The wet Albert park that welcomed the racers for the first qualifying on saturday did more than its share of tampering with the positions.Amid cries of dissent for the new format of aggregated qualifying times the 2005 F1 season took off in an intriguing fashion. A reshuffled driver line up , a new team , an indian connection and skiddy cars on wet roads did its part in heralding a season of controversies , promising stars and potential upsets.
It all began with the drizzle that made the prospects gloomy for the beginners. The qualifying order was the reverse of the finishing order at brazil last year and the weaklings started with more than their share of dissadvantage. The two minardis completed laps with less than modest timings. Then came the driver whom the whole of india were backing. Modest hopes alright but it feels awesome to see an indian racing through those amazing circuits. Amid glowing references from the commentators Narain did a good job. His timings were decent and he drove on a wet track.
However the track was drying and the advantage continued to increase. Villeneuve promptly welcomed the season with 360 spin in his warm up. Captain bonkers is back! F1 has its maverick back keep the crowds entertained. Button could have done better (again wet tracks) and Truilly was impressive. However the lucky man was Fisichella of renault whose dame fortune was at its best. Given the best condition to drive he made a good use of the dryish tracks to finish with the best timings.
Here comes the anticlimax. Sauber would have sinned a lot in the past for the treatment they got from the weather man up there. Massa had just started his first run of the season in his car with dry tires when the skies opened up. Caught in the downpour and with his car skidding like an ice skater , he crawled safely to complete his lap glad he didnt ram his car anywhere. Schumi , alerted by the debacle would have switched to wet tyres but the roads were flooded. He still showed how much of a master he is but completing a controlled lap in the worst possible condition (er..second worst...massa got the worst but did it matter ;-) ). All the racers who followed and that included some serious contenders like kimi,barri,alonso,montoya made sure they got the maximum possible from the track that again slowly got better. A day to cheer for indian fans coz this meant that all these guys landed in positions below narain with schumi in 18th place.Can you beleive it!
....hope the season is as insane as this.