A few weeks ago, I launched into a full-scale tirade at how the start to the 2012 Formula One season hadn't left me yearning for more. The BBC's decision to jettison the rights to all live races to Sky left me a little pissed off. Despite multiple promises to boycott viewing the highlights (like those people who constantly moan about paying licence fees), I persevered after an Australian Grand Prix which I found very tedious. Of course, Jake Humphrey and Eddie Jordan tried to sex it up a little (not that Eddie needs help sexing anything up, grrrrowl) by saying it was a great race with lots of action...for 7th place. But then again, the BBC tried to whet our appetites for this season by saying that last year was one of the best ever. No it wasn't. It was more boring than a rap-off between Kimi Raikkonen and Paul Di Resta.
|Even Obama - who doesn't watch F1 - found|
last year boring.
I woke up at 7:55 for the race today. Trust me, that is super early for a guy like me. After a qualifying session which sprung further surprises after the shocks of previous Saturdays from this year, the race was beautifully set up. Carefully shifting my weight, I put in my earphones and watched the action on a laptop, laying in the exact same position for the duration of the race. It was that good, I couldn't move, which is a shame, because my left arm was dead until the evening.
Nico Rosberg started on pole from team-mate Michael Schumacher, with Button and Lewis Hamilton (the only drivers I really care about, except Charles Pic, because his name is awesome) in 5th and 7th place respectively. Rosberg got a great start and everyone else didn't, and that was almost a microcosm for the entire race. Rosberg dominated a race of his own while the others squabbled over the scraps, a bit like Stalin in 1930's Russia, but without the genocide. It's not often that great races involve no major battle for victory, but it was the case today. Yes, without a pit-stop error, Button could have got close. He was instead placed in heavy traffic, which ultimately cost him any sniff of victory. That said, such was Rosberg's metronomic, precise consistency (in short, German-ness), he always looked comfortable, claiming his first win at the 111th attempt, which equates to a strike-rate which makes Fernando Torres look prolific.
|Charles Pic! He looks like he sounds!|
The race was a bit of a slow-burner, in that you knew something was going to happen. It all built up to a crazy climax, where about ten cars were lined up in an orderly queue, providing a little taste of Britain in the middle of Shanghai. McLaren's three-stop strategy meant the British drivers were forced to overtake the gain track position, and overtake they did, with Button finishing second with Hamilton fifth. The Red Bull's of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel finished fourth and fifth respectively, despite the pair of them not overtaking many cars. For Webber, his tried and tested tactic of "get close to them, wait till they pit/wait for someone to force them wide with their own overtaking manouvre" moved the Aussie up the field, culminating in a penultimate lap move on his team-mate for fourth place. As for Vettel, he had to settle for ten points when, with five or so laps to go, he looked likely to secure eighteen. However, decreasing grip left the German vulnerable to a dramatic (and pretty funny, sorry Seb) late raid.
|I'm handsome but BOY AM I ANGRY.|
OK, dim the lights. Serious point coming up. Next weekend, Formula One rolls on to Bahrain...maybe. Much controversy has surrounded the staging of the race, given the civil unrest in the country. The situation surprises me, not just because previous grid-walks with Martin Brundle (come back, you've made your money now!) had led me to believe that the Crown Prince of Bahrain was a jolly good bloke, a man so nice, I thought he was a Disney character. Again, I was wrong. It also surprises me because any suspicion of danger to the participants should lead to a postponement, as was the case last year. To be honest, the last race in Bahrain - in 2010 - was so bad, any postponement wouldn't be such a blow to my weekend viewing.
|Sorry for nicking your poster ahead of time Mr Benson|
Should a sport as elitist as Formula One be allowed to be staged in a country still going through so much strife? My view is no. Although it is nice having a good race to look forward to, a two hour gap in the endless monotony that is Sunday, I feel uneasy at the prospect of the world going on as normal in a region where so much has gone wrong in the past few months. I don't like making serious points, they give me a headache and make me look a bit serious when I'm not, I'm actually a decent bloke once you get past the constant stream of puns, sarcasm and yearning for laughter. I'm also pretty laid-back (like this morning...joke...please laugh), I had too much ice in my Orange Juice this morning, and I barely complained, but I felt the need to say something on this.
The powers that be have a decision to make about next weekend. The indications are that the race will go ahead, and my thought-about boycott - for moral reasons - will be boycotted - for entertainment reasons. Nonetheless, Bernie Eccelestone has to make the right choice. The political situation of Bahrain is not my strongest point unfortunately, so I am not best qualified to discuss the matter. But it didn't stop me trying.
|In Bernie we trust. Lol.|