Australia GP is turning to be a very interesting one, thats my theory about having more competitive cars going for the top of the grid, no days we not only have cars that can follow closer thanks to their new design but we also have teams that are improving, getting stronger in the one lap and over all.
Teams that were at the bottom of the grid are now getting better due to their car improvements or a new driver, in the case of HAAS Nico Hulkenberg a guy who has plenty of experience arrive to the team who has a better car waiting for him and we already see the results, he did a good Quali staying on the top 10, this is his third race on the team and already making it out of Q3, consider one thing is Qualification Session and Race is totally different, lets hope this time he can do good at both.
Last year Albon manage to finish the Australia GP with a great strategy of a single pit stop going for the long run, this year they have one of the fastest car on the straight and this track benefit their car with now four DRS zones this could be the fastest Australia GP ever in terms of the over all speed that the cars will have. Albon is another well experience coming from Red Bull as second driver to now drive for Williams, the straight speed helps him a lot to survive the three Qualification Sessions and his car didn't look like it was sliding a lot meaning its staying put to the ground but its not as fast as the Red Bull or Mercedes on the corners where the difference makes the most.
Ferrari drivers have look similar to Williams, fast on the straight but they cant get the balance they need to outperform Red Bull or even Aston Martin, they were going off track constantly, the rear acting up constantly the car tails having drivers to step out of their lap. Their car does have the power and they didn't have any mechanical problems during the weekend, so far, but as I mention on my previous post all Ferrari based teams had to change engine for this race meaning they do have some reliability problems as this is only the third race of the year, waiting 20 more races and already on their second engine that's not good news on the short term. Both Charles and Carlos look fast at times but it was always a balance problem having them to either step out or just screwing their lap and not been able to stay on the top 5.
My prediction based on the results of practice sessions was that Russell would be part of the top three, to be more specific I had him at third place but my guy, jk Russell is not a driver of my preference, decided to be second place followed by Sr. Hamilton, could this be the return of Mercedes to fight for the top?? Last week Mercedes find out some awful errors their team made during simulations and the wind tunnel and may be they have now found some tweaks that can help their car in the short term. If we compare Aston Martin with Alonso because to be honest Lance is no match for Russell or Hamilton, but if we compare both teams head to head Mercedes in theory should be faster because they have more access to the design of the engine, drive train and suspension, same parts that Aston Martin buys from Mercedes. As Hamilton said once "their car if 50% ours, we should be faster" may be this will be the race that makes that difference and get Mercedes fight back at the top of the grid, in theory if Ferrari and Mercedes could get at least to Aston Martin performance both speed and reliability the championship would be so much better having at least from 5 - 8 drivers fighting for the top 5, right now the Quali ended very close for the first 7 spots, very very small gap between them and I love that Mercedes manage to get back pace and took both second and third for the Quali.
The obvious is that Max would dominate Quali, right now he is from another planet flying around the track on his Red Bull space ship. Max had a few moments where he was going to the edge of the track and not because of his preference, he also had some balance issues but Max is just from another planet and can get the RB19 to outperform the entire grid even when its not at 100%.
Sergio "Checo" Perez had his worst weekend so far for 2023, having brake problems all weekend he got out of track on Q1 and would start last on the grid for this race, he couldn't make a single lap, he went out of track on turn one and landed on the gravel making the car to get stuck, lucky he didnt crash the car but he now have no other chance to fix the setup of the car and who knows if he will have same problems during the race.
Now that Quali is done I think my race predictions stands with Max, Alonso and George, I dont want to change it just because Mercedes made two and three on the Quali, Aston Martin so far has show to be more consistent than Mercedes they have also been good in Quali in the past and when the race come their performance goes off the cliff, considering that the pits also makes a huge difference and Alonso is a very well experience driver its more unlikely that Aston Martin makes a mistake during race. Max nothing really to say about him, he is dominant but he did mention the downshifts are bit slow and its something he has since last race.