In the hybrid turbo era of Formula 1 (post-2014), there have been only a handful of races that were as epic as the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix, but again, I don’t rely on my memory too much for such comparisons. The honest truth being that if Formula 1 races can be as exciting, tense and edge-of-seat as the race we had in Bahrain, the sport itself will be its best advertisement. Liberty Media’s expenses on marketing could reduce and frills such as the new official theme, etc. don’t become as important as the product of ‘racing’ – one that Formula 1 has built itself on, but could be accused of having gone astray in the modern era.
Apart from the race report from the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix, here are some fun observations from this weekend:
Williams’ Champagne Moment
The former World Champion team was thrilled to hear about Liberty Media’s future plans for Formula 1. Claire Williams described this as a ‘champagne’ moment for her team. Given their car’s form and driver pairing, we believe that Williams will need such moments to pop open a champagne since a podium seems long out of reach. However, a stable future for the team might just help it come back to its competitive ways and will impact their driver choices.
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Lewis Hamilton’s Triple
Lewis Hamilton pulled off a mammoth and bold triple overtake on the main straight, gobbling a Mclaren, a Force India and a Renault with much ease. However, would F1 TV had made this moment more fun? Well, we wish that F1 TV had an on-board camera for drivers’ reactions, Fernando Alonso’s would have definitely been the one to watch.
Can FIA Penalise The Circuits?
Monaco and Russia are looking to defy the Grid Girls ban when Formula 1 sets up in their venues. We all know of the FIA’s strict ways to penalise erring teams and drivers if they didn’t follow their code. But what about the circuit owners? How would the FIA react? In Bahrain too, ‘promotional’ girls were paraded around, but were carefully not referred to as ‘Grid Girls’. This is like the reserve, test and development driver roles for Formula 1 teams. Irrespective of whatever your designation would be, you wouldn’t get to be in the cockpit!
The Problem Of Overtaking
Overtaking is now the buzz word in Formula 1 with everyone wanting to react excessively to the lack of overtaking action from the races. In Bahrain, there were 42 overtakes in the first 10 laps itself. However, we are glad that Valtteri Bottas didn’t claim victory thanks to a DRS-aided overtake on Sebastian Vettel. The DRS could have ruined the brilliant battle between Vettel and Bottas that we were treated to. In fact, I had written on the ‘Truth About Overtaking‘ and my thoughts still hold true.
Why Bottas Should Have Tried Harder In Bahrain
Since we’re on the topic of overtaking, there has been disappointment about Bottas’ half-lunge on Vettel on the first corner of the last lap to try and take the lead. Frankly, the Sakhir International Circuit (I’ve raced on it too!) has large run-off areas and Bottas should have made more use of it. The gap to Lewis Hamilton was sufficient and barring an impact with Vettel, he would have still finished second. But at least he would have shown the world and his bosses that he isn’t scared of mounting an attack for the lead when necessary.
Like always, there’s more from the Bahrain Grand Prix and as we look forward to the Chinese Grand Prix on this week’s episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast. Tune in!