This was a weekend for redemption, although sadly not of the Bahraini government’s sullied reputation.
The race saw Sebastian Vettel back to something like his 2011 form, Kimi Raikkonen demonstrate he’s still got it and Romain Grosjean turn the green shoots of promise from the first few races into the strong flower of a podium. Yeah, that’s right, the strong flower of a podium.
Realistically any of those drivers could have taken the coveted Top Dog crown, but we’ve decided to give it to Grosjean because a) we like his face and b) he was bloody good in Bahrain.
To come from his dreadful time as a mid-season replacement at Renault in 2009, via the relative wastelands of sportscar racing and a return to GP2, to where he is now is very impressive. Just when some people (your correspondent included) thought we’d seen the back of him, he staged a remarkable resurgence to not only get back into F1, but into the F1 elite.
After qualifying a very respectable seventh, he managed to get himself up to fourth at the start before passing Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton to rise as high as second.
After that he slipped behind his team-mate, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter that much. As we’ve seen so often over the last year and bit, it matters more what tyres you are using at what stage of the race rather than track position. Raikkonen’s poor Saturday meant he had increased tyre flexibilty during the race. No wonder we see so many of the drivers through to Q3 going out once, if at all.
Anyway, that’s all rather irrelevant – well done Romain, your first F1 podium and your first Top Dog award. Enjoy!