Formula 1 Power Rankings: Bahrain

Formula 1's 2022 season commenced in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where oil, greed, slave labor, corruption, and blind eyes converged to create the Bahrain International Circuit in 2004.

* Charles Leclerc — Leclerc aced qualifying and led the entire way on Sunday, winning in Bahrain to lead a Ferrari 1-2 with Carlos Sainz taking the runner-up spot. Can you say, "Ferrari is back" without the "back" meaning "back" in the field.

But Ferrari should heed the wise words of Pulp Fiction's Winston Wolf, who said, "Well, let's not start 'S-ing' each others 'D's' just yet." Predicting Ferrari performance has been as difficult as understanding which letters in the pronunciation of "Charles Leclerc" should remain silent. In other words, impossible.

* Carlos Sainz — Sainz followed teammate Charles Leclerc across the finish line at Bahrain. Can Ferrari recapture the magic that earned them six world championships from 2000-2007? Pre-season testing and results at Bahrain suggest the affirmative, but recent history, and the major sponsor logo on the car, says Ferrari is just a "Shell" of their former selves.

* Lewis Hamilton — Hamilton didn't have the speed to match Ferrari or Red Bull, but Mercedes reliability helped him to third place.

Does it look like Hamilton can win the championship? No, Sir, not at this point. Mercedes performance on Sunday compared to late-season 2021 is like the difference between Knight and day.

* Max Verstappen — Or "Ver-STOP-pen?" Verstappen appeared to have second wrapped up before a fuel delivery failure forced his retirement with just 2 laps remaining. Not exactly the start to the season the defending world champion would want, especially with the nickname "Maxterisk" hanging over your title.

Undoubtedly, team principal Christian Horner will work tirelessly to diagnose and solve Red Bull's issues. If anything, Horner is committed and determined. With Verstappen's 2021 championship, Horner has been team principal for five world championships, which is one less than the number of starring roles he's had in the Sharknado series. Or is that Ian Ziering? Who can tell the difference? At least one Spice Girl, I guess.

* George Russell — Russell finished 4th in Bahrain in his debut for Mercedes. A fourth-place finish allowed Russell to do something he could only think about while driving for Williams: sniff the podium. Is it right that Russell could now be called "Podium Sniffer," which loosely translates to "wanker" in the Queen's English, in the dark recesses of Formula 1 chat rooms? With a name as generic as "George Russell," any nickname is better.

* Valtteri Botas — In his first race with Alfa Romeo, Bottas placed in the points with a 6th at Bahrain, as teammate Guanyu Zhou finished 10th. It appears that Botas, formerly Lewis Hamilton's No. 2 at Mercedes, had to move to Alfa to be the "alpha."

* Sergio Perez — Perez was "No. 2" for Red Bull at Bahrain. No, that's not driver No. 2; it's whammy No. 2 in Red Bull's "double whammy" at Bahrain. Perez's ride quit just two laps after teammate Max Verstappen retired with a fuel delivery failure.

* Kevin Magnussen — Magnussen, thrust back into the Haas seat after Nikita Mazepin's dismissal, produced a brilliant drive to finish 5th in Bahrain. If anyone deserved such a fine result, it's Magnussen. Magnussen has paid his dues, unlike Mazepin, whose daddy bought him an F1 seat, complete with pacifier and diapers.

* Esteban Ocon — Ocon led the charge for Alpine with a 7th in Bahrain. Ocon was later penalized for his lap 1 incident with Mick Schumacher, in which Ocon ran Schumacher off the track and into a 360 degree spin. Let's face it, running Mick Schumacher off the track is akin to giving him a taste of his own heredity.

* Yuki Tsunoda — Tsunoda scored four points with an 8th in Bahrain. Tsunoda was the only Alpha Tauri car to score points, and also the only one not to catch on fire. Yuki, in his second year in F1, is one of the sport's up and coming young stars. And since he's from Japan, let's call it the "Land of the Rising Tsun."

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