Midweek between the back-to-back grands prix of China and Bahrain, 2013, and much to discuss. Here forumula1.com’s Hugh Podmore presents a run-down of the noteworthy news in F1 as it stands.
Alonso reigns in China
Fernando Alonso won imperiously in China, to deliver on the promise Ferrari have shown all early-season. The Spaniard was as cunning and as quicksilver as always and Lewis Hamilton is absolutely right to say that Alonso is looking the man to beat in 2013. Massa looked at the start but faded – it’s crucial for Ferrari’s designs on both titles that the Brazilian continues his renaissance.
Raikkonen to Red Bull?
All the pieces fit, don’t they? Another sterling drive from the Finn in China meant he could have won, were it not for his dreadful start. And so to Red Bull, because Webber’s had enough, Vergne isn’t ready, and Lotus are never going to be as consistent as Red Bull? Maybe, but it’s not a done deal yet. Many more performances like last week and Raikkonen will be going somewhere – that is, to the lead of the championship.
Continued promise from Hamilton and Mercedes
Hamilton did well to put the Merc on pole, but such a result rather flatters to deceive. It seems the car (and also possibly Lewis) fades quickly once the tyres do. Pace at the start of a stint is awesome but drops off dramatically and he cannot keep pace with Ferrari, Lotus or even Red Bull. Blame Pirelli, with their paper-thin india rubber (and curiously sterile strategic racing)? No. Hamilton and Brackley have much to be getting on with. It bodes well, though.
Not so Stirling
Arse of the week, Sir Stirling Moss. Anathema that sentence may be for a man rightly revered for his achievements behind the wheel, but his pronouncements concerning women in similar positions should clearly not be so flippantly aired. With F1 already seen in many quarters as male-dominated and anachronistic, the last thing it needs is its demi-god proving that.
The political situation in the Kingdom continues to be uncertain, and as the world has tragically seen over the past 24 hours, sporting events can be targeted fatally by homicidal lunatics. In all probability F1 should not be going to Bahrain. Let us just hope and pray it passes without injury to people who really have nothing to do with the trouble. And serious thought must go into this race’s place on the calendar.
That curiously sterile racing
Watching the Chinese GP, you could be occasionally be forgiven for thinking you were standing on a bridge watching the M25. On the M25, you don’t block the bloke behind you from overtaking, partly because you don’t know where he is going, but also because you’re not racing him. And that was the result of the myriad strategies and complexities in China. (Oh, and the DRS and the track). Pirelli – please make tyres unpredictable enough to make the racing interesting, but not so unpredictable that cars can’t race. Too much to ask?
Tip for Bahrain
To finish where we started, it’s got to be Alonso. The man is driven this year, and he’s so good. He is just so good.