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GP Week : Issue 199
18 GPWEEK.com // 18 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: In my years covering Formula One, I’ve had a lot of strange taxi rides and drivers. There was that time in Valencia when I missed my train back to Barcelona, there were no cars left for the hiring, and the cost of a taxi from track to airport worked out slightly cheaper than buying a flight out of Valencia airport on a Sunday night. Then there was the death-defying journey to Shanghai International Circuit from the centre of town, which involved my taxi driver deciding to stop suddenly in the fast lane of the motorway so he could get out of the car and start flagging down passing traffic in a futile attempt to ask directions to the track. Only one week ago, in Kuala Lumpur, my taxi driver – who had already received a slap for trying to grope me as we drove along the motorway – locked the doors and did three laps of the airport in a futile attempt to get my phone number. In Singapore, after I expressed an interest in the local delicacies (taxi drivers always know the best places to eat), my driver insisted on taking me to his favourite late-night hawker stall and treating me to some noodles. That was a good journey. But whatever weird and wonderful (or terrible) journeys I’ve had courtesy of the world’s taxi drivers, I’ve never experienced the sort of driving we were treated to at the Sakhir International Circuit on Sunday night. I’m not entirely sure why Luca di Montezemolo chose to describe the current era of Formula One as being reminiscent of taxi driving, but I can only assume that something got lost in translation between poetic Italian and prosaic English. But I can say with complete certainty that I’ve never experienced a taxi driver saving fuel while going at 300kph on the straights, or activating his DRS in order to overtake slower taxis. I’ve also never seen a taxi whose front end is more than a little reminiscent of a certain part of the male anatomy... Whatever the intentions behind LdM’s insults, I hope the Ferrari president enjoyed the taste of his words when he ate them on Sunday evening. For far from providing a dull spectacle of fuel-saving at one of the calendar’s most notoriously fuel-hungry circuits, the Bahrain Grand Prix was an instant classic, the sort of race that showed 2014’s new technology off to its finest advantage. There will be those who complain that the best of the action on track took place in the intra-team battles, that the Mercedes-powered drivers had the march on the rest of the field. But that only proves the point that there will always be those who complain – that the Bugatti Veyron they were given for their super sweet sixteen is red, when they wanted the blue one. Red Bull were up at the sharp end of the pack, with Daniel Ricciardo only a lap or two shy of a likely podium finish. Both McLaren drivers retired, preventing the top ten from being too much of a Brixworth thing. And as for those intra-team battles? Anyone who can deny the balletic beauty of the endless stream of dicing between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the head of the field is no fan of Formula One. The seemingly endless back and forth between the Silver Arrows pair that lasted from the post-Safety Car restart to the chequered flag was sensational. It’s performances like that which made us fall in love with Formula One in the first place. If that’s taxi driving, then turn on the meter and take me for a ride. TAXi! OPINION OPINION KATE WALKER