Last week, we took a look at our 5 moments throughout the history of the Australian GP that have come to define what is probably the biggest race in Aussie motorsport. Funnily enough, the spectacle of Sunday’s 2016 Australian Grand Prix threw up 5 of it’s own, and we thought it only right to honour all the best moments of the weekend.
1. The Calamity that Was Qualifying
The announcement of a new qualifying format a couple of weeks ago sent ripples of excitement throughout the F1 community, as the F1 Strategy Group promised to “shake up the grid” and hopefully bring about some more exciting racing on both days of the weekend. What it actually amounted to, was a complete train wreck.
Instead of eliminating cars in groups at the end of each session, a car would be knocked out every 90 seconds after a certain amount of time per lap. The inherent problem with this was the addition of the rule that now requires drivers to start the race with the same tyres they completed qualifying on, meaning that many drivers were actually left without the time to get fresh tyres on their car and complete their lap before they were eliminated.
In the end, most of them decided it wasn’t worth the time or the effort even trying, ultimately leading to massive stretches of qualifying that had literally no cars on the track, and the pole position decided a full 4 minutes before the top 8 “shootout” came to a close. As you could imagine, it won’t be back for the next round in Bahrain.
Speaking of wrecks though…
2. THAT Fernando Alonso Crash
Pretty much everyone watching the race collectively held their breath as Fernando Alonso clipped the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez, flying into the gravel at around 300km/h and generally making a massive wreck of his car. It was possibly one of the most violent and dramatic crashes in modern F1 history, and testament to the safety of the cars now that Alonso walked away okay.
After his McLaren came to a halt, Alonso’s first thought was getting out of the car as quickly as possible so his mother knew he was okay. After that, he had half an hour to cool off and have a (presumably) very long shower, before doing interviews in 4 different languages about how he had nearly just died. What a class act.
3. Max Verstappen Goes Full Max Verstappen
Everyone knows that 18 year-old Max Verstappen is probably a future world champion. However, everyone now knows he has the attitude and competitiveness of a current world champion, something that truly shines when he’s stuck behind his team mate in traffic.
Throughout the race, a series of increasingly frantic radio messages were broadcast throughout the STR team, as Verstappen demanded that Carlos Sainz make way for him so he could have a crack at those in front. When that order was apparently refused by Sainz himself, Verstappen had some choice words for his team.
4. Haas F1 Pick Up their First Points Ever
Haas F1 entered their first ever GP with the weight of expectation very much off their shoulders. What they accomplished was nothing short of spectacular.
Starting from 19th on the grid after a qualifying performance that many thought would be indicative of their season, Haas’ Romain Grosjean soared through the field to finish 6th. Many experts heralded it as the drive of the day, and if there wasn’t any expectation on the newcomers going into the weekend past, there certainly is now.
5. The 2016 Banter Train Starts
The state of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s (whose working relationship on the whole has been frosty at best) friendship is pretty much always up for debate, but it’s becoming an increasing trend that if you put them in a room with Sebastian Vettel, lols will occur.
Smashing every stereotype about the German attitude towards humour, Vettel thought it only right to reenact the infamous “hat toss” event that pretty much summed up the last 12 months between the Mercedes team mates. Did Rosberg notice? Who knows, he just won. Did he care? Again, who knows, he just won.
I don’t know what it is that’s made Vettel into the funniest man on the grid over the last year or so, but needless to say I want more of it.
Featured image: Imgur