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I like a great Formula 1 race as much as anyone and Sunday’s race in Bahrain was a very exciting race—a teammate duel if truth be known. I enjoyed watching Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battle in the last few, safety car compressed, laps as well as seeing how the Williams F1 duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa might handle the teammate dilemma. The Force India duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez saw the latter put in a drive he desperately needed.

Overall it was a very enjoyable race for several reasons. Having said that, I do also realize that memories are short and seemingly get shorter by the day—or should I say century?

I was reading an article extolling the brilliant drive of Lewis Hamilton, and he did do a masterful job of it, by holding off his teammate Rosberg in the closing laps of the race. What struck me, and insulted me, was this comment:

“Lewis Hamilton says he wouldn’t have been able to hang on to victory of the Bahrain GP – in what is being billed as the duel of the century – without the skills he learnt in karting as a youth.”

Duel of the Century? Surely you can’t be serious? Century is 100 years the last time I checked and perhaps they mean sporting duels across all sports but I don’t think you have to go very far from Formula 1 to know this quite simply isn’t true. There are so many epic duels of defense and offense in F1 over the last 30 years I can’t even decide where to begin. There have been duels that made Sunday’s race look like a really fun and exciting duel but little more.

I’m not trying to marginalize the race but the rhetoric is really beginning to get over the top for me. I loved the race, I liked watching the teammates battle but duel of the century? Those are really strong words folks. Especially when you have this:

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[vsw id=”5K9P9z_Lwa0″ source=”youtube” width=”600″ height=”400″ autoplay=”no”]

And watching teammates hunt down Senna was pretty amazing as well:

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Perhaps if you paired it down to actual teammate duels you get a smaller bucket to pull from so perhaps that is what they are talking about but I suspect some of the Prost/Senna battles are as epic as any I can recall. Like theses but with no HD tires and DRS:

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I want to give as much credit as I can to Sunday’s grand prix because it was an enjoyable race to watch. That’s something we haven’t seen in quite a while so I think there is certainly reason to praise F1 for giving us some racing back.

It leads me to the topic of my story for the Huffington Post here. I get it that F1 has to evolve and I get it that people love the technology and that it has always been a part of F1 but are we talking about the cool MGU-K today or are we talking about the racing?

If Sunday proved anything, it isn’t that the new regulations have had a bad rap from F1 fans and how unjustified the criticism has been, it proves that ultimately we just want good racing. You can do that without spending millions on new V6 turbo engines. They could have started by simply removing downforce and DRS and saved a fortune. In order to get that done truly may have been the duel of the century it seems.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Tom

    Playing idiots advocate for a second: XY of the century doesn’t necessarily mean of the lat 100 years, but more likely since the turn of the century, in this case that would be 14 years.

    Still, I agree with your point that todays media is always overdoing it. Malaysia was “the most boringest race EVAR” while now we had the duel of the century. Superlatives seem to be the bare minimum on which the media seems to be able to operate nowadays.

    On the other hand, I still don’t like you negative view of the new formula. Yes, we are here first and foremost to see good racing and Bahrain delivered. But unless F1 evolves technologically and moves with the times, we might as well watch vintage racing or GoKarting for that matter. GoKarting probably delivers the purest form of racing at the lowest cost. But F1 is also about technology and engineering. Banning turbos for as long as they did was already a great mistake. If F1 wants to be the pinnacle of motor sport, it has to employ the technology that provides the most performance.

    • IT is indeed about racing, technology is used to improve the teams competitive edge or at least that’s how it used to be. :)

      • But that’s how it is today, isn’t it? Mercedes did a better job than Ferrari or Renault and they and their customers are now reaping the rewards. That’s how it should be. Prohibiting them from employing the best technology available isn’t in the spirit of F1. It’s like telling Adrian Newey that he has to carve his next chassis out of a tree trunk with his Swiss Army knife (though I’m sure he’d do an excellent job).
        If I can fault F1 for anything, it’s that they didn’t open up the rules and went from one homologated formula to another which means they will continue to chase technological development instead of leading it.

    • I do like your point about the century being 14 years old so maybe that’s what they mean…I think I could even argue that one too. :)

    • Idiot’s Advocate; I’m using that as a new tagline! Although, whether I’m the idiot or the advocate…

      Avoiding this discussion like the plague; in inflexible/immovable object leads to poor debate :D

  • jiji the cat

    i’d say duel of the season so far, but that’s not a headline that grabs you.

    We could have had duels like this in the recent seasons as well, but i think the “Team Orders” gets in the way, and that card is played by teams too many times. If this was 2 Ferrari’s there is no way we would have seen that duel. 2 McLarens yep, 2 red bulls nup, 2 Williams nup, 2 Force India’s nup, 2 Saubers nup, as the points are more important for these teams, although Seb would probably not adhere to the orders anyway.

    The duel in Bahrain was more a reflection of Merc letting their drivers race to the checkered flag instead of calling a hold pattern after the safety car.

    I also notice that a small skill of parking your car on the apex after passing has all but gone, whats going on there? There was a move on Sunday, i think it was Smiley making a pass at turn 1, only to have the other car (i think Vettel or Hulk) regain the position nearly immediately, where if Smiley parked it, the other car would not have gone around. any thoughts? The clip of the Mansell Senna battle reminded me of a duel they had at Hockenheim ( maybe the same year ) when Mansell hounded Senna, but the Wiley senna would slow down where Mansell could not get pass, thus frustrating Mansell and eventually Mansell went off. This is all part of dueling which sadly doesn’t happen much anymore. (probably because drivers would be penalised for baulking or weaving or some other stupid thing)

    • Aadil

      I don’t quite believe Merc had a choice in the matter!If Ross Brawn was still around we wouldn’t have seen the duel we saw!Remember Malaysia last year? yeah!!

      Merc like to take the credit for it but lets be honest neither Paddy Lowe or Toto Wolf command the kind of authority or respect Ross Brawn does!!

      Merc “tried” to give some team orders it got ignored and they realized instead of getting embarrassed further they just let it be!

  • jiji the cat

    i don’t agree. What team orders did they give when you say they tried?