Author : cmunroe

The Tiger is out of the Woods! Greatest comeback in sports history? The green jacket did not rest comfortably on his title-winning back before additional pressure, masked in a question, recklessly flowed his way – Will he win again? He remains golf’s most inspiring story in recent years. He has proven all he needs to prove!


Context requires a synopsis of the performance of the main protagonists prior to qualifying. FP 1 – Vettel, Hamilton, Leclerc, Verstappen and Bottas. FP 2 -  Affected by temperamental weather -  Bottas, Vettel, Verstappen, Hamilton and Leclerc sidelined by issues with his machine. FP 3 – Bottas, Vettel, Leclerc and Hamilton.

The significant observation? Bottas and Vettel were quicker/ahead of their team-mates. So the fact that Bottas and Vettel out-qualified their team-mates was not surprising. What could be said to be surprising, was the fact that the defending World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, pulled a performance-trick and stole P2 to secure yet another Mercedes 1-2.

But, Lewis Hamilton and sublime performance are locked in a marriage for which divorce is nonexistent! So, no surprise there. The statisticians will remind you, that at The Shanghai International Circuit, Bottas out-qualified Lewis Hamilton for the first time since Russia – 2018.

Karma is a gigantic b…. though. Remember Australia and Bottas’ stance – an attack mentality from P2? Elbows out? Well, at GP China, Lewis Hamilton perused the menu. His selection had far-reaching implications. He chose a rather cold dish – Revenge. It was served to Bottas with humility’s aplomb!


Lewis was Lightning Bolt off the line. He made the lead his own and like a slice of cake in a glutton’s grasp, he disappeared. According to Bottas, he succumbed to a cessation of forward progression(wheelspin) which was triggered by a pronounced start-finish line. Do you believe him?

Lewis Hamilton manufactured race-speed that he lacked all weekend. Was he threatened at any stage of the race? Bottas, despite being rather rapid all weekend faded during the race. He failed to ruffle Hamilton’s designs.


So, at F1-1000, Hamilton, without the shoulders of giants, rose above his peers, stood on the pace and performance of his AMG machine and won the race. At present, he leads the world championship. Bottas held his end of the team’s bargain. He suppressed Scuderia Ferrari’s challenge and romped home to P2.

Statisticians – three races penned and Mercedes 1-2 at all three! Mercedes’ dominance is evident. Skewed statistics! Lol. Not the true picture.

In uncanny fashion, arguably the most interesting aspect of the race unfolded behind the Mercedes AMG pair. At the end of qualifying, Leclerc sat behind Vettel at P4. Vettel’s advantage bore no fruit when the race began. Leclerc, true to the form he has shown thus far, skipped around Vettel without drama and landed at P3 behind the Mercedes-boys.


It has been said that Vettel quickly went into character and started whining about being behind Leclerc. The team responded, as expected,  in Vettel’s favor. Pessure was hurled Leclerc’s way. And without being given reasonable or adequate time to respond appropriately, Leclerc was instructed to move over for the multiple world champion.

Truth be told, Vettel might have been faster than Leclerc and the time spent dancing in the ‘dirty air’ close behind Leclerc would have served neither his, nor the team’s interests. At the Shanghai International Circuit, Ferrari maintained a speed advantage along the straights, but the Mercedes AMG machine bellowed its wrath through the corners.

Vettel was released to seek and destroy the Mercedes duo. That dream, however, was trapped in Leonardo Dicaprio’s Inception. It did not materialise. Instead, possibly due to abused tyres (impact of ‘dirty air’ chasing) or erratic Vettel, errors emerged and the gap between Vettel’s weird haircut and the Mercedes-boys widened, without much protest.

Before the Binotto-led squad intervened, the Ferraris were P3 and P4. At GP China, Lewis, like Indiana Jones, found something of supreme value – scorching race-pace. Ambitious Bottas was forced to return to his 2018-self – he had no antidote. And when the checkered flag closed the curtain on the race, Ferrari bagged P3-Vettel and P5 – Leclerc – growth in reverse!

Should Binotto be held responsible for Ferrari’s failure at GP China? Should team orders be banned?

Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner.
The Gleaner reserves the right not to publish comments that may be deemed libelous, derogatory or indecent.
To respond to The Gleaner please use the feedback form.

Leave a Reply