"What's good for Ferrari is good for Formula One," as Bernie used to say
It is, perhaps, ironic that one of Ferrari's most ardent supporters, Bernie Ecclestone, isn't the boss of F1 any longer as the Prancing Horse danced its way into the first victory of the 2017 F1 Grand Prix season in Melbourne, Australia.
The looks on the faces of Toto Wolff and Niki Lauder said it all. How dare another team win a race, their expressions spake loudly.
But another team did, and did so without any major strategy differences. For the last three years, Mercedes have had an iron grip on the constructor's trophy, now they are cross someone else might just have a go. And on yesterday's form, the driver who is most likely to have a go is the winner of the four championships before Mercedes became invincible, Sebastian Vettel, and, worst of all, he's doing it in a Ferrari.
It would be dangerous to predict anything from a single race, especially the first race of the season and even more so one which is on a track that is so unrepresentative of most of the circuits the championship is run on.
But in winter testing, Ferrari had shown pace that had proved surprising and they had also reliability that was contrary to their usual philosophy of fast but fragile. If we can learn anything from testing and the Australian GP, it' s that the Ferrari is quick, it's stable, it's reliable and, perhaps most importantly, it's easy (at least easier than others) to set up. Even Kimi Raikkonen, who loves to moan about set-up, didn't have much to say.
Bottas, the new boy at Mercedes, was calm, precise, very quick and very, very pleased to be in a front running car, running up behind his team mate, Hamilton, before dropping back for the last couple of laps, knowing he was unlikely to be challenged by Kimi. It was Lewis who played the girl, moaning about this and that throughout the race. Honestly, if they swapped his mouth for one of the pistons, he might have gone faster.
The shock at Mercedes was palpable. They were the invincible Germans with nothing to fear, especially courageous comeback from such a long period in retreat, from the flashy Italians.
It was a delight to see.