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Too many zeroes spoil the till
Milan overcome Liverpool
Arsenal, Barca bow out
Melbourne clinches double in style
New Connex timetable kicks in
The Finals swansong
McLarens rule in Monaco
Night race a non-starter
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Massa was injured last year in accident but he is back now for Ferrari and is currently lying seventh in the driver's championships.
There was a rumour last month that suggested that Red Bull's Mark Webber was going to replace Massa at Ferrari and this contract extensions will end those rumours.
Massa currently has 67 points to his name whilst team-mate Fernando Alonso has 79.
I think this is good news for F1 fans everywhere because it doesn't make sense to ignore the world's biggest economy and the many F1 fans in the US.
Also there are now new teams from the US and I think its good for them to have a home race.
A new purpose built circuit in Austin will stage the race from 2012 to 2021.
Button won at the same circuit last year, a win that started a series of wins that helped him clinch the driver's title.
When the race begun I didn't imagine Button winning it especially as he started fourth on the grid behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
I still think however, that had Vettel not retired he would have won the race because at the time of his retirement he had a healthy lead.
After the procession of Bahrain in the first race of the season, Albert Park produced a race with action from start to finish.
I think the F1 management may have wished that this would have been a good first race for the season.
Joining Button on the podium were Renault's Robert Kubica and Ferrari's Felipe Massa.
Kubica started the race ninth on the grid and I think it was a good drive for him to hold off the Ferrari's to get second place and maintain it to the end.
Massa was just in front of his team-mate Alonso, Mercedes GP Nico Rosberg and former champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish sixth.
The clash between Hamilton and Webber made Hamilton drop one place to sixth and I think this is a race the former champion could have finished higher.
I think it was good to see Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi get points and behind him was Williams' Rubens Barrichello and the last two points places went to Webber and seven time champion Michael Schumacher.
I think Webber made far too many mistakes and maybe it was the pressure of this being his home grand prix.
The new points system is good because winning a race is now very crucial because you get a 7 point cushion from second place compared to two in the last system.
Also going to tenth place means there is a lot to fight for even for cars in twelfth position because they need to recover two place to at least get a point.
The next race will be at Sepang next weekend.
There is a lot to looked forward to this season with three new teams on the grid as the fourth one failed to get ready on time.
There has also been some interesting driver movements with champion Jenson Button making the move to McLaren and former champion Fernando Alonso moving to Ferrari.
The Canadian Grand prix will be back on the calendar after missing out in 2009. The South Korean grand prix has also been added to the calendar which brings another new circuit.
Also like has happened over the last few years, there has been some rule changes regarding refueling and there will be a new points system.
The changes could make the season more interesting and I think the teams who will adapt quicker will be at an advantage.
Last season Ferrari didn't look good and showed glimpses of the team that had challenged for the title the season beforein very few races. The season was made worse by the injury suffered by Felipe Massa.
I expect Ferrari to be more competitive this season now that their driver lineup consists of Massa and Alonso.
McLaren signed up champion Button and so in their stable they will have both drivers who have won the championship before. They will be the only team with that privilege and so a lot will be expected from them.
I think McLaren finished the year strongly and if they can pick up the new season from there then they should surely win either the drivers' championship or constructors title.
I think a lot will also depend on the relationship between Hamilton and Button and if it doesn't become like the Hamilton/Alonso team then they will have their best foot forward.
Brawn GP who won the driver's title were bought by Mercedes and the team has been renamed Mercedes GP.
In their ranks they will have former champion Michael Schumacher and I am interested to see how Michael will go.
If Michael still has got his old magic then Mercedes could be one of the strongest contenders. I have no doubt that they will have one of the fastest cars on the grid and the team has some real potential.
Nothing has changed at Red Bull from last season to this season in terms of their drivers. Red Bull finished strongly last season and Sebastian Vettel challenged Button for the title and so I expect Red Bull to be one of the most competitive teams on the grid this season.
Its hard to tell with Williams but now they will have Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg as their drivers. Barrichello will bring in lots of experience to the team and whilst they will challenge from race to race I cannot see them challenging over the course of 19 races.
Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov will lineup for Renault this season and just like Williams I think Renault will be here and there.
Toro Rosso, BMW Sauber and Force India are the only other old teams left and it would be good for these teams to score some points but it will not surprising to see them finish the season without a single point.
Turning to the new teams, its very hard to know what to expect from these new teams until after a few races.
So far I think Virgin Racing and Lotus look impressive but whether that translates to getting points here and there I don't know.
Hispania Racing will have a line up of drivers without any F1 experience in Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna and I think they will be playing catch-up for most of the season.
I cannot wait for the new season to start and I hope there will be lots of interesting races throughout the year.
The team name aside, the team is still announce who the drivers will be even now with ten days to go before the Bahrain race.
Another new team US F1 may not even be on the grid in Bahrain and maybe the rest of the year.
It seems like these two new teams are finding it difficult but I think they had a lot of time to prepare for the season and should have been ready by now.
I would like to see the new teams being competitive otherwise there would no point having more teams but with the new ones well behind the established ones.
I hope that the Hispania team will announce its drivers soon and get ready for Bahrain.
I should however point out the other two new teams Lotus and Virgin seem to be getting ready and prepared which is good.
Their driver lineups some time ago and they managed to sign Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen for Lotus and Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi for Virgin.
I thought that they were going to change Alguersuari and look for a more experienced driver but it seems they think he has the potential and will gain the experience with the team.
In other driver movements, Pedro de la Rosa will drive for Sauber this season. He was previously with McLaren as a test driver.
His team-mate at Sauber will be Kamui Kobayashi. Kobayashi drove two races for Toyota last season replacing Timo Glock.
There are still four more places for drivers at the moment. Renault and Campos Meta 1 each have one driver at the moment whilst US F1 still haven't announced its driver lineup.
Schumacher's team-mate will be Nico Rosberg who was at Williams this year.
Schumacher nearly returned to F1 when he attempted to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari but that was not possible because of neck problems.
I think this is going to be interesting to see Schumacher back and see how competes against the likes of Lewis Hamilton and champion Jenson Button.
I think he will be assured of a fast car because Mercedes took over Brawn GP who won both the drivers and constructors' championships.
I can see McLaren and Ferrari being more competitive than what they were this year and I think that will make it difficult for Schumacher to win the driver's championship but I am sure he will be able to win some races.
Schumacher's joining Mercedes will unite him with Ross Brawn who was team principal when he was at Ferrari.
Meanwhile there will be four new teams on the grid next season. Lotus, Virgin Racing, Campos and US F1 are all expected to lineup on the grid next year.
Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen are going to be driving for Lotus whilst former Toyota driver Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi will drive for Virgin Racing.
Campos has so far signed Bruno Senna and are still to announce the second driver.
US F1 are still to announce their driver lineup.
There has been a lot of activity this week in F1 with the biggest being Mercedes taking over Brawn GP and renaming the team Mercedes GP.
But then Jensen decided to leave the now new team to join McLaren who will now have in their stables the last two world champions.
I think it will be very interesting to see both Hamilton and Button fighting it out for the world champion.
I think Button had a good start to the season this year whilst towards the end Hamilton finished quite strongly.
Mercedes GP hasn't announced yet who will replace Button and also Rubens Barrichello who left for Williams.
The team cited the financial crisis as reasons for the withdrawal and its sad to see that looked like finally getting everything together leaving the sport.
Toyota's withdrawal means there will be no Japanese team on the grid next year and also next year will be last year for the Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone.
I thought that this year Toyota did very with Jarno Trulli on the podium three times - in Australia, Bahrain and then Japan. In the Japanese grand prix he was actually second.
I hope that somebody will be able to buy the team like what happened to Honda which became Brawn GP and went on to win both the drivers and constructor's championships.
In Brazil Webber won the race at Interlagos and Vettel settled for fourth in that race but both drivers finished ahead of the Brawn GP drivers.
If the start of the season belonged to Brawn GP then in a way the end of it belonged to Red Bull.
But I have to mention that had McLaren's Lewis Hamilton not retired in the race he would probably have won it because he had the fastest car all weekend.
In third place was the new champion Jensen Button who failed to overtake Webber in the last few laps of the race. I think he should have overtaken Webber to show off his driving skills as champion but Webber also defended his position very well.
Rubens Barrichello finished fourth just ahead of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld.
I should say I was impressed by Toyota's Kamui Kobayashi who finished sixth despite starting twelfth on the grid. Also this was Kobayashi's second F1 race as he stood in for Tim Glock.
The last two points were taken by the other Toyota driver Jarno Trulli ahead of Torro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastien Buemi who claimed the last point.
So there were no points for both McLaren and Ferrari in Abu Dhabi. Heikki Kovalainen finished eleventh just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
Giancarlo Fisichella finished in 16th position and thus failed to score a single point with his Ferrari.
I was very impressed by the Yas Marina Circuit and I think its one of the best F1 circuits if not the best. Also this night race was far more interesting than the other night one in Singapore.
At the start of the race everything looked set for Rubens Barrichello after snatching pole but his pole advantage did not last long after Mark Webber took the first position after the first pit stops and then a puncture later in the race meant that this was not going to be his race.
One can say that Button won the championship in the first four races when he started so strongly but since then he has been consistently picking points here and there without necessarily winning the race.
Now with a total 89 points and with Sebastian Vettel on 74 and his team-mate Barrichello on 72, Button will go to the last race with nothing much to fight for as his team also won the constructors championship.
I think that its also a big achievement for a team in its first year to have won both the drivers and constructors' championnships.
Back to the race itself, Webber won his second career race after starting second on the grid. Joining him on the podium were Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton.
I think its worthwhile to point out that Hamilton started the race in 17th place and managed to finish third and also it was good just to see a BMW Sauber driver on the podium.
In fourth place was Vettel who can now fight for second place in the last race in Abu Dhabi.
Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth and the last two points places went to Torro Rosso Ferrari's Sebastien Buemi and then Barrichello.
Giancarlo Fisichella has got more race to score a point in a Ferrari after finishing tenth at Interlagos.
The last race of the season will the Abu Dhabi Grand prix.
I think that this season Williams have done reasonably well and at the moment the team has 34.5 points in the constructors' championship.
All those points have been scored by Nico Rosberg with Kazumi Nakajima failing to score a single so far.
Also this week there has been talk of Brawn GP driver Rubens Barrichello joining Williams next season.
That would be good as that could enable them to have two drivers scoring points but I think it will also depend on where they will source their engine and how quickly they get to grips with it.
I thought Vettel had a superb drive dominating from start to finish and he was also the pole setter.
The current leader Jenson Button could only get a point and I think it could have been worse had Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen not collided.
I think Button still has a big chance of winning and lets remember that he was pushed back five places after qualifying.
He can win the title in Brazil if he finishes third or better or Vettel finishes lower than second and Rubens Barrichello finishes lower than fourth or alternatively if he outscores Barrichello by four points.
So thats a whole heap of combinations but as we saw in Japan there can so some surprise spoilers.
Another huge achievement in the race was seeing Toyota's Jarno Trulli finishing ahead of current champion Lewis Hamilton. It was a huge result for Toyota especially in Japan.
Just outside the podium places was Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen who will be leaving the team at the end of the season to be replaced by Fernando Alonso.
In fifth place was Williams' Nico Rosberg and then followed by Nick Heidfeld which is a good result for BMW Sauber given that they have been struggling this whole season.
The last two points places went to Brawn with Barrichello ahead of Button.
Giancarlo Fisichella was 12th this time and he has now two races to score points for Ferrari.
This was a race to forget for Mark Webber as he finished last for the cars that finished the race.
The next race will be in Brazil and so lets waits and see who will fall out of the championship race.
The race was won by Lewis Hamilton who is out of the driver's championship contention and who was joined on the podium by Toyota's Timo Glock and last year's winner Fernando Alonso.
Sebastian Vettel looked set for second position but a drive through penalty meant that he dropped to fifth just ahead of Button.
For Vettel to win the championship he will need to win the remaining three races and expect Button to score less than five points but there is also Barrichello in the mix.
Barrichello looked set to finish ahead of Button for most of the race but he ended up finishing sixth and seventh place went to McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.
BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica got the last points place and notably both Ferrari drivers failed to score points.
Kimi Raikkonen could only finish tenth and Giancarlo Fisichella was further back in 13th and now he has three races left in order to score a point for Ferrari.
It wasn't a good night for Mark Webber as he did not finish the race retiring after 45 laps. With that crash also went the championship challenge.
The next race will be the Japanese grand prix and if results go Button's way he could wrap the championship at Suzuka.
There was no race in North America this season and so its good to see the Canadian Grand Prix back on the calendar.
South Korea will be the latest country to join the fray with a race slotted towards the end of the end of the season.
Other interesting changes will see Melbourne host the second race and not the usual first race of the season.
The first race will now be at Sepang and Melbourne's race will now be after Europe has changed to summer time.
Another change from this year will see Brazil host the last race of the season again. This year Brazil has got the second from last race whilst the Abu Dhabi grand prix will close the season.
The win means that Barrichello now trails Button by just 14 points with only four races remaining.
The race saw Brawn GP also return to the top positions that became very familiar at the start of the season but this time with Button in second position.
In third place was Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen but this came after Lewis Hamilton crushed on the final lap.
Behind Raikkonen was Force India's Adrian Sutil who I think could have done better had his race went on smoothly.
Former champion Fernando Alonso finished in fifth just ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.
The last two points places went to Nick Heidfeld and Sebastian Vettel whose challenge for the title seems to be fading.
New Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella could only finish ninth after starting 14th on the grid. I think his replacement at Force India Vitantonio Liuzzi would have finished ahead of him had he not retired from the race.
Mark Webber could not even complete a single lap after crushing out during the first lap. So in the end Red Bull had to settle for a single point.
The next race will the night race in Singapore.
After Fisichella won the maiden pole for Force India and then finished second in the race to get the first points for his team, he left for Ferrari to replace Luca Badoer.
I think it would have been good for Fisichella to stay and try to get more points for Force India but his departure has created a seat for Liuzzi.
I am keen to see how Adrian Sutil and Luizzi will perform this weekend at Monza because their car looks good and they could get some points for Force India.
Also now that Fisichella is with Ferrari, I am keen to see how he races especially after driving so superbly at Spa and pushing Kimi Raikkonen all the way to the finish.
Last season Force India failed to score a single point and I hope that Fisichella will be able to turn this pole position into some points at the end of the race.
Second on the grid will be Toyota's Jarno Trulli and in second row will be Nick Heidfeld and Rubens Barrichello.
Current championship leader will have to fight hard to get points here after he qualified fourteenth. He has Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen for company as they qualified 13th and 15th respectively.
The last win for Barrichello was five years ago at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai when he was driving for Ferrari.
On the podium with Barrichello was reigning champion Lewis Hamilton who started the race on pole and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
I thought that Hamilton was going to win his second successive race of the season but in the end Barrichello had a strategy which was made for success.
In fourth place was a rare placing near the top for McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen who was just ahead of Williams's Nico Rosberg.
Kovalainen finishing fourth and Hamilton finishing second seems to point to the fact the McLaren's are on the way up although with six races to go they may not influence the championship that much.
In sixth place came crowd favourite Renault's Fernando Alonso and behind him was current leader Jenson Button.
The last points place went to BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and it was good to see BMW collecting some points.
Mark Webber finished just outside the points in ninth and I hope that this was just a little blip in his season which has been very good so far.
Stand in Ferrari driver Luca Badoer finished in 17th place which was the second car from the last position.
The next race will be in a week's time at the Belgian Grand prix and I think Button must regain his form of the first few races if he is to win the championship.
Schumacher has been in retirement for three years now and I was a bit surprised to hear that he will be making a return but it shows that Ferrari still wants to score some constructors points this season.
Massa has been scoring points for Ferrari and he came third in Germany and currently has 22 points and is in seventh position.
Kimi Raikkonen on the other hand currently lies ninth with 18 points and only secured a podium in the last race at the Hungarian Grand prix. Ferrari is currently in third place in the constructors championship, a massive 74 points behind leaders Brawn-Mercedes.
With Schumacher making a return its interesting to see if he can help Ferrari close that gap but his return will certainly make the remaining races more interesting.
Last year the BMW-Sauber team did very well as they came third overall in the constructors championship and I was expecting them to challenge the top two teams this year.
But it hasn't been plain sailing with the team currently languishing in eighth position at the moment and hence the decision to pull out.
The team will race until the end of the season and I hope they will be able to score a few more points.
Last year another manufacturer Honda pulled out but the replacement Brawn GP has been doing very well and haven't been missed that much.
Its sad to see that the race was overshadowed by Felipe Massa's accident on Saturday during qualifying. I hope he makes a complete recovery and I also hope to see him race again and again rise to the top like he did last season.
In Germany Massa secured his first podium finish and I was hoping that he would do even better in this race.
McLaren seem to be getting their act together now with Hamilton's win but I am keen to see what will happen in the next race. Also both the McLarens secured points for the first time this season.
It was also Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen's first podium finish as he finished second ahead of Mark Webber who came a respectable third.
Webber's third placing means that he is now second in the drivers championship after Sebastian Vettel failed to finish the race.
Jenson Button finished seventh and therefore his lead is being reduced with every race. What looked like a run to the title no longer looks that way now and I think the Brawn GP team will need to regroup and bring the team to what it was at the start of the season.
Williams' Nico Rosberg finished just outside the podium in fourth for the second consecutive race and behind him was Heikki Kovalainen.
Button in seventh was between the two Toyotas of Timo Glock in sixth and Jarno Trulli who took the last points place.
Rubens Barrichello did not get any points this time and former champion Fernando Alonso who secured pole did not finish the race after a tyre came off his car.
The next race will be the European Grand Prix in Valencia and Renault has been banned from that race following Alonso's car incident.
I hope that by then Massa will be out of hospital and recovering well.
That pole position was also Webber's maiden pole position and so it was a great weekend for him.
Once Webber got the pole position I thought that this was his best chance to win a race but it wasn't plain sailing race especially in the early stages of the race where he got a drive through penalty.
Webber was so brilliant on the day that even a drive through penalty could not prevent him from winning the race and I hope that this is the start of many wins for Webber.
It was also a one-two for Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel snatched second place and in third was Ferrari's Felipe who got his first podium finish for the year.
Talking about the podium, this was the first race this year that there was no Brawn driver on the podium as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello finished fifth and sixth respectively.
Williams Nico Rosberg finished in fourth. This was a very good result for Rosberg as he started the race fifteenth on the grid.
The last two points places went to former world champion Renault's Fernando Alonso and McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.
Button's lead at the top has now been reduced to just 21 points and if the Red Bull can continue with another one two then it will be reduced further.
The next race in a fortnight will be the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Basically the financial cap will no longer be enforced next season and all the teams will run under the same rules.
In a way this seems to be good news but long term I think F1 needs some stable rules and not the constant changes we have seen from year to year over the last few seasons.
Its actually hard to compare seasons sometimes with rules being changed from one season to the next and I think the cap was not a good idea in the first place.
I think the whole idea of reducing costs is a good one but it must be done in such a way that all the teams run under the same rules.
I also think that there must be broad consultation with teams participating rather than try to impose the rules in a 'take it or leave it' attitude.
This was also the first race this season for Jenson Button to be off the podium after he finished sixth but the Brawn team maintained their podium presence with Rubens Barrichello finishing third.
But the day belonged Red Bull whose drivers completely dominated the race and the result leaves Vettel 25 points behind Button and two behind Barrichello.
In fourth place was Ferrari's Felipe Massa and behind him was the William's Nico Rosberg. Rosberg managed to maintain his fifth place for the last few laps of the race to make sure that Button finished sixth.
In seventh place was Toyota's Jarno Trulli who had started fourth on the grid and in the last points place was Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen who improved just one place from his starting position on the grid.
The defending champion Lewis Hamilton finished 16th and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen did not finish the race.
The next race will be the German Grand Prix and after a three week it promises to be yet another thrilling race.
I have been following the F1 dispute about the £40m budget cap and all along I thought an agreement would be reached but it seems now that there has been no agreement and the majority of the teams will form their own series instead.
The only current teams who signed unconditionally to next year's championship are Williams and Force India.
I have no doubt that the new rival series will be more popular because it will have the popular teams like Ferrari, McLaren and Renault and also the more known drivers.
This could also be good for the Silverstone circuit because F1 is going to leave the circuit and go for Donnington instead but the rival series may use the Silverstone.
Also I hope the Australian leg of the new series will run at around 2 o'clock local time and not have the twilight race like happened this year.
The late start this year was meant to satisfy audiences in Europe and ignoring the local fans and the rival series has said that they will listen to the fans.
I will be following the events as they unfold but I will be happy to see a series with stable rules and run under one rule for all teams.
For the last few years there has been so many rule changes and there was even a proposal to give medals instead of points and these are the kind of things the rival series should avoid.
I think a lot more will be announced over the next few days and I am keen to see what kind of calendar the new series will have.
This was Button's sixth win in seven races so far and what made this win even more remarkable was that he did not start from pole.
The previous winners of this grand prix had won pole and Button became the first driver to win without starting from pole.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won pole but an early mistake in the race made sure Button capitalized and led the race from then onwards.
Mark Webber had a very good race as he secured yet another podium finish. Webber finished second ahead of pole setter and team-mate Vettel.
It was a good race for Toyota with Jarno Trulli finishing fourth ahead of Williams's Nico Rosberg. Both Toyota cars secured points in this race.
After a good race in Monaco for Ferrari, this time it was just an ordinary one and it wasn't surprising to see Felipe Massa finish sixth and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished just outside the points in ninth.
The last two points places went to BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and Toyota's Timo Glock.
BMW Sauber are not the team they were last season when they challenged for the podium in nearly every race but this season it seems like a point is a big achievement in itself.
Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello retired after 47 laps and this was the first time that a Brawn GP car has failed to finish a race.
The next race will be at Silverstone. Whilst last year the Silverstone crowds were cheering Lewis Hamilton, this time its a turn for Button who could be wrapping the championship very soon if he continues with his winning streak.
I think these five wins have set Button well for the title this year but it was also very evident that the Ferrari had closed the gap.
After starting the season so badly there were good signs for Ferrari in Monaco as Ferrari got its first podium of the season through Kimi Raikkonen who finished third.
In between Button and Raikkonen was Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello who started third on the grid but snatched second place just after the start and never lost if for the rest of the race.
Just outside the podium was Ferrari's Felipe Massa who I think had a very good race. This made sure that both Ferrari cars got points for the first time this season and this could be the turning point for the team.
After getting a podium the last time around in Barcelona, this time Mark Webber got fifth place ahead of Nico Rosberg.
The last two points places were taken by former world champion Fernando Alonso and Torro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais in eighth.
It was so close for Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella who finished in ninth place. He got so close to getting the first points for his team and it was also a positive sign to see Adrian Sutil also finish the race.
The next race will be in two weeks in Turkey and it will be interesting to see if Ferrari will keep on improving and take on Brawn GP.
Jensen Button finished first to get his fourth win in five races and he was closely followed by Rubens Barrichello who at one looked like he was going to win the race.
The Brawn GP team now extends its lead in the constructors' championship to nearly 30 points over second place Red Bull.
It was also a good day for Red Bull with Mark Webber finishing third to cap his second podium finish of the season.
Behind him was Sebastian Vettel who was followed by crowd favourite Fernando Alonso.
Felipe Massa got his first points of the season as he finished and I think he must feel very unlucky to finish sixth especially as he was in fourth position as late as six laps to go.
It was however good to see Ferrari looking competitive again even though Kimi Raikkonen retired just after 17 laps.
The last two points places went to BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Williams' Nico Rosberg.
I think BMW Sauber are a shadow of the team they were last season when they constantly challenged Ferrari and McLaren.
And talking of McLaren, they failed score any points at Catalunya with defending world champion Lewis Hamilton finished ninth and Heikki Kovalainen retired early in the race.
The next race will be the Monaco Grand Prix and I will not be surprised to see another win from Brawn GP.
Felipe Massa the other Ferrari driver finished the race but out of the points in fourteenth place.
It hasn't been a good start for Ferrari this season after failing to gain a single point from the first three races and the Bahrain race may offer a bit of comfort.
Now Force India is the only team that remains pointless. Last year Force India failed to get a single point the whole season.
Back to the race it was a third win out of four for Jensen Button who won the race after starting from fourth the grid.
I think his start helped him put pressure on the front runners and I could see that once he took the lead there was nobody going to stop him from winning.
Last week's winner Sebastian Vettel came second followed by pole setter Toyota's Jarno Trulli who managed to fend off a late challenge from current champion Lewis Hamilton who finished fourth.
In fifth place was Button's team mate Rubens Barrichello who gave the Brawn team some four more points for the constructors' championship.
The last two points places went to Toyota's Timo Glock and former champion Fernando Alonso who finished seventh and eighth respectively.
After finishing on the podium in the Chinese grand prix this time Mark Webber could only finish eleventh.
After two races dominated by the rain, it was good to see a race without rain once again and its not surprising to see that only one car failed to finish this race.
The next race will be the first European race this year at Barcelona. I think the two week break will give all the teams a time to tweak
their cars and try and catch up with Brawn GP or else will be decided very early this year.
For a moment I thought it was going to be the same story as in Malaysia two weeks ago when a partial race was run because of the persistent rain but this time the full race was run and the Red Bull team took the honours in the conditions.
This was the first Red Bull team win and the second for Vettel who won the Italian grand prix but last year when he was racing for Torro- Rosso.
This was also the highest finish for Webber and a good eight points will set him nicely at this stage of the season. I hope that this will be a good season for Webber and he will appear more times on the podium.
The last podium place went to Brawn GP's Jenson Button the winner of the first two grand prix. Although he ended up finishing third I think he could have finished as high as first but the conditions made everything dicey.
In fourth place was Button's team mate Rubens Barrichello completing a pair for third and fourth place.
McLaren took the fifth and sixth places with Heikki Kovalainen finishing fifth ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton who had started ninth on the grid.
Toyota picked some more points in this race with Timo Glock finishing seventh and in the last points place was Toro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastien Buemi.
It wasn't a good race for Ferrari once again with Felipe Massa failing to finish and Kimi Raikkonen only managing a tenth placing despite starting eighth on the grid.
Ferrari seem to have a lot of work to do this year and In fact only Force India and Ferrari are the only teams without any constructors' points.
So the next race is the Bahrain race in a week's time and lets hope it will be a dry race this time.
The name we will now be hearing is that of Martin Whitmarsh who will now become the team principal for the McLaren team.
The season hasn't started that well for McLaren this year after current world champion Lewis Hamilton lost his points from the Melbourne grand prix but its still early days I think.
I think over the years I had got so used to Dennis and hearing his views on racing and his team and I am keen to see Whitmarsh continuing with the good work Dennis has done to make sure that McLaren remain competitive.
At the Melbourne Grand Prix complaints were raised about the legality of the diffuser used by Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams cars and the stewards in Melbourne ruled that there was nothing illegal about those six cars.
Jenson Button has gone on to win two races and with this ruling he does not fear of losing the 15 points he has gained so far.
I think its now up to the other seven teams to implement the same diffusers in their cars and with the Chinese grand prix so close I think that will have to be for the next race in Bahrain.
I am keen to see whether Button will continue to dominate once the other teams have also implemented similar diffusers as the one on his car.
This was a race of a different kind as the heavy rain meant that the race could not go the full length and the drivers in the points positions only got half the normal points.
But Button's win continued the good start to the season for the new team and this time Rubens Barrichello finished fifth.
Joining Button on the podium were Nick Heidfeld in second and then Tim Glock in third.
This means that a Toyota driver has also been on the podium for the second consecutive race.
Jarno Trulli who finished third in Melbourne finished fourth this time and I think whilst most people will talk about Brawn GP, this has also been a very good start for the Toyota team.
Mark Webber collected his first points for the season finishing sixth and so did reigning champion Lewis Hamilton who finished seventh to collect a single point.
William's Nico Rosberg finished in the last points place.
Ferrari's miserable start to the new season continued with Felipe Massa finishing just outside the points in ninth but his team mate Kimi Raikkonen fared worse finishing 14th.
Now the teams will take a two week break with the next race in a fortnight's time at the Chinese grand prix.
I would have loved to see this race go the full length but the weather won but I hope the Shanghai race will actually show where the season is heading this year.
This now means that that Toyota got third and fourth places after Brawn GP got first and second. Interestingly it also means that Rosso-Ferrari got seventh and eight places.
With McLaren now getting zero points it means that both McLaren and Ferrari front runners last season both started with no points.
Lets wait and see what happens at Sepang this weekend.
This is a team that looked like disappearing from the grid when Honda decided not to continue with it last year but it has had a very good start but I am keen to see what will happen next week in Malaysia.
The Brawn GP drivers also qualified first and second and whilst it was a normal start for Button it wasn't so for Barrichello who had problems with starting but he fought his way to fourth but the clash between Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica gave him second.
I was so surprised to see Vettel and Kubica clash with just three laps to go and all the hard work by the two drivers went up in smoke.
In the race third place went to Toyota's Jarno Trulli but a 25 second penalty meant that he ended up finishing 12th.
So in third place came Lewis Hamilton who had started the race 18th on the grid and this must have been a very good result in the circumstances.
Fourth place went Toyota's Timo Glock and in all I think it was also a good start for Toyota.
Behind Glock was former champion Renault's Fernando Alonso and sixth place went to Toro Rosso-Ferrari's debutant Sebastien Buemi.
The last points place went to Torro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastien Bourdais and so this meant only two teams Brawn GP and Rosso-Ferrari had both cars collecting points in the race.
I was also impressed with Force India's Adrian Sutil who finished just outside the points places. I am hoping that this season Force India will be able to pick up a few points.
Mark Webber finished 13th and his car was the last in those cars that finished the race. I think he didn't have much of a chance after his clash early in the race.
So the next race in Malaysia next week and I am keen to see whether Brawn GP will continue with its good form.
It didn't make much sense to change the rules less than two weeks before the competition started and expect everybody to accept such sudden changes.
I think the problem can be solved by making sure that the winner is given a buffer from second place.
The current two points difference between first and second positions does not make sense and I think that gap must be made bigger to say four or five points.
That way the winner will most probably have won the most races. I don't think it would be good to have a driver have more points and lose the championship because he didn't win enough races.
If a driver consistently picks up points in races then he must be rewarded and if that means the championship then let it be so.
I think these changes need to be thought through to come with a fair set of rules.
The new system will reward the driver with the most top podiums and points will only be taken into account if two drivers are tied together on the number of wins.
I think it might be a good change especially towards the end of the season as drivers and teams realise that they have to get wins to be in with a chance to win the championship.
Just finishing on the podium will not be good anymore but I still think the problem is in the way in which the points are allocated more than anything else.
By giving points in the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 way I think a driver can afford to finish second or third and as long as they finish the majority of races they can possibly win the championship.
I still think the old points system of 10-6-4-3-2-1 was far much better because the more races you win you would eventually become a champion because the winner has a four points advantage over second place.
I think they should also have awarded the driver with the fastest lap a bonus point to encourage drivers to get the fastest lap.
It will be interesting to see this new points system in action and we don't have long to wait as the Melbourne Grand prix is just ten days away now.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won the driver's championship last season in what was a very close season and I am expecting this year to be be even closer.
Unlike at the start of last season, there hasn't been driver movements in the top teams which means there will be continuity in the teams.
One of the big changes this season team wise is the fact that there is no more Honda team and that team has been replaced by Brawn GP.
Brawn GP is going to be powered by Mercedes and I am waiting to see how they in the first few races. I doubt they will finish bottom of the constructors championship.
Starting with McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, one thing for sure is that Hamilton will be more experienced this season and therefore he will more competitive.
This will also be the second season for Heikki Kovalainen at McLaren and I expect him to do better than last season after what I thought was a poor season for a driver driving for McLaren.
Its going to be interesting to see who finishes in front for Ferrari between last season's runner up Felipe Massa and 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Massa showed he is a good driver in his own right last season when he came a close second to Hamilton and he will be looking to better that this year I suppose.
I think this is the year for BMW Sauber to finally challenge the top two teams. I think over the last two years the team has established itself as one of the top three teams and this time I think they may have a challenge from Renault for that position but I think they should be able to compete with Ferrari and McLaren.
Renault finished strongly last season with Fernando Alonso accumulating a good number of points in the last few races. I think the challenge for Renault is to pick it up from there and have former champion Alonso in a position to challenge for the championship.
Its always very hard to tell with Toyota. I actually think that last season they disappeared from the radar altogether and I as usual I expect them to do better than last season. I hope they will not disappoint this time.
I think Williams had a steady season last year and there is a time when they collected points in a string of consecutive races.
If Williams can maintain that then they can continue accumulating points here and there but I don't think they will be in a position to challenge for the championship.
Mark Webber will now be joined by Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull following the retirement of David Coultard. I think Vettel did very well last season and infact performed better than Webber.
I think he is a good driver and will possibly finish with more points than Webber. As a team I don't think they will be much of a challenge but I could be wrong.
Brawn GP is a new team and in testing they have been very fast according to reports that I have read. Although its testing I think its a good sign and if they can be a competitive outfit that will be good for the sport.
Isn't it surprising that once again Toro Rosso-Ferrari have found another Sebastien in Sebastien Buemi? Last year they had Sebastien and Sebastian but this year they have two Sebastiens!
Back to racing, Rosso's driver's lineup consists of Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais. I think they performed very well last year after some good results from Vettel but with Vettel now gone its interesting to see how they will fare this year.
Lastly but not least Force India. I don't expect a lot of them but I can only change my view if they start the season well.
I think it is one of those teams where just to have both cars finishing the race is good but maybe this time they will be able to draw on the experience of Giancarlo Fisichella and score some points.
Force India was the only team to fail to score a single point last season and I hope they will be able to pick a few this time.
I hope its going to be another interesting with all the drama happening on track and not off it.
So this means that when the first F1 race of 2009 comes to Melbourne there will be ten teams on the grid.
I think its actually good that a new owner has been found because its good to have at least ten cars on the grid as this promotes competition and if some cars retire during the race at least there will be a reasonable number at the end.
The new Brawn GP will keep last season's drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Buttonb which will probably help the team under the new owners because the drivers are familiar with the existing team.
The interesting bit is that the engines will come from Mercedes which probably means that they will have very good engines.
Brawn was formerly at Ferrari as Technical Director and I thought that now that he is in charge he will get the engines from Ferrari but he has instead sourced the engines from Mercedes.
The new season is only three weeks away and its going to be interesting to see how the team will fare but I hope that they will do well.
I think there comes a time when F1 has to decide whether it wants three teams on the grid or ten because if the costs become prohibitive then the other teams will just pull out like what Honda did.
I also think that its a good idea that the one engine for all idea has been thrown out.
We already have A1 racing where there is a one engine for all rule and adopting the same rule for F1 would have been a bad idea.
I also hope that the proposed rule to give medals to the first three drivers will also be thrown away. I don't see how that will benefit the sport especially if those are more likely to be won by just two or three teams and the rest of the teams will have nothing to celebrate.
The current formula of giving points to the top eight races is good because it means that down the grid drivers will still be fighting for the minor places because every point counts.
If the Olympic medal style is introduced then it will mean a driver in sixth will have no incentive to overtake driver in fifth especially when he knows its nearly impossible to reach third position where there would be a bronze medal.
What maybe I would like to see is to see the re-introduction of the rule that awarded the driver who ran the
fastest lap a bonus point. That could create a bit of drama and see drivers trying to run the fastest lap.
Honda finished with only 14 constructors points from its two drivers Jenson Button and Reuben Barrichello and the two drivers never challenged for the podium.
I thought that Honda were going to do very well in 2008 after Ross Brawn joined the team at the end of last season but his joining seems to not have had the expected impact.
Now if nobody buys the Honda team there will be nine teams left next season which means 18 cars on the grid. That may not be very good for F1 because as it stands right now it will not be surprising to hear of another team pulling out.
In these harsh economic times for car manufacturers and everybody else for that matter, F1 racing may not be the thing high on their list but I am hoping somebody will buy the Honda team so that there will be twenty teams.
The proposed idea from Bernie Ecclestone of giving medals to the three top places may actually make the sport even less popular because those three positions are likely to be shared by just three or four teams throughout the season.
Therefore a team not getting one of those three positions may not find it very attractive to participate in the
With Massa winning the race and Hamilton needing to finish fifth or better to win his maiden title, he only managed to get fifth place on the final corner as he overtook Tim Glock.
So Hamilton won the title by just one point and it shows how tight the championship has been this year.
In a way maybe its fair that Hamilton won this year after failing to win last year when he looked the more likely winner for most of the season.
But hats off to Massa too for he managed to upstage champion Kimi Raikkonen in his own Ferrari stable and he could have won had it not been for some mistakes that cost him some vital points in the season.
But when it comes to the final race everything counts and Hamilton delivered when it mattered most even though I think it was nerve wrecking for those in his corner and the McLaren fans.
So Massa won the race and with him on the podium were Renault's Fernando Alonso and Raikkonen.
I think Alonso has had such a strong finish and I am wondering whether he will continue in that kind of form next year because if he does he will surely be a title contender.
In fourth was Torro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel who I also think has had a very good season finish and he now joins Red Bull next season.
Then in fifth was new champion Hamilton followed by Toyota's Glock.
The last two points places of the year where taken by Hamilton's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen and Toyota's Jarno Trulli secured the last point.
Mark Webber finished just outside the points in ninth and I don't know how many times this year he has finished in that same position. His team-mate David Coulthard didn't even complete a lap in his last F1 race.
I am already looking forward to next year's championship as Hamilton defends his title. As Raikkonen found out I think it will very hard to defend it but one can only make a fair assessment when the season proper starts.
But for now congratulations to Hamilton for winning the title and being the youngest driver to do so.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa came second and he now trails Hamilton by seven points. I don't think its over yet for Massa but he has to win the last race or come second and hope that Hamilton finishes as low as seventh or eighth depending on whether he is first or second.
Third place will not help him because that will mean just six points when he needs seven to equal Hamilton's tally.
The Chinese race was not as dramatic or as controversial as the two previous races but Hamilton did enough to make sure he stayed in front of the two Ferrari cars chasing him throughout the race.
Kimi Raikkonen took the last podium place although he was second for most of the race and I think he would have finished second was it not for the fact that it was better for Massa to finish second instead and score two extra points.
After winning the last two races Renault's Fernando Alonso finished fourth and I think this was a good result for him and gives him hope for next season if the car can just improve a little bit.
It was a good race overall for Renault as Nelson Piquet took the last points place denying Toro Rosso any points in a race for the first time since Valencia.
Fifth and sixth places went to BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica respectively. With that sixth place Kubica's challenge for the title is now finished.
Toyota's Timo Glock came seventh and I think that maybe compensated for the other Toyota driver Jarno Trulli who was the first to retire from the race.
I thought Mark Webber was going to finish in the points when he qualified sixth but that he only managed fourteenth well away from the points places.
So its one more race to go and I wonder whether Massa take the championship before his home crowd or maybe
Hamilton will take the title and be the youngest champion ever. Interlagos will have the answers in a fortnight's
Alonso won the first night race in Singapore a fortnight ago and he has followed that with another win in Japan but unfortunately for him there are only two races to go.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton did not score any points after finishing 12th but the good news for him is that his closest rival Felipe Massa did not take advantage of that as he only finished eighth in the race but was later promoted to seventh when Torro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais was handed a 25 second penalty for colliding with him.
I think Hamilton is still in a good position with just two races to go but its up to Massa to at least win the next race in China next week and with the drama of the Japanese grand prix I think anything is possible.
Hamilton had snatched pole with Massa qualifying fifth but a poor start for the leader meant that the advantage was quickly lost. Maybe the talking point will be the collision between Massa and Hamilton which meant that Hamilton lost a few places as he had to wait to get back on the track.
BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica came second and he can also win the championship as he is just twelve points behind Hamilton.
At last Kimi Raikkonen managed to finish a race and with that a podium place. After being so unlucky in the last few races i think it was good to see the reigning champion get a podium place.
This was a good race for Renault with Nelson Piquet getting fourth place ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli.
The Torro Rosso cars of Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel finished sixth and seventh respectively in the race but Bourdais' penalty meant that he was placed tenth with Vettel promoted to sixth.
I think this has been a good run for Torro Rosso managing to secure points in every race since the European grand prix in Valencia and with Vettel winning the Italian grand prix.
Mark Webber finished in the last points place after Massa managed to overtake him in the last lap. I think this wasn't as bad and his team mate David Coulthard crashed during the first lap.
So all eyes are on the Chinese grand prix and if things go well for Hamilton then he could possibly secure the title in Shanghai but with the gap now at five points Massa can see that he is far off after all.
A few months ago I wrote a post about Abu Dhabi coming into F1 in 2009 but little did I know that it was going to be at the expense of the Canadian Grand prix.
But in a way I am not surprised by the decision because it seems like now F1 is looking for more money and venues with European friendly time.
At the same time I think its a big mistake to drop the only remaining North American grand prix in a region with such a big population and many F1 fans.
Last year the US grand prix was dropped and now Montreal is not on the calendar and I think F1 is making a big mistake of not expanding into other markets but more or less trying to consolidate just one market. Ever heard of putting all eggs in one basket?
Also there is nearly a month's break between Hungarian Grand Prix and Valencia's European grand prix to give the teams a summer break.
I also wonder who is going to be dropped to accommodate the Indian Grand Prix. Or will F1 expand to 19 or 20 races?
I hope we will see the Canadian and US grand prix back on the calendar soon.
I think this was an unlikely win for Alonso if you looked at it from the standpoint of qualifying but Alonso had a good weekend before mechanical problems meant that he qualified fifteenth on the grid.
But there is no doubt that the safety car helped him a lot and suited well with his strategy although it was his team mate Nelson Piquet Jr who was involved in the accident that caused the safety car to be introduced.
It wasn't a good night for Ferrari though with both their drivers scoring no points.
Felipe Massa was leading the race when he stopped for refuelling but then he drove off with the hose still on the car and that cost him some valuable points that could have seen him lead the championship.
Now Massa trails McLaren's Lewis Hamilton who finished third by seven points with just three races to go.
The nightmare season continue for Kimi Raikkonen who crashed when fifth with just five laps to go. I think with that crash all hopes of defending his title came to an end.
Williams' Nico Rosberg got a podium finish for his team that has been having a few problems in the last few races despite starting the season very well.
Both Williams cars scored points with Kazuki Nakajima getting the last points place.
Toyota's Timo Glock finished fourth ahead of Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel who should be happy with his consistency in finishing in the points places.
Nick Heidfeld finished sixth ahead of Mark Webber's team mate David Coultard. Mark Webber retired from the race due to mechanical problems nearly half way through the race.
So the first night race finished with no major incidences but it is sad to see that the timing is just for the European audience with no regard to the local fans.
The next race will be in Japan and Hamilton knows that he is now very close to clinching the title and Massa must
be wishing for better luck to close the gap in two weeks' time.
Vettel got pole in a dramatic qualifying and I thought he would probably not win the race but he controlled the race from start to finish to hand his team its first win and also be the youngest driver to win a F1 race.
Vettel has been driving very well over the last four races but I never thought he would win a race this season but with the leading drivers Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen all qualifying in the double digits and only Massa on sixth, Vettel had a good cushion and he used it to good effect.
It wasn't all that bad for McLaren with Heikki Kovalainen finishing second and to finish off the podium places was BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica.
If there has been ever a good chance to get a podium finish for former champion Fernando Alonso this season I think this was it but he could only get fourth but at least he finished ahead of Hamilton who finished in seventh place.
The other BMW Sauber car of Nick Heidfeld finished fifth just ahead of Felipe Massa who finished sixth.
Massa's fifth finish ahead of Hamilton meant that he closed the gap on Hamilton to just a single point. I think this was probably another chance lost by Massa to at least catch Hamilton but Hamilton himself drove very well especially considering that he started 15th on the grid.
Massa on the other hand started sixth and finish sixth and therefore did not improve on his grid position when I expected that he would.
In the final points place Mark Webber who denied Raikkonen a chance for points. Webber had actually qualified third and therefore he slipped five places but at least he got a point.
This was the last race in Europe this season and I am looking forward to the first race under lights in Singapore in a fortnight.
After all the debate and discussion about night racing it is now here with us and I hope it will be an exciting race
This was a very exciting race for many reasons but most of the talking will be around the 25 second penalty imposed on Hamilton after the race.
This now means that Massa trails the McLaren driver by just two points and this gap could have been eight points without the penalty.
It wasn't a good race for Kimi Raikkonen who led for most of the race only to crash out with just two laps to go.
Raikkonen seems to be out of contention now to defend his title this year unless something dramatic happens to both Massa and Hamilton.
The other driver on the podium was BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld who denied former champion Fernando Alonso a rare podium finish as he had to settle for fourth.
Toro Rosso-Ferrari are having a good time at the moment and Sebastian Vettel finished a respectable fifth and the other driver Sebastien Bourdais finished seventh.
Separating the Toro Rosso drivers was BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica. Whilst he got some points I expected Kubica to finish higher than seventh.
Toyota could have finished in the points once again but Timo Glock suffered a 25 second penalty for ignoring yellow warning flags and that promoted Mark Webber who had finished ninth in the race to eighth.
Its getting very exciting and the next race is next week at Monza and I am keen to see if Hamilton can come back
and extend his lead at the top or whether Massa can overtake him.
This was the first race at the new Valencia street track and I didn't it Hamilton came second and thus maintains his lead at the top and I think he is in a good position at this point of the season with just six races to go. As long as he finishes second it will take longer for Massa to catch him unless Kimi Raikkonen and Massa start finishing in the top two positions.
I have no doubt that the talking point is the fact that Massa was fined instead of a drive through penalty for example when he was released into the path of Force India's Adrian Sutil but I think its a fair verdict since he didn't get an unfair advantage in that incident.
Raikkonen did not finish the race after his engine blew and as I have before he better starts getting back to his winning ways if he still wants to defend his title. He is now 13 points behind Hamilton.
BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica completed the podium with a comfortable third place. Unfortunately the other BMW of Nick Heidfeld could only finish ninth.
Heikki Kovalainen came fourth ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli. It seems like Toyota has now found some consistency because they are now beginning to get points in races and this time both their drivers got points just like in the last race in Hungary. Timo Glock the other Toyota driver got seventh place.
In between the two Toyotas was Toro Rosso- Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg got the last points placing for Williams.
This wasn't a good race for Mark Webber and Red Bull. Webber finished a disappointing twelfth and his team-mate David Coultard finished 17th which was last place for drivers who finished the race. This is the second consecutive when Webber has failed to finish in the points.
Fernando Alonso was the first to retire after a crash with and I think that should have disappointed the home crowd. I don't think he would have got something out of the race having qualified twelfth but I think the crowd wouldn't have cared much about that.
There are now just six races to go and the next stop is going to be the Belgian Grand Prix.
Massa had managed to pass both Maclaren's drivers Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton on the first lap and looked set for a victory but all that came to nothing when his car could not complete the race.
But it was also good for Kovalainen who got his maiden Formula 1 win. Kovalainen has been scoring points here and there but with Hamilton scoring the wins for McLaren and he must be relived that he has finally got the top podium finish.
It was also a good day for Toyota with Timo Glock coming a surprise second ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikonnen who completed the podium.
Glock who started fifth on the grid got his first drive and this is good for the Toyota who haven'y had much to celebrate for the last few seasons. Both Toyota cars in the points with Jarno Trull getting seventh position.
Former champion Fernando Alonso finished fourth ahead of Hamilton who I think could have finished with a podium place had he not had a puncture in the race.
After finishing on the podium in the last race, Nelson Piquet could only manage sixth position.
I think it was a disappointing race for BMW Sauber who had Robert Kubica get the last points place with Nick Heidfeld in sixth. BMW have been consistent so far with finishes fifth and under but this time they did not do as well.
Mark Webber finished pointless as he finished just behind Kubica.
Hamilton now leads the championship by five points going to the new circuit in Valencia for the first time.
At one time Piquet actually led the race only to be overtaken by Hamilton but he made sure that Ferrari's Felipe Massa did not catch him as he got Reanult to its best finish this season.
Hamilton started on pole and had a fine race and he could have spoilt the race by stopping during racing instead of during the safety car.
Hamilton now leads the championship by four points after Massa who was tied on points with him at the start of the race could only get third place.
BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld took the first position outside the podium in fourth and behind him was McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.
Nothing seemed to work for current champion Kimi Raikkonen as he finished sixth and if he continues like this he could lose his title. He started the race in the same position and could not improve on that despite Fernando Alonso who started fifth finishing eleventh.
The races are beginning to run out and Ferrari must be aware that they have to do something now to have their drivers back on track.
BMW Sauber was the third team to have both its drivers score points in this race as Robert Kubica finished seventh and it was a race points finish for Toro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
Unfortunately Mark Webber crashed out after 40 laps after he started seventh on the grid.
Hamilton has a chance to increase to increase his lead by at least six points if he wins the next race in Budapest in two weeks time.
The drivers' championship is changing hands after every race for the last two races now its Hamilton's turn after a superb drive at Silverstone in difficult conditions.
Hence its not surprising that there were seven retirements with David Coulthard being the first to spin in his last Silverstone race.
BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld came second and at least make sure that that BMW maintained their second position on the constructors' race.
I think it was a surprise to see Rubens Barrichello on the podium as he came third. This is a welcome return to the podium for Barrichello who was last there during his Ferrari days and and its good for Honda who seem to be making some slow progress this year.
And talking about Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen could only get fourth place despite starting ahead of Hamilton on the grid. His team-mate Felipe Massa did not fare any better finishing a distant 13th and with a few spins along the way.
Pole setter Heikki Kovalainen finished in fifth just ahead of former champions Fernando Alonso who came in sixth place.
The last two points places went to Toyota's Jarno Trulli and William's Kazuki Nakajima.
Its good to see Williams back to getting some points after failing to do so in the last two races in Canada and France.
The tussle continues in a fortnight's time at Hockenheim. It will be interesting to see who will be leading the
drivers' championshiop after that race.
The races will however start at 5 pm local time which is not that bad because that means that maximum the race can finish will be 7 pm although I expect most races to finish just before 6.30 pm if there are no major incidents on the track.
In March it looked like we had lost the race and everything seemed to be pointing to a race away from Albert Park but its good to see that the State Government has managed to secure the rights to the Australian leg of the grand prix without the need for night racing which we will witness in Singapore in September.
Meanwhile we will not be seeing David Coulthard again at Albert Park after he announced that he will retire from F1 racing at the end of the year.
With Mark Webber extending his contract with Red Bull Racing, it means he will have a new team-mate next season.
There has been some consistency in Webber's driving this season as he continues to pick point after point and now he has 18 points and that has helped him extend his contract.
It will mean racing for the title on a track nobody has raced before and that can bring a lot of unpredictable results which I think is good.
The first race will still be the Melbourne which is going to be a twilight race on the last weekend of March.
The following week the Malaysian Grand prix will take place before Bahrain a fortnight later.
With Abu Dhabi getting the last race, Brazil will get the second last race in the 19th race calendar.
I would have loved to see the US Grand prix reinstated but it looks like it will now have to wait for 2010.
In the end it was a comfortable one-two for Ferrari but the winners could have been in reverse order had Raikkonen not experienced exhaust problems.
Massa now leads the driver's championship by two points ahead of Robert Kubica who could only finish fifth.
Toyota grabbed a surprising last podium place thorough Jarno Trulli and things are suddenly looking good for Toyota.
In the last race Toyota got fourth and sixth places and this time they did better with third place but I still think that an outright win is still far off because Trulli never really challenge the Ferraris.
With Lewis Hamilton starting 13th on the grid after a ten place penalty imposed after the accident in Montreal, Heikki Kovalainen was McLaren's best hope for points but he could only get fourth place.
After his maiden win in Montreal, Kubica could only get fifth this time ahead of Mark Webber whom I think is now beginning to look very inconsistent.
The last two points places went to Renault with Nelson Piquet edging out team-mate Fernando Alonso towards the end of the race.
I think this was a disappointing race for Alonso who started third on the grid and I expected him to finish higher than eighth.
Other things to note is that Rubens Barrichello's recent good form seems to have deserted him in France as he finished 14th and also this race had just one retirement in Barrichello's team-mate Jenson Button.
The next race will be at Silverstone and I am keen to see if Hamilton can deliver the goods before his home crowd.
Normally when I write about a one two finish its either Ferrari or McLaren but this time it was BMW who scored their maiden win as did Kubica.
Last year the BMW drivers consistently finished fourth but this time they got the top two positions and this was made easier with both Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen failing to finish.
I think it was very unfortunate for Raikkonen to be bumped into the back like that by Hamilton resulting in him failing to score points in two consecutive races and in the process losing ground in the drivers' championship.
To complete the podium was David Coulthard who had his best result for some time and I think this was also the second time his Red Bull team have had a podium finish.
His team-mate Mark Webber did not fare that well this time finishing twelfth. I think it was simply a day to forget for him.
It was a good day though for Toyota who had Timo Glock finish fourth and Jarno Trulli sixth and in between was Ferrari's Felipe Massa. Toyota needs to score points consistently but I think they would be happy to see both drivers finish in points positions.
Rubens Barrichello finished seventh but he could easily have finished higher than that had he not made a mistake towards the end of the race. Its been a good two races for Barrichelo who also finished sixth in Monaco. Sebastian Vettel finished in the last points positions which means that McLaren failed to score any points in Montreal with Heikki Kovalainen only managed ninth.
Also the Williams failed to score points for the first time this season as Nico Rosberg finished behind Kovalainen and Kazuki Nakajima did not finish.
But I think the big talking point will always be about Hamilton crashing in the back of Raikkonen and now both drivers
have Magny-Cours in a fortnight to make amends.
It was even better for Hamilton with Ferrariís Kimi Raikkonen failing to score any points after finishing ninth and therefore Hamilton now leads the driversí championship by three points.
When Hamilton collided with the barriers and punctured his tyre I thought that was the end of his hopes of finishing on the podium but the crash allowed his team to change his strategy to come up with a strategy which handed Hamilton maximum points.
BMW Sauberís Robert Kubica got second place ahead of Ferrariís Felipe Massa who has now established some consistency after a troubled start to the season.
I think Massa must be disappointed by third especially having started on pole in Monaco where pole position gives you a huge advantage because of the difficulty in overtaking. Massa now trails Hamilton by four points.
Red Bullís Mark Webber got his best finish of the season so far when he got fourth place. But fourth place could easily have gone to Force Indiaís Adrian Sutil because he was in the fourth position when he crashed with Raikkonen with less than 10 laps. It would have been a massive result for him.
In fifth place came Toro Rosso-Ferrariís Sebastian Vettel but Rubens Barrichello who finished sixth had his best race so far this season. Barrichello has been struggling to finish races let alone get points and I think he must be pleased with his first points of the season.
I have been following Williamís progress this season and once again they scored points in this race. Williams have managed to score points in every race so far and this time Kazuki Nakajima got two points for his team.
Getting one point for McLaren was Heikki Kovalainen who got eighth denying fellow countryman Raikkonen a chance to score a point.
The next race will be in North America as Montreal takes host and its interesting to see whether Raikkonen will
bounce back to close the gap with Hamilton or possibly overtake him.
Massa never let off after starting the race from pole and I think McLaren's Lewis Hamilton gave him a close check throughout the race as he came second.
It was good to see Hamilton near the level he was last year and he must be thinking a win must be around the corner for him after coming second in the previous race in Barcelona.
I thought Kimi Raikkonen did well to finish on the podium after the bad start he had and it was good that he avoided collision with Heikki Kovalainen on the first corner.
Massa has now cut Raikkonen's lead at the top to just seven points and I think Raikkonen knows that he now has a lot of work to do if he is to move away from his team mate and also Hamilton.
BMW Sauber's drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld took fourth and fifth place respectively, positions that they are now quite familiar with. I don't think Kubica did threaten Raikkonen's third place that much and that must be a worry for BMW but on the other hand their cars are very consistent.
Former champion Fernando Alonso had to settle for sixth place just ahead of Mark Webber who dropped to seventh by the end after what I thought was a good start.
Alonso's lack of pace in his Renault was so evident when Raikkonen easily overtook him in the early stages of the race.
Williams once again continued to score points in every race this season and this time it was the chance for Nico Rosberg who finished in the last points position.
His team mate Kazuki Nakajima retired after just one lap after an accident on the first corner with Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella.
Whilst Massa was winning for the third time in a row Fisichella was having an accident on the first corner for the third time in a row. I hope he will fare better next season.
This means that drivers Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato will now have to look for other teams possibly next season unless they become test drivers for one of the remaining ten teams.
This would have been the team's third season and they follow the likes of small teams like Arrow and F1 who found the going hard in F1.
Last season Super Aguri scored four points all through Sato and they were still to get some points this season.
The folding shows that its increasingly getting harder for the smaller teams to survive in F1 despite changes that have been made to lower down the costs of running a team
I always thought having 22 cars on the grid was good because there would be lots of action areas but then 20 is still not that bad if they are all competitive and I hppe the remaining 20 will go all the way to the end.
After winning a dramatic pole on Saturday, Raikkonen made the most of his pole position to finish on top as his team-mate Felipe Massa finished second to make another Ferrari one two in consecutive races.
Lewis Hamilton took the last podium place to make it to the podium after missing on the last two races. I thought it was very tight between second and fourth position as BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica closed in on Hamilton whilst while Hamilton was closing in on Massa.
Mark Webber had his best finish of the season so far as he got fifth place. Webber qualified seventh on the grid on Saturday but retirement for former champion Renault's Fernando Alonso and a penalty for BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld made sure he got fifth place.
Webber got seventh place in Bahrain and its good to see another improvement this time and I hope a podium place is around the corner.
Honda's Jenson Button finished sixth to score the first points for his team this year and behind him was Kazuki Nakajima who got another two points for Williams. So far I thinks its looking good for Williams although Nico Rosberg could not finish the race.
The Williams team has so far managed to score points in every race which is not bad and I think the move to Toyota engines is beginning to pay off.
In the last points position was Toyota's Jarno Trulli and just behind him was Heidfeld who suffered a or making a stop for fuel and tyres when the pit lane was closed during the safety car period.
The next race will be in two weeks time in Turkey and I am sure there will be a lot of drivers hoping for better luck after nine failed to finish in Barcelona.
Massa had failed to complete both the Melbourne and Malaysian grand prix races but he dominated in Bahrain from start to finish to easily win ten points and will now go into the European races under less pressure I think.
Joining him on the podium was team mate Kimi Raikkonen who had started fourth on the grid and who now leads the drivers championship taking over from Lewis Hamilton who could only finish 13th after a bad start that was soon followed by a crash with Fernando Alonso.
Robert Kubica won pole on Saturday but easily lost first position to Massa who was second on the grid but he maintained third position to make sure that BMW Sauber have so far had a driver on the podium in all three races.
His BMW team mate Nick Heidfeld finished fourth and this looks like a year where they can at least challenge the dominance of McLaren and Ferrari.
Talking of McLaren Heikki Kovalainen finished fifth just in front of Toyota's Jarno Trulli who seem to be doing a good job for Toyota this year.
I think Mark Webber did well to get seventh place especially after starting eleventh on the grid. I think if he can get his qualifying better then he can finish nearer the podium places.
The last points place went to Williams' Nico Rosberg to make sure the Williams team has so far scored points in every race.
Its interesting to see that Alonso could only finish tenth after the crash with Hamilton but it was not a good day for his team with Nelson Piquet being among the three drivers who failed to finish the race.
The next race will now be in Europe in Barcelona in three weeks time and so teams have time to re-group.
The current world champion showed he meant business from the start where he started behind team-mate Felipe Massa who later spun out of the race whilst in second position and I think only a breakdown could have stopped him from winning.
I thought Massa was going to collect his first points for the season but he did not the finish the race again and he will now have to wait for the next race in Bahrain. Ferrari will need both drivers to finish as often as possible in order to successfully defend the constructor's title.
In second place came BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and I am actually pleased to see BMW drivers finish on the podium whereas last year they tended to finish just outside the podium places.Last week Nick Heidfeld also finished second.
To complete the podium was McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen who should be pleased with his third place and an improvement from last week when he finished fifth.
In what seems like good signs for Toyota this year, Jarno Trulli finished just outside the podium places and ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton when he took fourth place. In last week's race team-mate Kazuki Nakajima got six place but could only get 17 th at Sepang.
I think Hamilton did well to get fifth place after starting ninth on the grid. His fifth place means he still leads the championship by three points.
Heidfeld was behind Hamilton in sixth and as I have already said it looks good for BMW but I still think they lack pace to challenge the top two teams.
I thought Mark Webber should have finished fifth after a very good race but he dropped two places when he pitted but seventh place is not too bad considering that in Melbourne he didn't even complete a lap.
To complete the points places was former champion Fernando Alonso who tried everything he could take to overtake Webber but Webber held on to seventh place.
Only five cars failed to finish the race this time and this is a big improvement from last week where only seven finished. Maybe it means the drivers have now adjusted well to the lack of driver controls.
The next race will be in Bahrain in a fortnight and its interesting who will be leading the championship after that.
ITV had two years left in its contract but F1 has decided to give those rights to the BBC which should be a good thing for British F1 fans because they will now have uninterrupted coverage.
When I used to watch F1 coverage on ITV in England I thought that was great and they would show every race live and races like the Japanese would be shown live early in the morning and then a re-run in the afternoon and then a highlights program at night all which I thought was great.
Now if you look at F1 coverage in Australia which is done by Channel 10 all you get is the wall to wall coverage of the Australian grand prix and pretty much nothing else for the rest of the season in terms of live coverage and one is expected to live by delayed coverages.
This brings the question as to why Bernie Ecclestone does not act in Australia and look for a channel that will show the bulk of the races live in Australia and also increase the F1 fan base in the country?
This weekend we have the Malaysian grand prix which will be at 6.00 pm Melbourne time but Channel 10 will show this race delayed at 11 pm and they keep their rights.
On the other hand the race will be at 7.00 am UK time and ITV will show it live and then show the full re-run at 2.45 pm and then one hour highlights program at 12:20 am and they lose rights to F1 coverage. Double standards anybody?
It would appear to me then that F1 expects higher standards for their European viewers and possibly none at all for their Australian ones.
Only seven out of the twenty two that started the race finished the race but that didn't bother Hamilton as he snatched his fifth victory and even better for him was that the Ferrari's both failed to finish the race.
Today's race started a later time of 3.30 pm and next year it will start at 5.00 pm in a bid to have the race watched at a better time for European viewers but those fans who braved the heat should have enjoyed the exciting race.
Joining Hamilton on the podium was BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld who finished ahead of Williams Nico Rosberg who recorded his first podium in what was a great result for Williams.
It was also a good result for Heidfield who finished just outside the podium in so many races last year. I also hope to see more of that from the BMW team.
Former champion Fernando Alonso finished in fourth place in his first race back at Renault but he had to fight McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen towards the end of the race to get that fourth place.
I don't think its a bad result for Alonso and he can only improve as the season progresses and as the car is fine tuned.
Sixth place went to Rubens Barrichello but he was then disqualified for leaving the pits when the lights were red in his final pit stop.
Kazuki Nakajima in his first race for Toyota finished seventh but was promoted to sixth when Barrichelo was disqualified in what is a good sign for Toyota who should improve from previous years.
Toro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastien Bourdais failed to finish but got seventh and so did Kimi Raikkonen who got eighth.
It didn't work out again for Mark Webber who could not even complete a lap and joined Jenson Button, Anthony Davidson, Sebastian Vettel and Giancarlo Fisichella as drivers who failed to complete a single lap.
So McLaren and Williams should be pleased as they were the only teams who had both cars finish
the race and for Ferrari its back to the drawing board.
Last year the highlight of the season for me was the on going tussle between then team mates Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso but Alonso has since gone back to Renault and they will now have to fight it out from two different teams.
Unlike last season where there were a number of changes, the biggest change this year is that there is no traction control and whether that will see more overtaking we will have to wait and see.
Ferrari retained their two drivers from last year in Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa and I expect them to be the team to beat. Last season Raikkonen had a strong finish to the year and I expect him this year to be strong from the start which will make it difficult for the other drivers to catch up with him.
Massa can also help retain the constructors title by making sure both drivers finish as high as possible in the races.
Hamilton should have won in his debut year but he faltered towards the end but in the process he gained a lot of experience. That experience should handy this season as he partners newcomer to McLaren Heikki Kovalainen who also has one year experience under his belt.
I expect McLaren to at least finish in the top two and if Hamilton can have another strong start like he did last year then he could win this year. Kovalainen didn't do badly at Renault either last year and so McLaren have two very promising drivers.
Two time champion Alonso moved to Renault in the close season where he will have debutant Nelson Piquet Jr as team mate but I don't expect much from him especially at the start of the season. I also think Alonso will have a better relationship with Piquet this time because he is the number one driver and he is no stranger to Renault.
I think Renault have a lot of work to do after a disappointing season last year and I think one of their biggest challengers will be BMW Sauber.
Sauber have retained their two drivers from last year in Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica but I still expect them to finish in their usual places from fourth to sixth with podium finishes here and there.
Last year Sauber was consistent but did not bother the top two teams too much but they have a good foundation to build upon this year.
Williams had a better season last season after a disastrous season the year before. They still have Nico Rosberg who I think is a promising driver and they now also have Kazuki Nakajima.
I think Williams will just work to improve on their standing from last season without really causing any concern for the top teams. I am anxious to see what Nakajima can do for them.
Australian Mark Webber is still at Red Bull Racing with David Coulthard and for these two I think it will be a question of finishing in the points places.
Honda was one of the biggest disappointments for me last season but they retained their drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button. I think going for them is the appointment of Ross Brawn who worked with Barrichello at Ferrari. Any improvement on last year will be big boost for Honda and I expect them to finish more races in the points positions.
Over the last few years Toyota have promised so much but never delivered and this year I don't see much difference to that and lets hope I am wrong. Jarno Trulli will still race for them but he will be joined by debutant Timo Glock and a lot is expected of them especially with so much funding but nothing much to show for it.
The last three teams are Toro Rosso, Super Aguri and the new Force India and I expect then to also be the last three teams come end of season.
Force India have the experience of Giancarlo Fisichella but he was so disappointing at Renault last year he will have to improve a lot to get points for Force India.
So lets see what the first race in Melbourne will show us on Sunday and I hope it will be another
exciting F1 season.
Fisichella did not have a very good season last year at Renault when he was expected to fill the shoes left by Fernando Alonso and take the team forward but instead it was rookie Heikki Kovalainen who got the team the most points.
So it was not surprising when his contract was not renewed and Renault had to re-sign Fernando Alonsobut he then did well to perform so well in testing for Force India to convince them to give him the drive for 2008.
Its hard to tell how the former Spyker team will perform this season but I think they will benefit so much from Fisichella's experience and this time I expect him to get the most points in his team
though I doubt they will be many.
Kovalainen will now partner Lewis Hamilton and so McLaren have now ended with two drivers without much experience in F1 but with lots of potential. I hope its a combination that will be successful after the near success in the just ended season when Hamilton just missed out on the title.
It still remains to be seen however whether Hamilton can repeat his exploits of his debut season but I think that with one year experience under his belt he should do better than the 2007 season.
On the other hand Kovalainen finished with 30 points at Renault and he helped Renault secure third place in the constructors championship and I think with a faster car at McLaren he should be able to better those 30 points.
Its also good to see that the F1 spying row has now come to an end insofar as the FIA and the 2008 season is concerned and that should set the scene to what on paper looks likely to be a very competitive season if Renault can improve and BMW Sauber just go a step up and challenge for podium places.
When Renault were found guilty by the FIA but not fined last week, I think it was a matter of time before Alonso re-joined his old team where he won two world championships before leaving for McLaren at the end of the 2006 season.
Its sad though that Heikki Kovalainen will leave Renault as a result of Alonso's return. I think Kovalainen had a very good first season where he accumulated a total of 30 points ahead of his more experienced team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella who could only get 21 points in a poor year for Renault.
Alonso will be partnered by Nelson Piquet Jr the son of triple world champion Nelson Piquet and who was a test driver at Renault in the 2007 season. I think Alonso will be hoping that Piquet does not turn out to be another Lewis Hamilton and challenge him for number 1 status.
Interestingly Kovalainen could now go and fill the seat left vacant by Alonso at McLaren.
Fisichella might end up with Force India a team he has tested with in the last few weeks.
I expected Brawn to go back to Ferrari where he had spent ten years before the sabbatical but he thinks Honda will give him more of a challenge compared to Ferrari.
Honda didn't do very well this season with Rubens Barrichello failing to score a single point and Jenson Button scoring just 6 points. So in terms of a challenge there is a really a challenge at Honda.
Compared to the 2006 season, Button got 56 points and Barrichelo got 30 to make a formidable 86 points which earned Honda an impressive fourth place in the constructors title. In that same season Button got his maiden win.
So Brawn will join Honda as Team Principal with full responsibility for designing, manufacturing, engineering and racing Hondaís Formula One car and he will work alongside Nick Fry who will continue as Chief Executive of the team according to Honda website.
Brawn will find a familiar face at Honda in the form of Barrichello. After a disastrous 2007
I think Barrichello will be hoping that Brawn's input will bring a better 2008.
To me this is not very surprising because I just felt Alonso and Lewis Hamilton couldn't be in the same team for another F1 season and its good that Alonso and McLaren have decided to go their separate ways.
At the end of the 2006 season it looked like it was a perfect match when McLaren announced that rookie Hamilton was going to partner Alonso. At the time it looked like a perfect match because here was the current world champion partnering with a rookie with 'all to learn' but Hamilton then proved he was more than just a rookie.
As the season continued it looked more and more like Hamilton could challenge for the title in his own right and I think thats where the problems started and provided some drama to make the just ended season one of the most entertaining both on the track and off it.
Now the question is where will Alonso go? By all accounts he would have gone to Ferrari but Ferrari has their full complement of drivers for next season and so maybe he will go back to Renault.
There is also the question of who will join Hamilton at McLaren but I think once Alonso finds a new team there will be a chain reaction leading to movement by other drivers. It looks like everybody was waiting to see what was going to happen with the McLaren drivers before making any moves.
Looking forward to the 2008 season, it should be interesting to see Alonso and Hamilton fighting it
out from two different teams and I think there is more drama coming but at least this time it will mostly be on the track which is good.
This will be the only night race on the calendar and the first one in the history of F1 and it will be interesting to see how it goes. My only concern is about the safety of both the spectators and the drivers and as long as that can be guaranteed then it will be good.
Earlier this year there was also talk of a night race for the Melbourne race but it seems like the idea has been shot down which is good. It looks like what will happen instead is that there will be a twilight race and so instead of the race starting at 2 pm it will start at a later time of 3.30 pm.
I think this is a good compromise because it will mean that the race will finish round about 5 pm which is not too bad. Also the V8 race is scheduled to return next year and that will also be good for the local fans.
The Australian race will be the first race of the year and will be staged on
March 16 and with the last race in Brazil on the second of November.
Raikkonen becomes the unlikely winner after a season which most of the time pointed to Hamilton being the champion but Hamilton made some costly mistakes where it mattered most and showed everybody that after all he is only a rookie.
But I think Raikkonen has quietly done his job getting points and wins here and there whilst all the noise came from McLaren and its not surprising that he has the most number of wins this season with six and he had to fight to the last race to secure his maiden championship.
Felipe Massa's second place ensured that Fernando Alonso who finished third did not get the two points he needed to win the championship. Its interesting to see that Alonso and Hamilton finished on the same number of points, 109 but Hamilton secures second place because he has more second place finishes than Alonso.
William's Nico Rosberg got fourth place ahead of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and . Nick Heidfeld who finished fifth and sixth respectively. It was another good run by Rosberg who has helped Williams to claim fourth place in the constructor's championship.
Jarno Trulli got the last points place securing one constructors point for Toyota who have had a season to forget. In his last race for Toyota Trulli's team-mate Ralf Schumacher finished eleventh.
Mark Webber secured fifth place on the grid but unfortunately he did not finish the race as his car stopped on lap 14 with transmission failure when he was running in a strong fifth place.
Another season comes to an end and this one has had so much drama I wonder what the next holds.
The Chinese Grand Prix was just as dramatic as the Japanese one a week before but this time it was Hamilton who failed to score a point and therefore stays at 107 points. Hamilton's team-mate Fernando Alonso finished third and now has 103 points and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen has 100 points.
Hamilton could have wrapped up the championship had he finished ahead of Alonso but his retirement now means that the decider will be in the final race of the season in Brazil. I can imagine its going to be a tense race for all the three drivers concerned but I still think that with a four point gap, Hamilton should still be the favourite to win his first championship title.
Felipe Massa finished third and I think he could have done Raikkonen a favour had he finished second ahead of Alonso. That would have made the gap between Kimi and Alonso just one point.
This time Toro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel managed to finish the race with a respectable fourth place and it shows that his third place before he crashed at Fuji was no fluke. His team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi also had a good race finishing sixth just behind Honda's Jenson Button.
I think BMW Sauber are having a poor finish to the season with Nick Heidfeld finishing seventh just in front of Red Bull's David Coulthard who took the last points place. The other BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica retired after a hydraulics problems.
Mark Webber this time finished the race but he could only get tenth place between the two Renault cars of Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella who I thought had a disappointing race.
So its Interlagos to come and decide the championship and I am hoping that Channel Ten will show the race live on television especially as it is starting at 2 am Melbourne which
is their favourite time of showing F1 races.
In a tough race in wet conditions throughout Alonso had to finish ahead of Hamilton to close the gap or failing that finish as close as possible to him and let the gap stay small but by crashing out and Hamilton winning the race, Alonso looks set to lose his title to his team-mate.
I think Ferrari's decision to start the race with intermediate tyres instead of extreme weather ones cost them dearly as they had to pit soon after the race started and then re-join the race at the back. The race started under the safety car making the first few races boring to watch but I think that was justified given the weather conditions.
This time it was a good day for Renault as Heikki Kovalainen finished second and Giancarlo Fisichella finished fifth. Kovalainen benefitted from the crash between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber who were ahead of him at the time of the crash thus promoting him to second and he maintained that position to the end.
I think Webber would have finished on the podium had he not crashed out of the race. He was in a very good position and to make matters worse the crash happened under the safety car which is something you would necessarily expect to happen.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen took the last podium place and his chances like Alonso's of winning the championship are now very slim. He is now 17 points behind Hamilton and he would need to win the next two races and for Hamilton to score less than three points in the two races and Alonso less than 15.
Webber's team-mate David Coulthard had a comfortable race finishing fourth just ahead of Fisichella and Felipe Massa who finished sixth. It was a dramatic race for Massa who ended up with four pit stops and had a drive through penalty imposed after over-taking under safety car conditions.
The last two points positions went to Robert Kubica and Vitantonio Liuzzi. It was very unusual for the BMW Sauber cars to finish so high in the race when they normally get between fourth to sixth places but Nick Heidfeld actually finished 14th.
The next race is next week in China and Hamilton could wrap up the championship if he beats Alonso or loses no more
than a point to him. With the way he raced at Fuji he probably deserves it.
This was Raikkonen's third straight win at the track and this win has helped his faint hopes of claiming the title from from one of the McLaren's drivers. His team-mate Felipe Massa finished a comfortable second but with 20 points behind Hamilton and three races to go his chances are very slim.
Fernando Alonso managed to make sure that Hamilton did not overtake him at the first corner got third place and in doing so closed the gap to just two points and he knows that if he continues to finish ahead of Hamilton in a points position he will win retain the championship.
It seems no race will be finished without some bickering between the McLaren drivers and this time it seems Hamilton wasn't happy with the way Alonso blocked him in the first lap. I think the talking will go all the way to the last race but I think Alonso has got a big advantage now as the race leaves Europe to at least two tracks that Alonso is accustomed with and Hamilton is not.
Only one BMW Sauber finished in the points this time and it was Nick Heidfeld who finished fifth just ahead of William's Nick Rosberg. I am actually impressed with Williams revival this season and I think they are on the right path now after their troubles of last season. Rosberg now has accumulated 15 points and the other Williams driver Alexander Wurz has 13 points to make them lie ninth and tenth respectively in the championship race.
Mark Webber managed to get some points after three races without scoring a point as he finished seventh in front of Renault's Heikki Kovalainen. The other Renault driver, Giancarlo Fisichella did not finish the race. It doesn't look like a good year for Fisichella who I thought had a chance to challenge for the title after the departure of Alonso at the start of the season.
The next stop is going to be at the Fuji and I think Alonso would have been happy
with Suzuka where he won last year. But the Fuji circuit makes a return to F1 after 20 years and it will be new to all drivers thus making it even.
After the Ferraris dominated the last race in Turkey, this time it was McLaren's turn for a one-two. Alonso knows he has to finish ahead of Hamilton in order to retain his title and he managed to do just that and has now reduced the deficit to just three points.
Hamilton came second but for him I think the most important thing is that he is still in front and with four races to go he also needs to make sure he finishes ahead of Alonso to increase that gap but it looks like this will go all the way to the last race.
A retirement or two can change the whole complex of the title race and Ferrari's Felipe Massa knows about it after retiring after just nine laps due to a suspension problem. I think Ferraris need to match the reliability of the McLaren in order to compete with them or else they will just play second fiddle.
Massa's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium after starting fifth on the grid and is now eighteen points behind Hamilton. On paper his chances are now very slim but at least he is still in with a chance.
The BMW Sauber drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica maintained their now familiar positions just outside the podium coming fourth and fifth respectively. I am waiting for the time when they can actually challenge for the podium places and make races even more exciting.
It was another good race for Williams with Nico Rosberg finishing fifth ahead of Renault's Heikki Kovalainen. I think Renault has been very dissapoining this season and especially Giancarlo Fisichella who could only finish twelfth this time.
To complete the points places was Jenson Button with a rare point for Honda for him to score only his second point this season.
Mark Webber had a good race but there was nothing he could have done to catch Button and so had to finish just ahead of another Honda of Rubens Barrichello.
The last European race will be next at Spa next week and with a one week turn around I would imagine Ferrari have a lot to think about in the coming if they want the title to head their way.
From an Australian perspective, I am also keen to see whether Channel 10 would
rather show Rugby World Cup live than a F1 race again.
It was a one-two for Ferrari with Kimi Raikkonen finishing a close second and that should please Ferrari in their quest to win all the remaining races in order to overhaul's McLaren's lead.
Kimi had a very good start for he started third on the grid and by the first corner he was second after overtaking McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and he maintained that position for the remainder of the race.
Hamilton this time finished behind team-mate Fernando Alonso and I think thats something that should have pleased Alonso so much. The puncture on his right-front tyre with 15 laps to go spoiled his race and from there on I think it was going to be good enough to finish the race and get some points and he did finish in respectable fifth place.
Alonso took the third podium place taking advantage of his team-mate's demise and has now closed the gap between him and Hamilton to just five points. He should now be hoping to finish in front of Hamilton in the next five races to overtake him and retain his crown.
Fourth place went to BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld with his team-mate Robert Kubica only managing eighth. I think this was a disappointing race for Kubica who has had an excellent season so far and has been a top six finisher for most of the races.
Renault scored three constructor's points through Heikki Kovalainen who finished sixth behind Hamilton but ahead of William's Nico Rosberg. I think Williams are having a decent season and their partnership with Toyota seems to be working well.
It wasn't a good outing for Mark Webber as he was the first of only two drivers to retire as he left the race after just nine laps after suffering a differential problem.
The next race will be at Monza and I think Ferrari will be hoping to have another
one-two finish in front of their supporters.
Hamilton's team-mate, Fernando Alonso was moved back five grid positions after the race stewards judged that he had acted improperly in delaying Hamilton and denying him a chance to respond after Alonso had got pole position with a flying lap on Saturday.
That situation was not good for McLaren and I am now beginning to wonder whether both Alonso and Hamilton will still be at McLaren next season. Hamilton later apologised to his team for not obeying team orders. Hamilton's win extended his lead over Alonso at the top from two points to seven points.
Ferrari had a mixed day with Kimi Raikkonen finishing a close second but another qualifying drama meant that Felipe Massa had to start from 14th place on the grid. Ferrari failed to refuel his car in Saturday's second qualifying session, leaving him starting from 14th place and he only improved one place to finish 13th.
What made it even more disappointing was the fact that McLaren were not going to score constructors points following the Hamilton/Alonso fracas and therefore this was a good opportunity for Ferrari to close the gap but with only Raikkonen scoring points that chance went begging.
BMW Sauber's consistency this season paid off with Nick Heidfeld finishing third ahead of Alonso who finished fourth. Heidfeld's team-mate Robert Kubica finished fifth. I still think BMW missed that little bit extra to really challenge McLaren and Ferrari.
Toyota's Ralf Schumacher must be relieved when he finished sixth to score points after a long while in front of William's Nico Rosberg and Renault's Heikki Kovalainen who took the last points position.
After finishing on the podium in the last race in Germany Mark Webber just missed out on the points position finishing ninth after another good race.
There is three weeks before the next race in Turkey and I can't wait to see the next qualifying session and
the race itself where Alonso will be trying to close the gap between him and his team-mate and also Ferrari
will have to to try and rescue the season with just six races to go.
It was double trouble for Lewis Hamilton who for the first time in his short F1 career failed to finish on the podium and also failed to score points. Hamilton's problems for the weekend started in qualifying when he could only start tenth on the grid after a high-speed crash.
With team-mate Fernando Alonso winning the race, Hamilton's lead at the top has now been reduced to just two points and I think Alonso must be excited at the prospect of the taking the lead himself in the next few races.
Felipe Massa had a good race until the second showers where he appeared like he could not go any faster and Alonso took advantage to take the lead. It wasn't a good day for his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who retired halfway through the race due to engine problems after enjoyed success in the last two races.
In fourth place was Williams Alexander Wurz who tried everything he could to overtake Webber and secure a second podium finish for the season he but could not overtake him and therefore secured another points finish for Williams.
Webber's team-mate David Coulthard finished behind Wurz in what was a very good race for the Red Bull team. Coulthard was ahead the two BMW Sauber cars of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica who could only finish sixth and seventh respectively.
BMW Sauber have had a wonderful season so far and it is surprising to see that the team has only managed to secure one podium finish this season and that was in Canada. This is another race where I expected them to have at least one finish in the top three races given Raikkonen and Hamilton's problems.
Renault's Heikki Kovalainen took the last points place to save face for the Renault team whose other driver Giancarlo Fisichella could only finish tenth.
Its seven races to go now and the drivers championship is still up for grabs and lets wait and see if there
is going to be even more drama at the Hungaroring than last year.
I think the record run of podium finishes could have finished here had Ferrari's Felipe Massa not started from the pits. Massa had a very good race and at one time was the fastest driver on the track but traffic made sure he could only finish fifth behind BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica.
I think Hamilton should be grateful that Massa started the race from the pits and not from fourth place on the grid otherwise he would have finished at least behind him because Massa had a faster car.
Hamilton's lead has now been reduced to 12 but its still a healthy lead and as long as he manages to finish races at least in the top four places the lead could eventually bring him a world championship. But its still early days and one or two break-downs can wreck the whole plan.
Fernando Alonso had a good race and got a deserved second place. He must be relieved after some time finishing behind Hamilton, now he has managed to finish in front of his team-mate.
Its interesting to see that the this time the top eight positions were filled by the top four teams with Renault coming fourth best taking positions 7 and 8.
The other BMW Sauber driver finished Nicky Heidfield finished sixth and thus making sure that both drivers contributed to the constructors points for the team.
Mark Webber must be frustrated at being the first driver to retire in this race after suffering hydraulics problems. After successfully finishing the last three races which included him scoring his first points for the season, retirements came back to haunt him again and I hope its just a blip.
Felipe Massa started on pole but could not take advantage of that as his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen overtook him to take the full ten points. Kimi showed his intentions clear from the start when he managed to overtake Hamilton at the first corner to take second place behind Massa and from there it was a question of a Ferrari one two barring any breakdowns.
For the eighth consecutive race, Hamilton finished on the podium and I think his record of consecutive podiums for a rookie which he is establishing will take some time to break if it is ever broken. Although he finished third, he still increased his points lead over team-mate Fernando Alonso who finished seventh to 14. I think Alonso would quickly like to forget this race after he started tenth on the grid after mechanical issues in qualifying and in the point had to settle for just two points.
The full complement of the BMW Sauber drivers was back and once again they showed their consistency taking fourth and fifth places. Robert Kubica was back after missing the US grand prix after the crash in Canada and he finished fourth ahead of team-mate Nick Heidfeld. I am waiting for the day when BMW Sauber can challenge the two top teams and make a three way fight at the top.
Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault failed to overhaul the BMWs and sixth place was respectable for Fisichella because he could have finished seventh had Alonso had a better race.
With the British grand prix being the next race in back to back races, Jenson Button collected his first points for the season and maybe hopes he will have even better luck in his home grand prix next weekend at Silverstone.
Elsewhere, there were no points this time for Mark Webber who finished twelfth after gaining two places from his 14th place start on the grid.
I am looking forward to the British grand prix when Hamilton races in his home grand prix. For the first time since Damon Hill retired, there is a very good chance that the British grand prix can be won by a local and that should make quite an atmosphere.
For now its bye-bye Magny-Cours.
Hamilton lead from start to finish and he did well to make sure that Alonso did not overtake him on the first corner and from then on Alonso was second best despite trying to overtake again later in the race.
This was Hamilton's seventh podium in seven races and this time the podium resembled the podium of the first five races of the season as Ferrari's Felipe Massa took third and hence McLaren and Ferrari on the podium.
Massa fought off the challenge of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the later stages of the race but I think that had Raikkonen not had a bad start where dropped from fourth on the grid to seventh he could possibly have overtaken him.
Renault's Heikki Kovalainen had a good race as he finished fifth ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli who finished sixth. Talking about Toyota, Ralf Schumacher had another nightmare race as he bumped into David Coultard and in the process led to Rubens Barrichello's retirement.
So far Schumacher has garnered just two points compared to Trulli's seven. That I think is a poor return on his part and I am expecting him to do better later in the season.
Mark Webber got his first points of the season after finishing seventh. This was good for Webber who has at least managed to finish two consecutive races now and I hope that his good run will continue as the circuit returns to Europe.
BMW Saubers's Sebastian Vettel got the last points position and in the process created a record of being the youngest driver to score a F1 point. But his point was because William's Nico Rosberg retired with just five laps to go.
The next race circuit goes back to Europe and I think the pressure is on Alonso and Raikkonen to do better
Hamilton made sure he used his maiden pole to his advantage but taking the lead from start to finish to claim his first win and so far to be the only driver who has finished on the podium in all the six races.
But it wasn't all that good for BMW's Robert Kubica who had a nasty crash he was trying to overtake Toyota's Jarno Trulli on lap 26.
I think this was by far the most incident packed race this season with the safety car deployed four times and seeing Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella being disqualified for leaving the pit lane while a red light was showing. There were also eight retirements in the race leaving just twelve cars to cross the finishing line.
For the first time this season there was no Ferrari driver on the podium and also instead of two teams represented on the podium this time we had three.
I wasn't surprised that BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld finished second behind Hamilton because he has had a good start to the season. To complete the podium was Williams' Alexander Wurz and what a change of fortune for Williams who failed to have any impact last season but are already are riding high this season.
Renault's Heikki Kovalainen finished fourth ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. I think this is a race where nothing seemed to work for Ferrari and they will possibly want to forget about it in as quickly as possible.
Super Aguri-Honda's Takuma Sato finished ahead of reigning champion Fernando Alonso who had to settle for seventh position after a slow finish to the race that was mostly affected by the 10 second penalty.
To complete the points placings was Toyota's Ralf Schumacher. Mark Webber finished just outside the points in ninth position after a superb race and this was probably his best chance to finish in the points so far this season.
The next race is next week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and lets see if Hamilton's can continue and talking about him winning the championship may not that wayward after all especially now that he has opened an eight point lead.
This was the fifth race of the season and so far the podium has comprised McLaren and Ferrari drivers only and the only driver to feature on all podiums so far is Hamilton.
I think Hamilton was disappointed that he did not get pole on Saturday because he knows that had he got it he would have won the race. I think he is no longer satisfied with breaking records ( this time first rookie driver to finish on podium in first five races) and finishing on the podium but would like to win a race and that is what counts more. Felipe Massa finished a distant third and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen scrapped into the points points grabbing eight position having started the race in 16th position.
It was good to see Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella finish fourth and I wonder if this marks a change of fortune for the team. However it was good not all that rosy for Fisichella's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen who finished thirteenth.
BMW sauber continue to be consistent but I think they still lack the cutting edge to challenge the top two teams. I still think that the day when we see a driver outside McLaren and Ferrari on the podium it will be one from BMW Sauber.
Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finished fifth and sixth respectively with Williams' Alexander Wurz finishing seventh. Last time it was Nico Rosberg who finished in the points for Williams and this is a positive result for they have managed to score points in two successive races.
Mark Webber did not finish the race once again and it doesn't look good for him so far this season. I thought Webber had a chance this time of scoring points after qualifying sixth but car problems continue to trouble him and it is increasingly looking like last season already. This time it was a gearbox problem.
The next two races will be in North America starting with the race in Montreal, Canada.
By finishing on the podium for the fourth time in as many races Hamilton became the first driver to finish on the podium on four consecutive times in his year in F1. Also the McLaren driver now leads the driver's championship by two points and at 22 he becomes the youngest driver to do so.
I think the Massa secured his win when he fought off Alonso on the first corner because from then on he went on take command of the race and only losing the lead on pit-stops.
No other team apart from Ferrari and McLaren has finished on the podium so far this season but I still think BMW Sauber are the ones who could break that podium monopoly. BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica finished fourth and his team-mate Nick Heidfeld could not finish the race.
It was good to see a Williams finish in the points with Nico Rosberg finishing sixth behind Mark Webber's team-mate David Coultard. Once again Webber failed to finish and this time it was a hydraulics problem and I am afraid the pattern of 2006 seems to be developing again.
Renault's Heikki Kovalainen and Super Aguri's Takuma Sato completed the points places. It doesn't look like its going to be a good season for Giancarlo Fisichella after he finished just outside the points in ninth place after some fuel rig problems.
Next stop Monaco.
I am not a fan of night racing at all because at the heart of it is pleasing fans in some far away place and ignoring the locals especially those who live close to the circuit and there is also the big issue of safety of both the fans and the drivers.
How safe night racing will be nobody really knows as this will be the first time that a F1 race has been held at night. One also has to think about what happens if it rains at night and especially with the kind of heavy downpours experienced in areas like Singapore. I think that is likely to pose some serious problems.
I also fear that should the night race be successful, pressure will be put on both Melbourne and Malaysia to switch their races to night time. In a previous post, I argued that this wasn't for the good of locals and I still think so.
In another F1 development it was announced that Valencia might host a F1 race next year called the European Grand
prix. What baffles me is not the announcement itself but the fact it looks like there was an announcement sometime last
year that no country would host more than one race. This race would give Spain two races and I wonder whether that
policy has now been shelved aside.
I think this time Massa did well to take advantage of his pole position and lead the race from the start but towards the end Hamilton put him under pressure and I think its a question of a few more races before we see Hamilton winning his first race. Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium places with third.
It wasn't all that rosy this time around for world champion Fernando Alonso who for the first time this season finished outside the top three places and had to settle for fifth position after Nick Heidfeld snatched fourth from him.
Heidfeld fourth position and teammate Robert Kubica's sixth has shown once again that so far this season BMW-Sauber are the third best team relegating Renault to fourth. Renault had Giancarlo Fisichella finishing in the points in eighth position with team mate Heikki Kovalainen behind him. Toyota scored points for the first time this season with Jarno Trulli finishing seventh.
Australian Mark Webber could not finish a race for the first time this season and he must be hoping that its not a repeat of last season where he could hardly finish a race. His team mate David Coultard also did not finish the race after a driveshaft failure and so Red Bull has a lot of things to think about for the next race in Barcelona.
Three drivers are on 22 points and it couldn't be more exciting but going to Barcelona the question is : will Hamilton win his first race at Barcelona? We will know the answers in nearly a month's time.
In a race in which Ferrari's Felipe Massa threatened to dominate in the lead up, it was the McLaren who dominated where it counted most and Alonso got his first win for his new team.
Starting from pole, Ferrari's Massa could not take the lead as Alonso surged forward from the start and it was when he slipped off the track while trying to overtake Hamilton that his hopes for a podium finish evaporated.
Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium places with another fine drive and he couldn't win his fight for second place with Hamilton and had to settle for third.
Last year's winner Giancarlo Fisichella could only finish sixth for Renault but his fellow Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen finished in eighth. I think that was the only consolation for Renault that both their drivers finished in the points.
BMW Sauber showed once again that they will be a force to reckon with this term after Nick Heidfeld finished fourth again although fellow driver Robert Kubica did not finish the race.
Australian Mark Webber finished just outside the points this time in tenth and this was a slight improvement after finishing thirteenth in Melbourne.
So I am looking forward to the next race next week in Bahrain to see whether McLaren can continue from where they have left at Sepang and also to see whether Massa can score points where it matter most - the race.
I see this is as coming up with a solution for a foreign market without considering the local people. This talk was fuelled even more by the low numbers that attended this year's four day event with Saturday's numbers being reported as the second lowest and Sunday's being reported as third lowest night racing is now being touted as a solution to the dwindling number of people coming to Albert Park.
Has anybody thought of the environmental effects, safety of the fans, transport to and from Albert Park and the noise pollution to the residents of St Kilda, South Melbourne and other surrounding suburbs especially on a Sunday night? These are some of the local problems that must be considered first before thinking about some audiences somewhere.
The low numbers are due to a number reasons and this year the lack of V8 racing was a major one. The good weather on the day could also have had an effect with people deciding to do other things instead.
I am surprised that Bernie Ecclestone could talk about boosting audiences in Europe and Asia. What about Australia's audiences? Network Ten, the Australian F1 broadcaster produces a very good production of the Melbourne Grand Prix with blanket coverage especially on Sunday which is good. The problem is that this is the only race we will then see live as nearly all the other races are shown delayed. Why can't Ecclestone fight for us to get live races as well?
We don't need the European races time to be changed because European races start at 10 pm Melbourne time which is an ideal time but Network Ten decides to show these races at around 11.30 pm and the delayed race with its load of commercials goes into the early hours of the morning. The question is then why can't the Australian audience also watch F1 live?
I think this is also one of the reasons why people are getting put off by F1 because they never get to watch it live throughout the season. The Europeans may miss three races because of inconvenient time of coverage but we miss at least 16 because they are not shown live at all.
Back to night racing. Night races are not on for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's not convenient for families with young children. Imagine if the race starts at around 8 pm and you would expect it to finish at around 9.30 pm and this is on a Sunday evening. This means some people will get home as late as midnight and added to that the following day is a school day.
Albert Park is not like the MCG or Telstra Dome for example where there is train and tram network nearby and therefore its easy to leave once an event is finished. Those shuttle buses and trains are not good enough especially at night and you are talking about more than 100,000 people here.
The ticket prices of F1 must be kept reasonable and this year $99 was needed for general admission and hopefully the price will remain the same next year or maybe slightly increased to cater for inflation.
A lot of people follow V8 racing because it's local racing and a lot of people can identify with it and so this must be brought back to Albert Park to get more people past the turnstiles. You just can't ignore the importance of the V8s to the carnival.
To sum it up all, the organisers of the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix must champion for Australians to get live coverage of F1 first so that they can keep an interest in the sport throughout the season and when the it comes to Melbourne they will turn out in large numbers.
Raikkonen had a fine race as he cruised to a comfortable win with McLaren's Fernando Alonso and debuntant Lewis Hamilton completing the podium. The other Ferrari car with Felipe Massa finished sixth.
Hamilton in particular had a fine race if you consider that it was his first F1 race and the way he drove in the first corner to overtake fellow teammate and current world champion Alonso and take second place was very good. He drove like a seasoned driver and maintained second position until later on when Alsonso grabbed second place after a pit-stop and stayed there for the rest of the race.
From this race it looks like McLaren is back and although the Ferraris were faster over the weekend the McLaren was not that far back. The same cannot be said about Renault though who did not look convincing to me.
BMW Sauber also had a good start with Nick Heidfeld snatching fourth position from Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella who finished fifth ahead of Ferrari's Massa. Considering that Massa started from the back of the grid, I think he had a good race and I wonder what would have happened had he started the race somewhere nearer the front given that he looked like he was the fastest in the paddock until his car had problems in qualifying.
Williams-Toyota's Nico Rosberg and Toyota's Ralf Schumacher completed the points finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
The first race, apart from being in Melbourne, is always interesting to me because it gives you some pointers on to who is performing well after the off-season testing. From this race it would appear like BMW Sauber are going to be more competitive than last year and with a Williams Toyota car finishing seventh it looks like this could be a better year for them.
From an Australian perspective, Mark Webber finished well out of the points in thirteenth position for his new team Red Bull-Renault and it doesn't look very good him at the moment.
I now wait to see what will happen in the race at Sepang in Malaysia in three weeks time.
For the first time in sixteen years there won't be Michael Schumacher on the grid this season after he retired at the end of last season. For a sport that has been criticised in the past for being too predictable, I think there is nothing predictable about it this season.
This season will see one tyre supplier, Bridgestone, supply all the teams with tyres and that could make it a bit interesting. There is no more gaining advantage because your tyre manufacturer has tyres more suited to certain conditions like rain or heat. Some may think it takes away some of the drama but I think it will bring the cream to the top.
I think teams like Ferrari who have been using Bridgestone have a slight advantage because they are familiar with tyre and know exactly how to get top performance out of it. The former Michelin supplied teams will have to adopt but having said that I don't think that it is a big concern because by now all the teams have had enough time to test the tyres up.
Fernando Alonso won the championship last year with Renault but he has since moved to McLaren where he will pair with debutant Lewis Hamilton. If McLaren can make their car a little bit more reliable then they can be competitive again and I think its high time McLaren wins the title after the Kimi Raikkonen/Pablo Montoya combination failed to provide one despite the hype.
I still think that Ferrari, even though they no longer have Schumacher are front-runners together with Renault. Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa should between them be able to secure a good number of podium finishes if they put their experience to good use. Ferrari have an experienced set of drivers compared to their major rivals, Renault and McLaren and therefore will be my favourite for the constructors title at least.
I think Renault are still very good despite losing Alonso. This year they will have Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen and to me Kovalainen is untested at this level and will have to see how he goes in the first few races before saying much about him.
Fisichella showed glimpses of how good he is but he was overshadowed by Alonso and now it's his time to shine. Renault had a very fast car last season and if they can build on that then they will be very hard to beat.
Elsewhere Mark Webber has moved to the Red Bull teaming up with David Coultard and I think they should be happy to be in the points most of the time. I think the jury is still out on Webber and this could be the year when he can prove his doubters wrong.
Jenson Button did quite well for Honda last season securing a maiden win and should he improve on that he could get more podium finishes if not more wins. Rubens Barrichello didn't have a particularly good season but now that he is in his second year with Honda maybe he will have a better season.
Its very hard to know what to expect from Toyota. Despite having a capable driver in Ralf Schumacher they are so inconsistent its hard to tell what we will get from them this time around.
If Williams can just finish a few more races then that will be a big good improvement for them from last season. A change of engine to Toyota could be all that can change their luck. From last season's performance its hard to tell that this is a team with seven drivers and nine constructors titles to its name.
Of the remaining teams the one to look out for is BMW Sauber with BMW going into its second year in full control. Scuderia Toro, Rosso Spyker and Super Aguri know what to expect and I hope they will also bring in some competition this season although that seems very unlikely.
So let the new season begin and let us see whether Alonso can secure a third consecutive
So the news is Lewis Hamilton has now been given a chance to drive for McLaren next year. I cannot say I was really surprised but I had thought Pedro de la Rosa was going to be given the drive being a McLaren test driver and with F1 experience but it seems that Ron Dennis has decided to give Hamilton a chance and see what happens.
I expect Lewis to at least get some points because he would have the advantage of a not so
bad McLaren car plus Alonso in his team but I still think Ferarri and Renault will still be
up there in terms of the championship with everybody else playing catch up.
For Schumacher I think the championship was lost when his engine failed him in the Japanese Grand Prix but still he fought hard in the Brazilian Grand Prix to earn fourth place. The requirement that Alonso had to fail to score and then Schumacher win the race to win the championship was always going to be hard to achieve and in the end it never happened.
In a race like this where most of the focus is on Alonso and Schumacher itís easy to forget drivers like Jenson Button who started fourteenth on the grid but finished on the podium. To get an idea his teammate Rubens Barrichello had started fifth on the grid but could only muster seventh.
I still wonder though whether Schumacher would have won the race had he not had a puncture. I think he would have got on the podium at least but winning maybe not, who knows.
Renault had double victory getting the constructors title after netting five more points than Ferrari. I never doubted that Renault would get given that both their drivers have been consistent scoring points throughout the season.
Mark Webber finished the season the way he started it. He didnít finish the race but this time it was nothing to do with the car itself but a collision with teammate Nico Rosberg.
Next race, our own Melbourne Grand Prix!
The constructors gap has now increased to nine and Ferrari will need a ten point difference between their scores and Renault's in order to win that one. That means if Ferrari get the first two positions then Renault should score at most eight points for Ferrari to win and that doesn't look easy at all but is achievable.
Whatever happens at Interlagos it has been a very interesting season and there could still
be some surprises, you just never know.
After qualifying yesterday I just thought Alonso had the race in the bag and on checking the race weather forecast an hour before the race I just thought it was all in Alonso's favour but the drama in the race itself was the key.
This time there were no penalty points to argue about for the top two drivers and all was going to be decided in the race. I think the Renault team must be wondering how they could have made mistakes at such at an crucial part of the season. Renault are now one point ahead in the constructors championship and I still think they are going to win that part of the championship but for the drivers'its becoming even more difficult to predict.
The result today means that the championship race will now go all the way to the last race
which is good for the Brazilians fans.
The tight race is also good for the Japanese fans who before have endured races when the
championship has already been decided.
I always thought that it was going to take an Alonso breakdown or something like that for Schumacher to close the gap and that happened on Sunday in the Italian Grand Prix. The points system in place now makes it hard to close the gap especially if the other driver finishes just one or two places behind because that would constitute just two or four points difference.
To make it more even more interesting there is also the battle for the constructors title between Ferrari and Renault. It will depend on Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella also finishing well in the last three races because for constructors you need both drivers to be performing well. I think this will go to Renault.
I was a bit saddened to see Schumacher retire from F1 because he has been a very good driver but from a Ferrari point of view Kimi Raikkonen should be a good replacement.
Finally, with the season Mark Webber has had it was good to see him finish a race even
though he wasn't in the points.
Williams haven't been the team they were last season without the BMW engines but that's all set to change next year with them switching away from the Cosworth engines to Toyota ones. They should be able to bring the best out of the Toyota engines and hopefully become more competitive again.
But for Webber its more or less going back to the team he left when he went to join Williams. He was with Jaguar before but they were then bought by Red Bull.
Halfway through the race I just tell what was going to happen next with the weather changing so quickly and I was interested to see what would happen between Alonso and Schumi and I think we are in for an interesting end to the season with the gap now narrowly reduced to ten points.
But Button did very well to come from 14th on the grid and get his debut win but him and his team Honda mastered the conditions very well in a race where only seven cars finished.
Its sad to see how BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica lost his seventh position on his debut race
but Ferrari would have been happy to get those three constructors points when they should
have possibly got just one.