With Red Bull the latest to hold a trophy aloft this year, yet another potential 2012 champion has emerged.
In theory, back to back world champion Sebastian Vettel, the Bahrain grand prix winner, was always a contender for a third drivers’ crown this year. But his RB8 was not a race winner until Sunday, after McLaren, Mercedes and even Ferrari had tasted the first victory spoils so far this season.
It was said that – amid the extraordinary field of 2012 – Adrian Newey’s latest creation was simply in the league of other midfielders including Lotus, Sauber, and perhaps even Williams and Toro Rosso. But as Dr Helmut Marko remarked at the chequered flag: “Those pronounced dead live longest!”
“We never wrote them off,” McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh insisted to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, “because we knew that they had a good car and that they only needed to find the key.
“This season is really crazy; more exciting than we would like!” the Briton admitted. “And now we have to say Lotus are also contenders.”
German Vettel won in Bahrain from pole, but even he admitted that the weekend was a surprise.
“After Australia it seemed that McLaren had a supercar and it would be difficult to beat them, at least in the short term,” he is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo.
So even the experts are at a loss after the initial ‘flyaway’ phase of the new world championship.
“We know that we know nothing,” beamed Vettel after his victory, referring to the oddly see-sawing balance of power in 2012, blamed mainly on the Pirelli tyres. “It is almost impossible to predict in advance how the different tyre compounds are going to behave on race day,” he is quoted by Der Spiegel.
“You have an idea, but nothing more.”