This weekend has been a racing fans dream with not only the F1 season but also the MotoGP season beginning.
The two series have brought in a fair few rookies this year and it’s been a bit of a mixed weekend for them.
We’ll start with the good:
I’m aware than Ocon technically made his debut last year when he took Haryanto’s seat mid season at Manor. The difference this year is that he is starting the season along side the rest of the grid, finding their feet with the new spec of car, tyre and rules. To score points on your first race, to battle with established drivers, even former world champions, is an amazing achievement that should be celebrated. Congratulations on your first point in F1, Esteban!
A days notice is all he had but, boy, did Antonio kick some butt. Not only did he qualify ahead of seasoned drivers such as Magnussen and Palmer but he was within touching distance of reaching Q2. After finishing in 12th, only 2 places out of the points, I think you can agree with me that that is one amazing debut. We’re all looking forward to more of Giovinazzi in a F1 seat.
Overshadowed by the battle at the front, Alex Rins proved his worth and talent with a superb debut. A 9th place finish for the MotoGP rookie was more than even he could expected, stating that he believed 13th was as high as he could achieve. He definitely outdid himself by, not only achieving a 9th place but also placing ahead of 3 time world champion Jorge Lorenzo. Congratulation, Alex. That was some debut.
Much like Alex Rins, Jonas Folger’s debut was also overshadowed by the battle at the front but, once again, it was impressive no the less. After expecting to get into the top 10, he certainly delivered. Securing 10th also put him ahead of Lorenzo. Nicely done, Jonas.
Not a bad weekend for a bunch of rookies.
Oh Johann, you certainly kept us all on the edge of our seats. After a fantastic start, seeing off the likes of Marquez, Vinales and Dovizioso, he lead for a third of the race before crashing out on lap 6. To go from leading the race to crashing out was definitely a massive blow. His performance beforehand was amazing and many established racers have since stated that the crash was down to inexperience in the conditions but the performance was otherwise great. With a bit more experience on the bike and in similar conditions, maybe Zarco can be on the podium this season.
A difficult weekend for Sam Lowes with mistakes that caused him to lose pace and causing him to end in 18th place but during the race, his pace improved and he got to grips with the bike. On Twitter, Sam stated that he was taking away positives from the weekend which is the best thing for him to do.
After qualifying 18th and finishing last, this was definitely not the debut Vandoorne wanted. He scored his first point last year whilst replacing Alonso so this weekend was a kick in the teeth for poor Stoffel despite the issues McLaren had faced in testing with numerous engine problems.
Between an electrical problem during a pit stop and a fuel pressure problem during the race, Vandoorne certainly didn’t have the best of weekends but at least he finished. Fingers crossed for a better season ahead.
It just wasn’t meant to be, Lance. A debut plagued by back luck: a trip into the wall in Free Practice, qualifying 19t only to be handed a 5 place grid penalty for a gear box change and a retirement at lap 40. It just wasn’t Stroll’s weekend.
The 18 year old has also had to deal with a fair amount of crisism about his on track perform via social media, something I had words about in a previous post.
It’s early days for the Canadian, who dominated in F3 last season with Prema, so I’m not ruling him out just yet.
It’s been a fairly mixed weekend for rookies across the board but it is only the start of the season for both series so it’s anyone’s game to an extent.
So, here’s to some exciting Sundays because, boy, have they been dull!