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Next Event Starts in:
3hrs 24min - MotoGP Qualifying
Apr 11, 2024
Brendan Burns

This race allowed the top of the grid to really get shook up, as Max Verstappen’s surprising retirement in Lap 3 left the competition for P1 to be quite fierce. First let’s cover some highlights before moving on to things to continue thinking of as we prepare for our next race in Japan.

  • Ferrari had an almost perfect weekend, finishing P1 and P2 for Sainz and Leclerc respectively. This is delivering on the potential that we have seen in the prior races, as they seemed itching to capitalize on the first mistake that the dominant Red Bull team would make. And Verstappen’s retirement, plus Perez’s penalization after qualifying provided them the golden opportunity to show the world that they can compete with the previous construction championship winners.
  • McLaren came to Melbourne with some hesitation, as they predicted difficulties in the race, dependent on their straight line speed. However, they exceeded their own personal expectations and secured their first podium at Australia in almost 10 years, as Lando Norris secured P3 and Piastri P4. I had suspected that McLaren was going to be a competitive team this season and seeing their performance in this GP has my hopes soaring for the rest of the season.
  • Haas additionally maintained their momentum from the previous race and managed to get both drivers into the points, getting Hulkenburg and Magnussen in P9 and P10 respectively. Should they continue to challenge the mid-field teams, such as Williams and Team RB, Haas could prove to have a stellar season in store. 
  • Mercedes encountered some serious pitfalls this race, with an early retirement from Lewis Hamilton around lap 16 due to a power unit failure, and a shock wreck on the penultimate lap from George Russell, after an early braking Fernando Alonso sent him off the track and into the wall, only for his car to come to a stop in the middle of the raceway. Alonso was penalized, dropping him from 6th to 8th, but the Mercedes team can’t help but feel the sting of a zero point weekend. some text
  • Additionally, I’d like to comment on how we are seeing yet another issue from the Mercedes Power unit, which plagued many of the teams during the first race in Bahrain. I believe it is still too soon to make any clear statement either way, but it appears as if Mercedes has not truly been able to resolve whatever issues arose, unless this most recent failure is simply unrelated. Something to keep an eye on for certain.

Before you go, some final thoughts to kick around before the next race.

  • Kick Sauber continues to have issues in the pits, which makes them three for three races in terms of mistakes during pit stops. It’s unsure what is the root cause of the issues, but they will continue to be held back if they cannot fix them soon.
  • Williams is another team left feeling the sting, as they asked Sargeant to give his car to Albon after his crash in qualifying, only for Albon to be unable to break into the points. And when the race featured three retirements from teams normally within the top 10, the opportunity for Williams to gain some points was wide open, only for them to miss the mark.
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