Lewis Hamilton said it was soul-destroying and Jenson Button, normally one of Formula One's more phlegmatic figures, gave his own harrowing account of how it was in Bahrain, where they found the dead protester on a roof riddled with security-force gunshots and the motif of the Grand Prix was a burning tyre.
utton told us: "I'd been playing with my brake bias, getting the rear tyres to work and the Kers [Kinetic Energy Recovery System] and just got everything right and have Paul [Di Resta] lined up to pass with the DRS [Drag Reduction System], when I felt the puncture. Oh, and I also had a problem with the exhaust just before the puncture. This year it seems I have one good race, one bad one, one good one, another bad one."
What Hamilton found so soul-destroying was a rear-wheel problem that cost him time and places on his first stop and then found, after fighting back, that he was losing ground again on his second stop when the threads on his left rear wheel cross-threaded. "You have to sit there watching people go by but I never gave up the fight."
Very commendable, too – it may even have been fascinating in another time and another place, one where a phrase like "never giving up the fight" has a rather different connotation.