve enjoyed if he were able to eat any sugar, and also get the bitter taste of driving for McLaren out of his mouth.
Anyway, onto the race. As far as racing goes, it was, well… not great.
Thankfully we got a combined strategy cock-up/road block for Hamilton’s Mercedes, which made for an exciting result, but it’s hard to be excited about the on-track action going forward.
Sure, we got Ocon’s fantastic move on Alonso but it was largely a non-starter, and Bottas’ admission in the press-conference that the aero now affects cars up-to 2.5 seconds behind gives particular cause for concern.
Still, it was nice to see Ferrari get up, and you could tell from the looks on the faces of the team in parc ferme what it meant to them.
If Formula 1 can deliver both a foil for Mercedes, and a Vettel who isn’t insufferably miserable we’ll all be better off and on both counts, this was a promising start.
Melbourne Diary by Ben Stevens at Albert Park for GrandPrix247