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We're Underway: 10000 Ft. View of FP1 and FP2

We kick off the season on Leap Day at the circuit in Bahrain celebrating its 20th anniversary in F1. With FP1 pretty much a continuation of testing, the teams continued to hold those cards close to the chest. We don’t really know what fuel levels were, engine modes, or what the focus of the session was for each team. But it was just lovely to hear the buzz of the cars as they made their way around the circuit. That being said, Daniel Ricciardo’s RB held the top spot as the session closed, albeit on soft tires, with the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri rounding off the top three, respectively. The RB team has recently come under fire for their close collaboration with the senior team, Oracle Red Bull. Some team bosses feel the collaboration is not fair for the rest of the grid.

FP2 however, was much different. This was supposed to be the session that was most representative of qualifying and race conditions. And straight away Lewis Hamilton laid down the challenge on his first run. Setting a time that no one seemed to be able to come within 0.20 of. Even after the rest of the teams completed their qualifying simulation runs, Lewis still emerged on top. Naturally, this led to much speculation of what could happen this season, especially with Max Verstappen lingering down in P6, almost 5 seconds off of Lewis’ pace. I watch the stream on F1TV and don’t listen to the folks on the Sky Sports broadcast because they’re a little too biased and often seem to pull for only one driver. The F1TV team seemed to be a bit more objective in the past….until today. That glimmer of hope that their darling could be back up near the sharp end fighting for podiums immediately sparked conversation of Lewis hoisting the trophy at the end of the season for his 8th world title. Being an American and not having sufficient representation on the grid, I have had the liberty to choose a driver and team to cheer on based on merit, not nationality. That doesn’t stop me from rooting for Logan Sargeant, who was able to get within 0.40 of teammate Alex Albon by the end of the day.

I’m not trying to sound bitter but since 2008 there’s really only been one driver the British media has wanted to see on the top step, casting all threats and challengers as villains (Fernando, Nico, Sebastian, Christian, and Max).  But I do hope that Mercedes is closer this year and that they have sorted out the issues with their car. I would love to see a Brit on the top step this season. Go get’em, George!

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