Bahrain’s SAKHIR — While Fernando Alonso won the Bahrain Grand Prix, Max Verstappen took first place in the competition. In addition to demonstrating that the hype around the team’s vehicle was legitimate (if not a little exaggerated at times this week), Alonso’s podium finish on his Aston Martin debut also saw one of the sport’s most gifted drivers restored to a position of strength.
Alonso goes back in time.
It’s always entertaining to watch Fernando Alonso, the oldest and most seasoned driver on the grid, when he’s driving a competitive vehicle, and Sunday night was no different.
The person who admitted to Netflix that he loves being F1’s antihero saved the first race, which would have been badly lacking in actual entertainment otherwise. The Aston Martin also seemed like it could consistently finish on the podium this year.
This performance felt fantastic since it was merit-based, according to Alonso. “There were always unusual conditions on the previous few times I was competing, like Canada last year,” the competitor said. We performed really well throughout testing, free practise, and the race. Right now, feel happy to be a member of our organisation. We modified the idea, so it’s a new mindset, and these are the beginning points right now. In the next months, we need to discover better performance.”
The outcome included some excellent overtaking work. While Alonso and Hamilton are seen as fierce rivals, there haven’t been many on-track confrontations between them lately.
In Hungary 2021, they engaged in a spectacular wheel-to-wheel battle, during which Alonso’s defensive manoeuvres assisted his then-teammate Esteban Ocon in taking the victory. Earlier this year, the two clashed in Belgium, and Alonso made the comment that Hamilton only understands how to race when he’s in the lead.
This time, there were no incidents as the two drivers, who have a combined total of nine world titles and 135 race wins, gave spectators a thrilling wheel-to-wheel duel in the middle of the race.
It was exciting to witness Alonso overtake his old McLaren colleague at Turn 10, as well as how closely they battled for position over the previous two circuits. Hamilton gets credit for a superb undercut that allowed him to maintain his position at Turn 4, although it was obvious that the Aston Martin was moving quickly.
Next up came fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who grew up idolising Alonso. Alonso ultimately defeated the Ferrari driver down the back straight on lap 45 after a brief incident. He had chosen the opposite path around Turn 10 as he had in his battle with Hamilton. This demonstrated how shrewd Alonso’s racing strategy is as always.
Later, he clarified: “The issue with that corner is that either you do as Lewis suggests and leave the door open from the inside, or you do as Carlos suggests and lock the door, making it difficult for you to go out. I thus had the upper hand at that particular time ” They couldn’t stop me for that long because I had better tyres and greater traction.”
Alonso radioed his team during the closing circuits of the race to remark, “Such a great car to drive,” and it was evident during the race, as it has been for some weeks now, how much Alonso enjoys operating the vehicle of his new team. This is the greatest vehicle that Alonso has driven in over ten years, even if they may not be able to win races on pure speed.
Alonso could well be the driver worth tuning into watch given that Red Bull and Max Verstappen seem to be primed to dominate the early races of the season (at least).
Almost derails Alonso’s wonderful day: stroll
If the opening lap’s circumstances had unfolded even slightly differently, everything might have been quite different for Alonso. His colleague Lance Stroll, who is also the team owner Lawrence’s son, very nearly made the day miserable.
Stroll, who deserves praise for rejoining the race this week after suffering a broken toe, two broken wrists, and many other injuries, made an aggressive run up the inside of Turn 4 and collided with Alonso’s right rear tyre. Surprisingly, both automobiles managed to get away unscathed and make it to the finish line.
When footage of Stroll attempting to exit his vehicle after Friday practise surfaced, there were questions about his readiness for the race, but Stroll insisted that the incident had nothing to do with that.
Stroll subsequently said, “Lucky, incredibly fortunate. “To keep George in front of me, I braked late. Fernando took a risk, overtook Hamilton in Turn 4, and due to really unfortunate time, we collided. I was so very fortunate to escape with that one.”
Stroll did admit he had to hold back tears as he dealt with the agony in his wrists caused by the evasive effort he made to avoid the sister car’s rear. Despite their close call, Alonso continued to praise Stroll after the race. Since joining, the Spaniard has called the Canadian, who has yet to win an F1 race, a potential world champion.
He is my idol, Alonso said. “If you look at his hands and feet, he deserves a nice podium sometime soon,” said the speaker.
Stroll quickly moved up to sixth place, demonstrating the car’s superior performance.
Max is in a class by himself.
This year, Max Verstappen’s disappearance into the horizon will become routine.
With the exception of a little wobble in the car’s position throughout Friday’s practise sessions, Red Bull seemed noticeably superior to the competition in Bahrain.
Only a mechanical problem seemed likely to halt the two-time world champion after Verstappen had taken the lead through Turn 1. Verstappen’s race seemed to be rather drama-free, save from some worries about his downshifts.
It might be a very lengthy season from a competitive sense with Sergio Perez unlikely to make a championship push and Ferrari displaying alarming instability in the first race. In a subsequent statement, George Russell painted a foreboding picture of the situation, asserting that Red Bull already had the title won and should take first place in every race.
Same Ferrari in a new era?
Ferrari’s 2022 season, which went from championship threat to full-blown collapse in six months, and the hiring of a new team principal during the off-season have combined to keep expectations in check. With how its first race played out, it was tough to believe that this year would be more of the same old Ferrari.
As his vehicle broke down 40 laps from the finish, Charles Leclerc was comfortably third but never seemed to be in a position to challenge either Red Bull. Last year, Leclerc psychologically positioned himself as a candidate for the title, and it’s obvious that he’s already experiencing some dissatisfaction at what seems to be a protracted and difficult season behind the leaders.
On his retirement, a dejected Leclerc stated, “I cannot say it feels nice. Clearly, a lot of effort went into it, but more has to be done since the initial reliability and race issues are not acceptable.
Before the race even began, Leclerc’s vehicle had two new engine parts installed, which is quite rare at this point in the season.
McLaren is in serious difficulty.
Even the team’s most pessimistic member could not have foreseen McLaren’s performance, despite their preparation for a challenging weekend before to the race.
Oscar Piastri, a rookie from Australia, was the first driver to give up this season, and Lando Norris fought Esteban Ocon of Alpine for last place for the whole of the race.
It’s hard to see McLaren being so poor all season, but Bahrain has never been kind to the team. It began 2022 in a similar position, but it battled back to contend with Alpine for fourth place in the standings.
In Baku, the fourth race of the season, the team is aiming for a significant improvement this year. If it does, McLaren might be in for a campaign that is absolutely humiliating.
Sargeant makes a good first impression, worthy of remark
American newcomer Logan Sargeant performed well throughout his debut weekend, coming up just short of qualifying for round two on Saturday, and then putting in a strong performance to finish 12th on Sunday, only two spots behind teammate Alex Albon.
The Floridian stated, “I simply attempted to in the holes where I could. “I didn’t ask for a lot, just what I needed, so… That was great fun for me. I enjoyed every minute of it, especially the on-track combat. That was a lot of fun.”