A dejected-looking Jenson Button finished 14th and said: “I don’t think we did a good job today in terms of making the right calls – probably the worst from us for a few races.
1) McLaren have a better car but still make poor calls
But we’ve learned from that and we won’t make them again.” He added: “We put the supersoft [tyres] on at the end of the race when everyone else put the back-up ones on. We shouldn’t have done that. But we got unlucky with the red flag. I was very happy that Fernando [Alonso] was safe and sound but it destroyed our race, for both our cars.” But he remained upbeat when he said: “Going to Bahrain we have a few upgrades and a better understanding of the tyres, so we’re looking for a much better result.”
2) Jolyon Palmer is the real deal
The rookie Renault driver, who finished an impressive 11th in his first race, was expected to come off second best against his more experienced team-mate, Kevin Magnussen. But he was the more impressive in both qualifying and race mode, showing doggedness and aggression. He said: “I was pretty happy with it. I was really zoned in for the weekend. We really maximised what the car was capable of in qualy and the race. To be wheel to wheel with Fernando Alonso for part of it, and Valtteri Bottas and the two Torro Rossos, and scrapping well and hard, was good fun. It won’t need much for us to be fighting among the points.”
Verstappen finished a frustrated 10th, a place behind his team-mate, Carlos Sainz. Here are some of his radio rants to his team – swearing removed: “Can I try to get past? Let me drive … this takes too long … come on we have to do something … it’s a joke.” Part of Verstappen’s anger stemmed from his inability to get past Palmer for a long while. And near the end of the race he nudged the back of Sainz and went into a spin. His final position was a disappointment considering he started in fifth place.
4) New team Haas have real midfield potential
Many tipped the US team to be in the bottom two this season, along with Manor. But Romain Grosjean was a surprising sixth on his debut for the team at Albert Park. His team-mate, Esteban Gutiérrez, went out after crashing with Fernando Alonso but Grosjean’s performance was a real eye-catcher. The team principal, Gunther Steiner, said: “You aim high and you want points, but after qualifying [19th and 20th] we didn’t expect to finish sixth. A deserved sixth, on merit, because the speed is there, it is pretty cool. This is beyond our expectations. Being competitive with the other cars is more satisfying than taking points.”
5) Lewis Hamilton remains grumpy
“It’s very rare that in our conversations anything I say is taken any notice of,” Lewis Hamilton said. “There’s no point in me being there. At the top end there is way too many people making decisions who don’t understand what it is like in the car. And all the people who make decisions have different opinions. The decisions that have been made haven’t made the racing any better.” The increased ban on radio messages made no difference to him, he claimed. He said: “Honestly it was no different to any other race. I had as much information as I’ve ever wanted. I had a little bit more control of the stuff that I do in the car, which I prefer, on the engine side. Otherwise there was no difference. I had to figure out my strategy just as I would have been last year. It really didn’t make any different whatsoever.”
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