Bahrain Grand Prix - The Rule of Three
The rule of three is a writing technique that implies that things that are emphatically listed in threes are more satisfying or more significant-seeming than three randomly mentioned facts or a list of a few seemingly unimportant events is the minimum amount of information to create a memorable pattern. Whether it's an effective writing technique or not, we do not claim to have such knowledge or expertise...cuz we don't always write reel good too. Yet, clearly for the third race of the 2017 F1 season, the Bahrain Grand Prix was a pretty perfect tribute to the rule of threes.
The first two races of any F1 season are generally testing phases as teams find what still works from last season, and what the eggheads from the factory have been ginning up in the lab in an an attempt to find a rhythm that will result in a championship when its all over at the end of the season. If anything was learned, it was that the third race in Bahrain demonstrated without any doubts that the game is on. Ferrari and Mercedes will battle it out with Red Bull, attempting to spoil the party if opportunities present themselves.
Where the last several seasons saw Mercedes pull away with insurmountable leads, the first three races have shown that the old way is dead and gone (YAY!!!). Within the first 10 laps the top 5 cars were within 5.5 seconds of each other. Then, on lap 10, Ferrari gambled on an aggressive strategy and pit Vettel in an attempt to pull undercut the herd. It was a move that at first would seem like another overly risky call by the Scuderia, potentially compromising Vettel’s race. Right after the pit stop, Carlos Sainz crashed into the side of Lance Stroll in the Williams, bringing out a safety car. For a moment it looked as if Ferrari pulled the trigger too early and that the undercut attempt was for nothing. As cars scrambled into the pits Mercedes double stacked in the pits, bringing Bottas in first. Hamilton was not far behind but would pull a noob move blocking Riccardio as they entered the pitlane. It was a move that would come back to haunt him later.
In the Hamilton/Rosberg era, Mercedes pushed a fiction to fans, commentators and the media that both drivers were equal and that they were allowed to race. A team sport with no #1 or #2 even though only one can win. In Bahrain, Mercedes tossed aside this philosophy and clarified for all that they have a #1 and #2 driver when on lap 27 they orchestrated a swap to allow Hamilton in front of Bottas. So much for letting drivers battle. After other pit stops later in the race Hamilton would again get the go ahead to go around Bottas. He would find himself needing the assist after serving a 5 second penalty for his earlier pit lane blocking episode.
To give credit where credit is due. In the last ten laps Hamilton drove with amazing laps times as he charged through back markers to chase down Vettel. It was a tremendous effort of blazing speed and full concentration. It would not be enough.
Whether you are a Tifosi or a fan of the Silver Arrows, or even the Red Bulls, this season is shaping up to be a titanic battle. The two drivers leading the championship, Vettel and Hamilton (68 & 61 points respectively) have dominated the last 7 seasons and now set to determine who will be the best of the modern era.
Quote of the Race:
“I have never raced with less power in my life.” –Fernando Alonso. Asked about a change of strategy by the team, his replied: “Do whatever you want mate.” Alonso is sooo over it.