Formula 1 2013 – The Bahrain GP

2013-04-21-GP-Bahrain-03 Bahrain is currently in amidst with protests and civil unrest, yet as with last year the Grand Prix went ahead as planned. Security was increased dramatically around the circuit and it proved effective as no indecencies were reported. The circuit is again a high wear track much like China last week, so there was plenty of pit lane action. Two DRS zones and a multitude of overtaking spots made this race an excellent one to watch. Qualifying Q1 saw the battle at the back continue with Caterham finally managing to out-qualify the Marussia of Jules Bianchi. Charles Pic with some new upgrades was able to go nearly a second faster to secure 19th. However he was still half a second off the pace of Gutierrez in 18th and Maldonado, who was surprisingly evicted to 17th by Jean-Eric Vergne. Vergne narrowly avoided the first drop with his 16th place, behind the second Williams of Bottas. Hulkenberg managed only 14th after Ricciardo beat him by 0.002 seconds. The tiny gaps really do count here. Sergio Perez gained 12th with Romain Grosjean ahead in 11th. Q3 saw a similar affair to China where most teams opted to save the tyres and only do one or two timed laps. Button failed to post a time so he started 10th with Kimi Raikkonen being the slowest of the timed runs in 9th. Both Force Indias posted excellent times to achieve 7th and 8th, with Di Resta being only a fraction quicker than his teammate Sutil. Massa opted to start on the harder compound tyre and qualified 6th with Mark Webber ahead in 5th. Hamilton put in another excellent performance gaining 4th just behind Fernando Alonso in 3rd. Rosberg and Vettel made it an all German front row with Nico gaining his second pole position of his career. There were some penalties for some of the drivers which meant that their grid positions changed. Hamilton suffered a five place drop because of a gearbox change, Webber had a three place drop from last week€™s collision with Vergne and Gutierrez starts from the back after his collision with Sutil in Shanghai gave him a five place penalty. The Race The Ferraris, which now locked out row two,made their usual excellent starts and immediately pressured Vettel and Rosberg. Rosberg was able to hold off the assault of Vettel and Alonso for a couple of laps until both of them managed to pass the Mercedes. Alonso suffered a DRS failure, where the back flap €“ which allows more air to rush through giving a speed boost, was stuck permanently open. This gave him DRS throughout the entire circuit, but also lost him rear grip making the car much harder to drive. He had to pit twice in as many laps to get the DRS re-seated at the cost of not being able to use DRS for the rest of the race. Sutil and Massa connected around the early corners which meant Sutil had to pit on lap one. This ruined his chances of a points finish alongside his teammate. Massa also received an unlucky spell with not one, but two right rear tyre delaminations. This shot him from a competitive 5th to 15th. The biggest controversy was with Sergio Perez. He seemed to be involved in every battle on every part of the track and with some contact along the way. Tussles with Alonso, Button, Rosberg and passing Webber at the very end were just some of the battles he faced throughout the race. Most notably was his battle with his teammate Jenson Button, where the two McLaren drivers nudged wheels and bumped into each other multiple times. Button was heard complaining about the young Mexican over the radio telling him to calm down. The rest of the team radio wasn€™t heard, but it seemed to have been handled better than the Red Bull fiasco in Malaysia. Throughout the whole race, Vettel remained out in front and untouched after he took the lead on lap three. The Lotus€™s of Raikkonen and Grosjean put in an excellent performance to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively €“ emulating the same podium from last year. This rare consecutive podium repetition has only happened twice before, at the 1964/65 British GP and the 1998/99 Spanish GP. It was nice to see Grosjean back on the podium though, after all the turmoil last season. Paul Di Resta was so close to getting Force India their first ever podium, but because of Grosjean€™s fresher tyres, he was able to make a pass a few laps from the end. Paul equalled his best ever finish of 4th, and earned some well deserved points after a fantastic drive. As Webber€™s car pitted much earlier than those around him, he was easy prey for Hamilton and Perez on the last lap. Considering he had no DRS for the entire race, Alonso managed to control his car to finish 8th with Nico Rosberg 9th and Jenson Button 10th. Here is the Bahrain top 10: 1 €“ Sebastian Vettel 2 €“ Kimi Raikkonen 3 €“ Romain Grosjean 4 €“ Paul Di Resta 5 €“ Lewis Hamilton 6 €“ Sergio Perez 7 €“ Mark Webber 8 €“ Fernando Alonso 9 €“ Nico Rosberg 10 €“ Jenson Button Another interesting race, but Vettel was dominant as per usual. He has a 10 point lead in the drivers€™ championship over Raikkonen, and Alonso drops to 4th behind Hamilton. Red Bull are starting to dominate the constructors€™ championship on 109 points with Lotus 16 points behind with 93. The Awards They sadly don€™t get a trophy, but if they want one, they€™ll have to buy one. Driver(s) of the Day Romain Grosjean & Paul Di Resta I couldn€™t decide between these two as they both raced superbly to finish 3rd and 4th respectively. Grosjean started 11th and drove his way to a well earned 3rd, while Di Resta equalled his best ever finish of 4th, which is excellent for his team. Either way, both of them were great. Mr Consistent Sebastian Vettel He did his usual thing of driving away from the pack and lapping so consistently that no one can catch him. Great drive earning him the title €˜Mr Consistent€™ Team of the Day Lotus Another 2nd and 3rd finish for Lotus puts them right into the constructors€™ championship race. Even though they struggled in qualifying, their race pace was excellent. Some great on track battles saw them swiftly move up the places. Team Rivalry of the Day McLaren €“ Button Vs Perez Some hard battling on circuit saw Button fighting harder than usual to keep the young Mexican in check, but Sergio proved his pace and out finished his teammate showing that McLaren made a good move in acquiring him. Mr Unlucky Felipe Massa Two tyre delaminations in the same race is very unusual. Whether it was contact or a part of the circuit he was driving over, it saw an end to his race. He kept going and finished 15th, but that was far from where he would have wanted to finish. Next on the calendar we travel to Europe with the Spanish GP. The race will be live on the BBC as well as Sky and is on Sunday 12th May. Maldonado won here last year, but is the Williams in a place to challenge for a win again? Current Drivers Championship StandingsCurrent Constructors Championship Standings
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