Apexhead's 2012 F1 Bahrain Gp Rapid Fire Review
Review Bahrain GP Formula One Formula 1 F1
1. Vettel’s win looks familiar, but the Red Bull is still not its 2011 form
Lightening start? Check. Gapping the field early on? Check. Running away with the race? Not so fast.
Sebastian Vettel had a great drive and deserved this win, but had the race been a handful more laps, Kimi Raikkonen‘s Lotus would have passed him — and likely should have before both drivers came in for their last set of tires.
The Red Bull 8 is still very quick in the corners but is one of the slowest cars on the straights. Vettel was able to make it work this weekend, but without improvements, I don’t expect Vettel to suddenly start dominating as we saw in 2011.
On the other end of Red Bull, Mark Webber continues to be Mr. Consistency, landing 4th for the fourth straight time in as many races. Despite Seb’s win, Webber has been a lot closer to his teammate so far this year.
2. Lotus shows it cannot be discounted
Expectations for the former Renault team were a little mixed this winter. The team handed the keys to Kimi Raikkonen, who yes, is an accomplished driver, but had been out of the sport for 2 years. His teammate was a young unknown in Romaine Grojean. But after four races, Lotus’ gambles have proven on point so far.
Kimi turned in his best result thus far finishing P2, after a disappointing fall in China the week before. Lotus probably should have had a 1-2 finish, but Vettel was able to keep the Fin at bay for the last dozen laps or so. Meanwhile, Grojean landed his first career podium and what could be many to come — the young Frenchman has shown great pace all year, but will need to continue demonstrating maturity to give McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull runs for their money.
3. Bravo, Paul di Resta
This was the Paul di Resta we had set our confidence in after a promising rookie 2011 campaign with Force India last year. After saving his tires in qualifying, a 2-stop strategy worked out well for the Scot. He finished a strong 6th place, a half-fozen places up from his teammate Nico Hulkenburg. Force India had been mostly invisible for the first three rounds; now let’s see if they can compete as we start the stretch into the mid-season point.
4. A little dicey at times, but overall, a good result for Mercedes
Michael Schumacher put in his best race of the year, starting all the way from 22nd to finish 10th. Granted not much for points, but given the concerns over the tires in Bahrain, it was nice to see the 7-time world champion finish well ahead of his starting position and frankly, finish at all.
Coming off his first win last week in China, Nico Rosberg finished a very respectable 5th. But it was not without controversy and close shaves with the stewards. Nico had two near-identical incidents with both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, where it appeared Nico had driven both off the track — but the stewards would eventually rule that he was within his rights to defend his position and no penalty was handed down.
Alonso, needless to say, was not impressed.
Still, Nico certainly looked jittery at times and was likely pushing too hard. The good news is that the tires held up better than expected in Bahrain.
5. McLaren’s pit crew strikes again
Lewis Hamilton was very let down by his team in the pits, where a thread problem meant two pits stops ran a marathon 21+ seconds. Not even starting P2 on the grid was enough to overcome such disasters. Lewis should be commended for finishing 8th under the circumstances.
Meanwhile Jenson Button, who is normally a master with his tires, struggled with grip the entire race. Eventually a puncture, exhaust problem and it seems like every other problem forced his retirement.
Obviously, this was a day to forget for McLaren. They better tighten up their pit times or the team could fade despite having a good car.
6. Sauber & Williams pull off disappearing act
Granted, Sergio Perez finished 11th, which isn’t too bad. But collectively, he and Kamui Kobayashi (P14) ended up out of the points after three strong races prior to. The 2-stop strategy didn’t work for Kamui, and Sergio seems a little harder on his tires this year than last. Now it’s time to see if the BMW team can rebound in Spain.
Meanwhile, Williams turned in their worst performance thus far and ended up with a double retirement.Pastor Maldonado had a spin out that forced him to retire and Bruno Senna struggled with tires and eventually brake problems. The young duo still have a lot ahead of them, so let’s hope for Williams’ sake their reliability can keep up with the maturing talent of their drivers.
Odds and Ends
- With Felipe Massa finishing 9th and securing his first points of the season, all drivers outside of Caterham, HRT and Marrisia have points.
- Speaking of Caterham, very good drives from both Vitaly Petrov (16th) and Heikki Kovalainen (17th). It makes one wonder if Caterham is finally turning a corner and is poised to pass HRT and Marussia on a consistent basis.
- Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo‘s 6th place qualifying spot seemed to good to be true and on race day, it proved to be so. A nightmare start led to the young driver fell all the way back to P16 before the end of the first lap.