Yes, in case you forgot, there is a Formula 1 Grand Prix in Shanghai this weekend. With all the talk of Bahrain, the Chinese Grand Prix has taken a back seat in the media. Rightfully so, I think the level of political unrest in the Kingdom, is too high for a race and the FIA should cancel it. The Al Khalifa family would rather see otherwise, as the Grand Prix is an opportunity for them to show the rest of the World that Bahrain is indeed, on the mend. In reality, the conflict is far from “resolved” and you can expect all the teams and their drivers to be provided with the finest security protection during their stay. But what message is that sending to the rest of the World?
Anyway, all of this is best saved for another post. Let’s talk about the Chinese Grand Prix.
A microscopic Lewis Hamilton and former NBA All-Star, Yao Ming.
This weekend’s Grand Prix is going to be very interesting and should begin to tell us a few things. Firstly, where is Red Bull at? Mark Webber has had a couple of decent drives in Melbourne and Sepang, but his teammate Sebastian Vettel has struggled, both in qualifying and racing. Vettel had some choice words, following the Malaysian GP, about Formula 1’s resident punching bag, Narain Karthikevan and it’s clear he’s frustrated. There’s no doubt he’s feeling the pressure coming off a double World Championship.
This weekend is also going to tell us where McLaren is headed this season. Have they really built the best car on the grid? Is Jenson Button the favorite to win another Driver’s Championship and what does his teammate have to say about it? For the most part, Button and Hamilton have been very friendly as teammates. Will more success for both drivers create a rift? This may be Hamilton’s final season with McLaren and he’s going into this race as it’s defending champion. He’s been excellent in qualifying, but unable to race well.
Ferrari are also coming off a win in Malaysia. Fernando Alonso was indeed assisted by the unpredictable weather, but no one is refuting that he had one hell of a drive, in quite possibly the worst and definitely the ugliest car this season. Felipe Massa is still on thin ice. After being given a brand new chassis for Malaysia, he was still unable to perform. His race engineer Rob Smedley appears to have had it as well.
Then there’s the rest of the grid. How will Sauber come off a fantastic showing at Malaysia? Is Sergio Perez prepared to do it again? Mercedes has also had a chance to work out their W03 which has done well in qualifying and ferociously eaten its tires on race day. Lotus, who isn’t actually Lotus, but Renault, has been good so far. Kimi Raikkonen silenced any predictions, that his absence made him rusty. It’s only a matter of time before we see him and the team, back on the podium.
There’s a lot to look forward to this weekend. Practice is less than 2 days away.
Photo courtesy of Lewis Hamilton.