What a race! What a win for Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG Petronas and more importantly, the sport as a whole! So, we ask again, why aren’t we more excited about Formula 1 in 2014? For from yesterday’s race, it’s clear that the show, the action and the drivers are as good as they’ve ever been in the history of the formula.
First up, hats off to Hamilton who wins it again for Mercedes, despite having a slower package and tyre strategy than his teammate – and now closest rival – Nico Rosberg. It was a driving masterclass by Lewis, leaping into the lead at the start and fighting Nico off for much of the race. It was an aggressive and exciting duel, but a fair one.
He may have lost the pole position and fastest lap to Rosberg, but he won what mattered most, his 24th career win. That makes him the British driver with the most number of wins, and he now draws level with F1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio. With 16 more wins up for the taking this year, who knows how many he’ll end up with by the end of the season.
On the championship table, it’s Rosberg who leads from the top with 61 points, while Hamilton is second with an even 50. In third with 28 points is not Sebastian Vettel (who is sixth with 23 points), Fernando Alonso (fourth, 26) or Jenson Button (fifth, 23) but Nico Hulkenberg who’s proving that he’s a star no matter what car you put him in.
There’s a shocker in the constructors’ standings too, as Force India (44 points) is now the team that’s closest to the dominant Mercedes (maximum points in the last two races, 111 points in total), leaving McLaren (43), Red Bull (35), Ferrari (33) and the resurgent Williams (30) in its wake.
Apart from Hulkenberg’s impressive consistent showing so far this season, McLaren reject Sergio Perez’s brilliant podium finish in Bahrain had a lot to do with that. He bravely beat off (no, not that way) his teammate, the Williams pair and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to claim Force India’s second ever podium finish (the first being in Spa 2009, where Giancarlo Fisichella should have won).
The spectacular yet clean racing was a great show for the sport, which has come under fire from fans lately. From the Mercedes battle for the win to tight scraps for minor points, it was the best showcase of Formula 1 as a whole for a long, long time. Pastor Maldonado tried his best to ruin the show (harpooning Esteban Gutierrez clean off the road, literally), but in this case, the good outweighed the bad.
Triple world champion Niki Lauda put it best right after the 2014 Bahrain GP saying, “anyone who claims this sport is boring is an idiot.” You’d need to be one to disagree with him.