The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Team had a good start of this year's 2007 Formula 1 Grand Prix. The first race this 2007 was held in Melbourne Circuit in Australia last March 18 and two McLaren Mercedes drivers won the 2nd and 3rd spot. Unfortunately, the team did not achieve their goal to obtain the championship in the 2007 Australian GP. Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari team bagged the grand prize and crowned as the 2007 Australian GP champion.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes new comer Fernando Alonso finished in 58 laps in 2nd place. He commented: “What a great way to start the season and my career as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver. Of course it's always better to win but Kimi was a little bit quicker than us today, but we scored the maximum points that were possible, and I'm really pleased. My start was a bit strange with both BMWs being very quick off the line, and I was so busy defending my line from Heidfeld on the outside that it was not possible for me to defend the corner. I was then behind the Lewis for a while and was just focusing on keeping up with him and sometimes dropping back to allow the car to cool down. I took second after the second pitstop as I was able to stay out for an additional two laps. Originally it was meant to be one lap but because I was behind Lewis I managed to save enough fuel for one more lap. Both of the Bridgestone Potenza tyre options worked well. We will now continue to work hard to give us the best opportunity to beat Ferrari at the Malaysian Grand Prix. "
Another Vodafone McLaren Mercedes new comer, Lewis Hamilton made his debut at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix aboard the McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 with Mercedes coil springs. Hamilton finished the race after 43 laps, allowing him to grab the 3rd place. He commented: “I'm absolutely ecstatic – today's result is more than I ever dreamed of achieving on my Grand Prix debut. A big thank you to the team who has worked so hard during the winter to make sure I was as prepared as I possible could be. I made a good start but the BMWs were quick off the line and Kubica managed to get past. There was no room on the inside so I got on the left and managed to out brake both Kubica and Fernando coming into the first corner to take third. The race was intense, and I was working very hard. I made a few mistakes but nothing major and really enjoyed myself. It was great to lead the race for a few laps, but I knew it was only a temporary thing. Fernando got past me in the second pitstop as he was able to stay out a bit longer and I lost some time behind back markers. We now have a lot of work ahead of us with the Malaysia test and the rest of the season, but there is no doubt that we can build from what has been achieved today. "
Meanwhile, Ron Dennis, Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes said: “Of course as always we came to Australia to win but a somewhat unexpected strategy adopted by BMW was very disruptive to our race. Following Heidfeld's first pitstop the gap was just too big to realistically close it and the additional range from our strategy was subsequently wasted. Both drivers did an excellent job giving us a narrow lead in the Constructors’ Championship. A special thank you to the test team and the workforce back at the McLaren Technology Centre who have worked so hard during the winter and contributed so much to the faultless reliability that we have enjoyed throughout the weekend. The coming Malaysian test should give us every opportunity to further improve the competitiveness of our cars. "
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Team is now preparing for the next race this 2007 season that will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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Dwyane Thomas is a part time cook and full-time auto-enthusiast. This 31-year old Civil and Environmental graduate is a consultant at one of the engineering firms in Pennsylvania.