I know I have been pretty quiet in the days leading up to and after the Bahrain GP. It’s very unlike me. But honestly, I wanted to think carefully, before sitting down to write this post. There is a part of me that wants to take the easy way out – to overlook the civil unrest in this Persian Gulf island-country and focus on the race.
After all, true to this season, the practice sessions, the qualifying, and the race itself, threw out new rivals on the podium – with the old guard more or less being forced to take a back seat.
But there is also a part of me that believes I will be doing a disservice if I focused merely on the race. Bahrain wasn’t just about the race. As much as I hate to admit it, it showed us F1’s true image. It is one we, the fans, know of. We have accepted it and taken it in our stride. We love F1, despite the fact that in this sport, money usually does all the talking. So, yes, for F1, the Bahrain GP was business as usual.
It shouldn’t have been. I know there are differing points of view. There have been people who say sports and politics are not the same sides of a coin. Sports are a great unifier, they say. But that’s not what has happened, has it? If nothing else, the Bahrain GP has divided people even further.
For the longest time, the F1 world went back and forth, wondering if there would be a race or not. Then, the FIA laid all doubts to rest. The race would take place.
I hoped then that this would be an opportunity, the perfect way to discover the “truth”. There could be no better way. The media would be all over the place. Reports would be filed, stories would be written, and opinions exchanged. That’s exactly what happened. And everything seems to point to one thing – the F1 should have never gone to Bahrain. In doing so, it may have perhaps sent out the wrong message: things are all good in the country.
But here is a different point of view: The race brought the spotlight on a people who have been fighting for their rights.
It has given perspective on a government reeling with multiple accusations of human rights violations.
Now, post-race, reports trickle in of journalists being deported or denied accreditation in Bahrain.
Meanwhile, the team bosses aren’t very happy with the way the race so seamlessly became a political event.
There are several ways of looking at the FIA’s decision to hold the race in Bahrain. But the bottom-line is, this race was about the money. That thought just about stops me in my tracks.
If you are interested in reading more about the Bahrain controversy, do check out this great blog post.
Bahrain Race Capsule
I am an F1 fan. So perhaps I need to also look at the race in isolation. But I have no tongue-in-cheek comments or witty ledes.
So, Vettel won. Lotus finished second and third. It was Kimi Raikonnen’s his first podium finish since his comeback this year and Romain Grosjean’s first-ever. Horrors of all, Jenson Button retired, just like Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado. Felipe Massa however, put the naysayers to bed when he clocked in his first points for the season. What does this mean for the championship? We will save that for another day.