The first race of the F1 2022 season has just been concluded. To say that it was entertaining would be an understatement. The Bahrain GP had everything, wheel to wheel racing, close fight at the front, underdogs doing well, chaos in the pitstop, and a crazy ending.
The practice showed a good deal of data on the capabilities of each team. Practice however arent something that can be trusted as many teams sandbag and many runs on low fuels. This race was the actual reveal of the new generation of F1 cars and this is what we learnt from Bahrain GP.
Ferrari look like champions
Ferrari ended the race with 1-2 and that was hardly a surprise to people who followed the practice. Ferrari have looked like a potential Constructor’s Champions for F1 2022 such is the reliability and pace of their car.
They already showed their prowess in the practice but it was the Bahrain GP that cemented their claim to the betterment. Leclerc never looked like he would lose even to the mightly Max Verstappen and his RB 18.
Personally, I am so impressed with Ferrari this year that I predicted Leclerc to be the Driver’s Champions for F1 2022 in my last post. Win at Bahrain GP has solidified that prediction just a little bit more.
Add to the fact that Sainz kept on insisting on his bad couple of days despite finishing number 2 is just the kind of attitude that will get them to the top spot in F1 again.
Haas isnt Haas anymore
Haas has had a torrid few seasons in Formula 1 in the past. It has always been marred with crashes, bad investors and all-around poor showing on track. Last season they stopped working on that year’s car and began work on the 2022 F1 car. This head start seems to have worked wonders and they are now a strong midfield team.
Kevin Magnussen after returning back into the team due to a bald man going mad in Russia is something that no one had seen coming. He has however looked comfortable in that car from the word get-go. After securing an impressive P6 in qualifying he was able to finish P6 which is the highest of any Haas driver ever.
Redbull engine woes
The Honda engines being used in RB 18 are now called Red Bull RBPTH001. This name change seems to have changed the character of the engines as well. What was once a very reliable and strong engine has now turned into a mess.
It is almost unheard of for 3 cars with the same engine to fail in one race but that is what happened in Bahrain GP.
Both Red Bulls along with Alfa Tauri of Pirre Gasly had engine issues towards the end of the race.
This shows that these new Red Bull engines are not very reliable as they used to be. Their engine woes have already pulled them 44 points below Ferrari and 27 points below Mercedes. Surmounting those leads would be massive work for the Red Bull team, one that would also need Ferrari and Mercedes to fail.
End of great run for Mercedes?
Mercedes these past few years have been absolutely ruthless in demolishing their competition. They have won the Constructors Championships for 8 seasons running which is an all-time record in F1’s 6-decade history.
This year however it looks like their run would come to a stop, as the Mercedes W13 does not seem to have the pace of the yesteryears. Their pace or lack thereof was apparent in testing and practice but everyone thought Mercedes were sandbagging. The qualifying and the GP however have now brought to light what everyone had feared (or wished for, based on your loyalty). Lewis Hamilton was absolutely ecstatic but surprised more so at his 3rd place finish because at no point did he and his car look capable of doing so.
The fact that Hamilton was more overjoyed at a 3rd place finish than many of his pole finishes tells you all about where they stand in the competition this year.
They have some aero package coming in for the second GP at Jeddah and it would be interesting to see how they fare with it.
What the hell is going on with McLaren?
The biggest shock of the Bahrain GP however was the pace of McLaren. Both of the MCL 36 finished outside of the top 10 a far cry from their 2021 performance. This despite not having any issues in practice means that their car could just be slower which is certainly frightening and troublesome for the team and their fans alike.
Though the first race of this Formula 1 2022 season tells a lot we must not base all our understanding of the teams on one result. There is still a long way to go in this season and we have seen teams coming from behind to finish at better positions in the past.
All in all, however, the rule change has certainly opened a pandora’s box with many unknowns appearing all at once. This is one of those promises that seem to have come true.