Bahrain GP overreactions: Hamilton might never win F1 race again

There is no better time to make big announcements about the new F1 season than the days after the first race.

Mercedes’ George Russell himself had a pretty big success on Sunday night, and the scale of Red Bull’s victory made it easy to make some pretty serious judgments about the year ahead. We’ll get back to Russell’s claim of total Red Bull dominance, but as he left Bahrain he had a clear sense of something much bigger a little further down the pit lane.

Here’s a look at the four biggest generalizations you could make about F1 right now, and if they’re true.

Hamilton may never win again

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team looks set to give up after one race, with team boss Toto Wolff admitting the team should move away from its controversial “zero side pontoon” concept. Does this also mean the end of Hamilton’s career as a race-winning contender?


Hear us on this. Based on the pre-season and race one, Hamilton and Mercedes seem as far from winning races as they have been since he joined the team in 2013. order behind Red Bull and Ferrari, but you can probably add the Aston Martin name to many venues this year.

With Wolf taking just one 60-minute qualifying session to decide a drastic change was needed, the 2023 season seems to be written off. Marginal cost limits how much Mercedes can change direction, and even if Mercedes does. pull Aston Martin and develop something more like Red Bull, there is no guarantee that this will return them to the lead. Mercedes encountered the other side of this during its dominant period, when the teams that rallied around their lead design still found themselves a year or two behind what they needed. Red Bull is a goal that is not going to stop.

While it still seems highly likely that Hamilton will sign an extension after this season, there is no ironclad guarantee that he will remain at Mercedes or F1 beyond 2023. Even if he does, the chance of him having a car in front disappears quickly. .

That’s not to say that Hamilton has lost any of the abilities that contributed to his 103 wins, but just look at the man who dominated the headlines in Bahrain to remember that even the greatest F1 drivers can fail. When Fernando Alonso won the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, the idea that he would be the last in Formula One seemed ridiculous. It’s been almost 10 years since then. Thanks to a mixture of bad luck, bad cars and, in Alonso’s case, bad career choices, he hasn’t returned to the top step of the F1 podium since then (although that could change in 2023).

So yes, there’s a chance that overtaking Max Verstappen on the last lap at Abu Dhabi 2021 robbed Hamilton of not only his eighth title, but also his best shot at No. 104.

Red Bull can win all 23 races

After the race, Russell said that Red Bull had already won the title and must win every race this seasongiven its extremely high racing pace.


Russell’s quote made headlines, but no matter how good the car is, it’s exaggerated. Yes, Verstappen’s win at the Bahrain Grand Prix and the pre-season week leading up to it was the most one-sided start to an F1 campaign in recent memory. At least at the Bahrain International Circuit, Red Bull was on another planet in terms of racing pace.

As Red Bull’s Christian Horner said Sunday night, 23 races is a marathon and there are bound to be some obstacles on the road for the team even if it comfortably wins the title. Red Bull’s advantage will diminish as the season progresses and there are always unforeseen events, safety cars, strategic gambles that can lead to unexpected results. Ferrari also still seems to be one lap closer to Red Bull, and at circuits like Monaco where overtaking is at a premium, it could stand a chance of some wins.

Mercedes very quietly harbored hopes in the early years of the V6 turbo era of winning every race on the calendar, but soon found it impossible to have a wrinkle-free season, no matter how good your car is. So it’s an overreaction, but the fact that Russell felt so convinced saying that says everything you need to know about how ahead Red Bull is right now.

Alonso finishes best of the rest behind Red Bulls

Fernando Alonso’s return to the podium was the highlight of the weekend at the track and confirmed the hype surrounding the Aston Martin car, even though he was helped by a late problem with a Ferrari car.


With the exception of a title fight in 2023, not many claims you can make about Aston Martin or Alonso seem exaggerated right now.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc would have been on the podium if his car hadn’t failed, but it was remarkable that Alonso beat Carlos Sainz’s second red car so comfortably. Ferrari’s racing activity continues to raise questions despite the arrival of new boss Fred Wasser, and a car crash in Bahrain was an alarming start to a campaign that should have been about renewal. Until we find out if this was just random bad luck or an omen of things to come, it will be easier to stand behind this claim.

Aston Martin also has the resources to develop aggressively this year, and Alonso has said repeatedly that there is still plenty of room for improvement in the car, given how much new it has since last year. Even if Ferrari keeps its car in second place in terms of speed, you can expect Aston Martin to be in the mix.

The key to this verdict is one of Alonso’s clear strengths, his incredible consistency. The Spaniard has a reputation for getting the best results, especially in the decade since his last race win, and it looks like he’ll be scoring points wherever he can this year.

Wins can be hard to come by, but if he keeps his car in the right position to capitalize on the drama ahead, Alonso has every chance of ending this year’s winning drought.

McLaren lucky to finish in the top six

McLaren’s first race was brutal. Oscar Piastri retired with a gearbox failure in his first F1 race, while Lando Norris spent the race battling to avoid last place.


Bahrain was bad for McLaren, very bad. From the moment the team arrived in the desert for pre-season testing, it was in full damage limitation mode and everyone, including team general manager Zach Brown, team boss Andreas Stella, drivers, staff serving drinks at the restaurant, and so on. , said: The team was ready for a tough start to the season. During the winter, the design targets were not met and the team knew that this was far from what it should have been.

But this is a remake of a movie that McLaren has already starred in. Twelve months ago, the team endured a similarly terrible opening race as they struggled with the brakes and arrived at the opening race without a test run. McLaren’s outlook for 2022 looked bleak, and with the opening race 12 months later, 2023 looks even bleaker.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. McLaren has a big upgrade planned for Baku, and last year it was able to climb out of the hole and take on Alpine for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. McLaren has the resources and pedigree to do something like this again, and boasts a very good driver line-up in Norris and Piastri, so after surviving the storm of early races, it should be back in midfield.


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