So far in the Australian Grand Prix, three second drivers have retired either through mechanical issues or through accidents. Heikki Kovalainen was seen coasting back to the pitlane at the very start of the race, his McLaren not sounding entirely functional. On lap 17 of the race, the second retirement of the event went to Kazuki Nakajima, who lost his Williams at the exit of T3. A punt in the barrier brought out the first safety car of the season.
Although Nakajima was perfectly fine and jumped out of his FW31, the position of the car was awkward and debris was strewn across across the tarmac. The safety car was deployed and remained out for six laps while the race order was sorted behind. Interestingly, while the cars were feeding past, Felipe Massa was seen gesturing to Bernd Maylander, suggesting that Massa wasn’t sure if he should be passing or not.
As the safety car came back in, the tyre temperatures were reduced as were brakes. Jenson Button made a good restart, but Nelson Piquet Jr., who was being challenged by Nico Rosberg, touched his brake pedal going into the first corner and spun off. Piquet complained of brake failure.
On lap 47, Felipe Massa was seen coasting around the back of the track, his Ferrari seemingly given up. The Brazilian retired from the race although it is currently unknown what exactly happened to the F60. Clearly though, reliability is an issue for the Scuderia. Kimi Raikkonen did have a spin just rior to Massa’s retirement and swiped the barrier, although the Finn managed to gather it all together and continue.