What to watch out for in the Australian Grand Prix

By on Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Australian Grand Prix heralds a new era in Formula One, with the introduction of the DRS and the return of KERS. Here's what to look out for during tomorrow's race.

Battle at the front

  • McLaren's pace has certainly surprised everyone, with Hamilton lining up 2nd and Button behind him. There is a fear though that if Hamilton can't pass Vettel at the start then it's race over. Even if he does pass him - and no polesitter at Melbourne has relinquished the lead into Turn 1 since 2001 - it won't be a simple task. McLaren's reliability is still uncertain and the RB7 is on rails. Webber's best result here is 5th in 2002 and 2005 and will be looking to improve his dismal home record.

What can Ferrari do?

  • Pre-season, the bets were on Ferrari being closest to Red Bull. Whilst the team has rarely excelled at Albert Park in recent years, it hasn't been a good weekend so far. Alonso is 5th, 1.4s off the pace with Massa 8th having struggled around the street circuit. Alonso is aiming for the podium, but he went from 24th to 4th here last year.

Contrasting Renault fortunes

  • Petrov lines up 6th with Heidfeld in 18th. If the Russian can stay out of trouble and finish in the points, it will certainly be a great result for him. Heidfeld coming through the field could be one to watch.

Turn One

  • A combination of excitement after a long off-season as well as the layout of the first section means that the chance of a Turn 1 collision is high at Albert Park. Fisichella flew in 2008, Webber was spun in 2009 whilst Alonso & Schumacher came together last year. Not to mention Ralf Schumacher going flying in 2002

The tyres

  • The reality is that no-one really knows what will happen. There may be 2 stops, 3 stops or perhaps even 4.


  • The DRS claimed its first victim in qualifying when Adrian Sutil used his prematurely and spun. In the race it will only be allowed if a driver is within a second of the car ahead at Turn 14, after 2 laps of the race. It may be interesting to see how much - if any - it helps overtaking. KERS is back and an interesting speculation is emerging over whether Red Bull has a 'start only' system which means they will only use KERS at the start.

It's going to be a cracking 58 laps.

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