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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Formula 1 in Bahrain: Verstappen sends tirades to pit radio

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Charles Leclerc

Seven corners of Formula 1: Charles Leclerc.

Carlos Leclerc.

(Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Ferrari had been waiting for this moment for two and a half years. It had to be there soon, one lap from the end of the Bahrain International Circuit, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were riding in formation towards a double success. The Monegasse then radioed from the cockpit: “I’m having engine trouble.” Second clash for the Italian team. But it’s a joke. Such jokes can only be made by someone who has had the perfect race weekend: pole position, fastest race lap, man of the day. Hours later, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto looked completely knocked out. He had to accept that his vabanque game was worth sacrificing the entire last season in favor of an actual reboot.

The winner literally put the right words in her mouth as she crossed the finish line: “Mamma mia!” In view of the performance of the beefed-up F 75 engine, colleague Sainz even allowed himself to flirt with his “worst weekend” at Ferrari. As a consolation, the Spaniard has already been presented with a new contract. The situation after the first Formula 1 race of the year may not yet be fully resolved, but it seems certain that the Scuderia can be expected again.

Lewis Hamilton

Seven corners of Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton.

(Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

In between, on this first race weekend of the new F1 season, the record-setting world champion spiced up the rather simple dress code in the Sakhir paddock with a kind of flowery dress, as if he wanted to trust the power from the flowers. It was already clear that Mercedes is initially only the third force. That was confirmed in the race. But there is a little more hope for the Silver Arrows, and that is not due to third and fourth place, which led to the complete failure of Red Bull. But also because the car, which is still being built, is at least reliable, and Lewis Hamilton is also engrossed in the pursuit role, which is new to him.

“We had quite a few problems so I think the result is quite impressive,” said the Briton. The unexpected podium was the best motivation for him and the whole team. He reinforced the inner balance, which will also be necessary, because for race team boss Toto Wolff, every race is initially a test drive. But the result in Bahrain warned the competition: Mercedes has apparently lost none of its inner strength.

nico hulkenberg

Seven corners of Formula 1: Nico Hulkenberg.

Nico Hulkenberg.

(Photo: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

Edelreservist, that may be a disparagement elsewhere, in Formula 1 it’s a compliment, even if Nico Hülkenberg finished 17th and last. Going from zero to over 300 in just four days without having sat in a race cockpit for a year and a half, probably no other reserve driver can do that like the 34-year-old driver from Emmerich. The ability of the Last Minute Pilot is so hulkenback already entered the F1 vocabulary.

It wasn’t his fault either, it was the Aston Martin race car. Handicapped like all Mercedes customer racing teams, the reorganized Silverstone team also had a slightly balanced car. “The car has changed a lot, it was interesting,” Hülkenberg said as a solo artist. In truth, it means: he did what he wanted. Whether he has to return to being a car tamer this weekend in Saudi Arabia depends on Sebastian Vettel’s recovery progress. “I’m on standby,” Hulkenberg said. At least one security.

Kevin Magussen

Seven corners of Formula 1: Kevin Magnussen.

Kevin Magussen.

(Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

When the Dane had to leave the Haas team and F1 at the end of 2020, there was a lot of controversy and an image of his own production: that of the Viking. When he unexpectedly returned to his old racing team, made possible by the expulsion of Russia’s Nikita Masepin, Magnussen, who had apparently grown kinder, had his daughter Laura and his wife Louisa in his arms, if the team boss, Günther Steiner, did not intervene. . The South Tyrolean had every reason to do so: on his return, Magnussen drove the new Haas-Ferrari from eighth on the grid and finished fifth with ten World Championship points. The Formula 1 taillight has made the biggest jump right away.

“The madness continues,” said the 29-year-old, “it was quite an intense race.” To correct himself in the analysis: “It was crazy.” Actually, Magnussen should have started this weekend in the “12 Hours of Sebring” sports car classic; by the way, he would have been in the winning car there. But his return to the premier class can hardly be surpassed in satisfaction: “It was as if a shoe fit you right away and it always goes better when you take the first steps with it.”

Mike Schumacher

Seven corners of Formula 1: Mick Schumacher.

Mike Schumacher.

(Photo: Hasan Bratic/dpa)

Eleventh, the most ungrateful position in F1. So close to the first World Cup point of his career. Mick Schumacher had justified hopes for the start of the second year of the Grand Prix. From twelfth on the grid, he quickly moved up to tenth and was about to start the race when Esteban Ocon flipped him on the track. He suddenly found himself back in the background, like last season. Shredded tires, the car is no longer perfectly balanced. But the will to persevere was there, and the diligence seemed to pay off in the end.

After the safety car phase, he was back in the points. But as the only driver on the entire grid on old tyres, he became an easy victim for Chinese rookie Guanyu Zhou. He congratulated his teammate Magnussen, who is much more dangerous for him than his colleague Mazepin last year: “Kevin did a great job, so I’m very, very happy for the team.” His own career best result so far gives him hope: “We still have a lot of untapped potential in the car.”

max verstappen

Seven corners of Formula 1: Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen.

(Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton fans wanted to see karma’s revenge on Red Bull’s double race car failure at the start of the season, for team boss Christian Horner it was simply “a brutal race”. Two cars that ended up running dry due to a faulty pump, suggesting a problem with parts or incorrect fuel calculations. So the number one got stuck at the end of the first race of the title defense.

Until then, Max Verstappen had been able to measure himself on several occasions with Charles Leclerc, the old rival of his youth. And each time they got the short end of the stick, prompting rants about false information from the command post. Also, the brakes overheated, the control complained. Nobody knew an answer to the question: “What is the problem, what can I do?” Verstappen was as helpless as his colleague Sergio Pérez, who was eventually eliminated, but anger will fuel his ambition. “Whatever it is, we have to figure it out,” says Christian Horner, “we still have 22 races to do it.” But gaining time is not for this team and this world champion.

Valtteri Bottas

Seven corners of Formula 1: Valtteri Bottas.

Valtteri Bottas.

(Photo: Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters)

Side by side with Lewis Hamilton on the starting grid, the Finn knew this from his good days at Mercedes. In the third row of Bahrain, however, the scenario differed from the past: Hamilton so far back and Bottas so far forward. The 32-year-old now sits in the Alfa Romeo, and with the Swiss racing team he got what he had always been denied: he is the team leader and doesn’t have to worry about a contract extension every year.

In the end, he finished sixth in his rojiblanco debut, although the wheels had slipped at the start and he passed to the back. His first appearance in the new job, which he finished happily, should mean almost as much to the collective self-confidence as each of his previous ten Grand Prix wins. “Reliability was our first goal,” summarizes Bottas. He was referring to the car of his Ferrari client. But also a little about yourself.

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