It’s hard to believe that the 2013 Formula 1 season starts this weekend. The excitement starts with the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park street based course. The teams are working out the last bugs and trying to get maximum practice time. The first two practice sessions are already behind us and guess who is on top? Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber of RedBull team clocked the top two times in both practices. Will this season be another RedBull team runaway success?
Well it’s difficult to say this early because most teams are holding their cards very close and trying not to reveal their strengths or weaknesses until the last possible moment. Albert Park race course does not have very complex layout, but it is a street based track which means it can be bumpy and slick. All race cars will be running near maximum downforce to help counteract the slick nature of the surface. The new Pirelli tire compounds are another unknown.
If you only judge by the these initial race practice sessions, then you see RedBull showing strength. Vettel was four tenths ahead of the next team, which was Nico Rosberg with Mercedes AMG. Lewis Hamilton had a transmission issue during second practice and was 7th. Behind Nico were the boys from Lotus, Raikkonen and Grosjean respectively. Then came Alonso and Massa of Ferrari. Interestingly, McLaren’s Button and Perez did not even make into the top ten. Button came in 11th in practice.
If we are to believe these results, then the pecking order goes RedBull, Mercedes, Lotus, Ferrari, and Force India. However, don’t discount McLaren as they repeatedly shown ability to adjust, enhance, and improve. Also, Ferrari have been bullish during the off-season, so they might have an ace up their sleeve.
This weekend will be very exciting! Sebastian Vettel may have an upper hand, but Mark Webber will be trying his hardest to win his first home Australian Grand Prix.
Check out this TFLcar coverage of the 2012 Pikes Peak Hill Climb:
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, software engineer, writer, and reporter. He has been writing and reporting at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or scouring the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.