(This wasn’t intended as any kind of April Fool’s thing – I just find it less taxing to write about the results of a race if I do so before the race actually takes place...)
Pre-race Race Recap – Bahrain
Vettel Back on Top
Sebastian Vettel rocketed to the lead in the 2014 Formula One World Drivers’ Championship by taking both 1st and 2nd places in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix. A bemused Nico Hulkenberg looked on from the third step of the podium as Vettel straddled the first and second steps, displaying his familiar grin and finger, and several other drivers were heard to wonder aloud, “What’s the point here anyway?” Vettel’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, was delayed by another pit mishap (see below), while former points leader Nico Rosberg finished 4th, followed by his teammate Lewis Hamilton. The two Mercedes drivers immediately engaged in a heated discussion with race officials over quantum physics, but it appears that the result will stand.
Ricciardo given 24-hour Grid Penalty for China
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who experienced a full season’s worth of penalties in the first two Grands Prix of 2014, has now been given a 24-hour grid penalty for the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix, following a pit-exit incident in today’s race in Bahrain.
Ricciardo, who had been driving a fine race and was in fact closing on teammate Sebastian Vettel before the first round of stops, ran afoul of the stewards when he accelerated out of the pit lane and a potato blew out of a tailpipe on the Red Bull and winged a cameraman, who is expected to recover fully. Team officials say they have no idea how the potato got into Ricciardo’s tailpipe.
“Whoa, that’s gnarly,” grinned race winner and runner-up Vettel when informed of his teammate’s misfortune after the race.
When questioned about the severity of the penalty, an FIA spokesperson stated, “Hey, there’s no Potato Rule in the book. This was a new situation, so we had to come up with an appropriate response on the fly. We feel that this is a good compromise -- it makes clear our intent to prevent any future potato incidents, and yet Daniel does not lose any grid positions. He can start from whatever position he qualifies in, but he has to do so 24 hours after the Grand Prix. His laps will still count, so he could conceivably finish in the points if over half the field drops out.”
When asked to comment, Ricciardo simply grinned, shook his head, and said, “Whatever.”
Williams Team Radio – Massa – lap 24
W.: Oh, Felipe...
W.: Felipe, I know you can hear me.
M.: (Shit.) You’re breaking up. (mouth static) I can’t- (mouth static)
W.: Felipe, we’re crystal clear. I know you can hear me. Now, we’ve got a situa-
M.: WHAT DO YOU WANT?! Valtteri’s already two positions ahead of me!
W.: True. But if anything happens to Magnussen it would put you directly behind Valtteri, and that
could lead to another PR nightmare. Besides, Kimi is faster than you.
M.: KIMI?! He drives for Ferrari!
W.: Well, yes. But there are some... nuances in your contract, and we need for you to-
M.: Nuances?! Hey, I read my contract – there’s nothing in there about me being a number two driver!
W.: No, of course not. You are absolutely not number two. But this is different – Raikkonen’s not on
our team. Now we need for you to-
M.: I want to see my contract on my next pit stop. Have it ready.
W.: Now Felipe, this is not the time. If you’ll simply-
M.: Oh, never mind – Kimi and Button both passed me while we were talking about this shit.
W.: Okay, good. Now we need you to pick up the pace because it’s essential that you repass Button.
M.: ‘Pick up the pace’? This is a Grand Prix! Do you think I’m not already driving as fast as I can?!
W.: Of course you are. We wouldn’t have hired you if we didn’t know you always give one hundred
percent. Now just go 1.2 seconds per lap faster until your next stop.
M.: AaaAARrggh! Just have that contract out.
Top Teams Still Unsure About Hulkenberg
During a post-race interview this evening team principals from Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren were asked to comment on Nico Hulkenberg’s remarkable drive today, the German having achieved a brilliant podium finish driving a 1986 Yugo GV. McLaren’s Eric Boullier said, “Not to take anything away from our own drivers, but another fantastic drive from Nico. Race after race he finishes far ahead of his teammates, and consistently puts the car where it has no right to be. Clearly a standout talent among the current excellent crop of drivers.” Boullier’s statement evoked vigorous nods of agreement from the other team principals. When asked if such praise indicated that Hulkenberg might figure in any of the top teams’ future plans, the four looked at each other in apparent confusion, then turned back to the cameras and replied in unison, “Nah.”
Hulkenberg, standing at the back of the room, was seen to shake his head and mutter “I don’t know what I have to do...”
Post-Race Drivers’ Comments
Yeah, well, I would rather win than not win, so... I won. But it has been a very difficult start to the season, and I needed the maximum amount of points, so I took second as well. Really, though, I have to thank the entire team. They’ve done a fantastic job of finally getting their shit together so I can begin to amass my customary 150-point cushion to the next driver. So, yeah. All in all a good race, and now we look forward to China. Well, all of us except for poor Daniel – right now I think he’s more looking forward to the end of the season...
Well, the car was working very well. It’s clearly still the best car on the grid, and, as always, I thank the team for that. However, I have to say, these results make no sense to me. Today, yes, Hulkenberg won the battle of the Nicos fair and square, so hats off to him for that. But there’s something... not right about Sebastian, to be honest. I think his DNA should be tested. If he even has DNA. I mean, has anyone ever seen his birth certificate? Does he even bleed?
Nico, we’ve both beaten him this year.
Yes, yes. But to get first AND second in the same race?! How does one compete with that? It’s like he has some kind of pact with the devil, or, or... Flavio or something.
Let’s see what he does in a Yugo.
Well, it’s good to be in the points once again, but to be honest I was hoping for a better result. The problem, as I see it, is that several other guys finished ahead of me. Had that not happened, I think it’s safe to say that we would have taken more points from this race than we did. Still, the car is going very well. Don’t you agree, Felipe?
Massa, who might have finished well into the points but for an unduly long second pit stop, declined to comment.