SPY: Blinded by the Lights

Let’s accentuate the positives from Bahrain then. Both Bulls came home in the points, Max added to our magnificent collection of fourth places at this race track and Pierre scored his first points for us. Beyond that, well, it isn’t the race that we’re going to be reminiscing about is it? The Bahrain Grand Prix was OK for us. For a given value of ‘OK’.

Fourth and eighth is… let’s say we’ll take it and use it as a platform to build on. Bahrain hasn’t been a very lucky track for us in recent years, so perhaps we should be grateful that both cars came back to parc ferme in one piece instead of, say, being swallowed by the desert or attacked by a flock of angry falcons.

It would very likely have been different had the race ran to its natural conclusion. Without the late Safety Car, Max would have caught and devoured Charles Leclerc’s crocked Ferrari, and we’d be celebrating another podium.

But that wouldn’t have been an honest result (not that Spy is advocating any sort of requirement for fairness). We were quite a way off the pace in Bahrain, which is perhaps a more realistic assessment of where we are than the race in Australia. There will be tracks that suit us this year – but this wasn’t one of them.

Sneakily, the Bahrain Grand Prix is turning into a very good event. The switch to night racing had brought in a better crowd; it has possibly the most engaged promoter on the calendar, going the full nine yards to entertain the crowd (this year: archery, a big wheel and stilt walking – though sadly not all at the same time) and, since the circuit no-longer kills tyres and brakes whenever a nose cone ventures out of the garage shadow, we’ve had pretty good races. The drivers used to complain the track was a bit mickey mouse – but with real overtaking and a brutal Shamal blowing down the Gulf, they weren’t saying that after Sunday’s race.

Elsewhere, this seemed to be the blast from the past grand prix. David Beckham and Jimmy White were in the paddock, as were Gerhard Berger and Mika Häkkinen; while F1 grandees David Richards and Gordon Murray were also spotted wafting around. The sight of Murray and Berger having a chat with Jo Leberer made Spy check his watch and make sure the swipe gate hadn’t accidentally transported him back to 1990.

Of course, nostalgia is all the rage at the moment with the 1000thgrand prix fast approaching. Now that would be a very nice race to win...