More informed race analysis is all over the Interwebs by the point, so I'm just going to share a few observations from the perspective of a non-obsessed fan (not to say that I'm not a freakish F1 fan, just not to the extent of a true anorak, to pretentiously steal some Brit-speak).
Speed Channel, you suck. For years, I've gotten up Sunday morning, made some breakfast, read some news, then around 11 am or so, switched over to the race. Comfort breeds complacency, because I didn't bother to reschedule the recording of the new season in my DVR. Doing so would have revealed there would be no rebroadcast of the race on Sunday morning. Instead, I fell asleep on the couch Saturday night watching Foo Fighters on Austin City Limits, woke up close to 2 am, and decided I might want to program the DVR just in case the rebroadcast started early the next morning. Ummm... Did the DVD revert to the previous month again? *whack the remote* Nope. No race Sunday morning. The cherry on top was that there were about four laps left in the race, being shown live. I caved and watched, but my glorious plan for Sunday morning was blown to hell. I ended up spending the day cutting rust out of an Alfa Romeo and grumbling.
Thanks to the man above for torrents, I've pieced it together. So, did anything interesting happen at Albert Park? Talk amongst yourselves.
Aside from NASCAR pre-emption, how amazing was it to see a John Player liveried Lotus- Renault on the grid and on the podium? Any while we're in a rhetorical frame of mind, everyone seemed to ask, "What could Kubica have done with that car?", but it seemed like few were asking, "What the hell happened to Petrov over the winter?" 'Cause he looked awesome out there. Totally in control of his race. Amazing that he was driving for his job last season. Heidfeld though... Bruno Senna deserves a chance in a good car. Give him the seat. Because the universe wants it.
McLaren has speed!
Sauber. Ridiculous disqualification aside, what a showing! I've been a fan of Kobayashi ever since his first race in Brazil '09, relegating Button to a waggling tail for several chaotic laps. I love that guy. Formula 1 needs more insanity. But Sergio Perez! That kid is true talent. Where did he come from? Aside from Mexico. And the Ferrari Driving Academy.
That said, does anyone else think Alonso might have a new Spanish-speaking teammate before too long? Massa is Cougar. I hate it for him, but he's lost the edge.
Speaking of dulled edges, I just get the feeling the 2011 season might be the last hurrah for Schumacher and Barrichello. Schumacher says he's only driving to win, but honestly - he can't. I know that somewhat contradicts what I said previously, and while I think he can be competitive and score points, I don't think he has a snowball's chance of winning any races.
Vettel and Hamilton are probably among the best drivers to grace the grid in decades. No one driver is going to be routinely beating either of them for a long, long time. Maybe Alonso, although the Ferrari didn't seem to have the pace of the Red Bull once the show was actually on. Webber and Button are great drivers (if not for an as-of-yet disclosed problem and a questionable ruling and subsequent drive-though respectively, either might have ended up on podium), and in all honestly my two favorites. But when you ride in-car with Vettel and Hamilton, it seems to perfectly effortless. Supernatural even. Watching the way they control their cars, it seems like they've been bred to do this. Everyone has been awaiting the new Schu'. It might just be Sebastian Vettel.
One more open-ended discussion for you. Is there any point to comparing modern drivers to the heroes of the past? Could you argue Vettel is the new Schumacher in any way other than the fact he dominates? Or that Hamilton is the Senna reincarnated? Or Button is our generation's Jim Clark? To me, and take this relatively uninformed opinion for what it's worth, it seems aside from the fact they're driving open-wheeled cars on road circuits in a sport called Formula 1, it's as different as playing Combat on an Atari 2600 and Call of Duty on an Xbox 360. Not that one is necessarily harder than the other, they just require vastly different skill sets to be successful. Relatable to any job these days, I suppose, but uncanny skills with the wheel and pedals really aren't good enough, anymore.
Oh, and in case you're curious, rebroadcast is now on Monday morning. Will that be for every race? Find out in two weeks at Malaysia. Or go here.