The great anticipation generated by the pre-season tests of the Formula 1 World Championship turned out to be fully justified after the celebration of the first race of the championship . As much as the victory was taken by Lewis Hamilton, who has accumulated six of the last seven world titles, the British and Mercedes were more vulnerable than ever, exposed to the voracity of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, eager as the energy troop is to regain the hegemony that he exhibited in the previous cycle, with the four crowns that Sebastian Vettel wore between 2010 and 2013. This latest victory for Hamilton is surrounded by doubts. From the outset, it remains to be seen if that punch that the red buffalo team demonstrated in the Sakhir circuit is reproducible in other scenarios, given that it already won from there in the last test of last year. And even more relevant: it is not at all clear that the Stevenage driver would have taken the jack to the water had it not been for the intervention of the Race Direction, who urged Red Bull to order Verstappen to return the lead to Hamilton, to three laps to go, after the Dutchman crossed the limits of the track in the curve in which he had just overtaken the Mercedes.
The delegates of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) had decreed that any rider who crossed the limits established in turn 4 –that of the controversy maneuver– during the timed session, his lap would be canceled. However, that zeal was softened in view of the race, in which, on paper, no action would be taken against those who went long. However, and after Hamilton did it on several occasions, the FIA warned Mercedes about the possibility of penalizing him if he did not cut a little, something that the multi-champion did immediately. This explains that later, in the most heated moment of Sunday, Red Bull asked Mad Max to give up the place to his rival, something that, obviously, caused the pilot's anger. As he declared after getting out of the car, Verstappen would have preferred to stay at the front of the pack and receive the appropriate penalty, which presumably would have been five seconds. According to him, he could easily have opened a hole above that margin in the little more than three laps left to the end.
It is not too often that the team that benefits from a decision made by the sports commissioners describes as incomprehensible the criteria used to reach it. And that's exactly what happened in Bahrain, where Toto Wolff, the star's brand director, publicly displayed his skepticism of the grand prize outcome. "I'm just as confused as you are," Wolff told reporters. “Before starting the race we were told that exceeding the limits at Turn 4 would not be penalized. And suddenly [with the test running] we were informed that if it was done repeatedly it could lead to a penalty, ”added the Austrian. "And then it turns out that that decision ultimately makes us win the race because, in the definition of the race director [Michael Masi], Max went long and took advantage of it," Wolff continued. “Therefore, you have to be consistent with the messages that are transmitted. They must be clear and not typical of a Shakespearean novel that give rise to interpretation ", the executive of Mercedes ironized.
" I think the question of track limits will always be controversial. But you have to be consistent in your criteria. You cannot allow to do it in the race, but not to overtake. It would have to be black or white, there should be no gray areas, "said Christian Horner, Wolf's counterpart at Red Bull.
The cause of Alonso's abandonment was the wrapping of a sandwich
The analyzes carried out by Alpine technicians to Fernando Alonso's car after the Bahrain Grand Prix this Sunday, they confirmed that the cause of the breakdown that forced the Spaniard to retire on the day he returned to Formula 1 after two seasons of absence was the wrapping of a sandwich. Alonso, who at the time of abandonment (lap 33) was running 14th and aspired to finish in the top ten, headed down the road to the workshops when he verified that the brakes, whose temperature had risen according to the sensors, stopped responding as they should . Subsequent examinations revealed that the misplaced packaging of a sandwich clogged the rear brake ducts, which immediately overheated and forced Alpine officials to ask the Oviedo to withdraw for safety reasons.
According to Marcin Budkowski, Alpine's chief executive, Alonso's A521's performance had already been compromised before that problem manifested itself, and it turned out to be decisive. “After the first stop we had a small problem that forced us to lower the performance of the car. Then after the second stop, a piece of paper got stuck inside the rear brake duct of Fernando's car, ”agreed Budkowski.
It so happens that the International Automobile Federation in 2016 prohibited drivers from discarding at the discretion of the drivers. known as 'tear-offs', the plastic sheets that are superimposed on the visors of their cases, after several episodes similar to Alonso's in Bahrain.
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