Well! If you missed the first night race in Bahrain what the hell were you thinking!!!? FINALLY we had some proper wheel to wheel racing up and down the grid throughout the race and it wasn’t spoiled by crappy team orders, fuel saving or random rain storms! It was certainly a perfect way to celebrate F1’s 900th race.
Mercedes yet again dominated the whole weekend with Nico Rosberg taking pole position in qualifying, closely followed by his team mate Lewis Hamilton in P2, whilst Red Bull’s latest recruit Daniel Ricciardo was 3rd fastest (although due to his penalty from the last race, he started 10 places back on the grid!) but his team mate Sebastian Vettel could only manage P11 (and that’s without any penalties! Hehe)
It was nice to watch qualifying with dry weather conditions, it’s the first time we’ve really got to see the pace of the new era of F1 properly this year and we also got to see the benefits of the new qualifying format where drivers who appear in Q3 are now given an extra set of option tyres to ensure more running, which is so much better than having 7 or 8 cars running in Q3 whilst others save their tyres for the race and don’t even complete a lap in Q3! It makes it much more exciting and gives us action on track right up until the final seconds of qualifying.
So race day arrived and lets be honest, I don’t think anyone expected it to be as exciting as it was! With all the moaning about the new sound of F1 and Red Bull whinging about fuel flow meters (see more below) we really did need to bring the focus back to what F1 is all about… RACING!
Hamilton had the perfect start and managed to take 1st from Rosberg into turn 1, and right down the grid there was overtaking left right and centre from Lap 1! On Lap 16, Riccardo was right up Vettel’s backside for 6th and I think we all thought Vettel finally got a taste of his own medicine when his race engineer came on team radio and explained “Sebastian can you let Ricciardo past, he is faster than you.” Not really team orders as they were on different strategies but amusing all the same to hear Vettel being told to move out the way, and he had no choice but to oblige on this occasion!
By Lap 18, Rosberg had gained on Lewis and the amazing battle for 1st place really began between the two very talented team mates. They had us on the edge of our seats as Rosberg tried to overtake Lewis several times, and sometimes he managed to get into 1st but never for longer than a few seconds as Lewis would snatch the place straight back again, it was getting all too much for the team as neither driver was gonna give up easily and so thankfully Mercedes pit Lewis on Lap 20 to give them (and us fans!) a breather.
Force India had a fantastic weekend and both their drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenburg were on a flyer throughout the race. On the flip side Ferrari had another disappointing weekend and both Kimi Raikonnen and Fernando Alonso struggled to get anything out of the car and seemed to just slip backwards throughout the race as cars seemed to glide past them without any real defending power from the Ferrari drivers.
After some great racing earlier, Lewis was creating a comfortable lead with 9.554 secs ahead of Rosberg in 2nd when on Lap 41 his progress was wiped out when the safety car was deployed after Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber was flipped upside down by Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) whilst exiting the pits and heading into turn 1. It was a stupid and dangerous mistake by Maldonado and he received a 10 second stop and go penalty, a 5 place grid penalty (for the next race) & 3 points added to his Super Licence for the collision. Thankfully Gutierrez was unharmed from the accident but it was bloody awful to watch the car flip upside down, bounce on the floor and then land again, it’s a true testament to how safe they build F1 cars these days!
Whilst the safety car was out, Mercedes Technical Director Paddy Lowe came onto team radio to both drivers and said “with 10 laps left to race, can we just make sure we bring both cars home” prompting many to assume that team orders were being sneakily made and we wouldn’t see anymore racing between the two of them… How wrong those pessimists were! For the final 10 laps we saw more incredible wheel to wheel action between Lewis and Rosberg for 1st but even with the (slower) medium tyres on, Lewis maintained 1st place and certainly earned his win in Bahrain! Some saying it’s even one of his best races of his career so far!
My driver of the day would usually have been Lewis however both of the Force India drivers did such a fantastic job with Perez taking 3rd and getting on the podium I have to say I was torn between him and Hulkenburg. They made their other rivals look like easy pickings with their overtakes and I’m amazed that Hulkenburg has never been on the podium during his F1 career as he’s such a quick driver, maybe it’ll be his turn this weekend in China?
Here’s a look at the full race result:
Some of my Twitter followers views of the race in Bahrain…
News This Week…
There’s been quite a bit happening this week in the world of F1! Thought I’d just cover the basics of each to keep you all updated!
USA Team to Join F1 in 2015?
Gene Haas (who owns his own NASCAR team) has confirmed his application to enter a team in F1 has been accepted by the FIA last week. Haas has already appointed Gunther Steiner as Team Principal (who has worked in F1 previously with Jaguar and Red Bull) but is unsure if his team will join F1 in 2015 or 2016 at the moment as he feels next year is too close and 2016 is too far away, he needs to make the decision soon though as the FIA have told him he needs to elect which year the team will participate in. Well, whenever his team does join the world of F1 I think it could be a great addition and I look forward to hearing who will be driving for the team and (possibly) more importantly who will supply their power unit?
Red Bull Lose Appeal (well, they never had much of that for me before!)
We can now hopefully put this ‘fuel flow meter’ saga behind us as Red Bull lost their appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion from last month’s Australian Grand Prix where he was disqualified from 2nd after his car was found to have exceeded the maximum permitted fuel flow rate. The appeal was heard in Paris on Monday at the International Court of Appeal where Red Bull were joined by representatives of Mercedes, McLaren, Lotus, Williams and Force India, who all seemed ready to pounce if Red Bull had got away with the appeal! There’ll be a full outcome from the FIA later on but surely Red Bull will just have to put up and shut up about all this now!
Stefano Domenicali resigns from Ferrari!
I have to admit, this came as a bit of a surprise to me, but Stefano has resigned from his position as Team Principal at Ferrari with immediate effect. He will be replaced by Marco Mattiacci, who is currently the President and CEO of Ferrari North America. In a statement, Domenicali said he takes “responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation”. Yes, Ferrari have certainly been lacking so far this season but I think he was pushed into taking the flack and paying the price for the teams mistake. I’m not a fan of Ferrari so can’t say that I care either way but I did like the way he handled himself in interviews and I’ll be a little (ok, tiny) bit sad to see him go!
Here’s some of my Twitter followers reactions…
So after a week off, F1 is back this weekend and this time out it’s China! There’s been a different winner here for the past 3 years so who will it be this time? I’m hoping Lewis maintains the brilliant form he’s in and makes it a hat trick of wins!
Here’s a look at the track…
Lewis Hamilton tweeted a link to this earlier this week and it certainly made me laugh! Take a look…
Look forward to tweeting with you all during the race! Follow me on Twitter @PickletF1 😉