OBSERVATIONS: Bahrain Grand Prix
Even though the on-track action has been lacking for Formula 1, the series hasn’t been short of headlines only two races into the season.
For one, you have the disastrous start to the event for Red Bull. After showing promise with one of their drivers leading practice, both competitors were out of the event within the opening laps of the event. Max Verstappen made contact with Lewis Hamilton causing a puncture, resulting in further damage, while Daniel Ricciardo simply had a mechanical failure.
Then you have the unsafe release of Kimi Raikkonen due to the team unable to get the left rear tire off, resulting in a “shinbone and fibula fracture” according to Ferrari for the mechanic who was hit in the process. FIA handed Ferrari a €50,000 fine for releasing Raikkonen’s car ‘in a manner endangering team personnel and causing injury’.
“My job is to go when the light changes green,” Raikkonen said. “That’s the only thing that we look at. Unfortunately, one of the guys paid a hefty price on whatever the mistake is. So, for sure, not very good.
“I’m sure there is the best possible people to take care of him and hopefully he gets better.”
Between both of these incidents, three drivers you’d expect to be fighting for top-five made up the last three positions on the score board.
But beyond that, what did the race have to offer? We had lots of overtakes in the beginning 20 laps, but the laps that followed saw the number decrease. Certainly an improvement from the season opener, but we got a long way to go to make things interesting.
With that in mind, there was a great mix of strategy played – including plans being changed as they ran, and a stellar job by Sebastian Vettel in saving the tires and holding off Valtteri Bottas at the end for the win. You also have to give a shout-out to both Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen for their respective runs for Toro Rosso and Haas F1. It shows the improvement made by Torro to get better, while being a solid rebound after pit road trouble spoiled a pair of good finishes for Haas in Australia.
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