The Formula 1 season burst into life under the lights and sparks of Bahrain as an absorbing race ended up with Sebastian Vettel winning back-to-back races to start the season.
Many more stories unfolded, however, with perhaps the most dramatic being his teammate Kimi Raikonnen’s exit from his second pit-stop. The automatic signaling that is now in place has received a lot of scrutiny, and that will only be intensified after Raikkonen was released before his tires were on, crushing the leg of one of Ferrari’s mechanics.
Thankfully the injuries aren’t more serious, but it was a disaster for Ferrari who looked a good bet to have both their drivers on the podium. There have been a fair amount of unsafe releases in F1 since the new system, but with an injury here, it might need to be looked at more closely.
Gasly was Incredible
There were a few contenders for driver of the day, including Pierre Gasly who backed up his brilliant qualifying with a perfect race to finish 4th. It was a perfect weekend for the Frenchman, and for Honda who will be proud of their new engine. Honda’s performance is not just great for Torro Rosso, but also for a sport which is enhanced by numerous competitive engines.
Lewis Hamilton also had a great drive as he came from 9th to finish in 3rd, including a memorable overtake which will be included in highlights packages for years to come as he overtook 3 cars in one corner. In the end though, he was just too far back to be in with a chance of 1st.
Bottas Should Have Won
Valteri Bottas had more than a chance of 1st place, he should have won the race. He had a huge advantage over Vettel in the last 10 laps of the race as his medium tyres were far superior to the German’s aging soft tyres. The Fin, however, couldn’t catch up quickly enough and couldn’t make the move when he did. Vettel did everything that he could to protect his win, and he deserved the victory.
It was a nightmare weekend for Red Bull who haven’t had a great start to the season. Both drivers exited the race early and that leaves them currently behind McLaren in the Constructors championship. While that won’t last, it appears as though they will struggle to catch either Ferrari or Mercedes this season.
The Midfield Battle Continues
The midfield battle will continue to intrigue as the season unfolds, from 4th to 10th there were 6 different teams involved with McLaren being the only team other than Mercedes to have two drivers both scoring points. The only team without points this season is sadly Williams who had another poor race, it looks as though it may be a long year for them.
He may have been helped by the penalty to Hamilton, but it was a great drive by Vettel. He showed why he is one of the greatest of all time and a superior racer to the likes of Bottas. He has started the season brilliantly, but there will be plenty more battles to come.