It turns out that Formula One fans are rather difficult to please. We hyped the first race of the season to the point where it had almost become the turning point of civilisation, then we’re moaning within 10 laps of the first race.
For me, yesterday was magic. But then I’m an Alonso fan who’s spent the overwhelming majority of the races in the last two years crying and pulling my hair out in equal measure.
On the plus side – I was really pleased (and a little surprised) to see how at home Fernando was with Ferrari, and was incredibly happy to see him own Massa into turn two. Sutil and Kubica pulled out some classic moves and Schumacher got beaten by Nico Rosberg. Three new teams were on the grid, Lotus did a great job, and HRT were fascinating – if a little, well…poor. Button and Webber were both sunk by their team mates and there is a Senna on the grid again.
However, on the downside, there was little overtaking. Massa, Alonso, Vettel and god-knows-who-else were all being told frantically to stay away from the cars in front – Alonso gained on Vettel and then spent the straights ducking and diving out of the slipstream so as not to harm his car. The first few laps were visibly slower, the pit-stops themselves were spectacular to watch but the result of no re-fueling is that everyone came in for new tyres in the same window and then a procession started. No-one pitted twice for tyres, and it had little effect on the order.
All that being said – this was the first race of a new and very different season. Yesterday was disappointing in many ways – there’s no doubt about that. But everyone has been very quick to damn the season before it’s even really started. Even the drivers are starting to worry. Jenson proclaimed just a few weeks ago that this season would be “epic” and then yesterday on the BBC denounced the race as “too easy” because no-one was pushing for fear of hurting their cars.
Too Soon to Judge
Why don’t we give it a few more races before we start writing off a whole 19-race season? Australia will be much cooler than Bahrain. The talked about ‘mandatory two pit-stops’ could well be introduced and we may hear that Bridgestone are making their tyre compounds “racier”.
Bahrain may have been a blip.
Formula One is what it is. It can be thrilling, heart-in-your-mouth stuff. It can also be “boring” and descend into a procession. This is nothing new. We all know that there’s a risk of disappointment when we watch a race, and we all know that there is equally the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime move, or a fight between your two favourite drivers, or a pile up that sends the whole race into chaos.
Like everything, we’ve got to learn to take the good with the bad. And as we have only had one race in 2010, it’s impossible to tell how the rest of the season will unfold.