The Good the Bad and the Ugly at the 2015 Bahrain GP

Lewis-Hamilton-BahrainOne of the most interesting aspects of being a Formula One enthusiast is the fact that you get to watch all action on the track unlike other sports where much drama happens off the pitch. Bahrain GP happens to be one of those races you can’t afford to miss and this year there was a lot of thrill – much of it good but of course with the good comes bad.

The Good

There is so much excitement surrounding Bahrain Grand Prix and on the 19th of April the International Circuit gave its fair share of thrill. For starters, Hamilton the cool guy of F1 was perfect in practice and took pole before beating the Ferraris to his 4th win.

But that’s not all; there was the rebirth of Kimi Räikkönen who has not been on the podium for quite a long time. It was also exciting to see Ricciardo come in 6th despite the engine problems with the Renault engine in the RB11. Grosjean was impressive for Lotus and Daniil Kvyat seemed to be finally making a point.

The Bad

Sebastian Vettel is a four time F1 champion and should definitely know and drive better than he did at the Bahrain 2015 GP. He had no rhythm and confidence and in his battle to catch Hamilton, he ran wide at turn 14.  With more pressure from Rosberg and Bottas, there was nothing the German could do but cling to 5th position.

Sebastian-VettelBahrain

Pastor Mladonado continued his enigmatic driving when he hit Massa’s FW37 and it is no wonder he has a website dedicated to his crashes. A bad driver or just a jinxed one; only time will tell whether the once Spanish GP winner will prove his worth and silence the doomsayers.

McLaren-Honda continued with their woes despite the team’s assertion that things are hunky-dory.  Jenson Button did virtually nothing at practice and qualifying and could not even start his MP4-30 for the race. Electrical troubles with the new car and Alonso’s mishap with tires put a damper on any signs of success for the team.

The Ugly

Love him or hate him, Bernie Ecclestone will continue shaping every item of F1 news for the unforeseeable future.  His assertion that he would like to see Vettel and Hamilton in one team will definitely rattle Mercedes considering the team and F1 supremo don’t see eye to eye.

Then there is the issue of engine changes that he feels will cut down costs but teams are yet to comment on.  Bernie has also sounded an ominous warning to Monza and teams about increasing costs, which means things might get even worse than they are.

Whatever the case, you cannot deny that the 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix was one blended with fun, thrill, and glamour which is what F1 is all about.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Recounting the Race That Was

They say that all good things have to come to an end, but with Lewis Hamilton having won his 2nd F1 title it seems like nothing is coming to an end here. In fact, most analysts who were watching and holding their breath during the last race are already talking about a legend in the making.

Abu Dhabi was widely expected to elicit fireworks due to the double point rule but it feels like an anti-climax of sorts. This was after the other GP title challenger Nico Rosberg developed technical issues with his car to make it a comfortable win for Hamilton and Mercedes AMG.

The Abu Dhabi GP in Details

To appreciate what the new calendar presents for every Formula One enthusiast, you just have to assess the winners, losers and of course a prediction of what is ahead. However, first things first; the race as usual was splendid and race organizers again outdid themselves to give the world of Formula One lovers a delightful season-ender.

Winner Takes it All

So, who were the winners in the frenzied action? Take a look:

  • Lewis Hamilton: Of course bagging the 2014 World Title after a stuttering start to the season is no mean feat. In fact, it seemed like Hamilton was under a jinx due to the mechanical issues, which the company called ‘reliability problems’. What’s more, the nasty encounters between Nico and Rosberg on the track almost ruined the party for Mercedes in the battle for constructor’s title.
  • Mercedes AMG: The team had already bagged the constructor’s title even before the amazing win by Hamilton. However, the confidence that both Nico and Hamilton displayed this season reminds one of Ferraris reign in the 90s. This is probably a start of a new era by Mercedes especially if their two star drivers work amicably.
  • Formula One: There is no denying that reception of Sebastian Vettel’s dominant reign by fans was negative. It is good to have a champion but when the same personality or team dominates a sport things get dour. As such, this year’s supercharged action and drama has reinvigorated interest in the sport.
  • Williams: The year was in 2005 when Webber and Heidfeld finished on the podium driving a Williams racing car. At Abu Dhabi the team seems to have been rejuvenated with two drivers Felippe Massa and Bottas finishing on the podium
  • Felippe Massa and Valterri Bottas: These are two great drivers and there is no gainsaying this. In fact, the new season seems to be shaping up and Hamilton and NicoRosberg better start looking over their shoulders. Massa ensured Hamilton fought for the 1st position while Bottas produced an electrifying race to finish 3rd and also earn his second podium finish in 2014.
  • Daniel Ricciardo: This Red Bull driver seems not ready to give up yet; indeed the comeback and overtaking moves that he exhibited on lap 13 against Torro Rosso’s Jean Eric-Vergne oozed of brilliance.

The Losers at Abu Dhabi GP

In every sport there has to be a winner and a loser. In Formula One, a loser is not necessarily the one who comes last but one whom fans and pundits feel could have done better. Take a look:

  • Sauber Racing: While Monisha Kaltenborn was right to call the team’s performance a huge disappointment, it seems like an understatement. Throughout the season, it was obvious things were not good especially with financial strains. When their two drivers Adrian Sutil and Gutierezz went home 16th and 15th respectively, it was obvious something has to change in strategy.
  • Nico Rosberg: The wheel spin away from the grid box by Nico was all it took for Hamilton to win the race. For a driver who is always under control even in tense situations it was not the best day for the German. Finishing 14th was almost a shocker for a driver who has always finished on the podium. Of course, a new season is in the offing and the Mercedes engine seems to be perfect; expect fireworks.
  • Ferrari: When you think Formula One, which car comes to mind? Most likely a Ferrari and hence failing to win even one race and finishing 9th and 10th in Abu Dhabi was clearly a  below-par performance. Do you blame the team or the drivers? Considering Alonso and Raikkonen are forces to reckon with on any track, the engine simply let them down.

Well, 2015 season promises to be a delight. With Button reportedly throwing in the towel you will definitely see more stars born. Sit back and enjoy the fast ride and of course the roller coaster of the 2015 ‘silly season.’

Comparing Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 Desert Duel to Recent Title Deciders

Hamilton Abu Dhabi 2014It was christened the Desert Duel, Double Jeopardy, Abu Double among other terms but one thing was clear; the Abu Dhabi 2014 GP was bound to be exciting. In the world of Formula One, such excitement is always a Godsend.

Hamilton Aces the Desert Duel

At the end of the day, Lewis Hamilton went on to win a second World F1 Title after his challenger Nico Rosberg developed technical problems. But how instrumental was this race in the history of Formula One? You just need to consider that the two drivers had only 17 points between them and 50 points were up for grabs.

Classic Title Deciders

The arithmetic possibilities were myriad but Formula One has a new champion in the 29-year old Briton. As a formula one enthusiast, it is important to assess this duel against other title decides in the history of the sport.

After all, this is the only way to appreciate the importance of Abu Dhabi in the whole scheme of things. Take a look:

  1. 2008 Felipe Massa vs. Lewis Hamilton: Massa was racing in front of his Brazilian fans and the mood was electric. In fact, he was champion for about 30 seconds as Hamilton struggled in the rain and dropped to 6th which was out of a title-winning position. Lewis needed a 5th finish position. Tim Glock the Toyota driver was between Hamilton and a first world Champion title. Eventually Glockon slicks lost grip in the rain and Voila! Hamilton won just by seconds.
  2. 2007 Hamilton vs. Rikkonen vs. Alonso: This was another exciting duel considering it was a battle between a rookie and two experienced drivers. At 22-years Hamilton was still young and eventually lost due to inexperience and bad luck. A botched start and a passing maneuver against Alonso on the back straight and eventually a technical problem. These were enough to give Raikkonen the race winner and an outsider in the ranking the F1 title.
  3. 1997 Schumacher vs. Villeneuve: This was a battle of titans in terms of personalities as well as the cars. It was a red Ferrari driven by Schumacher against the Canadian’s blue Williams. Having dominated the season, only a point between them and same qualifying times the stage was set for drama; and it did not disappoint. Schumacher made a move after the final pit stops damaging the Williams car. Schumacher was unable to finish. Villeneuve drove on to finish 3rd. He clinched the title as the German watched from the side of the track.
  4. 2012 Sebastian Vettel vs. Alonso: Two great drivers with the best racing machines in the world and 13 points separating them. Vettel had the advantage going into the Interlagos but a poor start, spinning on lap one while trying to recover and a crash with Bruno Senna’s Williams, it seemed Alonso was going to win. However the German driver fought on with low aerodynamics performance eventually finishing 6th. This was enough to win against Alonso’s 2nd place finish.
  5. 2010 Vettel vs. Alonso vs. Hamilton vs. Webber: 2010 is one of the most exciting seasons of recent years. It also provided the only 4-way deciders. Hamilton and Vettel were the outsiders but bad luck and some bad calls from the team denied Alonso victory with a 7thplace finish. Vettel won the race and amazingly the championship.

Of course, there are many other duels including 1989 Ayrton Senna vs. Prost, 1994 Schumacher vs. Damon Hill, 1986 Prost vs. Mansel vs. Piquet among others. The common thread in all these is the fact that legends are born in these title deciders.

Could Abu Dhabi GP have given Formula One another legend? Just have to wait and see.