Terrible F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks ahead to this weekend’s race
As the golden sun casts its ethereal glow across the paddock here in Bahrain one can almost feel an intangible magic that radiates from the surrounding sands giving the entire circuit an enchanting aura that cannot be experienced unless you are here in person, which of course I am.
Formula 1 arrives here in the Middle East full of new hope, inspired by the resurgence of Ferrari, impressed by the strength of Williams, mindful of the exciting tension that exists within Mercedes. These aren’t just my thoughts, they are thoughts very much endorsed by my old mate Sir Jackie Stewart who I was chatting with just yesterday. ‘Whatever you just said, fine. Just please leave me alone,’ he joked. Dear old Jack has always has a sense of humour as dry as Bahrain itself!
Last night I dined alone at a marvelous little back street restaurant I’ve been coming to for many, many years. I won’t share the name of course, and I doubt you would be able to enjoy it without knowing a little of local dialect and custom. I speak a little Bahrainy of course and once I had feasted on a shoe full of humus and tried to explain that I wasn’t calling her a sheep whore, I remembered something my dear pal Alain Prost once said to me in an airport lounge in Dubai. ‘The Middle East is quite nice,’ he mused. ‘Now, ‘ow you say, sod off before I call security.’ Good old Al, such a joker!
Speaking of former world champions, upon leaving the restaurant who should I chance upon by my great mate Damon Hill who wasted no time in pretending he hadn’t seen me and walking briskly in the opposite direction. What a card!
As to who will take the legendary chequered flag here in the white heat of the desert sands, I think the answer is obvious. It will almost certainly be a Mercedes, or a Ferrari if they can pull something out of the bag, but perhaps a Williams, although you wouldn’t bet against an outside chance of a Red Bull or Lotus.
Whatever happens, rest assured I’ll have a great view of all the action. Because remember, I’m here and you’re not.