A few quick bits to pick up on before we go racing, boys and girls.

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are the winners of this season’s Start As You Mean To Go On prize, having being warned about their future conduct after qualifying.  Rosberg was adjudged to have blocked Sergio Perez during Qualifying 2, with Hamilton holding up Vitaly Petrov during the same session.  Schumacher’s blocking offence took place in Q1 when, in the opinion of the stewards, he delayed the Renault of Nick Heidfeld.  Additional penalties, including a demotion on the starting grid, could have been applied but the stewards, guided this weekend by Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert, found that no further action was necessary.

Several teams have complained that the cool temperatures in Melbourne this weekend, allied to the track’s relative lack of abrasion compared to other circuits on the calendar, are making it hard to get heat into tyres.  Ferrari’s driver pairing of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are convinced that in race trim and on a warmer day – Sunday is forecast to be comfortably the hottest day of this race weekend – they can give chase to the Red Bulls.  “I expect that this was not the normal pace from us, and we will get better and better tomorrow,” said the Spaniard.  Lotus, who’ve spent the entire weekend praying to all appropriate deities for a heatwave, have enlisted the help of both drivers and their team owner in delivering the same kind of message.

Why didn’t Red Bull use the Kinetic Energy Recovery System in qualifying?  The team aren’t telling.  “Everything we do has a reason behind it,” says team boss Christian Horner, refusing to elaborate further.  Both drivers have confirmed they didn’t use the special button during qualifying, which would have cost them an estimated 0.3-0.4 seconds per lap, enough to have Mark Webber ahead of Lewis Hamilton on the grid.  Those watching the first Friday practice session would have heard race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin telling Sebastian Vettel to “use KERS, urgent, use KERS,” leading some to suggest the team have fears about the reliability of their package.

Others have speculated that Red Bull are using a unique KERS package designed only for use at the start of a race, allowing them to run a smaller, lighter system than the rest of the grid.  Any truth in that, Christian?  “You’ll have to wait and see and watch the television.  I am not going to spoil the excitement…”

Finally, which Spanish driver with previous ties to the company could Vodafone Spain have had in mind when their marketing team came up with this?


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