2021 Bahrain Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: We still believe Mercedes will eventually figure out their problems and engineer their way back to dominance. But, in the meantime, we plan on thoroughly enjoying this season until that happens.
EVENT: All the atmosphere necessary for this event was on the track.
TRACK: Bahrain International Circuit continues to offer up many passing spots.
QUALIFYING: Max carries the end of the season and testing momentun into 2021, Leclerc pulls a stunning lap, as does Gasly, Ricciardo makes his presence known at McLaren, Alonso impresses on his return, Perez suffers the second Red Bull driver curse, and Vettel suffers the end of career curse.
RACE: As soon as Hamilton pitted, you could sense this was going to be a slugfest of both minds and determined driving. We weren't disappointed. For once, the fight at the front completely overshadowed all the great action in the midfield.
START: Aggressive but clean up front, Leclerc gets Bottas, but Sainz drops two spots, the McLarens swap, Perez can't make it to the grid, and once again a Haas car hits the wall at Bahrain on the first lap.
HAMILTON: Anyone who thinks it's just been the car, needs to be tied to a chair with their eyes pried open like in A Clockwork Orange, and made to watch this race over and over. Lewis won with brains, tire management, learning from his one mistake, knowing how and when to push his tires, keen defensive driving, team strategy, and yes, a little luck.
VERSTAPPEN: He had no choice but to give up the position, but one has to wonder the controversy if Max let the Stewards decide it after the race...
MERCEDES: The best strategists on the pit wall.
RED BULL: Did they hire the 2019 Ferrari strategist?
BOTTAS: As second fiddle as you can get. Valtteri never could keep up with the top two. And the poor pit stop wiped out any misguided hope.
PEREZ: Struggled leading into Sunday, but once again showed his racing prowess after the electronics shut off on the formation lap.
NORRIS: An excellent beginning to Lance's battle with his new, formidable, teammate.
RICCIARDO: Daniel is going to have his work cutout for him this season.
MCLAREN: They are for real.
FERRARI: We are not ready to say Ferrari is back. But, we will say they are better.
TSUNODA: Yuki scores points his first time out. He is beginning to rev up the Japanese fan base.
GASLY: A bad mistake cost Pierre a potentially excellent showing.
ALFA ROMEO: Even though they didn't score points, the surprise team of the race.
ASTON MARTIN: Because they only scored one point, the disappointment of the race.
VETTEL: Just when you thought it couldn't get worse.
ALPINE: Renault. Alpine. Whatever their name is, they still have a long ways to go for a factory team.
HAAS: They will go nowhere.
F2: The junior series, both F2 and F3, have changed their formats, with two sprint races on Saturday and the feature race on Sunday. Three different winners in this format debut -- Kiwi Liam Lawson, Aussie and 2020 F3 champion Oscar Piastri, and Chinese Guanyu Zhou who also takes the early points lead.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Thriller.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 6 -- The first full green lap. Then, it was 50 laps of sheer high speed excitement.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: This is the 400th F1 grand prix for Pirelli. They were at the very first World Championship race, the 1950 British Grand Prix. Only two tire manufacturers were on the grid -- Pirelli (eight entries) and Dunlop (15 entries). Since the Alfa Romeo team swept the podium -- Giuseppe Farina from pole, Luigi Fagioli 2.6 seconds behind, and Reg Parnell the last driver on the lead lap -- so did Pirelli.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Mercedes emphasizing what we were all thinking: What just happened.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Lewis Hamilton with a few laps to go telling his engineer he's got this, "Leave it to me, Bono."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Sebastian Vettel after he rear ended Esteban Ocon, "Why did he have to change lane? I look up and he changes lane." Seriously Seb? Ocon never moved an inch. Not an inch. Then, even more perplexing, Vettel doubles down in the post race interview, saying the same thing, even after he had time to look at the video. Has Sebastian Vettel completely lost his ability to drive an F1 car? Seriously!
SCHEDULE: Already the 2021 season has seen changes. Gone are China (for now) and Vietnam. Back is Imola once again filling in as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in three weeks.
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