Formula One’s ability to attract the rain combined with the saying about Melbourne that if you don’t like the weather you only have to wait a few moments for it to change, provided a double whammy of wet weather to complicate matters on this the first day of the 2012 season.
All eyes were very much on our Daniel Ricciardo, bearing in mind that the other Aussie on the grid, Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, lacked the novelty value of the Scuderia Toro Rosso driver. However, when the lights went out at the end of pit lane to signal the start of Free Practice 1, the man from Perth had his thunder stolen by his own team-mate, Jean-Eric Vergne who had the honour of being first man out on track.
But today was not about showing off and the duo immediately got down to work, reeling off a total of one hundred laps, more than any other team. In the morning, Daniel and Jev were 7th and 19th respectively and by the end of the afternoon, they were 21st and 20th, as they concentrated on doing a long run, rather than keeping an eye on the stopwatch. There are six world champions on this year’s grid, with the return of Kimi Raikkonen and it was the most crowned of the six, Michael Schumacher who was fastest for Mercedes. He was followed by Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India, Sergio Perez for Sauber, with Fernando Alonso fourth for Ferrari. Kamui Kobayashi was fifth in the other Sauber and Paul Di Resta completed the top six for Force India.