It’s not often that we can refer to baseball here on MotorSportsTalk. We tend to leave that to the guys over at HardballTalk. However, yesterday’s Bahrain Grand Prix allowed us to draw quite a nice analogy from the sport as Mercedes achieved F1’s equivalent of a “perfect game.”
By this we mean that not only did the team finish fastest in every session, but its drivers actually finished first and second in them, too. The team could not possibly have done any better than it did this weekend, albeit bar not topping Q1 and Q2 (which don’t actually contribute to the grid) and failing to enjoy a greater winning margin thanks to the pesky safety car.
FP1: 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg (report)
FP2: 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg (report)
FP3: 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg (report)
Qualifying: 1. Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton (report)
Race: 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg (report)
Rosberg also claimed the fastest lap of the race on Sunday. Even over the past five years or so of Red Bull dominance, we have not seen a weekend quite as perfect as this.
What made Mercedes’ victory all the more refreshing was the absence of team orders during the race on Sunday. Many of the great inter-team battles over the past few years have been neutered or prevented by calls from the pit wall to “calm down” or “hold position.” However, just as they had promised to, the Mercedes management allowed its drivers to race and race hard – and boy did they live up to that during the race on Sunday.
The only call given came from Paddy Lowe under the safety car, telling both drivers to make sure they bring their cars home – i.e. race against each other, but don’t crash into each other.
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton shared a battle that we have not seen in many a year; two drivers, equal cars, different tires, just pure racing talent. It was a masterclass in defence from Hamilton, and an example in clean racing that the rest of the field should take note of.
Once again, the team was a class apart from the rest of the field, securing its second straight one-two finish and third consecutive win. With a commanding constructors’ championship lead and a pace advantage that makes Newey’s recent cars seem pretty average, it’s difficult to see just when this streak is going to end.