Over the course of last weekends Australian Grand Prix it became obvious that Lewis Hamilton has thrown down the gauntlet by crushing his teammate, Nico Rosberg. From start to finish throughout the weekend. Do you hear the Fat lady warming up?
Lap times for the world champion had been in his favor since Free Practice 3 when he was able to set a fastest time 0.7 of a second faster than his German team mate. That time difference, 0.7 of a second, seems minuscule to the average person but in Formula One, it’s an eternity.
Doubtless Rosberg’s engineers and car chief were scrambling to find where Hamilton found that much of a difference.
Qualifying is where your actions and lap times impact your strategy going into race mode. After setting the fastest time in Q1, confidence was settling in with Lewis Hamilton.
When the last qualifying session came around, Rosberg was able to cross the line ahead of Hamilton with a 1:26.921. Lewis came in right behind at 1:26.327 to snatch pole position. The demoralizing effect was Rosberg is clear. He was dominated at the first race of the 2015 season handily by Lewis Hamilton. A third World Championship is likely. At least in 2014 they were neck and neck. No more.
No one should be lulled into thinking that these two are friends when we see a handshake or a “bro” hug after one or the other does well. These two teammates doubtlessly have disdain for on another and, if given the chance, would tear each others throats out
Although it looks like a repeat of last season, if Hamilton keeps the form he’s shown, it’s all over and they won’t really have to act as if they’re still in boarding school etiquette class.
Race day was a reminder for the rest of the teams just how superior this team is compared to the rest of the field. As soon as those lights went out, the pole sitter was able to rocket away while leaving his teammate to eat dust and choke on it. By lap 10, only a few cars remained, a result of several not making it to the grid and Valtteri Bottas being very ill.
Throughout most the race the two drivers were putting in fastest lap after fastest lap. All it really amounted to was Rosberg trying to catch Hamilton and Hamilton speeding up when the gap became unsatisfactory to him.
While there were only 13 cars left in the race, Rosberg set the fast laps in the early stages of the race, putting Hamilton on edge as he was chasing him down. When it came down to just 11 cars due to spin offs or mostly reliability issues, the two cars were more than 30 seconds ahead of everyone else. Almost exactly the same gap as 2014, only fewer cars and more disgruntled team owners and drivers.
It wasn’t until Hamilton took the checkered flag in Melbourne, that reality was starting to set in. Who can actually stop this team? Who can even stop Lewis? No one at the moment and probably no one this year. Bernie Eccelstone was right, and that’s hard to put into print.
Winning the race put Lewis ahead of Rosberg by seven points. Those seven points will come back to haunt the man who finished second. Many times over the last decade the winner of the championship was by 1 second.
You could take this whole idea of having two teammates battle it out all season long, but I will always come down to the same conclusion. Lewis has more potential than Nico at the wheel of a Mercedes F1 car and no one else has the Mercedes package.
In two weeks time The Malaysian Grand Prix is Lewis’s advantage, having won it a year ago, place your bets people.