Read some ramblings from Sam in Riddle about the rumblings in Australia as the Formula One 2015 season starts to roll
‘I feel ready. I think as a driver you get stronger with every season, so I plan to be better than last year.’ Lewis Hamilton
This Sunday five red lights will illuminate, followed by a vacuous moment of anticipation, the calm before the storm, then the lights will go out, launch systems will engage and the 2015 Formula One season will roar away from the line like a highly strung and very hungry lion.
I read somewhere once that we process responses to our peripheral vision far quicker than we can react to visual signals we are looking directly at. It’s something to do with our prey flight responses. I’ve wondered ever since if F1 drivers sit on the grid staring down the track to the first corner with the light gantry hanging in their peripheral vision. It’s a trick I’ve tried when I’m having secret traffic light races against unsuspecting fellow motorists, but I don’t often get to do it in a multi-million pound, carbon composite, silver rocket ship.
Lewis Hamilton will be sitting at the lights of the Australian Grand Prix in his gleaming Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid ready to defend his second World Drivers’ Championship. The Mercedes Silver Arrows dominated the field last year with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fighting nose to nose for the championship; sometime a little too close for comfort for Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. Their cars collided going into Les Combes on lap two at Spa in the Belgian Grand Prix which lead to Hamiltons early retirement from the race. After an acrimonious although entertaining period for us fans, the pair have kissed and made up. At least until the points start to flow this season.
I’m really pleased to see Jenson Button will be battling it out again on the track this year after a troubled time last season with an ailing car and the sad passing of his father John Button. Jenson didn’t even know if would get a seat in the McLaren this year until well after the garages had been closed and tided away for the winter. I think he’ll be back with a clear head and nothing to loose. As a former World Champion he doesn’t need to justify his seat but I think he’ll feel he has a big fat something to prove. He can sit calmly in the shadow of his new team mate, supremo, Fernando Alonso waiting for a classic Button strategy moment to slip through and surprise everyone. Although it remains to be seen how the troubled McLaren will fair. In an attempt to turn around their falling fortunes the Woking based team have turned to a Honda engine as they did between 1988 and 1992 but this has already been plagued with reliability problems and has been off the pace through preseason testing. Fernando Alonso really summed up McLaren’s problems when he crashed during testing in Barcelona on 22 February. He sustained concussion and has thankfully made a full recovery however, on the advice of his doctors he will miss the opening grand prix and Kevin Magnussen will take his place in the McLaren.
Ferrari will be hoping for better results with this years car which they report is more suited to the driving skills of veteran driver Kimi Raikkonen and his new team mate Sebastian Vettel.
In the Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo will be pushing especially hard to win on home turf after last years disappointment in Australia with disqualification from second place on the podium for a fuel flow rate infringement in the Red Bull.
Top images: Lewis Hamilton relaxing in Melbourne, Australia and below at preseason testing the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 W06 Hybrid in Barcelona. Images from Riddle magazine kindly supplied by Mercedes-Benz, copyright Daimler