2018 Bahrain Thoughts
ESPN: Thank you ESPN. Thank you Liberty Media. Thank you for listening to the fans and the outcries by fixing the broadcast. Though we would still prefer an American-centric broadcast, we really can't complain. This is definitely the next best thing ... and very watchable.
THE BIG PICTURE: Still early in the season for sure, but the fight being extended beyond two teams is not materializing. Mercedes vs. Ferrari will certainly be entertaining, but where's the Red Bull challenge? And the much wished McLaren spoiler?
TRACK: A perfect elixir after Australia.
EVENT: Sure, a few more fans are showing up. But still for all intents and purposes, nobody.
QUALIFYING: Ferrari strikes back, Force India partially recovers, McLaren fails, Haas is a split fail, and Verstappen's "turn" to crash out of Q1.
RACE: That was fun. An exciting first third, an okay middle third, and a nail biting final third.
START: Vettel does what he needs to, Bottas definitely does what he needs to, Magnussen elbows his way through, and Perez twirls around.
VETTEL: Last week was luck. This week, no way. It was a great display of driving skill and smarts.
RAIKKONEN: When he jumped out of the car in a huff, we know he didn't realize what had happened to his mechanic. But his body language afterward when it was obvious he should know ... one doesn't know what Kimi was thinking nor what he did after he got in the garage, but it was terrible optics.
FERRARI: Sometimes, technology is not the answer. Bring back the lollipop man. Get well soon, Francesco!
BOTTAS: One can't help but wonder if Hamilton -- or even Nico Rosberg -- were in Valtteri's position, the outcome would have been different.
HAMILTON: Lewis won't panic. But he sure would like a race win really soon.
MERCEDES: They seemed to overthink their strategy.
GASLY: Pierre was hailed as the next phenom. He certainly is backing that prediction up.
SAINZ: And Carlos may have just dropped in the pecking order for when a Red Bull seat opens up.
HULKENBERG: Which brings us to Nico who is not just holding his own against Sainz, but beating him all weekend.
MAGNUSSEN: Kevin revenges last week's heartbreak.
GROSJEAN: While Romain will be spoken to for his unnecessary and childish antics against his own teammate.
HAAS: Australia's performance was not a fluke.
ALONSO: Once again, take away the DNFs by the obviously faster cars, and Fernando does not get any points. Plus, he was beaten soundly by a Toro Rosso. And, Fernando was lapped.
MCLAREN: No more hiding behind Honda's failures...
HONDA: We're not yet ready to praise Honda's performance. But, we just might be getting there.
ERICSSON: If it weren't for Gasly and Magnussen, Marcus would be the underdog star of the race. Outside of other DNFs, his position was earned. Kudos to the much maligned driver.
LECLERC: While the pressure builds up for Charles -- the other driver hailed as a phenom -- who looks lost out there.
WILLIAMS: Speaking of looking lost. Just a miserable car with drivers incapable of developing it.
VERSTAPPEN: His overaggressive driving caught Max out ... again.
RICCIARDO: His bad luck just follows him like a black cat.
RED BULL: And just like that, Red Bull goes home.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Fractures.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 200 -- The actual 200th start for Vettel, and the fourth driver to win his 200th start.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Much is being made the last time a driver who won the first two races did not win the championship was in 1982. Vettel is correct there are a lot more races now, so this stat doesn't mean much. Nonetheless, the last time it happened, Alain Prost won the first two races -- South Africa and Brazil -- and that was it. He only ended up on the podium one more time (a second in the Swiss GP). It was the consistency of Keke Rosberg with just one victory who took the title. Prost had seven DNFs (and one NC) to finish fourth.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Sebastian Vettel during the cooldown lap, "These tires were done! They were done!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Vettel at the post-race press conference lashing out at what he considered an inappropriate question directed at Hamilton, "I don't think it's justified to give us this kind of shit question and making up a story out of nothing."
SCHEDULE: Just one week to pick the next team that will pack up their two cars early...
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