Yesterday was the Bahrain Grand Prix and honestly I was literally glued to my TV screen for the whole 57 laps on the edge of my seat. In prep for the race after a successful qualifying session on Saturday, Mercedes had the first row of the grid filled with Bottas on P1 and Hamilton on P2 but were closely watched by the Ferrari driver, Sebastien Vettel, on P3. Just by hearing this, I thought ‘oh okay, Hamilton can just pass Bottas, then create enough distance from himself and the pack to have a relaxed race and likely victory.’
Did that happen?
Did you even watch the race?
So firstly, as the lights went off, Hamilton unfortunately didn’t have a good start as he didn’t get past Bottas as intended and Vettel passed him pushing him into P3. ‘That’s calm though,’ you’re probably thinking, ‘Lewis has the rest of the race so minor. He can still win.’ Yeah we all thought so too until he landed himself with a 5-second grid penalty. Hamilton is a skillful, talented driver so I can understand most of his techniques and moves that he does out on the track in order to assist him to win the race. But, oh god, I did not understand what he was doing in this race. He got a time-penalty for obstructing Daniel Riccardo and slowing down on purpose whilst approaching the pit-lane under safety car conditions. (On safety car conditions, by the way, no-one can overtake and all of the drivers are restrained to a specific speed limit) So as the safety car was called out due to the collision between Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz Jr, all the cars decided to pit as they usually do when a safety car is controlling the race. Mercedes decided to pit both Hamilton and Rosberg at the same time, hoping for two quick pit stops to place themselves in front of the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers. Whilst Bottas was getting his tyres checked (a super slow pit stop from Mercedes), Hamilton and Riccardo both drove to the entry of the pit lane. After realizing he needs to create distance in order to be leading the race, Hamilton deliberately slowed down forcing Riccardo to slow down also. This in turn didn’t work for Hamilton because he got out of the pits later than expected and he then also had to face a 5-second penalty later in the race.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING HAMILTON
(insert a billion face palm memes here)
like dude, Naomi Campbell was watching you from the team garage and you did that
he could have won the race if that incident didn’t happen. ugh.
Well, now that a little rant of that is over, what else happened in the race? Seven drivers: Fernando Alonso, Marcus Ericsson, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Lance Stroll, Max Verstappen, Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne, retired in the race due to collisions and technical/mechanical errors. Pascal Wehrlein, Daniil Kvyat and Jolyon Palmer were also lapped by the leader, Sebastien Vettel. After the race, there was an enormous speculation in the media between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and who would win the championship. Personally, I think it’s too early to call as we are only three races into the season, but with Vettel having 2 wins and Hamilton with only 1 win, it’s clear that Vettel could be a potential threat to Hamilton for the world championship this year. In an interview shortly after the podium celebration, Lewis Hamilton said his Mercedes team ‘need to improve’ if they are to beat Ferrari in their developing fight for the Formula 1 title.
“They are strong in race trim and we particularly struggle with the rear end. It’s difficult to explain. They did a great job and we have to make improvements. It is all small, fine percentages that will make the difference between winning and coming second.”” – Lewis Hamilton
Furthermore, Hamilton apologized to Mercedes for damaging his chances with the 5-second penalty. He said, ” I could possibly would have been in a better position, but that’s all ifs and buts about a victory. I feel pain in my heart (when I don’t win) and people will be like ‘hey, you finished second, you should be happy’, but that’s not why we exist.” Arguments also arose regarding who was actually the fastest on the track. It’s not completely clear who had the quickest car – Ferrari argued it was them; and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton was the fastest. However, for me this was the best race of the season so far. They all have been good, but Bahrain underlined one key fact – Ferrari are absolutely competitive this year and they and Mercedes are in a war for the championship. A major battle is on the horizon for these teams.
Besides the 5-second penalty drama and the disappointment of Vettel winning the race rather than Hamilton, another issue also arose yesterday in Bahrain. Mercedes are now facing pressure to favour Hamilton over Bottas for the season as people are saying Bottas is not performing as well as Hamilton. I don’t really have an opinion on this but Bottas is a newcomer and should also be given an equal chance in winning the championship. You can’t really make an immediate judgement, or rather shouldn’t, after simply three races in, of what is, a really long season. This issue particularly arose from the fact that when Bottas was second and behind Vettel, he was incredibly slow creating distance from himself and the race leader. This was good for Vettel obviously as he could just drive calmly with no car in his rear mirrors. However, it created a 6-second gap and when Bottas was finally ordered by the team to let Hamilton pass (who was incredibly quicker), Hamilton did not have enough time to pass him. We all have to credit Hamilton here because although he didn’t pass him, he closed the gap so tremendously quickly and successfully even with a 5-second penalty. If only the race was a few laps longer, he probably could have passed Vettel and won the race. Therefore it’s from this, that Mercedes now are facing pressure by other teams and more importantly, the media and fans. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, was asked, ‘how long before you have to choose one driver to back for the title?’ To which he replied: “We don’t like that,” he said. “At all. It is not what we have done the past couple of years. But the situation is different now. So it needs a proper analysis what it means and where we are. We’d like to give each of them equal opportunity at the start of the race. We owe it to them. Then you see what we did in the race. We made the call. We made the call twice.”
Here’s some amazing pictures for you to see from the Bahrain race:
*spoiler alert: they’re not mine. i claim no credit*
Also, I can’t finish my post without addressing this because I was crying hysterically in laughter about this.
What is Vettel’s new dance? Anyone…?
He was doing that dance when he came out of his car to greet his team mates and when approaching the podium in public to collect his trophy. Did no one have the guts to ask him what the heck he was doing?! The responses on social media were equally hilarious, I’m not even going to add them here but I suggest you should check them (especially Twitter).
Think he’s confused about what country he is in perhaps?
Egypt, can you come collect him at counter number 77?
Stay tuned for the next race- Sochi Grand Prix in Russia on Sunday 30th April. That’s me over for now.