Mercedes gives F1 a lesson in motorsport

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix review

Luca di Montezemolo, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Bernie Ecclestone called it “unacceptable”. Luca di Montezemolo said F1 racers have been reduced to “taxi drivers” keeping both eyes on the fuel gauge.

But the winner of the Bahrain Grand Prix has a different view of the sport. According to Lewis Hamilton, this was “a real racer’s race”.

He prevailed in a dogged battle for victory that was conducted exclusively between the two Mercedes drivers. Time and again Nico Rosberg stole past Hamilton on the inside only for his tenacious team mate to conjure up some means of scrabbling by once more.

“The time that I went round the outside or got back, just timing it right, you know it’s a fantastic feeling to be able to do that,” Hamilton beamed afterwards. “It’s one of the greatest feelings when you obviously come out on top.”

The day began with two of Formula One’s most powerful men telling the world urgent changes were needed to fix a broken sport. By the time the chequered flag fell it was a point of view that looked utterly absurd.

Hamilton hits the front

Start, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Several things fell into place to make the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix a classic. The first was that Rosberg, who had found a crucial edge over his team mate just when he needed it during qualifying, was beaten to turn one by Hamilton.

Rosberg made an immediate bid to regain the lead but Hamilton forced him wide onto the exit kerb at turn four. This was a move he might have thought twice about making on his own team mate, had the savage kerb which had been there on Friday not been removed.

It took Hamilton until lap four to get out of range of Rosberg’s DRS. But towards the end of the stint Rosberg made his next attempt to get past. A successful move at this moment would have given him the chance to pit first and potentially gain a significant strategic advantage.

At this stage Rosberg seemed able to bring the gap down as he pleased. By lap 16 he was back within DRS range and two laps later went for a move down the inside of turn one. Hamilton crossed back at the exit of the corner and again made no concession to the fact he was racing his own team mate, leaving Rosberg little option other than the cede the ground.

The very next lap Rosberg tried again and this time succeeding in holding the lead as far as turn four. But again Hamilton responded, crossing behind his team mate at the exit and reclaiming the lead.

Having regained the initiative Hamilton took the opportunity to be the first Mercedes into the pits, taking on another set of soft tyres. Rosberg came in next time around and took the mediums – a decision which promised to pay off later in the race.

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Force India overhaul Williams

Sergio Perez, Force India, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Meanwhile the action behind the two silver cars was no less intense. A superb start propelled Felipe Massa from seventh to third. Sergio Perez held onto fourth, despite locking his front-right tyre hard at turn one, having failed to get enough heat into his brakes on the formation lap.

But the Williams pair were over-stressing their tyres, and after a dozen laps Perez was on Massa’s tail and out-accelerated him as they exited turn four. Massa came in at the end of the lap for his first of three stops while Force India banked on pitting just twice.

That went for the sister car of Nico Hulkenberg as well. Having gained three places at the start he’d taken Fernando Alonso on lap five, and now had only Jenson Button’s McLaren separating him from his team mate.

Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull was next in the train but his DRS had stopped working and behind him Daniel Ricciardo was getting impatient. On lap three Ricciardo urged his team mate to move Vettel aside and he complied, letting Ricciardo by at turn 11.

Having failed to reach Q3 Vettel had started the race on the medium compound tyres, which he got rid of after 16 laps. Ricciardo came in two laps later and opted for the harder tyres. The Force India pair made their first stops around the same time.

This put the three-stopping Williams pair back into the ‘best of the rest’ position behind the Mercedes drivers. Only now Valtteri Bottas was the lead car, having jumped Massa by pitting earlier. In a reversal of the situation last week, Bottas was holding Massa up, and the two Force Indias were bearing down on them.

When Hulkenberg made an unsuccessful attempt to get past Massa on lap 26, Perez made his move. He got alongside Hulkenberg as they came out of turn four and claimed the place, giving his team mate no more room to work with than he had done for Button in this race last year.

One lap earlier Bottas arrived on the pit lane for his second stop – well before half-distance. “I had too much wheelspin and that lost me a few positions which is frustrating,” he said. “We had issues with the tyres that were worse than expected.” Massa made it three more laps but after their latest stops both fell behind the Red Bulls.

Vettel was still struggling with his DRS problem but had found a way past Kimi Raikkonen outside of the DRS zones and was up to sixth by half-distance. When Ricciardo caught Raikkonen he was surprised by how early the Ferrari driver braked for turn one and nearly hit him.

A few laps later Bottas arrived on the scene and almost did the same thing to the Ferrari while trying to slipstream past Ricciardo on the straight. He took to the run-off to avoid ramming his compatriot. Raikkonen was not having a good grand prix, having been hit by Kevin Magnussen shortly after the start, just as he was in Malaysia, though with less serious consequences.

Maldonado flips Gutierrez

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Using the medium tyres for the middle stint hadn’t worked out as well as Rosberg had hoped. He had fallen almost ten second behind Hamilton by lap 40. But Pastor Maldonado was about to commit a grievous error, albeit one that would indirectly lead to a thrilling end to the race.

This was good news if you weren’t Esteban Gutierrez, who Maldonado ran into at the first corner, rolling the Sauber over. It was a completely avoidable and potentially dangerous accident, and not the first one Maldonado has caused. The stewards duly handed down a trio of penalties, though Maldonado insisted Gutierrez had been at fault.

Those with pit stops left to make took care of them during the ensuing Safety Car period, and those yet to use the mediums had to take them. That left Hamilton leading (on mediums) ahead of Rosberg (soft), the Force Indias and Button (medium), the Red Bulls (soft), Williams and Ferrari (medium).

The risk-averse nature of modern race strategy means the true performance of the Mercedes W05 has often been disguised. But with a dozen laps to go and the gloves off between its drivers, its true capabilities were finally revealed.

Once the Safety Car came in, Hamilton and Rosberg scorched away at a stunning rate of up to two seconds per lap. And they did it while fighting tooth and nail for victory.

No team orders

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Some might say it would have served Mercedes’ interests to put on a show and help shield the sport from the critics who spoke up before the race. But if this tyre-locking, wheel-to-wheel brawl was stage-managed then Hamilton and Rosberg can act every bit as well as they drive.

Nor was Paddy Lowe’s identical message to both drivers during the Safety Car period – reminding them to bring their cars home – an order to call off the battle. After it they fought harder than ever, Rosberg’s engineer telling him which engine modes to use to attack, while Hamilton’s advised him on how to shadow his team mate’s settings to ensure he wasn’t vulnerable.

“I was well aware that the whole world was thinking ‘here we go, Silver Arrows team orders, finally they’re there’,” said Rosberg afterwards. “That was clear to me but it wasn’t that at all, it was just ‘guys, make sure that you get these cars to the finish. Don’t break them, don’t crash.'”

“The team played it as fair as they possibly could today, let us race flat out,” he added. “I don’t think you need more evidence than you saw that we’re here to race this year and there’s no team orders.”

Well aware his softer tyres gave him an advantage of more than half-a-second, Rosberg went on the attack as soon as the Safety Car came in. But try as he might, every time he put a move on Hamilton his team mate came off the corner quicker and re-took the place.

But until the flag fell on lap 57 there were seldom separated by more than a second. It had been one of the most intense contests for a win for a long time, and those who enjoyed it had Mercedes to thank for having confidence in their drivers and resisting the temptation to issue a “Multi 446″ or “Nico is faster than you”-type instruction.

Fighting to the finish

Aided by their soft tyres – and perhaps the opportunity to save fuel during the Safety Car period – the Red Bull pair were closing on the two Force Indias. After Button’s clutch-hobbled McLaren dropped out of contention, Ricciardo squeezed between his team mate and the pit wall to claim fifth place.

“It was hard but fair and we left each other room,” said Ricciardo. “That’s what we want from each other and we discussed it beforehand, we’re racers and that’s what we enjoy doing.”

He enjoyed it even more when he caught and passed Hulkenberg three laps later. The Red Bull driver then went after Perez, taking up to a second per lap off him, but at the flag he was less than half a second behind.

Their team mates took the next two places followed by the Williams pair and the Ferraris. It had been a horrendous day for the Maranello cars. Luca di Montezemolo could only watch as his cars’ poor straight line speed meant they were passed with cruel ease.

His misery was no doubt capped by the fact that the race was an absolute stonker, which shot to pieces his argument for knee-jerk rules changes which could help lift his team out of the doldrums.

For the neutral – and probably most of the non-neutral – this had been a race to savour. The only thing missing from the race was the kind of roaring applause F1 gets at venues like Melbourne.

Bahrain’s first floodlit night race had a new look, and the darkness had an added benefit of disguising the usual poor turnout in the grandstands. This is, after all, a country where a huge security operation is mobilised when F1 comes to town.

Hamilton claims second win of 2014

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Hamilton’s second win in a row was a gem of a drive – an unlikely victory snatched from a team mate who was clearly quicker on the day. The two drivers who first paired up at TeamMBM.com in 2000 drove as if they were back in their karts again.

There was action throughout the field, but this fair and hard-fought battle for victory between two team mates was what made the 900th world championship race one to remember.

It will take a huge effort on the part of Mercedes’ rivals to prevent one of these drivers from becoming world champion this year. And it was another world champion who put the best perspective on the arguments over the sport’s new rules earlier this week.

It is to Fernando Alonso’s credit that he has not toed the Ferrari party line that Formula One has gone to hell in a handcart. The two-times world champion reminded us earlier this week that it is in the nature of sport that some fixtures are more exciting than others.

“Just like in football, where you can see a terrible nil-nil game,” he said, “and the next one is an exciting five-four which you enjoy so much”.

So it was that after an unremarkable race in Malaysia the Bahrain Grand Prix produced a sublime sporting contest – and hopefully reminded F1’s detractors just how good it can be.

Images © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Force India, Sauber, Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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122 comments on Mercedes gives F1 a lesson in motorsport

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  1. Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 7th April 2014, 2:18

    I think something that truly deserves to be highlighted is the sportsmanship showed by Nico and Lewis. As soon as they arrived at the podium, I was thinking “here they go, now they’ll never speak to each other again”. Then Rosberg hugs Hamilton, true bromance. It was awesome to see two guys fighting to the end, then go back to being friends again.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 7th April 2014, 3:26

      @carlitox yeah… well, I guess we can wait a couple of races to see that “I’m never gonna hug you again… this year, at least!”

    • Win7Golf (@win7golf) said on 7th April 2014, 4:46

      Agree 100% They can fight like mad dogs on track (without wrecking the cars) and still be friends as they are for a long time – in the driver’s room, before the podium, Ham told Nico that the fight remembered him of a race they did in karts a long time ago… Of course both want to win, otherwise it was a sham… This is WHY Ferrari if HATED by a lof of fans (I’m one) To go throw the Schumi / Ferrari years (or as I remembered, the Bridgeston/Ferrari years) with a tyre manufacturer building tyres specific and together with Ferrari – that way it’s easy to win.
      This year there were new rules for everybody – and if other can use excuses with other brands power trains, Ferrari, like Mercedes built the power train and the car as a whole. The client teams should be the ones behind, because they have to build a car around a specific engine design and when they get the real thing, they hope it all worst well with the rest of the car.
      So Montezemolo and company, go hit in the head of the engineers in Fiorano and stop embarrassing yourselves in live TV!

    • +1

      Post of the week?

    • Rooney (@rojov123) said on 7th April 2014, 12:17

      One small wrong move and everything could have gone terribly wrong for Mercedes. If something had happened, there would be no bromance to speak of. It is a very fine line between bromance and pure hatred.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th April 2014, 13:50

        Perhaps, but isn’t it the case that the bigger the risk the bigger the reward? I say thank goodness Mercedes had the guts to leave out team orders and trust their drivers…and everybody won yesterday for it. If everybody was worried about ‘something happening’ then they might as well just have every team with a contracted number one and a contracted bootlicker there to not compete…so half the grid would just be rear gunners for the other half.

        The headline by @keithcollantine says it all perfectly.

  2. Chad (@chaddy) said on 7th April 2014, 2:18

    That was a great race

    • regs (@regs) said on 7th April 2014, 8:31

      But outcome wasn’t that great. We still have to see radio transcription, but if only Lewis was allowed to switch modes, then it would be a sign of command tactics…

    • greg-c said on 7th April 2014, 9:49

      That Was a Great Race , and so happy to hear Niki Lauda quite rightly say ” anyone who says that was boring is an Idiot!”
      I think Niki is the man to take over from Burny (as in your fingers and wallet by dealing with him)
      Horner is capable but Niki would be King!!!!

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 7th April 2014, 16:23

        Horner knows more about the business side and would be better equipped to maintain F1’s financial position over Lauda. He is also unfavourable by age, though considering Bernie Ecclestone being a comparative dinosaur I doubt that would be too big an issue (unless long term stability is what they are after falling Bernie’s inevitable demise – and yes, I think he will remain in F1 until he dies).

        So sorry to burst your bubble and all but as much as I like Lauda I don’t think he is the man to be leading F1 :P

    • Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 7th April 2014, 10:39

      Much as we might not like the fact F1 is there, Bahrain always seems to have consistently good races.

    • knoxploration said on 7th April 2014, 18:07

      Yep. That was a great Formula Three race, behind a mediocre Formula One race on the same track, at the same time. From third down, we had a real race. In front of that we had two cars that were two-plus seconds a lap faster than anything else on the track *in the dry*.

      And at the front, were it not for the fact that we treated a human being like a ragdoll in a tumble dryer courtesy of our clearly-more-dangerous-but-let’s-pretend-they’re-safer new comedy noses, thereby bringing out a safety car, we would have had precisely two laps of challenge and the remainder of the race spent driving in circles.

      This was not a great race. Great races don’t involve cars of two completely different classes, prevented by the regulations from closing that divide. This was merely a good race from third down, and a disappointment up front that ended up somewhat less disappointing than expected by mere chance. As expected, the first two steps on the podium were filled with the exact same cars the overwhelming majority of us would’ve predicted before the first lap of the season. We already know they’ll fill the top two steps at the next race, unless a safety car or weather interfere. And the race after that. And the race after that. And so on, ad infinitum.

      • bernification said on 8th April 2014, 2:30

        What are you talking about? This was the best race for years.
        Red Bull and Ferrari and all the other teams were given the same brief for engines and chassis at the same time as everyone else- they chose to spend their funds and time elsewhere.
        As stated earlier, this is not Ferrari- Bridgestone or Ferrari- Fia (Technical veto) or a team spending four times as much money as everyone else- this si down to using the interpretation of the rules to full effect. I find Neweys critisism that the cars technology is too complicated a bit churlish. For gods sake, he invented off throttle blown diffusers and the like.
        Great to see Mercedes let ‘em rip. Ferrari and Red Bull take note- this is what the fans want.

  3. reiter (@reiter) said on 7th April 2014, 2:30

    I hope this result silences F1’s detractors for a while as they realize they’ve been wrong about 2014 this whole time… But who am I kidding, that’ll never happen.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 7th April 2014, 3:27

      @reiter While I adore this, and loved watching today, I think we shouldn’t jump into that boat either. If 2 races weren’t enough to critizice, then 1 good race isn’t enough to say: “this is fricking epic”.

      It was my first live race this year, and I absolutely loved it. Even the sound of the cars…

      • Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 7th April 2014, 5:01

        True that. This kind of races should be at least frequent. I’m not asking for fighting a la Gilles Villeneuve every race but at least a quota of excitement like this should do.

      • Nick (@nick101) said on 7th April 2014, 9:14

        Couldn’t agree more with this comment! This race was excellent, but hardly a valid reason to say that this season as a whole is now epic.

        If you want to be fair, we’ve had to dull races to one exciting race, so on average, this year still has some work to do.

        Still sounds crap though!

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 7th April 2014, 13:38

        @fer-no65 +1. I couldn’t put it better than Alonso, some races will be great others will suck. Some people will over cheer great races and detractors will pull their trigger every time a race is not so exciting…

    • Nathan said on 7th April 2014, 5:50

      It is the same as any sport though. Who watches a football match and thinks “wow that was insane” every single game? It just doesn’t happen. But when it does happen, my lord it is amazing to see

        • Aled Davies (@aledinho) said on 7th April 2014, 8:57

          @nathan i made this point last week when people were whining about the race explaining that sport works this way. A reply I had “sport it may be, racing it ain’t” people are 2 pre-occupied with “the show” rather than watching sport for what it is.

          • tvm (@) said on 7th April 2014, 13:59

            @aledinho That was me, if you could crawl down from your ivory tower for just a minute, maybe you would learn that nobody has actually asked for constant wheel to wheel racing, that’s your own extrapolation.

            All I’m asking is for F1 to stop being a sport where drivers has to ask permission race and defend, everyone knows that strategy will always be a -part- of f1, when its the only part as in the previous two races the sport dies..

      • Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 7th April 2014, 15:19

        Except that in football you dont know which team and with what score is going to win.
        If i made an analogy for this F1 season i would put it like this:
        Team A plays with Team B. You know that A will win very easy. And the only thing that is unknown is if team A would score 5, 10 or more goals and if team would score 1 or 2 goals. One thing is sure, you gonna see a lot of goals and some very spectacular.So its gonna be a great show.
        Would you like to watch such a game? I wouldn’t.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 7th April 2014, 16:01

          The football analogy works up to a point, but breaks down when you take it that far because of there being the in-team fighting as well.

          • Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 7th April 2014, 16:54

            @matt90, before bahrain a would agree with you, today i would say 99.99% Ham is gonna be WDC.
            I put a link in another article to skybet, where the the odds for Ham are 0.5!!! and merc 0.08!!! They are not stupid i quess. So you can imagine how many races they think Rosberg is going to win ( he has 1.6 odds). If i put money on ROS that would be CHI, MON, SIN maybe GB?? and some race at the end of the season since by them the championship would have been decided.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 8th April 2014, 0:56

            before bahrain a would agree with you, today i would say 99.99% Ham is gonna be WDC.

            Yet who is leading the championship? Rosberg has proved himself very competent, and with the spectre of reliability there isn’t any telling what will happen to that certainty. I think that Hamilton is the better driver and will be better this year. But I don’t know that he will actually win.

    • tvm (@) said on 7th April 2014, 10:19

      @reiter You actually got i backwards, it proves the nay sayer’s right…

      The rating of Bahrain came in something close to 10/10, indicating clearly that the nay sayer’s can and will adjust their rating when a good race occurs, regardless of the engine mods, the aero reduction and the ugly cars.

      Clearly when the cars are allowed to actually race instead of the strategy/fuel saving/tire sparing eco contest we have become used to, people react very predictably, they actually like it.

      What F1 community should be doing right now, instead of defending the useless two first races of the season and arguing on a high horse that strategy and eco driving is a part of motor sport, is to find out what made Bahrain stand out.

      I personally think the clue lies in Hamilton’s ability to defend on the mediums at the end against Rosberg on soft, Hamilton is great no doubt, but having the two tire options so close negated a lot of strategy, hence the race was determined on track rather than pit lane.

      • Breno (@austus) said on 7th April 2014, 12:03

        The race wasnt great because of Hamilton and Rosberg, they only fought for position a bit before the first pit stops, and after the SC. The race was great because of all the fights for position involving the Force Indias, Williams, Ferraris and Red Bulls, from 3rd to 11th.

        • tvm (@) said on 7th April 2014, 12:21

          @austus “The race wasnt great because of Hamilton and Rosberg”

          And I didn’t say it was, I said that particular duel on two different types of tires perhaps held a clue as to why the entire pack was fighting as opposed to running a delta.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 7th April 2014, 14:54

        Clearly when the cars are allowed to actually race instead of the strategy/fuel saving/tire sparing eco contest we have become used to, people react very predictably, they actually like it.

        This race, in terms of tyres and fuel was absolutely the same as the others so far this year.

        hence the race was determined on track rather than pit lane.

        Well, that’s not right either. Alot of passing did happen in the pit lane.

        You can’t have every race where two drivers fight it out to the line like this race, you can’t have that. The fuel, engines and tyres have no part of it either. Simply put, it requires certain events to put cars in that position.

        The logic you are using makes no sense at all.

        • tvm (@) said on 7th April 2014, 15:41

          @mike makes more sense than to ignore it.

          The fact that we have had two processions so far with almost no position changes between lap 2 and the last lap and with cars coasting through
          Then one with multiple position changes, on track, throughout the race, throughout the field

          Please I am calling for an analysis here, not for “oh but it cant always be wheel to wheel, you must understand that!!! :) “, we all know that, yet the processions in the first 2 races are not sustainable.

          What made Bahrain standout?

        • tvm (@) said on 7th April 2014, 15:43

          And BTW, teams were on radio calling the tires much more even than expected, probably something with lower temp’s in Bahrain (night race).

          So tires were a joker in B compared to previous 2

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 7th April 2014, 12:23

      Egg on face. Foot in mouth. Humble pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner. F1, in perhaps one of its greatest hours of need, serves up a true classic: one of the finest dry races of the past decade? Will this be the race to persuade the big wigs not to tamper with the rejuvenated formula of F1? Will this be the race to persuade fans that silver domination has not simply replaced Vettel domination? In the 900th edition of a F1 grand prix the sport delivers a true watershed moment, both in terms of this year’s championship, with Hamilton proving that he can take it to an on form Rosberg, and with Ricciardo proving to Vettel that he’s going to be far from a walkover, but more importantly in terms of the bigger picture, with the new formula emphatically proving that it can deliver great racing in 2014. Despite the fact that I am probably one of the sport’s older fans, and a trackside veteran of V12s, V10s and V8s alike, I have always been a die-hard an avid fan of the attempt to incentivise the development of fuel efficient technology through F1 competition, an am glad that it appears not to have remotely spoilt the show. Ladies and gentlemen, rejoice, because now the critics are silenced and F1 is very much saved…

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th April 2014, 14:08

        @william-brierty Well said. The only things I could add are that imho, with most people seeming to automatically be giving the nod to LH over NR in general, starting with when LH joined the team, I think it is NR who showed that even though he is not yet a WDC he has no qualms about bringing the fight to one, just as he did with MS.

        And it will be very interesting too, to see how SV fairs under the conditions that everyone was asking while he was dominating…how he would do once the car wasn’t the best, and now once his teammate is a force to be reckoned with, all the while with SV decrying the new F1 and being hauled up on the FIA carpet for his wording to that effect, saying he favours the old, and the new is #%^€!

        • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 9th April 2014, 12:46

          @robbie – Indeed Robbie. Vettel’s public perception is at a turning point, he can either perform like the steely champion he is and go down in history as one of the all time greats, or he can throw the toys out of the pram and retire from the sport which alienates him so just a few seasons later. If Red Bull fizzles out, and if Vettel can’t find a winning car, I have no doubt that he would retire.

          But regarding public perception, this season has been an excellent and fitting tribute to the comeback form of Michael Schumacher, with the man leading the championship the same man Michael spent much of the European leg of the 2012 season beating comfortably.

  4. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 7th April 2014, 2:37

    I salute the excellent race craft of both Hamilton and Rosberg. The spectacle of hard, but fair close racing is why I love to watch F1. My respect for the Mercedes team letting them race is immense.

    Bernie with all his fear of losing control negativity does sound more absurd than ever. He has declared himself fossilized, frozen in time where his opinion still mattered. His continuous insulting of the fan’s intelligence must end.

    With the huge power band due to the new regs, driver skills are more important. This is what fans want to see, a chance for drivers to show their skills. Also because of the new regs, DRS is less of a factor. Drivers are passing wherever they can now. The tires are better than last season and are behaving more like race car tires. It’s not the gimmicks, it is the racing! This race was a huge breakthrough for the sport of F1.

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 7th April 2014, 3:42

      “fossilized” :)

    • MinusTwo said on 7th April 2014, 4:44

      Yessssss. This!

    • Arturo Fregoso said on 7th April 2014, 5:02

      “His continuous insulting of the fan’s intelligence must end” @bullmello: early in the 1980´s Bernie still meant something to me, but your words are to my eyes as Music of the Speheres. If Formula 1 is meant to be a sportive show, then we fans are the real judges. Poor FIA & old fart Bernie, they forgot who, besides drivers & teams, keep this alive !!!

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 7th April 2014, 10:10

      +1
      We might have had some competitive driving in last couple of seasons as well, had it not been for DEGRAD TYRES (whoever came up with that idea….).

    • Jonny Edwards (@racectrl) said on 7th April 2014, 10:11

      DRS being less effective is why I’ve enjoyed the last two races so much. We’re slowly getting back to hard close racing. Last year Rosberg would’ve highway passed Hamilton but instead this year we got a tremendous race long battle. How many long hard fought battles did we lose out on last year? My guess is too many to count. It was obvious that DRS was ruining the sport and I hope this great race means that DRS zones arent lengthened to compensate for a less effective DRS.

      Also the difference between the soft and medium tyres was perfect in the race and a gap of half a second seemed about right. If it had been 2 seconds, like it was in practice, then it would’ve ruined the race.

      To summarise. Bahrain 2014 should be a template for the future in terms of DRS and tyre performance.

      • Nigelstash (@nigelstash) said on 7th April 2014, 10:45

        +1
        DRS helped create more overtaking, but what we really need is more racing like we saw right through the pack yesterday. I do think without any DRS things would be too dull.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 7th April 2014, 12:27

      @bullmello – Exactly, the racing was akin to that between the Bulls in Malaysia 2013 but without the bitter aftertaste, but this race was so much more than that in that it proves that the new formula can still deliver excitement by the bucket load. A true watershed moment for Formula 1, its importance cannot be underplayed…

  5. GB (@bgp001ruled) said on 7th April 2014, 2:45

    great race, great racers, great teammates, great team, great night! F1 had a wonderful night!!!!!

  6. Tim (@grez76) said on 7th April 2014, 2:56

    It wasn’t just Mercedes for me, all the teams let their drivers race and kudos to all of them. I’m still buzzing :-)

  7. Sumedh said on 7th April 2014, 3:04

    Great great race. But while Luca was certainly wrong in making a knee-jerk reaction and saying that rules need changing, let us not make the same mistake that Luca did and start saying that rules are fine as it is.

    If not for the safety car, this was going to be a boring race. Ironically, the safety car that made the last 10 laps of this race an absolute stonker, it also forced Mercedes to reveal its full hand and now it is pretty much known who is going to win constructors. The 10 laps of suspense yesterday have also revealed a full season of boredom (at least at the front of the grid).

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 7th April 2014, 4:07

      No that race was last year, this race was great from beginning to end, the safety car just provided the fireworks for the finale.

    • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 7th April 2014, 5:48

      I really, really don’t get why a very small fraction of people are saying ” It was only the safety car”. Were you watching the rest of the race?!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th April 2014, 8:04

      I don’t agree with that. Sure, the SC made it a full out fight all over the field to the flag for those last 10 laps, but even without that, it was tense all race and we saw lots of action from the go.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th April 2014, 14:16

        Exactly. The race was already fantastic before the safety car. The battle between LH and NR had already happened and it was, as @william-brierty described, a watershed moment, so anyone who calls the part before the safety car boring, must have been in the loo for the best part of the race.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 7th April 2014, 16:06

      Great great race.

      If not for the safety car, this was going to be a boring race.

      Those statements seem pretty contradictory.

      The 10 laps of suspense yesterday have also revealed a full season of boredom (at least at the front of the grid).

      I find it difficult to take that away. What we saw is that although Merc are unchallenged, their 2 drivers are allowed and able to fight. That doesn’t suggest boredom to me, it suggests a fantastic battle within the team.

  8. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 7th April 2014, 3:10

    Force India were clearly the second fastest team out there…..u dont often see a Force India overtake Alonso in a Ferrari and making it look like lapping a car!

  9. DaveW (@dmw) said on 7th April 2014, 3:16

    This passionate, well written review is the perfect cap to seeing an awesome race. I hope the f1 fans who “watched my last race” see the light now. Let’s cut race distance in half now, right?

  10. schooner (@schooner) said on 7th April 2014, 3:38

    I suppose that LDM’s look of disgust as he departed the Ferrari garage was understandable. A race for the ages was taking shape, his cars would obviously not be involved up at the pointy end, and he’d be eating some crow for dinner. Awesome racing throughout the field, and hats off to Mercedes for not attempting to rein in their drivers. Very good stuff!

  11. Dane said on 7th April 2014, 3:40

    Even though Mercedes is running away with the season it’s great to see the drivers so evenly matched. I can see this easily going down to the last race without much more reliability problems.

  12. HoHum (@hohum) said on 7th April 2014, 4:14

    I say we got 2 great races for the price of 1, I could have happily just watched the 2 Mercedes for the full 57 laps, alternately I could have really enjoyed the race without the 2 Mercedes, afterall how many different drivers held and lost 3rd place ?

  13. Naeem Ali said on 7th April 2014, 4:34

    One Word… Amazing, new respect for Nico to… Wish Williams were up there as they should have been third..

  14. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 7th April 2014, 4:42

    Would it be fair to say that Williams’ lack of running on free practice meant they didn’t have the right set up for the race?

    Funny how everyone was expecting them to be the fastest midfield team but so far it’s been Force India, I think these two teams will have a very nice battle for 5th in the WCC right to the end.

  15. Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 7th April 2014, 4:48

    Great artcile!

    “…The day began with two of Formula One’s most powerful men telling the world urgent changes were needed to fix a broken sport. By the time the chequered flag fell it was a point of view that looked utterly absurd…”

    Hear, hear!

    Some months ago, ‘Monty’ complained about how was ridiculous to F1 relying only in aero as the mainly performance´s diferencial; He asked for a F1 where engine should be more important than aero, and he got it.

    So, what his team made of it? Showed certain incompetence on this area too. Sauber´s Monisha just stated that “our limitations with the powertrain are significant”.

    Every time I hear Montezemolo speaks about F1 affairs I feel embarassed in see how childish is his desire to shape, politically, F1 into a Ferrari series again.

    Shame.

    • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 7th April 2014, 10:21

      I think what Montezemolo wants is more of an engine development formula and we still don’t have that (they’re strictly homologated during the season), even if the engine is currently more or less dictating whether you can challenge for podium.

      • audifan said on 7th April 2014, 10:57

        engine development banned ? clearly you haven’t been watching F1 for long ! changes are allowed to overcome reliability problems [ and if I remember correctly to save cost ]
        somehow when this happens the engines are always more powerful !
        it is not in the interest’s of F1 not to allow renault and ferrari to get closer , for sure the FIA will not be pedantic about what change is allowed on the power units
        I believe that the mercedes customer teams will have difficulty in getting closer to the factory team , maybe McLaren have the resources and a man with a big whip and can do so especially as they have furthest to go

        but the red bull chassis already looks competitive with mercedes , and ferrari not far behind so later in the season I expect them to be competing at the top …I don’t expect them to overtake mercedes because they have the resouces to keep developing that Brawn lacked
        it may already be too late for anyone to overtake mercedes for the championships but I expect this to be the best championship for many years even though it will be decided early

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 7th April 2014, 16:12

        Development within the season just isn’t realistic at the moment. Costs (and road relevancy) mean that the number of engines needs limiting, and as soon as that happens it becomes very difficult to manage them if updates are being made. But there is still development for next year, so it isn’t as though all is lost.

    • Breno (@austus) said on 7th April 2014, 12:09

      But there is still a ton of aero, just look at Red Bull, managing so much with Renault, or compare Mercedes and Mclaren, two great teams with the same engines. I’m sorry for Luca, aero will always dominate, like it or not.

    • timi (@timi) said on 7th April 2014, 12:21

      Every time I hear Montezemolo speaks about F1 affairs I feel embarassed in see how childish is his desire to shape, politically, F1 into a Ferrari series again.

      Right on @becken-lima. That’s why I immediately disregard everything he says. He couldn’t give a damn about F1 in general, just F1 for Ferrari. From 3 car teams, to customer cars, to new regs, has he ever promoted something that would benefit the sport, rather than provide a monetary or performance gain to Ferrari? Can’t stand people like him.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 7th April 2014, 20:23

      Some credit to Ferrari where it’s due – their review of the race says “The other winner under the floodlights in the desert was the sport of Formula 1, as the race was absolutely spellbinding.”

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