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Fourth Time’s the Charm

April 22, 2012

Four races have been raced.  Four drivers have tasted victory.  Four teams are sporting shiny new trophies in their cabinets, one of them after waiting for over 50 years.  The Lotus mark has found its way onto the podium once again, thanks to the efforts of a returning champion and a young Frenchman whose tricolour flag flew above the podium for the first time since 1998.  The 2012 F1 season is now in full stride.

The return of Sebastian Vettel to his customary spot at the front of the grid brought memories of last year’s domination flooding back.  Even after the berserk start to this season I found myself panicking that Red Bull Racing had decided that they had given the rest of the teams enough of a head-start and were going to start using all eight cylinders again.  My worries would nearly have been confirmed if not for the Ice-man and his nostalgic Lotus with dreams of restoring the pride of the legendary British name.  Kimi Raikkonen has proved in Bahrain that he didn’t spend his absence from F1 roaming the Siberian wastelands hunting the abominable snowman, as plausible as that may be!

The McLaren pit-crew dropped their socks in Bahrain to the woe of Lewis Hamilton who spent two pit-stops wondering if his mechanics had decided to have cucumber sandwiches between removing his used tyres and fitting fresh ones.  The tardiness in the pit-lane and some technical difficulty for Jenson Button sees McLaren limping back to England having yielded their lead in the Constructor’s Championship.  No doubt there will be a lot of shouting and pit-lane practising going on back in Woking before the race in Barcelona in 3 weeks time.

As F1 returns to Europe the Championship is as wide open as it has ever been.  Red Bull and Vettel have declared their intent to retain their titles.  The ghost of Lotus-past has returned to Formula 1, seeking to regain its former glory.  Mercedes would like nothing more than to see two German flags flying side-by-side above the podium.  Both McLaren and Ferrari will spend the next 3 weeks licking their wounds, preparing to return with a vengeance in Barcelona.  Hold on to your hats everybody, the season is about to go supersonic!

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