GPR-A wrote:Correct. Having lost the start, Lewis was stuck behind Sainz for a large part of the race and was unable to overtake in the tight confines of Albert Park, which allowed Nico to run conservative. Importantly, Nico was managing overheating breaks that was almost killing the tires at later part of the race. As per Toto, they were afraid that, the tires might blow out. The fact that Merc maintained the qualifying gap over Ferrari for pretty much all season, tells that, whatever race pace difference that they maintained over Ferrari over the season, was there in Melbourne too, but got masked because of variety of situations going against them. I bet, if Lewis would have got a straight forward start, he would have disappeared without a trace.
I think it was VES that HAM was stuck behind for the first stint. After the red flag, Ham was behind Sainz, but was able to eventually get past him, and was behind VES again for a couple lasts until VES pitted.
I heard nothing of overheating brakes.
Yes, either of the Mercs ahead would have significantly gapped the Ferraris, but it was telling how ROS was unable to pass RAI.