‘Duel of the century’?

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:

[vsw id=”PQbT_88JyHc” source=”youtube” width=”600″ height=”400″ autoplay=”no”]

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

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

[vsw id=”5Qg6G7I4RS4″ source=”youtube” width=”600″ height=”400″ autoplay=”no”]

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:

[vsw id=”xvaidg” source=”dailymotion” width=”600″ height=”400″ autoplay=”no”]

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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