Thoughts on the Bahrain not-so-grand Grand Prix
Ferrari win, new teams debuted, Vettel has engine problem. Done. Dusted. Not really much more to it was there?
For sure, the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix won't be remembered for long. It just didn't offer much in the way of a "show" (an overused phrase that I'm becoming to loath). So why?
Is it the circuit?
Probably. The Sakhir track hasn't really lent itself to producing memorable races, and the new slow section of tarmac they tagged onto it this year didn't alter that.
With at least two long straights with large braking areas you'd think on paper there should be some scope for overtaking. Sadly unless you were a new team being lapped, or Sebastian Vettel's sick RB6 that wasn't the case.
Is it the cars, drivers, new rules?
Probably. The cars, once again this year are incapable of running in close proximity. We saw Fernando Alonso's Ferrari struggle in Vettel's turbulent air for lap after lap, yet when he got past the unfortunate German he started lapping 1-2 seconds faster. The Spaniard's F10 was also overheating in the turbulent air, which must have occupied Ferando's mind when he should be conjuring up an overtaking opportunity.
Case-in-point, Mark Webber. After a smokey start he got tucked up behind Michael Schumacher. All the way to the first (and what ended up being the only) pitstops. Following which he got tucked up behind Jenson Button's MP4-25. Admittedly Mark isn't a world champion, but he can make an overtake just think back to this one he made on Alonso last year (and this video that I've just found). His teammate was lapping comfortably 1-2 seconds per lap quicker, so the car had the pace, but he still couldn't get past.
To be honest I think the real reason is reliability. Everything in modern-day F1 has to be reliable. The engines have to last for at least two race weekends, the gearboxes four weekends, the fuel now for a whole race.
Even before the costs sky-rocketed teams had a spare car, changed or stripped engines between practice sessions, qualifying and even the race. The technology was built for cut-throat performance. And as a result things broke, cars blew up and often not many competitors reached the chequered flag.
The incessant focus on reliability seems to have spilled over into the drivers crash-helmets. They just don't seem to take risks anymore. Mind that said, if I had a 10 place grid penalty looming at the following race (equating to the potential loss of 30-50 points) if I totalled my car making an overtaking manoeuvre I'd hesitate too.
Anyhow, enough doom and gloom, as they say, one swallow does not make a summer. Let's reserve judgement until a couple more races are under our belts.
Bahrain - the good
Nico Rosberg had a stellar weekend. His seven time world... blah blah blah... never got a look in. Every session, the younger German was more than a match for the older German.
Hispania - completely rubbish, but so rubbish they were great! The Spanish minnows did everything physically possible to get those cars onto the grid, and despite qualifying at the back, and running at the back they were incredible.
Chandhok got in his car for the first time ever with just minutes left in the Qualifying 1 session. He completed just 7 laps but set a time just 1.6 seconds shy of his teammate, and just over 4 off the next nearest new team.
And in the race Bruno Senna lasted until lap 17. Not much you might think, but both Virgins, and a BMW Sauber and Renault all retired before him, and they've done thousands of miles of testing! Fantastic.
F1. The F1 is back and that's just great - even if the race wasn't quite so. At last we have a rough idea on the pecking order. Ferrari, and Red Bull look strong, Mercedes and McLaren not too far behind. And biggest shock - Renault aren't nearly as slow as everyone thought!
Bahrain - the bad
I've covered the fact that the race itself left much to be desired, but neither did this lot...
Sebastian Vettel's spark plug. It arguably cost the man from Heppenheim race victory. Rubbish.
Nico Hulkenberg. His debut was a disaster and he finished a lap down only managing to stay ahead of Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus. Caught up in a little drama at the first corner lost him a couple of places, but a flamboyant spin on lap six and a severe distaste to a set of tyres which resulted in an extra pit stop, it was definitely one to forget for the Hulk. Ooops.
Virgin. Despite Glock qualifying best of the new teams, early retirements for both cars is a disappointing start for the men from Yorkshire. Lucas di Grassi's retirement is the most worrying as the squad had hoped newly designed parts would have put they hydraulic issues behind them. Oho.
Bahrain - the ugly
The noise Senna's HRT made as it came to a shuddering halt. Ouch.
That's it, Bahrain is done and dusted. Next stop Australia in two weeks time. As a sucker for punishment, I can't wait.
|2||F Massa||Ferrari||+16.0 secs|
|3||L Hamilton||McLaren||+23.1 secs|
|4||S Vettel||Red Bull||+38.7 secs|
|5||N Rosberg||Mercedes||+40.2 secs|
|6||M Schumacher||Mercedes||+44.1 secs|
|7||J Button||McLaren||+45.2 secs|
|8||M Webber||Red Bull||+46.3 secs|
|9||V Liuzzi||Force India||+53.0 secs|
|10||R Barrichello||Williams||+62.4 secs|
|11||R Kubica||Renault||+69.0 secs|
|12||A Sutil||Force India||+82.9 secs|
|13||J Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||+92.6 secs|
|14||N Hulkenberg||Williams||+1 lap|
|15||H Kovalainen||Lotus||+2 laps|
|DNF||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||+3 laps|
|DNF||J Trulli||Lotus||+3 laps|
|DNF||P De la Rosa||BMW Sauber||+21 laps|
|DNF||B Senna||HRT||+32 laps|
|DNF||T Glock||Virgin||+33 laps|
|DNF||V Petrov||Renault||+36 laps|
|DNF||K Kobayashi||BMW Sauber||+38 laps|
|DNF||L Di Grassi||Virgin||+47 laps|
|DNF||K Chandhok||HRT||+48 laps|
|2||S Vettel||Red Bull||+7.1 secs|
|3||J Trulli||Toyota||+9.1 secs|
|4||L Hamilton||McLaren||+22.0 secs|
|5||R Barrichello||Brawn||+37.7 secs|
|6||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+42.0 secs|
|7||T Glock||Toyota||+42.8 secs|
|8||F Alonso||Renault||+52.7 secs|
|9||N Rosberg||Williams||+58.1 secs|
|10||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+65.1 secs|
|11||M Webber||Red Bull||+67.6 secs|
|12||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+77.8 secs|
|13||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+78.8 secs|
|14||F Massa||Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|15||G Fisichella||Force India||+1 Lap|
|16||A Sutil||Force India||+1 Lap|
|17||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||+1 Lap|
|18||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+1 Lap|
|19||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+1 Lap|
|DNF||K Nakajima||Williams||+9 Laps|
|2||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+3.3 secs|
|3||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+4.9 secs|
|4||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+8.4 secs|
|5||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+26.7 secs|
|6||J Trulli||Toyota||+41.3 secs|
|7||M Webber||Red Bull||+45.4 secs|
|8||N Rosberg||Williams||+55.8 secs|
|9||T Glock||Toyota||+69.5 secs|
|10||F Alonso||Renault||+77.1 secs|
|11||R Barrichello||Honda||+77.8 secs|
|11||R Barrichello||Honda||+77.8 secs|
|12||G Fisichella||Force India||+1 Lap|
|13||L Hamilton||McLaren||+1 Lap|
|14||K Nakajima||Williams||+1 Lap|
|15||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+1 Lap|
|16||A Davidson||Super Aguri||+1 Lap|
|17||T Sato||Super Aguri||+1 Lap|
|18||D Coulthard||Red Bull||+1 Lap|
|19||A Sutil||Force India||+2 Laps|
|DNF||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+17 Laps|
|DNF||J Button||Honda||+37 Laps|
|DNF||S Vettel||Toro Rosso||+57 Laps|