Well, there we are, three down, 17 to go. A double header in China and Bahrain done and dusted and on we go back to jolly old Milton Keynes. It feels like a year since we've been there – but it's actually about two weeks. A week is a long time in motorsport so two weeks is... an even longer time.
Bahrain was perhaps not our finest hour. Pretty quick in quali trim, excitingly quick in the if-this-goes-our-way-we-could-win-this sense during the first stint and then... meh. A big pile of meh. Max had the unpleasant sensation of hitting the brake pedal and finding a whole lot of nothing pushing back, while Daniel switched to a set of Primes that really weren't all that. We need a new name for those: after a promising stint on the Option we switched to the Where Did All The Pace Go? tyres for the middle stint and then back to the Options at the end.
The good news – and there is perhaps a straw being clutched here – is that we were much more in the mix this weekend. Maybe not right on the pace but near enough for the teams in front to have to factor us into their strategies. It's definitely a step forwards.
In other news, F1 seems to have found another ingenious way to embarrass drivers. The podium interview conducted by an inebriated and/or confused celebrity has a rival now. The drivers have to congregate a few minutes before the drivers' parade begins and previously this has been dead space spent checking emails, making uncomfortable chit-chat or trying to accidentally poke Lewis Hamilton in the eye with an umbrella. Now, some ingenious imp has found a way to extract maximum comedy value from this moments with a dash of local colour.
In China the drivers were faced with a ping-pong table and got the opportunity to prove what many people suspect: namely that out of the car they have all the physical coordination of Bambi on ice (honourable exception to Carlos Sainz who's annoying good at everything). Bahrain, on the other hand, doesn't really have a conventional sport to hang its hat on – but what it does have is a deep, abiding love of falconry.
And so, the drivers, waiting for their bus, got to spend ten rather nervous minutes trapped between the abstract fear of looking like a big sissy on TV and the very real fear of having their face ripped off by a massive bird of prey that was potentially in an evil mood due to spending a hot day wearing a mask while sitting on some bloke's fist. If you think the atmosphere in the post-race, pre-podium cool down room sometimes looks strained, it ain't nothing compared to the atmosphere in the FIA garage where everyone is trying to not meet the eye of the falconer and be summoned over to stroke the winged killing machine with a taste for eyeballs on live TV. Never before have the drivers been so keen to get on the float – it was like they'd been fired out of a cannon.
It does rather beg the question what are they going to get in Russia next week? Bareback bear riding or perhaps jelly vodka shots with ballerinas from the Bolshoi? Either way Spy's money's on Kimi to ace it.