Grand Prix of Bahrain – Race

Following an exciting Qualifying session, in which BUT didn’t even set a time in Q1, we now hear poor Jenson Button has had yet another problem with his McLaren. BBC are reporting he’s in the garage and probably won’t make it to the grid. It should have been his 100th Grand Prix.

Grid: HAM, VET, ROS, RAI, BOT, MAS, RIC, HUL, SAI, GRO; PER, NAS, ERI, ALO, VES; MAL, KVY, STE, MER, BUT*

Tyre choices: prime = medium (white); option = medium (yellow)
The top 10 will start on their tyres from Q2; looks like only MAL starting on primes
The rough track surface means a lot of tyre wear, so probably 2 or 3 stops.

McLaren confirm BUT won’t be able to race; “During fire-up, data indicated an issue originating from his earlier electrical problems.”

Sunset is officially 3 minutes after the hour, so the floodlights have been on for a while.

Radio from HAM asking about fuel saving in the first segment; told he needs about 100 metres of lift-and-coast per lap

HAM leads the grid away on the formation lap
MAS doesn’t get away – his Williams is stuck on the grid – he’ll be pushed into the pit lane
Radio for MAS – electrical problem but they expect to fix it in the pits
5 second penalty for car 55 (SAI) – exceeding speed in the recon laps
MAS sets off for the pit lane exit; he has to wait until the whole grid has passed pit out before he can join the race

01/57: VET looks inside HAM but HAM stays P1
RAI jumps ROS and steals P3
MAS exits the pits
MAL runs wide; picks up dust

02: HAM, VET, RAI, ROS, BOT, RIC, GRO, HUL, ERI, SAI
MAS past KVY; up to P17
Radio for VES – damage to front wing; VES says he touched MAL

03: HAM fastest lap 1:38.955
DRS enabled
Incident involving car 13 (MAL) under investigation – out of place on grid

04: ROS inside RAI into Turn 1; runs wide but ROS claims P3
RAI fights back but ROS hangs on
HAM locks up; VET closes up but isn’t close enough to pounce

05/57: HAM, VET, ROS, RAI, BOT, RIC, GRO, HUL, ERI, SAI
Radio for ROS – need to look after brakes before attacking VET

06: Radio for HAM – “afford to go 0.2sec faster”

07: 5sec penalty for MAL for being out of position on the grid
Radio for PER – “SAI is hurting our race”
MAS past ALO for P13
VES pits – new nose

09: ROS inside VET in T1; VET tries to fight back but ROS takes P2
Radio for ROS – need “bit of tyre management” – “going longer” (before first pit stop)

10/57: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, RIC, GRO, HUL, ERI, PER
Radio from RAI – thinks he can go faster – hinting that he wants VET to let him pass

11: HUL pits, followed by NAS, MAL*
Was HUL released too close to NAS?
*MAL has 5sec penalty to serve

12: MAS trying to pass NAS
ERI pits, as does SAI*
*SAI has 5sec penalty to serve
BUT tweets “Kimi is the man to watch, looking after his tyres well.”

13: GRO pits
MAL f/lap 1:38.495 in P15

14: Radio from BOT – tyres going off
VET pits from P3; new options
Will Mercedes react to VET stop?
ALO pits; primes

15/57: ROS pits; options

16: HAM pits; options; front wing adjustment
ROS inside VET as they close on HAM exiting the pits
ROS stays ahead of the Ferrari
ROS and VET get to use DRS, putting more pressure on HAM

17: RAI yet to pit, so he’s still P1
ROS f/lap 1:37.690

18: RAI pits; primes
Replay shows issue with HAM’s stop – mechanic had 2nd bite at securing wheel nut
RAI slithering through T1 on new primes
KVY attacking ALO

20/57: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, RIC, GRO, ERI, HUL, MAS; NAS, MAL, PER, KVY, ALO, SAI, VES, STE, MER
VET closing on ROS

21: RAI putting in good times on primes – quicker than HAM, ROS and VET on options but primes ought to be ~1sec/lap slower

22: NAS still hanging on to MAS’s tail

23: MAS struggling to hit the apex but no sign of damage to the Williams
BBC hear MAS was hit my MAL early on

24: MAL closing on NAS

25/57: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, RIC, GRO, ERI, HUL, MAS
Big lockup from HUL
NAS finds a gap and takes P10
NAS, MAS and MAL all pit
MAL and MAS exit pits side by side
MAL ahead of MAS, with NAS back behind the Williams

26: Replay shows MAL passed MAS in the pit lane – I bet the stewards will be looking at that

27: VET locks up, runs wide
RAI still putting in lap times similar to the front 3 on options

28: Radio for ROS – wind speed is dropping

29: ALO has a train of HUL, MAS, SAI, NAS, VES behind him
HUL uses DRS to pass ALO

30/57: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, RIC, GRO, PER, KVY, MAL
MAS closing on ALO … and an easy pass for MAS to take P12

31: NAS now lining up ALO
SAI has parked the Toro Rosso just after his pit stop
NAS attacks again and passes ALO for P13

33: VET pits from P3; primes
Radio from RAI asking why team think options are better

34: HAM pits; rejoins P3
BOT pits too
MAL takes P8 from KVY

35/57: ROS pits; rejoins just behind VET – the undercut worked again
VET f/lap 1:7.547
HUL around the outside of ALO
KVY pits

36: VES pits – into the garage – both Toro Rosso cars are out

37: Radio from VET – front wing damage?
VET pits again – new nose

38: Replay shows VET run wide – was that cause or effect of that front wing damage?

39: RAI stays out, still P1 on old primes
HAM closing on RAI
HAM right on the tail of RAI

40/57: HAM inside RAI to reclaim P1
HAM now laps HUL
Why have Ferrari kept RAI out so long?

41: RAI heads for the pits; options; rejoins P3, well ahead of his teammate

42: BOT takes P4 from VET

43: MAL pits; coasting down the pit lane
RAI f/lap 1:36.311
Replay shows MAL locking up the rear wheels as he hits the pit entrance speed limit – did that cause the engine to cut?

44: Radio from ROS asking if the cars ahead are going to pit; told no, need blue flags
VET closing on BOT

45/57: HAM, ROS, RAI, BOT, VET, RIC, GRO, MAS, PER, KVY; ALO, HUL, ERI, NAS, MAL, STE, MER; retirements: VES, SAI
Radio for ROS warning him RAI may catch him before the end

46: RAI on options closing on ROS on primes, but how long before the options start to go off?

47: BOT staying ahead of VET
Radio for RAI – staying at this pace, we should hit ROS in 5 laps
NAS passes teammate ERI for P13

48: Radio for ROS telling him the closing gap from RAI; “please don’t tell me anymore”
Lockup from VET as he tries to get close enough to attack BOT
Radio from RAI, complaining about lack of blue flags

49: Radio for BOT – threat from VET is minimal

50/57: HAM, ROS, RAI, BOT, VET, RIC, GRO, MAS, PER, KVY

51: HAM 5.9sec ahead of ROS; ROS 4.5sec ahead of RAI
PER inside MAS to take P8

52: BOT still holding off VET
RAI has closed to 3.3sec behind ROS
BOT locks up; VET still harrying the Williams and hoping for a mistake

53 = 5 laps remaining: Radio for RIC, encouraging him to close on the BOT/VET battle

54: VET tries to dive inside BOT, locks up, barely misses the rear of BOT, runs wide
RAI only 1.7sec behind ROS

55/57: Radio for HAM telling him ROS under threat from RAI
RAI still closing; down to 1.1sec behind ROS
KVY attacking MAS; takes P9
Lots of traffic for ROS and RAI to lap

56: RAI not quite close enough for DRS
ROS runs wide; RAI steals P2
ROS fighting back but RAI has better tyres
VET now under 1sec behind BOT again

57/57 = final lap: HAM, RAI, ROS, BOT, VET, RIC, GRO, PER, KVY, MAS
Radio from HAM – “BBW fault” = brake by wire
HAM weaving – low on fuel?

HAM takes the chequered flag
RIC’s engine lets go coming out of the final turn but he makes it across the finish line

Provisional result: HAM, RAI, ROS, BOT, VET, RIC, GRO, PER, KVY, MAS; ALO, NAS, HUL, ERI, MAL, STE, MER
DNF: VES, SAI
DNS: BUT

ROS struggling to put the steering wheel back on in parc ferme
Eventually gives up, leaves it to a mechanic

As they prepare for the podium, ROS tells RAI that he lost his brakes – same BBW problem as HAM?

HAM very happy to be on the podium again; it’s his 36th career victory

Sir Jackie Stewart interviews the drivers
HAM: difficult to look after tyres; brakes got a bit warm behind back-markers
RAI: never happy when you finish 2nd; pleased to get a result; ran out of laps (to catch HAM); very happy how the team is working
ROS: overtaking was enjoyable; lost my brakes 2 laps from the end; happy about our car

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