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Desert Storm

If all we did was look at the winner of the Bahrain Grand Prix, then I guess, we would think that the race was nothing special. Sebastian Vettel won yet again, his finger raised up high, victorious. Sigh! But, even as I watched The Finger cruise to a podium win, I sent up a prayer of thanks for all those glorious battles that took place.

There were enough moments that left me gasping, egging on my favourites, with my fingers tightly crossed. The win may have been out of reach, but that didn’t mean the race was over. The actual war was taking place behind Vettel. That’s where the ‘real racing’ was.

The Qualifying left me surprised as Nico Rosberg stole the pole from Vettel, while Fernando Alonso came into the 3rd place. But the race was a different story, as it always is. Rosberg tried to stay ahead of the Red Bull, but Vettel was definitely at his strongest in Bahrain, as he passed the Mercedes to cruise ahead comfortably. Alonso though was struggling.

A race with potential ended in disaster as Alonso battled a broken DRS wing. Image courtesy Ferrari (for editorial use only)

A race with potential ended in disaster as Alonso battled a broken DRS wing. Image courtesy Ferrari (for editorial use only)

A broken DRS put paid to any podium dreams. His pit crew tried desperately to hammer in the DRS wing and fix it, but it wasn’t meant to be. But Alonso was determined to finish as high as his car would allow him. He raced and overtook his competitors with a broken DRS, and climbed steadily up the grid. He ended with an 8th, a marvellous demonstration of his talent and determination in my book.

Then there were the McLarens. I had wondered what had happened to my favourite team this season. Four races down, the McLaren only has three top-10 finishes in four races. Jenson Button scored a 9th, 5th and 10th position in the Australian, Chinese and Bahrain Grand Prix. Teammate Sergio Perez grabbed the 9th and 6th position in the Malaysian and Bahrain Grand Prix. They are improving, but I hope they are able to catch up to the front pack soon.

The McLarens showed their potential and gave us real racing. Pic by Photo: Glenn Dunbar/McLaren; Image courtesy McLaren (for editorial use only)

The McLarens showed their potential and gave us real racing. Pic by Photo: Glenn Dunbar/McLaren; Image courtesy McLaren (for editorial use only)

The Sakhir race though was not so much about positions and points as it was about true blue racing. A determined Perez drove like a man possessed, fighting his teammate every step of the way. Button fought back on several occasions, as the two gave us phenomenal racing. The teammates made contact on a few occasions. It was enough for Button to radio his team asking them to control the charging Mexican. But there was no reigning in Perez. It was definitely was good racing and showed that the McLarens are not to be underestimated. There is life in them and it’s just a matter of time before they rule the podium once again (completely my fangirl opinion of course!).

Wheel to wheel, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez raced each other for position. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/McLaren; Image courtesy McLaren (for editorial use only)

Wheel to wheel, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez raced each other for position. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/McLaren; Image courtesy McLaren (for editorial use only)

Post-race Perez said, “…I guess I was a little aggressive on track today; banging wheels with Jenson was perhaps a little too risky, a little too hard, but the team never came on the radio to tell us to stop racing. There were no team orders. There was a lot of adrenaline from both of us, and Jenson is always a very strong racer, but hopefully we will help each other a little more in the future.” Button though said that for him, it wasn’t really a brilliant day in office. “…Okay, the race was a lot of fun,” he said, “but I didn’t get the result I wanted because I used up my tyres fending off Checo. There was a lot of action out there, and as I say I wasn’t really able to conserve my tyres as a result…But there was a lot of clean racing out there too – although as I say Checo was a bit tough, which was a little unusual. He did a good job overall though: he had good pace, and he looked after his tyres well.”

The 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix Moment

Paul di Resta showed his true potential as he raced for the 3rd position until Romain Grosjean passed him. Image courtesy Force India F1 team (for editorial use only)

Paul di Resta showed his true potential as he raced for the 3rd position until Romain Grosjean passed him. Image courtesy Force India F1 team (for editorial use only)

The man who shined through was Force India’s Paul di Resta. He led for three laps and then chased down a podium finish in the 3rd position for most of the race. His pace was stunning, but unfortunately, the Force India was just not as fast as the Lotus. Grosjean attacked and finally passed the Scot towards the end of the race at the 52nd lap, snatching the 3rd spot on the podium. Despite the disappointment, di Resta’s 4th place pushed the team up ahead of the McLarens.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates with Gill Jones, the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Electronic Support Group Leader, with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Image courtesy Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool (for editorial use only)

Sebastian Vettel celebrates with Gill Jones, the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Electronic Support Group Leader, with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Image courtesy Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool (for editorial use only)

Red Bull Racing did the unusual by sending up Gill Jones, the team’s head of trackside electronics to receive the constructors’ trophy. It was a fine moment (though not the first. Read Joe Saward’s post on this here). In my opinion though, the moment was ruined completely after Vettel said that she handles the electronics and “looks after the boys”. What was that? I thought I had heard wrong. I was horrified.

The Numbers So Far

Red Bull Racing now sits nice and happy at the top with 109 points followed by Lotus at 93 and Ferrari at 77. There’s lots of catching up to do. But the finest leg in the F1 season begins with Spain, 16 days from now. Be patient. The fun will begin soon!

Note: I will be away at Monza for the World Superbike Championship, which is on the same day as the Spanish Grand Prix. The race review could be a few days late as a result. Please do contact me if you would like to guest blog about the Spanish Grand Prix.

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