Rosberg Cruises to Victory after First Lap Collision for Hamilton

If ever there was a race that showcased the brilliance of close racing in F1, Sundays race in Bahrain was it.

After the controversial changes to Qualifying in an attempt to spice up race day, this race highlighted that what isn’t broke doesn’t need fixing.

Beautiful overtaking, all down the field, provided nail biting action which even the most cynical fan would have been enthralled by.

Although the win never really seemed in doubt for Rosberg, after a first corner collision for Hamilton, there was enough place swapping to keep the race alive.

A prime example was Kimi Raikkonen, who came alive after a poor start saw him jumped by the two Williams drivers and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. Raikkonen charged back through the field and at many times was the fastest driver on track.

Raikkonen was not the only driver to suffer at the start, Lewis Hamilton struggled to get away, for the second race in a row, allowing his teammate to take the lead into turn one. Meanwhile behind, the Williams’ of Massa and Bottas both had fantastic starts, leapfrogging Raikkonen, which caused Bottas to come steaming up the inside of Hamilton in turn one. Hamilton appeared to have left a large wedge of room for Bottas but this quickly disappeared as they both took the racing lane, causing an inevitable collision and pushing both drivers down the field with damage.

Arguably the collision could have been avoided by Bottas, and the stewards awarded the Finn a drive through penalty for causing a collision. The collision caused severe floor damage to Hamilton’s Mercedes, reportedly losing him around a second a lap in pace, and depriving us, the viewers, a good fight between him and his teammate for the win.

Ricciardo also found himself with front wing damage after colliding with the retreating Hamilton, which ultimately damaged his pace and meant he could not capitalise fully on his fantastic qualifying, but he still managed a great fourth place.

Sebastian Vettel, the main hope of a challenge to the Mercedes, did not even make it to the start after an engine failure on the formation lap. Jolyon Palmer joined the early retiree list after a hydraulics problem halted his Renault.

All this happened in just the two opening laps! What followed was a succession of thrilling overtakes and tyre strategy battles.

By lap six Raikkonen had made his way back to fourth place with a great move around the outside of Ricciardo after the Australian went deep into turn one- a clear result of his front wing damage. A lap later Ricciardo pitted, whilst Raikkonen quickly moved into third with a great move around the outside of Bottas in the DRS zone.

After stopping on lap thirteen to change to the soft tyres Raikkonen was up to second in a single lap after an opportunistic move on Massa as he exited the pits and he passed Kyvat a few corners later.

Mclaren’s woes continued with an early retirement for Jenson Button on lap seven with a hybrid boost problem, leaving their last hope for points with debutant Stoffel Vandoorne who was standing in for Fernando Alonso who was deemed unfit to race by the stewards after his crash in Australia. Vandoorne stepped up to the challenge beautifully, capitalising on his good qualifying position, running as high as eighth throughout the race, ultimately finishing tenth for Mclaren’s first points of the season- illustrating that he is another driver to watch.

Yet again the new Haas team enjoyed a fantastic race with Romain Grosjean, by lap seventeen Grosjean had hustled his way up to sixth place and was battling Massa for fifth. The Ferrari engine allowed him to easily dispose of Felipe Massa on the straight and go charging after Ricciardo in fourth. Ultimately Romain secured a fantastic bag of points for the new team with a fifth place finish, which places Romain fifth in the driver’s championship and exulting to the team that he is experiencing, “the American Dream.”

Despite a fierce amount of speed in the early stages by the final rounds of pit stops it became clear that Raikkonen would have to settle for second when Rosberg exited the pits with a considerable lead on the Ferrari and the fastest lap of the race a lap later.

Hamilton drove a good recovery drive to gain third, with Ricciardo, Grosjean, and young Max Verstappen collecting well deserved points behind him. Pascal Wehrlein also finished a fantastic thirteenth for the Manor team- showcasing what a promising talent he is for the future.

Overall this thrilling race highlighted all the very best Formula One has to offer; close battles, fantastic tyre strategy, thrilling overtaking and a crop of young talent, illustrating that the powers that be should stop messing around with the rules and let the racing speak for itself.

Bahrain Grand prix final results:

  1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 57 laps
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +10.3s
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +30.1s
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +62.5s
  5. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +78.3s
  6. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, +80.9s
  7. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, +1 lap
  8. Felipe Massa, Williams, +1 lap
  9. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, +1 lap
  10. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, +1 lap
  11. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, +1 lap
  12. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +1 lap
  13. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, +1 lap
  14. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, +1 lap
  15. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, +1 lap
  16. Sergio Perez, Force India, +1 lap
  17. Rio Haryanto, Manor, +1 lap

DNF Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso

DNF Esteban Gutierrez, Haas

DNF Jenson Button, McLaren

DNS Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

DNS Jolyon Palmer, Renault

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Rosberg tops practice sessions in Bahrain, Button shocks in P2

 
Rosberg topped the timing sheets by half a second over teammate Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon practice session, whilst Ferrari acquired knowledge of the medium tyre.

As Mercedes dominated on track off track discussion turned to the issues surrounding an open letter written by the drivers after the last race in Australia, and the continuation of the controversial qualifying system that proved so unsuccessful in Australia.

The drivers letter included statements that alluded to a lack of faith in the governing body of the sport, a desire for more involvement in rule changes and decisions, and the belief that sport is going in the wrong direction by failing to attract the younger generation.

After his huge crash in Australia it was declared on Thursday that Fernando Alonso was unfit to drive after fractures to his ribs sustained in the impact, and would be replaced for the race weekend by Mclaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.

Despite knowledge of the circuit, including a win in GP2, Vandoorne made a few mistakes in both practice sessions with a costly mistake in the first sector of his flying lap in P2 meaning he could do no better than 11th whilst teammate Button secured 3rd with a time 0.7 second faster.

Ferrari finished P1 1.9 seconds off from Rosberg. Ferrari spent most of the session on medium tyres trying to acquire more information after struggling on the compound in Australia.

Timesheet after P1

  1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:32.294
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:32.799
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:34.128
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:34.461
  5. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:34.541
  6. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:34.601
  7. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:34.793
  8. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:34.860
  9. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:35.000
  10. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:35.006
  11. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:35.073
  12. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:35.174
  13. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, 1:35.309
  14. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:35.440
  15. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, 1:35.490
  16. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:35.728
  17. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, 1:36.371
  18. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:36.392
  19. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:36.719
  20. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:36.939
  21. Alfonso Celis, Force India, 1:37.287
  22. Rio Haryanto, Manor, 1:37.714

As the sun came down in the desert the second practice session got underway with data collected in the night considered more representative for the race by the teams.

Rosberg continued his run of form outpacing his teammate Lewis Hamilton, yet again, by over two tenths of a second.

While Mercedes continued to dominate, Ferrari struggled on the medium tyres, with Vettel stopping on track with only fifteen minutes left of the session after a wheel Knut on the rear left became loose. Reliability has been the issue that most in the paddock consider to be the thorn in the side of Ferrari, hindering the team from sustaining a decent assault upon Mercedes.

Mclaren shocked when Jenson button popped up to third in the timing sheets after switching to the super-soft tyres. It is unclear if this is genuine improvement in pace or whether button was running incredibly low fuel. However, since the beginning of the season Mclaren have appeared to have improved, with a decent amount of pace in Australia and Button stated that the car felt well balanced and the improvement was “positive”.

Meanwhile new team Haas encountered reliability issues with a front right hand wing failure on Grosjean car after he ran wide on the rubble strips at Turn 13. The substantial amount of debris was left on the circuit caused a virtual safety car for the last few minutes of the session. In Australia the Haas team also sustained a front wing failure indicating that this may be an area of weakness for the new team.

Verstappen impressed, again, in fourth, behind the ever dominant Mercedes and Jenson’s Buttons Mclaren.

Going into Qualifying tomorrow the main question seems will Lewis Hamilton be able to return to form and outpace his teammate for pole?

Timesheets at end of P2

  1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:31.001
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:31.242
  3. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:32.281
  4. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:32.406
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:32.452
  6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:32.650
  7. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:32.703
  8. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:32.792
  9. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:32.870
  10. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:32.873
  11. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:32.999
  12. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, 1:33.129
  13. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:33.177
  14. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:33.384
  15. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:33.406
  16. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, 1:33.447
  17. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:33.570
  18. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:33.640
  19. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, 1:33.953
  20. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:34.224
  21. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:34.477
  22. Rio Haryanto, Manor, 1:34.562