2022 Bahrain Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: For once, it appears, for now, the best laid plans delivered. The cars can indeed run closer to each other. And though the slipstream isn't as strong as expected, the DRS, for now, will get them over that hump. Which means, for now, the dicing is spectacular.
EVENT: Interesting how it appears more fans, especially from Europe, are showing up in Bahrain.
TRACK: What's with Sakhir and spectacular fires? Well, at least the firemen are getting plenty of experience...
QUALIFYING: Ferrari is for real, Mercedes is indeed in trouble, Bottas still starts right behind Hamilton no matter which teams they are on, Magnussen and Haas stun the field, Alfa Romeo is a positive surprise, McLaren is a negative surprise, and Latifi still can't outqualify a teammate.
RACE: This had everything. Ferrari. Battles. Passing. Dramatic DNFs. Emotion. We can't wait for the other 22 races.
START: Leclerc is ultra aggressive, Verstappen actually plays it safe, Hamilton proves he still has a car for the start, Magnussen continues to shock the field, and Bottas is ... well ... Bottas.
LECLERC: No surprise, when given a fast car, Charles can dominate.
SAINZ: Off the pace, relatively to Leclerc, but that won't be for long.
FERRARI: Forza Ferrari! And their engine also powers the top two midfield teams.
RED BULL: Oof! That's taking it on the chin.
HONDA: Whatever they want to call these engines, three out of four failed. Is Honda's pull out going to have a major impact on their two (former) teams?
HAMILTON: He'll take a podium in that race any day of the week.
RUSSELL: It was one thing to partner Bottas for a one-off. It's another when you have to go up against Hamilton.
MERCEDES: Do they have the slowest engine in the field? Speed traps and results of their eight powered cars seem to indicate that.
MAGNUSSEN: From preparing for the 12 Hours of Sebring to finishing a shocking fifth place two weeks later, that's some return to F1 for Kevin.
SCHUMACHER: We don't want to slag on Mick ... okay, we will ... but can you imagine if Haas not only had Magnussen back, but Romain Grosjean as well?
HAAS: Right now, they are the best of the rest. Let's repeat that again, so it sinks in. Right now, they are the best of the rest.
BOTTAS: Like when he was at Williams, Valtteri shows great promise. But we already saw what he can -- or can't -- do with a top car. Quite a conundrum.
ZHOU: Give the rookie, and first Chinese F1 race driver, credit for a solid points finish in his debut race.
ALFA ROMEO: They looked lost in Barcelona testing. Now, they are serious a contender for fourth.
TSUNODA: Give Yuki credit. A solid, mature drive. But then, he also looked good in last season's opener. Let's see how he handles the grind this time around.
ASTON MARTIN: We would love to be a fly on the wall in Lawrence Stroll's office. On the other hand, maybe not. We'd be the first he would splat.
ALBON: Welcome back to F1, Alex. Less pressure, other than having to live up to Russell's legacy.
MCLAREN: They showed so much promise in the Barcelona test. It started unraveling in the Bahrain test. It totally fell apart in the race weekend. Just wretched.
RICCIARDO: Talking about things falling apart starting at the Bahrain test...
HULKENBERG: The supersub is back. Maybe for one more race?
GASLY: Quite an inferno.
WILLIAMS: They are now back to being at the back.
FIA: Well, we guess we have to wait till this year plays out to see if any of their changes have an affect one way or the other.
F2: Frenchman Theo Pourchaire took the first feature win, but it was the Estonian Juri Vips who was the star. A botched mandatory pit stop from the lead put him in the back of the field. He then stormed back to take the last podium spot. Richard Verschoor took the reverse grid sprint race for the Orange Army.
F3: After the checkered flag flew and the radio congratulations were sent, a late time penalty changed the order for the sprint race, handing victory to Isack Hadjar. While Victor Martins lived up to his name taking the feature win making it a French sweep.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Ground effects.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 3 -- Out of four (formerly called) Honda powered cars that went kaput.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Ferrari has now won the most Bahrain GPs with their seventh victory to Mercedes' six (Renault and Red Bull have two each). Ferrari won the first race in the Middle East with Michael Schumacher from the pole in 2004. Rubens Barrichello made it a 1-2 for the Prancing Horse. Justin Button (BAR-Honda) rounded out the podium.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: From Ferrari before the race: "We're all set. A new era of #F1 racing is about to begin!" Indeed.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Kevin Magnussen describing his recent life, "The craziness just continues."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Pierre Gasly about his DNF, "Pretty much a bar-b-que at the back of the car."
SCHEDULE: Weren't we just at Saudia Arabia? Sure seems like it. Some changes made to the track, which actually might make it faster, but also some safety improvements. We shall see.
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