It would have taken a heart of stone to not feel sorry for Charles Leclerc on lap 46 of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Even Toto Wolff, not one to hide his feelings, sat impassive as Lewis Hamilton sailed past and inherited the lead of the race. The only consolation, if there could be any, was the fortuitously timed safety car that ensured the young Monegasque didn’t lose the last spot on the podium too. In 2003 I lost a rowing race, one of complete insignificance to the world, but to me it mattered. I thought about that race every other day for probably a decade. One cannot imagine how long it will take Charles Leclerc to stop thinking about Sunday March 31st 2019.
Putting sympathy aside for one moment, I cannot help wonder about the dynamic now going on inside Ferrari. At the start of the season, Mario Binotto made it very clear that, as the most experienced driver, Ferrari would be putting their efforts behind Sebastien Vettel. Given that Vettel was so utterly dominated this weekend, and made another Monza-esque un-forced error in the heat of battle with Lewis Hamilton, have Ferrari backed the wrong horse?
Further down the grid it was a huge shame to see Carlos Sainz Jr eliminated so early on. Sainz is a classy driver who had an opportunity to show this going wheel to wheel with his old team mate, Max Verstappen. This was also a great opportunity to see McLaren fighting with Red Bull Racing on merit, not just on luck. Fortunately Lando Norris was there to make the most of the points on offer. I sincerely hope we continue to see more of the same from McLaren. In Sainz and Norris it has a very strong pairing of young drivers, hungry to prove they are future world champions.
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