New cars, new drivers, controversy and hard decisions: F1 started this season on a high!
We are in Bahrain, the emerging tourist island in the Middle East that relies heavily on the F1 event. Oddly, less warmer temperature and strong wind were part of this weekend, but it seems it did not affect the cars performance (or at least it seems).
Our team joined the event at the paddock on Friday for free practice. First thing we noticed: Haas is quick down the straight, Alfa are quick down the straight, Ferrari looks real quick! At this point everyone is doubting RB and Mercedes, especially the last one, as if they are hiding something until the qualifying session starts.
But no! On Saturday everyone saw the true pace of Mercedes, seconds slower than the fast Ferraris and Redbull and also slower than Haas and Alfa! Now that is something new!
And most importantly, Ferrari is on pole again after Monaco last year, with a very humble Leclerc.
On Sunday we were watching the race from turn 1 and what a show we had! Leclerc managed very well to keep the lead at the start and to build up pace, keeping a tenacious Verstappen, who had no intention of arriving second today.
After one third of the race Max used his massive 320 km/h top speed 3 times to overtake Leclerc in turn 1, which was meticulously managed by Leclerc, who fought right back, giving us the best time of the weekend!
At half race, everyone is really pushing while learning these new cars, that seems more physical to drive, due to the 18 Inches wheel size. Tire degradation is also higher than expected, leading to a 3 stops per driver.
A Safety car deployment, due to the unfortunate exit of French Pierre Gaslyyyyy (Cit Ricciardo), generated a bit of suspense for Ferrari, who had a healthy lead at that point. However, after the restart, both RBs, Verstappen’s and Perez's started losing performance, until both cars failed. This gave way to a historic 1-2 Ferrari and it also gave a silent but present Hamilton an opportunity to a precious podium, which he happily took.
So, after 12 years, a 1-2 Ferrari conquered the first race of the 2022 season. What about the rest? Haas, amazing P5 for Magnussen viking comeback, an amazing 6th place for VB77, who suffered a tough start and built his way back to the front of midfield and scoring point debut for Zhou with the other Alfa Romeo was just the icing on the cake!
A great result from Russel, fourth and Mick Schumacher just missed points by 1 position, finishing 11th, after a misfortune with Ocon, who caused a 360 spin. However, Shumi junior had the best result ever and we are so happy about it.
Very happy to see Albon hungry come back. Not on the points but great performance. A weekend to reflect for both Aston Martin and McLaren, who surely had different expectations from their race.
In the end, very bad luck for RB, Ferrari was the quickest car, despite MAX amazing attempts and most of all..this was a fun race to watch and we cannot wait for Jeddah!
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