2008 Australian Grand Prix

The 2008 Australian Grand Prix (officially known as the 2008 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix)[3] was a Formula One motor race held on 16 March 2008 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia. It was the first race of the 2008 Formula One season. In qualifying for the event, Lewis Hamilton for the McLaren team started from pole position ahead of Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber by 0.15 seconds.

2008 Australian Grand Prix
Race 1 of 18 in the 2008 Formula One World Championship
← Previous raceNext race →
Albert Lake Park Street Circuit in Melbourne, Australia.svg
Race details
Date 16 March 2008
Official name 2008 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix
Location Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia
Course Temporary street circuit
Course length 5.303[1] km (3.295 mi)
Distance 58 laps, 307.574[1] km (191.118 mi)
Weather Sunny,very hot with air temperature 39°C.
Attendance 108,000[2]
Pole position
Driver McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:26.714
Fastest lap
Driver Finland Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:27.418 on lap 43
Podium
First McLaren-Mercedes
Second BMW Sauber
Third Williams-Toyota
Lap leaders

The 58-lap race featured three safety car interruptions due to collisions on lap 1, 26, and 42. A high rate of attrition meant that only 7 cars of the 22 participants finished the race, with six being classified after sixth place Rubens Barrichello was disqualified for exiting the pit lane illegally. Of the six, Hamilton lead most of the race and finished first ahead of Nick Heidfeld in second in a BMW Sauber and Nico Rosberg in third in a Williams. This was Rosberg's first podium finish. In winning the race, Hamilton and McLaren led the Drivers' Championship and Constructors Championship, respectfully.

This event also marked the first race in seven years, since the 2001 San Marino Grand Prix, not to feature cars competing using traction control, which was banned by the FIA at the end of 2007.[4]

BackgroundEdit

The Grand Prix was contested on 16 March 2008 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia by 22 drivers, in 11 teams of two.[5] The competing teams, known as constructors, were Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, Honda, Force India, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Williams, Toro Rosso and Super Aguri.[5]

The race was the first of the 2008 Formula One season, with several teams opting to retain the same drivers as they had in 2007, however some teams changed for 2008. One of the main driver changes involved McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, who chose to move back to Renault for the 2008 season, with Heikki Kovalainen moving in the opposite direction to McLaren.[6] The 2007 Drivers' Championship winner Kimi Räikkönen stayed at Ferrari after his title-winning campaign, with the Finnish driver again being joined by Felipe Massa.[6] As in the previous season, the same 11 teams took to the grid for the start of the new season.[6]

The final mass testing session before the new season took place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmeló, Spain between 25 and 27 February 2008. All the teams, with the exception of Super Aguri attended this three-day test which was affected by rain on the first day.[7] On the first day of testing, Lewis Hamilton representing McLaren set the fastest lap a 1:22.276. Second was the Ferraris of Räikkönen and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.[7] Hamilton continued to top the timesheets on day two with Kovalainen second. Räikkönen was third with a time of 1:21.722, having been joined at the track by his teammate Felipe Massa.[8] Massa's best lap of 1:22.513 only made him fifth fastest, with Kazuki Nakajima in a Williams splitting the Ferraris in fourth.[8] On the third and final day, the Toyota of Jarno Trulli finished in first place with the fastest lap of the testing weekend, recording a lap time of 1:20.801.[9] Second was the Red Bull driver David Coulthard who missed the previous two day's running due to requiring treatment on a trapped nerve.[9]

Practice and qualifyingEdit

“There are definitely four cars that are quicker than us, so we'll get our heads down this evening and work on the race information before qualifying tomorrow. It's pretty windy out on the track, but it's an issue for everyone."

Mark Webber, after recording the second fastest lap in the second practice session.[10]

Three practice sessions were held before the race. The first was held on Friday morning and the second on Friday afternoon - both of these sessions lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes with weather conditions dry throughout. The third session was held on Saturday morning and lasted an hour.[11] Räikkönen, the defending champion, set the fastest time in first practice, posting a lap time of 1:26.461, four-tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton and Massa, in second and third places respectively. Heikki Kovalainen completed the top four in the McLaren, with Mark Webber in the Red Bull and Alonso in the Renault in fifth and sixth positions, two seconds off the pace. Rookie Nelson Piquet Jr. caused a brief red flag in the session, spinning off at the Ascari corner.[12]

Hamilton lapped faster than Räikkönen in the second practice session with a time of 1:26.559.[13] Webber was second in the Red Bull, nine-tenths of a second behind Hamilton. Coulthard, Webber's teammate, was fifth, three-tenths behind Kovalainen, who finished the session fourth. The Ferraris were third and sixth; Massa in 3rd and Kimi Räikkönen in sixth. Jarno Trulli in the Toyota and Nico Rosberg in the Williams completed the top eight positions.[13] In preparation for the qualifying session, many teams put their cars on soft tyres for the third practice session. The soft tyre gives better performance than the harder type of tyre but is less durable than the harder compound.[14] The BMW Sauber team topped the third practice session with first and second positions with Robert Kubica finishing the session ahead of teammate Nick Heidfeld. Alonso was third in the Renault, with Rosberg in fourth.[15]

"I am pleased to qualify third, but there is still room for improvement. It was a fairly smooth lap, and the balance of the car felt good. At the end I didn’t nail a perfect lap, but throughout the weekend I have just been taking things steady, not making any mistakes and keep pushing harder and harder. Last year I didn’t make the best start to the season, so today’s result is a great beginning to my career as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver."

Heikki Kovalainen, commenting on his qualifying performance.[16]

Qualifying for the race was split into three stages. The first stage of qualifying ran for 20 minutes with cars finishing in the last six positions not progressing to the next stage and retaining their position for the race. The second stage saw the next six slowest drivers not progress similarly and lasted for 15 minutes. The final stage of qualifying determined the positions from first to tenth with the fastest racer gaining pole position.[11]

Hamilton won his seventh career pole position, with a time of 1:26.714 in the third session. Second was Kubica, who was a tenth of a second behind Hamilton.[17] Kovalainen was third, with Massa fourth, four-tenths slower than Hamilton in the third stage. Heidfeld, Trulli, Rosberg and Coulthard completed the top eight positions.[17] In contrast to Massa's fourth place, his teammate, Räikkönen finished qualifying in 16th place. His Ferrari car suffered a fuel pump problem at the end of stage one, with the Ferrari team unable to fix the problem before the second session.[18] Webber in the Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel in the Toro Rosso also suffered problems, with Webber spinning off in session two due to brake failure, leaving him down in 15th. Vettel was scheduled to be in the third session, but his Toro Rosso suffered oil pump failure, preventing him from setting a time in the session.[18] Timo Glock in a Toyota finished qualifying in ninth position, however, he was demoted to 19th after being given two five-place grid penalties. His first five-place penalty was a result of a gearbox change, while his second five-place penalty was for impeding Webber during the session.[19] Adrian Sutil spun and stalled during his final hot lap in first qualifying and damaged his chassis.[17]

Qualifying classificationEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Grid
1 22   Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.572 1:25.187 1:26.714 1
2 4   Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:26.103 1:25.315 1:26.869 2
3 23   Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.664 1:25.452 1:27.079 3
4 2   Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:25.994 1:25.691 1:27.178 4
5 3   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:25.960 1:25.518 1:27.236 5
6 11   Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:26.427 1:26.101 1:28.527 6
7 7   Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:26.295 1:26.059 1:28.687 7
8 9   David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:26.381 1:26.063 1:29.041 8
9 12   Timo Glock Toyota 1:26.919 1:26.164 1:29.593 19[1]
10 15   Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:26.702 1:25.842 no time[2] 9
11 17   Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:26.369 1:26.173 10
12 5   Fernando Alonso Renault 1:26.907 1:26.188 11
13 16   Jenson Button Honda 1:26.712 1:26.259 12
14 8   Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:26.891 1:26.413 13
15 10   Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:26.914 no time[3] 14
16 1   Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:26.140 no time[4] 15
17 21   Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:27.207 16
18 14   Sébastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.446 17
19 20   Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:27.859 PL[5]
20 18   Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.208 18
21 6   Nelson Piquet Jr. Renault 1:28.330 20
22 19   Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:29.059 21
Source:[20]
  • ^1 Timo Glock was demoted to 19th place due to two five-place grid penalties, for a gearbox change and for impeding Webber during qualifying.[21][19]
  • ^2 Sebastian Vettel suffered an oil pump problem and did not take part in Q3.[17]
  • ^3 Mark Webber suffered a right front brake failure and was unable to continue with the session after spinning into the gravel.[17]
  • ^4 Kimi Räikkönen suffered a fuel pressure problem in Q1 and was barred from the rest of session for stopping on-track.[18]
  • ^5 Adrian Sutil started the race from the pitlane after he was forced to change chassis after severe damage during qualifying.[22]

RaceEdit

 
Nick Heidfeld finished second followed by Nico Rosberg in third. The two are here seen during one of the Safety car periods.

The conditions for the race were dry with the air temperature 37 °C (99 °F).[23] The race started at 15:30 AEDT (GMT +10). Hamilton, from pole position on the grid, held onto the lead into the first corner with Kubica behind in second position. Vettel stalled on the grid and therefore pulled away very slowly, and lost several positions in the process. Behind the leading two, Massa spun coming out of turn one whilst racing Kovalainen, and damaged his front wing against the barriers.[24] Nelson Piquet Jr. made contact with Giancarlo Fisichella at the first corner forcing Fisichella to retire from the race.[23] At turn three Mark Webber, Anthony Davidson, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel made contact and all had to retire.[25][24] Following the collision, Kazuki Nakajima drove into Vettel as he spun and lost his front wing and had to pit in for a new one.[24] A safety car was deployed in response to the accidents.[26]

By the end of the first lap, Lewis Hamilton retained his lead followed by Kubica and Rosberg. Kimi Räikkönen elevated himself from fifteenth to eighth on the first lap.[25] After the safety car was left the race on lap three, Räikkönen was stuck behind Rubens Barrichello, finally passing him lap 19 for sixth place. During the first set of pit stops Toyota driver Jarno Trulli was forced to retire due to electrical problems.[25][27] On lap 26, Massa attempted to pass David Coulthard with the two colliding forcing Coulthard to retire, and later Massa retire with an engine failure three laps later.[23] Both Massa and Coulthard suggested the collision was the others fault.[25][28] This led to a second safety car being deployed.[25] With other cars pitting, Räikkönen decided to stay out to move up the order.[27]

 
Lewis Hamilton and Nick Heidfeld, who finished first and second, on the podium after the race.

The race restarted without a safety car on lap 30 and Räikkönen made an ambitious move on Heikki Kovalainen on turn 3, but went into the gravel trap and lost several places.[23] Two laps later he spun the car again whilst attempting to pass Timo Glock into the same corner.[23] Timo Glock ran wide onto the grass on lap 42 and the bottom of his car hit two substantial bumps, the second of which caused it to briefly fly up in the air and land with force sufficient to break the Suspension. Glock spun twice and came to rest against the wall further down the track. He was forced to retire and the safety car came out for a third time.[23][25] On the same lap, due to a false signal from the chief mechanic, Barrichello left a pit stop before the fuel hose had been removed from his car. Several mechanics suffered minor injuries. He would also serve a ten-second penalty for this pit stop as it was taken while the pit lane was closed. He was later disqualified for the infringement.[28][24]

 
Rubens Barrichello (pictured at the event) finished sixth but was later disqualified

The race restarted on lap 47 and one lap later Kubica was forced out of the race after a collision with Kazuki Nakajima. Fernando Alonso was able to move up the field as a result of the high number of retirements and overtaking of Kovalainen and Räikkönen in a single move and was fifth with eight laps left.[28] Räikkönen retired with Ferrari's second engine failure of the race on lap 54, after driving slowly into the pit lane.[28]Sébastien Bourdais was competing in his first Formula One race, but it ended on lap 56 after suffering an engine failure from fourth position.[24] At the end of the penultimate lap, Kovalainen passed Alonso coming out of turn 13 to take fourth place, but moments later on the pit straight he accidentally hit the speed limiter designed for use in the pit lane allowing Alonso to regain fourth position.[28]

Seven cars finished the race but Barrichello was later disqualified for passing a red light at the pit lane exit.[23] Lewis Hamilton won the race having led all but 5 laps during pit stops.[23] Nick Heidfeld finished second and Nico Rosberg recorded his first podium in third.[29][25] Kazuki Nakajima was the final car to finish, but was later given a ten-place grid penalty for the 2008 Malaysian Grand Prix, the next race, after making contact with Kubica under safety car conditions.[24] Bourdais, in his debut scored two championship points, despite not finishing the race, and classified seventh.[25]

Race classificationEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Lap Time/Retired Grid Points
1 22   Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 58 1:34:50.616 1 10
2 3   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 58 +5.478 5 8
3 7   Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 58 +8.163 7 6
4 5   Fernando Alonso Renault 58 +17.181 11 5
5 23   Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 58 +18.014 3 4
6 8   Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 57 +1 lap 13 3
71 14   Sébastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 55 Engine 17 2
81 1   Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 53 Engine 15 1
Ret 4   Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 47 Collision 2
Ret 12   Timo Glock Toyota 43 Accident 18
Ret 18   Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 32 Transmission 19
Ret 6   Nelson Piquet Jr. Renault 30 Collision damage 20
Ret 2   Felipe Massa Ferrari 29 Engine 4
Ret 9   David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 25 Collision 8
Ret 11   Jarno Trulli Toyota 19 Electrical 6
Ret 20   Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 8 Hydraulics PL
Ret 10   Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 0 Collision 14
Ret 16   Jenson Button Honda 0 Collision 12
Ret 19   Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 0 Collision 21
Ret 15   Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 0 Collision 9
Ret 21   Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 0 Collision 16
DSQ 17   Rubens Barrichello Honda 58 Ignored red light 10
Source:[29]
  • ^1 – Sébastien Bourdais was classified as 7th and Kimi Räikkönen was classified as 8th, because they completed 90% of the race winner's distance.
  • Rubens Barrichello was disqualified from 6th for ignoring a red light at the pit exit.

Post-raceEdit

"Shortly after we called Rubens in for the second of two planned pit stops, Timo Glock had a crash and the safety car was deployed. We had no alternative but to continue to bring him in because he was out of fuel, although we realised that the pit lane was going to be closed due to the safety car and that this would result in a ten-second stop-go penalty. During the pit stop the lollipop was lifted just a fraction early while the fuel hose was just coming off the car. After the pit stop Rubens exited the pit lane when the lights were still red and obviously this is in breach of the regulations. A tough set of circumstances after an otherwise very committed drive by Rubens."

Ross Brawn, team principal of the Honda team.[30]

In a post-race press conference, Hamilton commented on the race: "I felt fantastic. I never thought it would have been as physically a breeze as it was. It is great preparation for Malaysia so bring it on, I am really looking forward to it."[31] He also commended the work of his McLaren team on both his scheduled stops on laps 18 and 43 respectively:[32]

Heidfeld picked up his first podium since the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix and was relieved to have kept Rosberg behind him, believing that his fellow German was fuelled longer than he actually was.[31][25] He commented that Rosberg "came in earlier than expected on the same lap as myself. What we lost at the start we regained on the pit-stop, so our pit-stop crew, just did a fantastic job to just get me out ahead of [Rosberg]. Then I was lucky on the pit-stops in terms of the safety car."[31] Rosberg was delighted at his first podium finish, and was looking towards the rest of the year for similar results saying "I think we have a solid car to start the season with. I am hoping to have a nice development through the season and I think we can have a good year.[31]

Also after the race, Nakajima received a ten-place grid penalty to be applicated in the following race in Malaysia, having collided with Kubica on lap 48 of the race.[33] As this was the first race of the season, Hamilton led the Drivers' Championship with 10 points, followed by Heidfeld on 8 and Rosberg on 6.[34] Meanwhile in the Constructors' Championship, McLaren picked up 14 points thanks to Hamilton's win and Kovalainen's fifth place, thus giving them a five point lead over Williams – their highest championship position since 2004 – who, like McLaren, had both drivers finish in the points, with BMW Sauber in third on 8.[34]

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Grand Prix of Australia". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 16 March 2008. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Motorsport Results". Austadiums. Archived from the original on 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Australia". Formula1.com. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Atlas F1: The 2001 Spanish GP Review". atlasf1.autosport.com. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Race Classification". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 19 October 2008. Archived from the original on 27 March 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  6. ^ a b c "The teams: Who's moved for 2008?". The Guardian. 10 March 2008. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  7. ^ a b "Barcelona day one - Hamilton pips Ferrari duo in Spain". Formula One. 26 February 2008. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Barcelona day two - McLaren one-two in testing - updated". Formula One. 27 February 2008. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Barcelona day three - Trulli in charge on final day". Formula One. 28 February 2008. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  10. ^ "Friday practice - selected driver quotes". Formula One. 14 March 2008. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  11. ^ a b "2008 Formula One Sporting Regulations" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 19 May 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 May 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Beer, Matt (14 March 2008). "Raikkonen tops practice 1 - Australia". Autosport. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  13. ^ a b Beer, Matt (14 March 2008). "Hamilton fastest in practice 2 - Australia". Autosport. Archived from the original on 30 March 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  14. ^ "Tyres". The Official Formula 1 Website. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  15. ^ Beer, Matt (15 March 2008). "Kubica fastest in practice 3 - Australia". Autosport. Archived from the original on 18 March 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  16. ^ "Qualifying - selected driver quotes". The Official Formula 1 Website. 15 March 2008. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  17. ^ a b c d e Beer, Matt (15 March 2008). "Hamilton grabs pole in Australia". Autosport. Archived from the original on 30 March 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  18. ^ a b c Elizalde, Pablo (15 March 2008). "Unhappy Raikkonen targets points finish". Autosport. Archived from the original on 18 March 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  19. ^ a b Noble, Jonathan (15 March 2008). "Glock loses another five places". Autosport. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  20. ^ "2008 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix - Qualifying". The Official Formula 1 Website. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
  21. ^ "BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Formula One | Hamilton grabs Australian GP pole". BBC. Archived from the original on 21 March 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  22. ^ Hooper, Andrew (16 March 2008). "Williams F1 – Rosberg a brilliant third in Australian GP". m.f1network.net. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h Beer, Matt. "The Complete 2008 Australian GP Review - - Autosport Plus". Autosport. Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  24. ^ a b c d e f "Australian Grand Prix". BBC. 16 March 2008. Archived from the original on 20 March 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2008.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i Grandprix.com. "Australian GP, 2008". grandprix.com. Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  26. ^ "Race Facts". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010.
  27. ^ a b Ottley, Stephen (16 March 2008). "Hamilton keeps his cool". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  28. ^ a b c d e "Australia race analysis - an afternoon of surprises". The Official Formula 1 Website. 17 March 2008. Archived from the original on 26 February 2015.
  29. ^ a b "2008 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix - Race". The Official Formula 1 Website. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
  30. ^ "Barrichello disqualified, Raikkonen gains a point". Formula One. 16 March 2008. Archived from the original on 8 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  31. ^ a b c d "FIA post-race press conference - Australia". Formula One. 16 March 2008. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  32. ^ "2008 Australian Grand Prix Pit Stop Summary". Formula One. 16 March 2008. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  33. ^ "Maiden podium for Rosberg, Malaysia penalty for Nakajima". Formula One. 16 March 2008. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  34. ^ a b "Championship Classification". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 19 October 2008. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  35. ^ a b "Australia 2008 - Championship • STATS F1". statsf1.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  36. ^ a b Henry, Alan (December 2008). Autocourse 2008-09. CMG Publishing. pp. 100–101. ISBN 978-1-905334-31-5.

External linksEdit

Previous race:
2007 Brazilian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2008 season
Next race:
2008 Malaysian Grand Prix
Previous race:
2007 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix Next race:
2009 Australian Grand Prix

Coordinates: 37°50′59″S 144°58′06″E / 37.84972°S 144.96833°E / -37.84972; 144.96833