The 2015 Melbourne top 10 was widely different from last year’s


While much was made of Mercedes AMG Petronas continuing its domination to open the year – and almost exceeding the seemingly impossible-to-improve results it set out for itself last year – there was actually quite a bit of change year-on-year in the results from the 2014 Australian Grand Prix to the 2015 attrition-marred version.

Only Nico Rosberg, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have scored points in both the 2014 and 2015 editions of the race.

For a comparison, here’s last year’s top 10:

1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren-Mercedes
3. Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes
4. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
5. Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Mercedes
6. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India-Mercedes
7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Renault
9. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso-Renault
10. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes

The magnitude of the year-on-year change from 2014 to now is evident in this year’s top 10, linked below:

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
4. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes
5. Felipe Nasr, Sauber-Ferrari
6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-Renault
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India-Mercedes
8. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari
9. Carlos Sainz Jr., Toro Rosso-Renault
10. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes

It’s interesting to see the differences. Alonso and Bottas were ruled out before the race, Magnussen and Kvyat made it out of the garage but ran aground of mechanical gremlins before the lights went out, and Vergne is now out of F1.

Hamilton and Vettel kick off their years with big points after high-profile DNFs a year ago. Two debutantes scored this year in Nasr and Sainz Jr., just as two did a year ago in Magnussen and Kvyat. Sainz Jr. actually matched Kvyat’s result of a year ago. His Toro Rosso teammate Max Verstappen was on pace to score foo before grounding to a halt in the final 25 laps.

While the Driver’s Championship after one race mirrors the finishing order, the Constructor’s Championship doesn’t.

Here’s a look at the difference, year-on-year there after the opening Grand Prix:

1. McLaren-Mercedes, 33
2. Mercedes, 25
3. Ferrari, 18
4. Williams-Mercedes, 10
5. Force India-Mercedes, 9
6. Toro Rosso-Renault, 6

This year, Mercedes kicks off its title defense with a perfect score of 43 points for its first of what will likely be many 1-2 finishes this season. Meanwhile Sauber is a big winner as well, with two points scorers more on Sunday than they had in all of 2014:

1. Mercedes, 43
2. Ferrari, 15
3. Sauber-Ferrari, 14
4. Williams-Mercedes, 12
5. Red Bull-Renault, 8
6. Force India-Mercedes, 7
7. Toro Rosso-Renault, 2

Yes, this is only the score from one race. But it’s still a pretty big year-on-year adjustment.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images

Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.