Advantage Vettel in Bahrain
Race four. Winner number four. Team number four. So far 2012 has been characterised by wildly fluctuating fortunes for the teams and this time it was Red Bull and Lotus’s turn to have a strong race as Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag. Kimi Raikkonen finished hot on heels for Lotus while team mate Romain Gorsjean clinched his first podium in Formula One. Mark Webber finished fourth to ensure the first four cars were all powered by Renault.
Behind them, the race was far more eventful as Nico Rosberg barged his way to fifth, the Mercedes driver investigated by the stewards for incidents with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari driver finished two places further back, Paul di Resta sandwiched in between, and was furious at Rosberg although the stewards took no action. Hamilton ended up eighth after two poor pit stops by McLaren proved costly. Felipe Massa scored his first points of the season back in ninth ahead of Michael Schumacher, who recovered from his start near the back of the field to take the final point.
Driver of the Day:
A tough call this week. A pole and victory for Vettel and a charge from tenth for Raikkonen? They’ve been there-done that. For me it was Romain Grosjean that stood out this weekend. Having endured a torrid first stint in Formula One, today he grabbed his second chance and showed what he’s capable of.
Meanwhile, Paul di Resta was quietly putting together a two-stop strategy for Force India. Nobody else took this route but he was rewarded with sixth place for his mature drive.
Definitely McLaren. One bad pit stop for Hamilton would have been unfortunate. A second was unforgivable. Add in Button suffering a similar problem a week ago in China and McLaren clearly have a problem. However, unlike in China, today’s mistakes definitely cost the team points. To add insult to injury, Button picked up a late puncture and a problem with the differential in the closing stages. Classified 18th, he ended the race in the garage.
Did Rosberg force Hamilton and Alonso off the track? The stewards thought otherwise and in isolation I may have given him the benefit of the doubt but doing the exact same thing twice? Ironically, having decided Rosberg was in the clear, they then should have punished Hamilton for going off the track to make his pass. So they certainly got something wrong. Meanwhile, Alonso was investigated for an unsafe pit release – and I’m not sure how Ferrari got away with it.
A good but not amazing race. However, I don’t think the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix is going to be remembered for what happened on the track.
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1h 35:10.990|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||+38.788|
|6.||Paul Di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||+57.543|
|12.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||+76.539|
|14.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+93.723|
|15.||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|16.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||+1 Lap|
|17.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||+1 Lap|
|18.||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||+2 Laps (Transmission)|
|19.||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||+2 Laps|
|20.||Pedro De La Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||+2 Laps|
|21.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||+2 Laps|
|22.||Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||+3 Laps (Retired)|
Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:36.379
Fastest Pitstop: Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault – 21.705s (entry-exit)
|Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||Lap 26||Puncture|
|Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||Lap 25||Engine|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||53 Points|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||49 Points|
|3.||Mark Webber||48 Points|
|4.||Jenson Button||43 Points|
|5.||Fernando Alonso||43 Points|
|1.||Red Bull-Renault||101 Points|
What did you make of the Bahrain Grand Prix? Who do you think was driver of the day? Who had a weekend to forget? Did the stewards get their decision right? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…
Bahrain GP: Tyre and Pit Stop Strategy
Photo: Red Bull Racing/Paul Gilham/Getty Images