Not since the 2015 Melbourne GP has Lewis Hamilton won Down Under.
This could well change at the 2019 season-opener.
True to most seasons before they even start, the verdict, rather the possible verdict of what was to happen this year had been exclaimed by the fan in red.
It wasn’t too surprising to note the urgency of the conjecture. After all, Lewis Hamilton in this Mercedes-led era has dominated one of the world’s most expensive sports with an iron fist. How else is one to define the fact that all 6 world titles since the 2014 F1 season have been bagged by Mercedes with Hamilton winning 4 on his own for the Silver Arrows?
Implicit in this dominance has been the literal mauling of Ferrari.
So to that end, “Leclerc will be rip-roaring right from the start and together with Vettel, Ferrari will challenge Mercedes endlessly,” wasn’t too hard to understand. This, after all, isn’t just the emotion of the Tifosi but also of those who breathe red anywhere on the planet.
But out there at Melbourne, what followed at the conclusion of the Second Practise session was anything but the domination of the Prancing Horse.
That Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion and Charles Leclerc, the talented albeit a Ferrari newbie managed P5 and P9 goes on to show the early struggles that the Italian team’s men are facing.
And well, make no mistake, this could also change entirely come the qualifying on Saturday. Well, needless to say, the Ferrari fan would certainly hope.
That Ferrari must win the 2019 F1 season isn’t just the famous stable’s immediate call to action, now a vision indicated by the interesting “Winnow” motto!
Rather, it’s important as one might argue for the interest of those curious eyeballs that remain hooked to gadgets, tv screens, and whatnot endlessly so in their thirst to see a titan emerge on top.
That, in Lewis Hamilton, there’s one and unquestionably so is understood.
But that, there should be another ruling the roost augurs well for a sport- Verstappen, Leclerc, who knows, Bottas or Kimi- (well, perhaps not with the latter unless approaching 40, the Kimster bullies drivers much younger to him)- that’s seen F1’s most famous outfit all but usurp Mercedes.
And whether one likes it or not, to counter Lewis and Bottas, the Finn setting 7 fastest-laps out of 21 Grands Prix in 2018 (an incredible feat albeit in a messy season) may not be that difficult after all for Max Verstappen, should things fall into place for the Dutchman, who, at the conclusion of the Second Practise emerged third-fastest behind the Mercedes duo.
Should that worry Sebastian, who at 1:23:473 could only manage a fifth vis-a-vis Lewis’ chart-topping 1:22:600?
And who knows what’s going to happen in a sport where fortunes can change at any hairpin bend or perceptibly the easiest corner to contend with?
But a thing can be said for certain.
In his heart, Sebastian Vettel, a man responsible for securing back-to-back wins at Melbourne starting 2017 would know his task is cut out.
He knows what’s to be done.
And what might motivate him to that end would be to remember that last year, while Hamilton secured pole at Melbourne, which was his 73rd then, it was the German who leapt ahead in the front to take the checkered flag, having begun from a modest-looking P3, just behind Kimi.
So, can we leave Sebastian Vettel alone, Ferrari fans?
You know what you’re to do, right?