Following the parade that was the Australian Grand Prix, everyone complained about the lack of overtaking in Formula 1. IndyCar is better they said, the Shriner’s little cars in the community parade put them to shame, NASCAR at Pocono is more entertaining. The critics were out in full force. But they were all silenced this weekend.
The start of the Bahrain Grand Prix was an ELECTRIC factory. We had Ferrari and Mercedes duking it out. Lewis Hamilton trying to come through the field and Fernando Alonso making his life hell. The Red Bulls both retired but not after Max Verstappen made some daring passes and eventually made contact with Hamilton. Speaking of Hamilton he passed three cars in Turn 1 because why the hell not.
As previously mentioned Max Verstappen made contact with Lewis Hamilton after starting 15th on the grid thanks to a crash in qualifying. Verstappen is known for making aggressive moves and a guy not afraid to stick it in anywhere, in more ways than one. When a 4-Time World Champ is in front of you, you pass him. Or hit him and pass him.
Max’s teammate Daniel Riccardo’s car decided it didn’t want to be a car anymore. His Red Bull promptly shut down leaving him powerless and stranded on course. The Australian was forced to park his car on the side of the circuit and hitch a ride back to the pits on a measly scooter. His stopping on track promoted a VSC but unlike last week no strategy plays were well, in play.
After all of this everything appeared to calm down. Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel maintained their lead and stuck to their strategy. Hamilton managed to pull his way up to 4th after starting 8th thanks to a 5-spot grid penalty due to a gearbox change. Mercedes did appear to pull one over on the boys in red by faking out a pit stop. Vettel pitted and Mercedes pulled their crew back into the garage and that’s the type of pettiness/mind tricks F1 needs.
Lap 36 will be a memorable one for the left rear tire changer on Kimi Raikkonen’s team. The team released Kimi back into the pit lane but the right rear change wasn’t complete. The Ferrari clipped a crewman and appeared to snap his leg. Medics were called to the pit lane to assist the downed crew member. Raikkonen, on the other hand, was FURIOUS. For a guy that never shows emotion, Kimi was banging his head in the car, tossed his steering wheel and walked into the garage.
Amid all the chaos Sebastian Vettel and his side of the Ferrari garage enjoyed a rather nice Sunday drive through the Bahrain countryside. Well, they thought they would have a nice drive but with 5 laps to go Valterri Bottas was eating into Vettel’s lead like Kobayashi eating hot dogs on the 4th of July.
Vettel was able to hold off Bottas even though his tires were completely gone. Bottas got to Vettel going into turn 1 on the last lap but wasn’t able to complete the pass. This is the first time Ferrari have won the first two races of a season since 2004. This is also the first time Ferrari has gone back to back since 2010. The Scuderia have established themselves as the early season favorites.
Shoutout to Pierre Gasly and the Toro Rosso Honda team who came home 4th. Honda-less McLaren finished 7th and 8th, a great double points day for them. Kevin Magnussen gave Haas their first points of the year as his car managed to not shed body parts like his teammate Grosjean. And Marcus Ericsson went from 17th on the grid to a POINTS FINISH of 9th. A great result for the Alfa Romeo Sauber team as they look for something, anything positive from this year.
F1 is back in action next weekend in China.