4 Things the 2022 Bahrain GP Taught Us About This Upcoming F1 Season
With the first F1 race in the books, what does the Bahrain GP teach us about the rest of this season??
Courtesy - RACEFANS.net
Sahkir, Bahrain - We've waited patiently for years to see the new generation of Formula 1 cars in action and the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix finally gave us the chance to see this new era at work in racing conditions. The first race of the season had plenty of excitement, drama, and storylines that will leave F1 fans with plenty to talk about post-race. But their isn't much time to digest the first race of 2022 as we'll be back racing in Jeddah in just a few days time. So with that being said, we thought we'd put together a short list of some of the things we learned from race number one of the 2022 season and what that potentially tells us about the rest of this season. If you enjoy these types of videos, consider subscribing to our channel and turning on notifications so you never miss a breakdown video following a race this year.
1. Ferrari is Back... Properly Back
Courtesy - Twitter.com/scuderiaferrari
Ferrari has made a habit of having good pre-season tests with fast lap times only to go on and disappoint the Tifosi when the actual season gets underway. 2022 started very well for the Scuderia as they were the best team in testing and were tipped as the early favorites by many. After the checkered flag dropped on the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, it's safe to say that Ferrari is back, but for real this time. The atmosphere around the Maranello team is unlike anything in the last few seasons and they feel that they've got the whole package to win it all this year. Charles Leclerc had a redemption weekend in Bahrain, taking pole position and a commanding race victory. Leclerc drove a fantastic race, weathering the storm of Max Verstappen's attacks and keeping a cool head during the late safety car scenario. Even with the pressure from Verstappen, Leclerc and Ferrari looked to have plenty pace in hand and much more tyre life than the Red Bull's. If you're a Ferrari fan, you'll be pleased with how the team operated the race with good strategy calls and quick no nonsense pitstops. Although Carlos Sainz was off the pace this weekend, it's still a perfect start for Ferrari as they lead both Driver's and Constructor's World Championships. The Bahrain GP confirms Ferrari's pace, reliability, and that the hype could very well be real for 2022. Not only is the works team back to their best, the Ferrari power unit has made a huge leap as well. 5 of the 6 Ferrari powered cars finishes inside the top 10 with other manufactures struggling to even finish the Grand Prix.
2. Closer Racing
Courtesy - RACEFANS.net
Besides eagerly awaiting to see what the running order would be, fans were equally excited to see whether these new regulations were actually going to do what they were designed to do. And from the early signs in Bahrain, it does indeed look like the drivers will be able to race closely this season. Throughout the race, we saw plenty of closer battles up and down the grid with drivers able to follow in the dirty air much closer than we've seen in recent years. The DRS also didn't seem as powerful as last year with drivers actually having to complete overtakes under braking instead of just blow by's on the straights. It seemed the limitation for drivers in the race was coming from tyre degradation instead of the dirty air problem of past seasons with many drivers opting for a three stop strategy. It is the first race so let's be careful, but all signs point to a move in the direction F1 wanted to go and that overall the racing has improved.
3. BackMarkers No Longer?
Courtesy - Haas F1 Team Media
As with this entire list, it's important to remember that this is only the first race of the season and not a final indication of what the order will be. If you're a McLaren or Aston Martin fan, you're certainly hoping the Bahrain GP is an anomaly, but the first race of 2022 does give us an indication of the pecking order. One of the most positive surprises of the Bahrain Grand Prix was the resurgence of the BackMarker teams from the last few seasons. After finishing 9th and 10th in the constructors standings in 2021, Alfa Romeo and Haas look to be BackMarkers no more as all four of their drivers had stellar races. On his F1 return, Kevin Magnussen scored a P5 thanks to the Red Bull's retirements but regardless of that, he was running a terrific race until he benefited from some luck. Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas recovered from a poor lap one start to finish in P6 on his debut for the team and his teammate has a great race on his debut in Formula 1. Guanyu Zhou picked up one point in 10th place and become the first Chinese driver to score a point in F1. Alfa Romeo will be encouraged by their lap times as will Haas and early indications are that these two teams are going to be fighting at the sharp end of the mid-field. Where they finish at the end of 2022 no one knows, but let's enjoy the fact that Haas is currently sitting 3rd in the championship with Alfa Romeo right behind in 4th.
4. Leclerc vs Verstappen For 2022?
Courtesy - Red Bull Content Pool
A major storyline coming out of the Bahrain Grand Prix would have been the Leclerc vs Verstappen battle for the lead but that has taken a back seat to Red Bull's reliability issues. Regardless, the Leclerc/Verstappen duel in the dessert potentially shows us what's to come in 2022, and that is awesome news for F1 fans. We've seen the two drivers have plenty of battles in the past but with both of them now having top machinery, the prospect of a Leclerc/Verstappen championship fight might be even more exciting than last season. Leclerc showed his brilliance by fending off the reigning world champion and even regaining the lead into turn 4 as he went side by side with Verstappen. It was a big statement drive from Leclerc and he's now set the benchmark for his rivals to chase. Red Bull do have a fast car, maybe not as fast as Ferrari at the moment but the bigger issue is their reliability concerns. Firstly, Verstappen had overheating brakes during the race which made it difficult to attack Leclerc for an extended period of time. Then during the safety car pitstops, Verstappen returned to the track with a steering issue that Red Bull say was caused when the car was dropped from the jack and led to track rod damage. The nightmare was completed for Red Bull when both cars suffered fuel supply issues that many F1 teams say is related to the new-for-2022 E10 fuel and the temperature it runs at when being pumped around the tank when the car is on low tanks. Hopefully these issues for Red Bull aren't the beginning of a season long headache because this potential championship fight between F1's brightest young stars could be one for the ages.