Bahrain GP 2012

Whether you wanted the race to go ahead or not, it did. The Bahrain Grand Prix won’t be remembered for its result, echoes of 2011 or what could have been if he had just made that pass, it will go down in history as a race so contentious it’s still being argued about. Personally I felt this was a step too far for sport to go, no matter how often the FIA and FOM declared Formula One not involved in politics it was patently obvious it was. Hypocritical was Bernie Ecclestone to say this, then to say this offered those in Bahrain unhappy with the state of the country a chance to be heard on a global platform. Protests increased as the race approached, one protestor was found dead and a Channel 4 news team was arrested and subsequently deported. And with the apparent blind ambition of Ecclestone and the Crown Prince for the race to go ahead, Formula One has never looked so dirty. Carbon emissions aside.

Seven Moments of the Bahrain GP

1. Lotus Powered

Now, how about this. It was only seven days ago that Lotus were the villans, accused of scuppering their chances at a podium thanks to a poor tyre strategy, going one stop less than those who overtook in the final laps. Räikkönen went from 2nd to 14th in an embarrassingly short time. One week later both of their drivers stood atop the podium, the first since 1979 for the Lotus name, a grinning Grosjean and a reserved Räikkönen took 3rd and 2nd respectively. However, the returning Finn was achingly close to overtaking Vettel on laps 35 and 36 it was true edge of your seat viewing, but as the rubber ran thin after the final stops the moment escaped him. Admitting it himself, he had one chance and couldn’t make it stick, this time, but as far as returns go Räikkönen is doing a fine job.

2. Red Bull Resurgent

At a track they freely admit is not one of their favourites, Red Bull stood up and made the others look. Vettel grabbed pole position on Saturday in a spookily similar fashion to his many throughout 2011, and then demonstrated what he can do in free air. Leaping off the start like a scalded cat (exactly like Rosberg in Shanghai) he controlled the race with ease, only coming under pressure from his friendly Finn for a short, but frenetic, while. Troublingly Webber was struck down with a reoccurring case of KERSDon’tWork-itis but managed to bring his car home in a sickenly familiar fourth.

3. McLaren where art thou?

Pit stop. These seven letters that have plagued McLaren like a black dog for the opening flyaway races. It’s now caught both drivers out in various races, but Hamilton was hit hard each time he hit his limiter after being told to box box box. I suspect after the second time he was tempted to give it a go himself, the shake of his head and subsequent radio transmission did little to hide his pain. Although credit must be given to both his attitude and the unfortunate mechanic, the former showing restraint and maturity to the press that the driver had been severely lacking, and the latter for showing grit and determination. Hamilton backed up his rear gun man by commending his bravery to volunteer for the position, rumour is that he will be making a visit to speak to him personally.  Button was plagued with car issues instead, rear balance problems made an unwelcome return that ate through his tyres, finishing in 18th he labelled the race disastrous. Not surprising after an exhaust and differential failure on top.

4. #ImForceIndia and I’m doing a two stopper

Racing fans flocked to support Force India after they were mysteriously absent from qualifying coverage despite Paul di Resta putting down a lap worthy of Q3. Started by @F1Gossip, twitter bods tweeted their thoughts and suddenly Force India found themselves quite the hot topic, their weekend marred by a car of mechanics being caught up in between protestors and police, they decided to pull out of Free Practice on Friday afternoon to ensure the team could get back to the hotel in daylight (despite Ecclestone offering to personally chaperone the team). Two team members chose to go home and were allowed to do so, unlike Williams who fired a catering employee for refusing to go to Bahrain. During the race a two-stopper looked ambitious, too ambitious to be successful, but di Resta kept his cool to equal his career best finish of 6th, keeping none other than Alonso at bay until the chequered flag.

And who could forget that wonderful double overtake on lap 21? Making sure his name remains in the headlines di Resta made the best of his strategy, even surprising Pirelli, and overtook the squabbling pair of Perez and Maldonado into turn 4. Taking advantage of their battle as they ran wide di Resta took the inside line and capitalised upon approaching speed and neat exit to gain that important grid position that made his weekend.

5. How about that!

There were a few moments that made you sit up and take notice during the race. Firstly a rather punchy Massa made serious headway after a great start for the first stint, opening his 2012 championship account was a major moment and necessary to ward off the vultures. His team mate Alonso was also in a rather aggressive mood, slipstreaming a Sauber as it entered the pits on lap 32 he darted back across the track dramatically. Schumacher made steady progress through the pack, starting near the back thanks to a hideous qualifying and a gearbox change he did enough, thanks in part to a late Button puncture, to grab a single point.

6. Penalty? What Penalty?

Fresh from a career high in China Rosberg came back down to earth with a considerable thump in Bahrain, without the long straights to utilise their DDRS system (double DRS) on their pace was hampered somewhat and both drivers were having to push hard to make headway. Back to Rosberg, he came up against both Hamilton and Alonso throughout his race, both incidents were similar and both were brought to the attention of the stewards, who elected to wait until after the race to reveal the result.

On lap 10, out of turn 3 Hamilton took to the inside of the German,  defending Rosberg moved towards the Brit very close to the white painted edge of the track. Hamilton held his nerve and overtook off-track sending a cloud of dust barreling into the air. The same happened in lap 24 with Alonso, however the Ferrari driver was unable to make the pass successfully. The Spaniard was clearly not happy telling his engineer, “You have to leave a space. All the time you have to leave a space.” Alonso then took to Twitter later on to reiterate his unhappiness that Rosberg didn’t receive a penalty or reprimand, “I think you are going to have fun in future races! You can defend position as you want and you can overtake outside the track! Enjoy!”

7. The future is bright

Taking the first four races as a collective Formula One is looking in fine form; leaner, tougher and ready to going until the very last race. Fans have been treated to four separate winner, each taking the flag in unique and euphoric fashion, while some have been expected, others have been left many jaws aching in surprise. Could this be a classic year? Here’s hoping.

[No Awesome-O-Meter this week, let’s just be thankful the paddock went there and back without too many incidents. Of course the GP2 series is still there and we’ll be hoping their next race is without incident too, and that those fighting for their right to be heard have their concerns listened to. Peacefully, from both sides.]

Race Stats

Qualifying Vettel Hamilton Webber
Pole S Vettel  1:32.422 (Red Bull)
Laps 57
Weather Dry and cool, few spots of rain before the race
Safety Car None
Results 1. Vettel Red Bull 1:35:10.990
2. Räikkönen Lotus 1:35:14.323
3. Grosjean Lotus 1:35:21.184
Fastest Lap Vettel Red Bull 1:36.379
Retirements Pic Marussia [24] Engine
Maldonado Williams [25] Puncture
Senna Williams [54] Handling
Button McLaren [55] Engine
Penalties Rosberg Hamilton No action
Rosberg Alonso No action
2 Responses to “Bahrain GP 2012”
  1. Rosie_Niawm says:

    Think we’re going to be seeing Lotus on the podium a lot this year. In fairness, I said that last year but I think it actually will happen this year.
    Can’t believe you missed out Paul di Resta’s sneaky double overtake!

    • rookief1 says:

      I shall make an edit now! Can’t believe I missed that out too, I’d written it in my notes as well, “lap 21 di Resta 2 places Perez/Maldonado turn 4.” Doh!

      Regards Lotus, as long as they keep supplying updates then the team has a great chance for some more podiums, Grosjean and Raikkonen have certainly stepped up.

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