After already inconveniencing us all with its awkward time zone, Australia then decided to import some British style rain. So, a soggy Q1 went ahead (delayed) and Q2 and Q3 got pushed back to 11am Sunday (Oz time) or midnight in Blighty.
I'm loathe to bet on the race after staying up for Q2 and Q3. No, midnight isn't all that late, but it'll be 1am, or slightly earlier, before the markets get going and I'd rather not try tipping at that time (especially as this is the first race of the season).
A quick check has discovered that the last time I offered no tip for an entire race weekend was the European Grand Prix of 2009.
Anyway, here's a quick rundown of Q1:
It was very rainy, and almost everyone was on wet tyres throughout. It was briefly better (but by a significant time) to be on intermediates.
As well as the predictable demise of the Caterhams and Marussias (Chilton coming last) Gutierrez was a slight surprise, and Maldonado a more significant one. Bottas made it through in 15th and will be pleased to have beaten his team mate, and Hulkenberg was 13th. [Remember, kids, that because we only have 22 cars this year 6, rather than 7, get eliminated in Q1 and Q2].
P3 was also wet, and it looks like Grosjean and the Ferraris quite like the rain.
I looked at a few potential bets. Alonso for a podium was my favourite, but 1.6 is very short and reliability or bad luck could easily ruin it. Likewise Vettel for pole.
Raikkonen (I could've sworn it was single K double [triple, but not together] N last season…) at 2.75 for a podium also tempted me. However, reliability and Grosjean's strong pace put me off.
In the end I opted for Ferrari to top score (Ladbrokes) at 5.5. No hedging, obviously. My reasoning is thus: I expect both cars to be top 6, and quite possibly top 4, on the grid. Alonso especially has a record of good starts, and Webber quite the reverse. I can see Webber finishing behind enough cars for Ferrari to get this even if Vettel wins. If Alonso starts second he could well take Vettel off the line.
So, although I think the Red Bull is a better car I think that Massa's returned to form, Alonso starts well and Webber poorly, hence the tip.
It should be noted that there is a Morris Dancer tradition of starting new seasons badly, so (as always) do at your own risk.
Let's hope the Prancing Horse trumps the Red Bull.
Qualifying resumes at midnight UK time, and the race is from 6am.