#F1 News: Ecclestone unhappy with Bahrain 25/04/2012 2:02pm
    2012 April 24
    Steve Etherington's images from the 2012 Bahrain GP, Sunday. Image © Steve Etherington - 22nd Apr 2012 -

    2012: Gulf Air, Bahrain Grand Prix - Sakhir - F1 - 2012 - Sakhir - Gulf Air, Bahrain Grand Prix

    #F1 News: Bahrain GP - Winners and Losers

    Our Editor writes on the 2012 Edition of The Bahraini Grand Prix.

    Big Fat Losers:

    I find it extremely difficult to not begin with Big Fat Losers because, my goodness, the F1 press both professional and semi-professional, was so full of the hand-wringing of the privileged this past week or two.

    Several sites - and one or two in particular - felt it important not only to put a supercilious piece up about how they felt for the Bahraini people and their cause (as though they have a deep understanding of the micro-politics of the place) but then to defend their decision to carry/not carry coverage of the Bahrain event.

    The Bahrain Grand Prix was going ahead for better or for worse, whether these sites or these people chose to cover or watch it. The pomposity associated with sniffily denouncing the race on humanitarian grounds is middle-class Western affluenza at its worst.

    "If I don't watch this race, somehow my actions will be counted by the Bahrain government and they will feel the power of my non-participation."

    Utter piffle. These people run websites about people who drive cars fast, not the Red Cross or the United Nations.

    Large media organisations, too, felt the need to offer their non-attendance as some kind of humanitarian sacrifice. Many of these companies were going to skip the event anyway and one Brazilian journalist (who I had NEVER heard of in twenty years of F1 fandom) was suddenly held up as some kind of hero for not going.

    The best bit was, he explained he hadn't bought tickets to travel to the event in the first place, but then haughtily informed his colleagues via the media that his non-attendance was due to his political considerations.

    He hasn't bought plane tickets for the USGP either, so he's going to have to think quickly, perhaps blame the lack of health care for the poor or something, if that race, by some miracle, goes ahead. Hypocrisy, no?

    Formula 1 is a business and a sport. It is never going to change the world and is certainly not going to change the minds of Bahrain's flagging government. Bernie is Bernie, he was never going to can the race because he is driven by the dollar. F1 races go ahead if Bernie is sure of his and the teams' safety, not of the people on the street. While he may have an opinion on the politics of the country, it's not part of his reckoning and he sees it as his job to ensure the show goes on of it's safe. The media coverage generated by this recreational outrage has had F1 on the front page for weeks and its worth is incalculable.

    The teams, too, are driven by dollars and couldn't just decide they were going to skip the race because they would be excluded from the championship, letting down their sponsors, shareholders, fans and the incredible amount of hard work that goes to putting a Formula 1 car on the track.

    So I say to those self-important people who used their F1 sites as a platform for their politics, you are losers. Not because of what you believe or think about the situation, but because you were politicising yourselves for your own sake and not for the sake of those bleeding on the streets of Manama. Shameful.

    My thoughts on the situation in Bahrain are much the same as these people, by the way. It's the grandstanding, the inflation of their noble self-image to justify their coverage of an otherwise unconnected sporting event that gets to me. Just about everyone from Bernie down didn't really want to be in Bahrain, of that you can be quite sure.

    Anyway. Normal transmission will now resume...



    Kimi Raikkonen
    It was looking pretty bad on Saturday afternoon, but in hindsight, I do wonder if this was a piece of crafty tyre management on Kimi's part. Kimi had one, maybe two more sets of fresh tyres than either of the McLarens or Red Bulls and so knew he could race the way he wanted to. Lotus made a slight miscalculation on his final stint - they should have got him in before Vettel - but that Lotus car is a potential race winner. We know the driver is, well, he's not even a potential winner, he's a proven winner. Kimi's pass on Massa was the stuff of old, great to watch.

    Sebastian Vettel
    He really looked a lot happier this weekend and this is where my prediction of Red Bull just having to fail to lose either championships is starting to look less ridiculous than it did in Australia. As always with Vettel and Red Bull, he had to get away well, and he did. Job done.

    Fernando Alonso
    Have you ever seen him smiling so widely after a win? After the race he looked ridiculously pleased with himself and he should be. That car is a dog and any driver weakness is quickly exposed (see Losers). How he got sixth is anyone's guess given he had to use his soft tyres just to get through Q1 and Q2.

    Romain Grosjean
    Pulled off a few moves without contact, made it to the end and made it on the podium. Second was probably on, but not with Kimi in the other car. Nicely done.

    Mark Webber
    While he did look a bit off the pace, he qualified third, didn't suck at the start and made an early decision not to ruin his tyres chasing the Lotus pair. He got lucky when Lewis' left rear wheelnut ruined his race but he was probably going to get past him on merit anyway, so superior was the RB8's race pace (pit strategy notwithstanding). He's third in the championship, just five points off the lead.

    Paul di Resta
    Nice work, wee man, well done. And to keep Alonso behind you, too.

    Red Bull's Spin Machine
    For almost successfully convincing us that the split-spec at China was the team's idea all along.



    Nico Rosberg a pillock. I am all for aggressive moves - I have no problem with his decision to cover his line. But to move all the way to the edge of the track when there is a car there is totally uncool. While Alonso's tantrum on the radio was a teensy bit pot-kettle-black, there was much truth to it as Nico had done the wrong thing not once, but twice. The stewards were much remiss in not at least rebuking him. Rosberg drove at the edge of legality in Australia and got away with it. Surely Hamilton is due some karmic return after the trials of last year...His fifth place is pretty much all he's good for and where he will remain for most of the rest of the season, anonymous and where he belongs.

    Felipe Massa
    Yikes. I will, however, say that I don't think Sergio Perez would be a hell of a lot better in that second Ferrari. It takes someone like Alonso to drive around the fundamental awfulness of the Ferrari. Lewis would be awful in it, Button would be nowhere and I think Vettel would be doing as badly, if not worse, so sensitive is he to a car not exactly to his liking. But it's not doing Felipe any good to be so far behind his teammate, have an extra set of tyres, and still not get very close.

    Miserable weekend. For once, Senna didn't drive into anyone off the start and Maldonado was driving really well, as he has been most of the year. Just didn't come together. Reminded me of Sam Michael's long and, ahem, interesting time at the team.

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