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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Good Opening to 2006 season

Fernando Alonso saw through resurgent Ferrari's challenge to start the 2006 campaign of his title defence in style.All in all the race was delight for racing fan who got to see lots of on track action,overtaking moves and lots of pit-stop action as well.
While Mclaren did a good job in recovering from qualifying mishap of Kimi , Rivals will be on watch for Williams duo who gave lots of smile to Sir Frank Williams

Drivers Results :
01 F. Alonso Renault 1:29:46.206 10
02 M. Schumacher Ferrari + 1.246 8
03 K. Räikkönen McLaren + 19.360 6
04 J. Button Honda + 19.992 5
05 JP. Montoya McLaren + 37.048 4
06 M. Webber Williams + 41.932 3
07 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:03.043 2
08 C. Klien Red Bull + 1:06.771 1
09 F. Massa Ferrari + 1:09.907
10 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:15.541
11 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1:25.997
12 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1 laps
13 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
14 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1 laps
15 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
16 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
17 T. Monteiro Midland F1 + 2 laps
18 T. Sato Super Aguri + 4 laps
19 Y. Ide Super Aguri + 20 laps
20 J. Villeneuve BMW + 28 laps
21 G. Fisichella Renault + 36 laps
22 C. Albers Midland F1 + 57 laps

Team Standings:
1. Renault 10
2. McLaren-Mercedes 10
3. Ferrari 8
4. Honda 5
5. Williams-Cosworth 5
7. Red Bull-Ferrari 1

Tyre War:
Michelin 26
Bridgestone 13

Renault: The 2005 champions start new season where they left in Shanghai.And ist same for their two pilots. While Alonso saw off Schumi's challenge.Fisi couldn't repeat his 2005 Season opener win. While he retired with hydraulics trouble, 36 laps to go .his outburst on botched pit-stop got good TV coverage.

Mclaren: Kimi continued where he left in 2005 in a way starting from back of grid having not posted times in qualifiers. But this proved to be a boon in disguise perfect one stop strategy saw him getting the last place on the podium and beat Montoya .Montoya who had a quiet race after starting with a bang by overtaking Button on Race start. He didn’t challenge Button when he overtook him twice during the race. While it is apparent that Both Mclarens where heavy on fuel Two pit stop strategy got Montoya out on fifth position after his final pit stop and he drove safe to bring his car home with 4 points for team rather than taking risks when Button challenged his postion twice in race. All in all Mclaren will be happy that the car is on pace with the rivals and if life they claim their engine woes have been cured ,they can look forward to good season ahead.

Ferrari: Schummi brought smiles and tears of joy back to Ferrari Garage with his second place finish.Massa and Ferrari crew didn’t do each other great favor.Nerves got better of Massa when Fernando challenged him on Turn 1 when he lost control of car and in doing so flat spotted his tyres, Ferrari pit crew who gave Schummi brilliant pitstops ,messed when Massa came in for tyre changes and result was Massa ended up lowly after he emerged from pit. From then on it was all driving thru traffic and ending up ninth shows that Ferrari had potential for double podium finish. But never the less the team has lots of positives to take from this race

Honda : While so much was said about Honda and the form they showed in Winter World championships ( Winter testing), Button was nervous on race start and gave way to JPM and Fernando make most out of that JPM move on Button, then while for sometime Rubens got better of Button , but mechanical troubles saw Rubens losing his position through out the race, while Button was left to fight with two Mclaren cars in quest for podium finish. Toyota did not do much favor to him by blocking his way out of his final pit stop which resulted in Kimi making to the final podium. Honda have to look over their shoulders especially with form of the next team discussed here

Williams: Based on form shown by teams in their winter testing , it was speculated that Renault, Honda,Mclaren and Ferrari will be fighting for the battle at top while the other question was for the Middle pack who would be leading the way.From what Bahrain showed us Williams are the team to be , Cosworth power in back of car and two good drivers fetched the team 5 valuable points from the first race. Williams has been an all time personal favorite & I have been always rooting for this team , Looks like racing fan like me has one more reason to root for this team and the reason is Rookie Nico Rosberg !!! while he has advantage of track experience of all F1 tracks on calendar with GP2 racing title under his belt , he showed nerves of steel while taking on F1 experienced drivers like Coulthard and Klien. Showing true racers attitude , he was just not content in beating DC to grab eighth place, he stretched himself further to beat Red Bull of Christian Klein to take his tally of debut points to two. I am looking forward to hear more from this bloke in time to come !!
Red Bull: for a team whose winter testing was screwed up by heating problems of Ferrari powered engines, the team had good race ,Klien drove the car well and DC who thanks to the new qualifying format got chance to fuel to brim to start his race, stayed on track for more and gained lots of places and was in position to get 7-8 place finish for Red Bull , but not for the new kid on the block and if not for the Cosworth power. I am sure Redbull bosses must be feeling same way like Peter Sauber whose Ferrari powered cars really never took off in races.
Toyota: After being first car to release their 2006 car and showing initial promise in winter test , Toyota are back where they were in latter half of 2005 season ,middle of pack, new qualifying format has done no favor to their One lap specialist pilot Trulli and end of race Ralf Schumacher and Trulli find themselves ending 14 & 16 respectively. Unless they come up with some dramatic improvements Toyota should be in middle of the pack or end of the mid pack on their current form

BMW Sauber : While old partners had lots of cheers,same was not case for BMW camp.Both Heidfield and Villeneuve drow decent race , and the car showed a lots of promise , BMW did not carry much from Bahrain apart from telemetric data and Villeneuve memory of spectacular fire to his car on track which saw him belly out on lap 29

Midland: are where they were in 2005 under Jordan banner, While Montiero continues to bring car home at lowly 17 place finish his team mate Albers returned to hut on lap 1 after having initially started race from pit lane

Torro Rosso : While both their rookies (if we consider Luizzi as rookie) ended up 11-13 position their straight line speed and that they are ahead of BMW, Toyota MF1, is surely going to have their rivals raising their voices over the detuned V10 races the team is running their cars.So We have more off track stories to chew on this one for sure

Super Aguri : They came they saw , they ended up as mobile Chicanes, Best part was Taku-San bringing the car home without hurting himself or anyother car on the track . Partner Ide saw his F1 debut eventful ,first a drive through penalty thanks to goof up of his mechanics.Next in line was he lost his radio contacts and accidentally came for refuel when it was call for Taku-San. And then when we saw his car getting stalled and end of race, we see him gain on track to ‘gain’ valuable track experience!? What does Bernie and his cronies Charlie and others have to say about this , These guys are potential hazard on track to themselves and other cars. Comedy was not yet over when after initial gaffe , Taku pitted again the fuel rig proved faulty , meaning Aguri had to go begging for one in the pitlane to get their driver some fuel. If they are not ready FIA could have held them off for another year , just because the Japs are distressed not to see Taku-San on grid ,is not reason to hurry this hotchpotch on grid.

Overall good start to season and watch out for Williams team and their brilliant rookie .

Next week Circus comes to Kuala Lumpur and I will be having my second trackside F1 race experience



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