F1 returned this weekend as it marked another new dawn with a rather promising race that saw Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel take the win.
A lot of the talk over the off-season had obviously been about the new regulations and how they would impact the pecking order – as well as how Ferrari’s test pace would carry into this opening weekend – and we duly got some answers.
It was a race that saw close action throughout the field and certainly hinted at a shake-up at the front, as well as good close-quarters racing further down the pack.
Plenty, then, to be chewed over from this first edition of F1 2017 and so, with that in mind, here are three things we picked up on over the course of the race…
1. We look to have a championship battle on our hands
This was the main point of the regulation changes and it does seem to have worked. Either Mercedes have lost a bit of pace or Ferrari have gained it but they certainly look set to lock horns for the duration of this campaign. The Prancing Horse of Vettel had the measure of the Silver Arrows of Lewis Hamilton today and that really does bode well for the oncoming season.
2. Close quarters racing looks possible
One of the worries about the potential new rules was that following closely was going to become even harder thanks to the added turbulence thrown off of these new beasts. It appears, though, we needn’t worry too much with there being no real added issue. There was overtakes and some very good racing at times and that will surely be magnified when we get to a more open track like Shanghai next time out. Promising indeed.
3. Pushing is back
One of our, and many other F1 fans’, gripes – along with all the drivers – was that it was very rare that you could push the car all the way thanks to the degradation of the tyres. With these new chunky boots, though, much of the field was able to throttle it for the full race whilst lap-times tumbled towards the end as drivers went for the fastest lap. This could be the most pleasing thing to take away of what was a generally engaging Grand Prix – roll on China!