The season-opening Australian GP was held this weekend. Here's what happened:
In qualifying, Mercedes still seems to have an advantage, as Hamilton took pole (however Bottas crashed), with Ferrari and Red Bull close behind. McLaren and Haas were the two most improved teams.
In the race, both Haas cars were eliminated when each left the pits with an unmounted wheel. Alonso finished 5th in the McLaren. Up front, the first half of the race had Hamilton in the lead, followed by Raikkonen and Vettel, but during a virtual safety car period, Vettel was able to advance when coming out of the pits, whereas the other cars had to hold their positions. This allowed Vettel to jump into the lead, which is how it finished. A bit of luck for him.
I figured I should recap the last race in Bahrain, since we have this thread.
Ferrari actually qualified 1-2, and combined with a gearbox penalty for Hamilton, they came into the race with the advantage.
In the race, Mercedes were fast, but Vettel managed to barely stay ahead of Bottas for the win, with Hamilton 3rd. All things being equal, Bottas should've won, as he was faster than Vettel. But Ferrari skipped Vettel's 2nd pit stop, to keep him ahead, and the tires just barely held up. Raikkonen was involved in a botched pit stop, where they gave him the green light to go, despite not having serviced the left rear tire. A mechanic was run over and suffered a broken leg.
Both Red Bulls went out early; Verstappen damaged his car during a pass, and Ricciardo's engine quit. One of the junior Torro Rosso team drivers (Gasly) finished 4th. Magnussen finished 5th in a Haas, and both McLarens were in the points. Alonso has 16 so far.
So with 2 races down, Vettel has 2 wins. They race in Shanghai this weekend.
Exciting Chinese Grand Prix. The Ferrari's (again) qualified 1-2. The first part of the race was typical, with Mercedes running longer before pitting, which allowed Bottas to get ahead of Vettel.
Then it got crazy when the Torro Rosso's hit each other, bringing out the safety car. Both Red Bulls were in perfect position to pit, while the top 4 were already past the pit entrance. So the Red Bulls took on new, sticky rubber, which allowed them to catch the leaders when racing resumed.
Ricciardo worked his way to first, while Verstappen ran into Vettel, spinning both cars. So Vettel finished 8th, and he now retains a slim points lead over Hamilton.
Fantastic Azerbaijan GP in Baku, although I didn't particularly like the results. It's one of the best circuits in F1; a street circuit like Monaco, but much longer. Here's Vettel's pole lap, his third pole in a row
So the race was going along as expected, with Vettel leading Bottas and Hamilton. Then Vettel did his one pit-stop, temporarily putting Bottas in the lead. But before Bottas pitted, the two Red Bulls - who had been battling each other for the entire race - crashed out in spectacular fashion.
That brought out the safety car, allowing Bottas to pit without losing 1st position. On the restart, Vettel was sandwiched between Bottas and Hamilton, and he made a desperate move on the 1st turn to get ahead. With too much speed going into the turn, he locked-up badly, both Mercedes passed, and he flat-spotted his tires. He fell to forth, Raikkonen passed him, and Bottas blew a tire by hitting debris. So Hamilton ended up winning, and taking the lead in the championship.