The Formula 1 season kicked off in Bahrain last week with what was an exciting Bahrain Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen fought tooth and nail from start to finish with Lewis Hamilton fending off Max Verstappen to win the first race of the Formula 1 season. It’s been almost a week since the race and the world of Formula 1 does not standstill. Having said that, let’s catch up with the top 5 stories of the week.
#1 Sebastian Vettel under attack after horrible Formula 1 debut with Aston Martin
Sebastian Vettel is facing criticism from every cornerIt doesn’t rain but it pours for Sebastian Vettel in Formula 1. When he was winning the smashed every record on his way. But when he started to struggle it has been a slippery slope for the former World Champion. His debut with Aston Martin at the Bahrain Grand Prix was an absolute disaster. Getting eliminated in Q1 and then a clumsy clash with Esteban Ocon made matters worse for the German.
What it seems however is that every Formula 1 pundit seems to have their two cents on the “Sebastian Vettel” topic. Mark Webber feels Vettel is running out of goodwill in Formula 1. Damon Hill feels Vettel is getting beaten to a pulp. While Gerhard Berger feels Vettel, a four-time world champion cannot handle pressure.
It’s been fascinating to see all the experts come out and nitpick a former world champion but one thing is clear. Sebastian Vettel needs to pull up his socks and start performing because he might not be answerable to the critics he is answerable to his team that is putting in multiple hours at the headquarters to build a car to the best of its ability.
#2 Red Bull aiming to develop the car as much as they can before Imola
Red Bull buoyed by the performance of their car in Bahrain is looking for an aggressive push to extract more performance out of its car in the coming rounds. The drinks company would have left Bahrain with a sour taste in their mouth after losing out on a certain win. But at the same time, the team would have been happy to see the progress that they have made in the last 12 months.
Not looking to sit on the plaudits and understanding it’s not a huge advantage that they enjoy over Mercedes, Red Bull is going to introduce an aggressive upgrade package at Imola for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to compete with.
#3 Mercedes concedes Red Bull will have the edge at Imola and Portugal
Talking about Mercedes bouncing back, the reigning Formula 1 champs have already conceded that they fear Red Bull would have an edge over the German team at Imola and Portugal. Mercedes feels the Red Bull car hasn’t shown any weakness either during the first race or at the pre-season test. The Red Bull seems to hold a distinct advantage over the silver arrows in the fast-speed sections of the track and with both Imola and Portugal having plenty of them, Mercedes feels Red Bull would be tough to catch at the next two races.
However, to break the myth, Mercedes on the face of it was at best conceding a tenth or two to the Red Bull at Bahrain. The gap was not massive and the reigning champions have a car capable of fighting for the Formula 1 title. So for anyone expecting Mercedes to fall out of contention, that’s not happening anytime soon.
#4 Lando Norris feels Max Verstappen didn’t deserve a penalty for Hamilton overtake
Talking about Hamilton and the Bahrain Grand Prix, one of the key moments of the race was when Max Verstappen went off trying to overtake Hamilton. The move was deemed illegal by the Formula 1 race control and Verstappen was forced to give back his position to Hamilton and in a way that sealed the fate of the race. Lando Norris however seems to be of a differing opinion in all of this. On his Twitch channel when Lando Norris was reviewing the race he argued that the move by Max Verstappen was already completed before he went off the track at Turn 4.
Looking at the video from an alternate view, he clearly showed that Max was already some distance ahead of Lewis Hamilton when he went off the track. He ended the topic by saying that this was something that will be discussed in the next drivers briefing but in his view, he didn’t feel Max Verstappen should have been penalized for the move.
The incident and the race control’s decision will surely be brought up for questioning by Red Bull at the next Grand Prix. Although nothing can be done about it now, it can be said that Max Verstappen has every right to be aggrieved by the Formula 1 Race control’s directive.
#5 Yuki Tsunoda jumps into the limelight with a sensational Formula 1 debut
Yuki Tsunoda made his Formula 1 debut and Bahrain. And although on paper it was the average Formula 1 debut for the rookie, he has caught the Formula 1 world by storm. He has received praise from every quarter possible with senior paddock personnel talking about the young Japanese driver as the next big thing in Formula 1. Ross Brawn gave a special mention to Tsunoda in his column by calling the Japanese driver, “The Best Rookie in Formula 1 in some time”. While the ever unimpressed Helmut Marko feels Tsunoda will be the new Formula 1 star in coming years.
Although yes, Tsunoda did drive a responsible race at Bahrain and was able to clock important points for the team, I’d still wait to reserve my judgment on the youngster. It’s a 23 race season that would ebb and flow for all the teams and we’ll have to wait and see how good Tsunoda really is.