I think I would be improper for me to comment on this race without commenting on the circumstances surrounding it. Personally I think the decision to go there was the wrong one, solely because the race was always going to be hijacked by both sides of the civil-unrest in Bahrain, but some of the reportage surrounding the race was gratuitous. Some media outlets only reported on the situation in Bahrain because the F1 circus travelled there, and then immediately stopped once it left, this did a disservice both the Bahraini people and F1 a disservice. That’s all I have to say on that, so on to the race itself.
After the 2010 experiment of using the “endurance” layout of the Sakhir track, we reverted back to the less boring (but still oh-so-dreary) “grand prix” configuration, but the result seemed very 2011. Sebastian Vettel beat Hamilton to pole by less than a tenth of a second, pulled out his customary gap of more than a second in the first two laps and then kept his tyres in shape. The young German showed why he is a double world champion by yet again having speed and knowing when to use it. Red Bull and Vettel haven’t had the best opening few races, but nobody else has either, so by winning this race (along with Webber finishing fourth for the fourth time running), both team and driver top their respective championship.
Sorry that I’ve failed to keep up with things, so time to catch up.
For Rosberg and Mercedes things finally came good, the former-Brawn squad had two disappointing seasons after their championship year, but a first pole and win for the German driver provided a glimpse of what they can deliver. The cooler temperatures in Shanghai meant the Anglo-German car did not suffer from its usual issue of high tyre degradation, and this combined with the inherent stability their double-DRS system gives the car allowed them to show impressive form all weekend. The manner of victory was crushing with Rosberg finishing 20 seconds ahead of the McLarens and ran the whole race untroubled by anyone. A stellar weekend for the Brackley-based team was only let down by a costly pit error that led to Schumacher leaving the pits with only three wheels secured to his wagon.
As we approach the end of pre-season testing, a picture of where the teams stand is beginning to emerge. We may be subjected to some horrific looking noses on this year’s cars, but it would appear we will see some more competition for the top step of the podium. So in order of last year’s constructors’ championship, let’s see where we stand going into the 2012 season.