2016 Australian Grand Prix
- Sunday, March 20, 2016
- Rolex Australian Grand Prix
- F1 World Championship
Nico Rosberg led a Mercedes 1-2 at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, but Ferrari's pace will have the SIlver Arrows worried: Sebastian Vettel looked on course for victory until he lost out at a restart after Fernando Alonso's enormous 200mph crash
OK, so Mercedes won, Nico Rosberg making it four in a row to start the new season. But it probably wasn’t panning out that way. Ferrari had every reason to believe the red flags brought out by Fernando Alonso’s huge accident after colliding with Esteban Gutiérrez cost Sebastian Vettel the race. The Ferrari’s rocket-like getaway – and the correspondingly mediocre starts of the front-row Mercs – had put the Scuderia 1-2 in the opening seconds and it looked like that was going to be the foundation of the result.
It wasn’t an absolute certainty it would have played out that way. Rosberg had just undercut his way past the second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen and was within 5sec of Seb with two-thirds of the race still to go – and the Mercedes probably was an ultimately faster car than the Ferrari. But its advantage was certainly nowhere near what it had been in qualifying the day before – and with track position king around an Albert Park track on which it’s particularly difficult to overtake, you’d reckon Vettel would probably have had it covered.
But then on the 200mph run down to the turn three braking zone, the race’s complexion changed. Alonso – slipstreaming Gutiërrez’s Haas, Esteban defensively in the middle of the track, Fernando bobbing around on the inside – switched across to the outside at just the moment Esteban was easing that way to take up his line. The gap was no longer there, the McLaren’s right-front hit the Haas left-rear and an aircraft-type accident unfolded with extraordinary violence, the McLaren rebounding into the wall on the left, then rolling as it dug into the gravel trap before rearing into the air once more, ending its flight a crumpled wreck on its side in the wall. Amazingly, Alonso was able to crawl out essentially unharmed, a fantastic testimony to modern safety standards.
Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria
Temporary road course
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004), 1m24.125, 141.005 mph, F1, 2004
First Race1953 Australian Grand Prix