Grand Prix of Bahrain – Race

The discussions over the Qualifying format ended without resolving the problem. “Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said Todt and Ecclestone refused to revert to the 2015 system despite teams’ wishes to do so.” [BBC]

Following yesterday’s Quali sessions, the provisional grid was: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, RIC, BOT, MAS, HUL, GRO, VES, SAI, VAN, GUT, BUT, KVY, WEH, ERI, PER, MAG*, PAL, HAR, NAS
*MAG will start from the pit lane due to his FP2 penalty

After Quali, HAM was “called to the Bahrain stewards after appearing to break regulations by reversing his car in the pit lane at the end of Saturday’s qualifying session” but “officials decided not to impose a penalty ‘due to the fact that no clear instruction was given to the driver on where he should park the car after qualifying’.”

ALO keeping a close eye on “his” car on the grid, with VAN at the wheel 🙂

No new penalties, so the grid is: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, RIC, BOT, MAS, HUL, GRO, VES, SAI, VAN, GUT, BUT, KVY, WEH, ERI, PER, PAL, HAR, NAS, with MAG starting from the pit lane.

Niki Lauda expects it will be a 2 or 3 stop race; the 3rd tyre choice could mean some interesting strategies.

Sun is setting as the cars are prepared for the formation lap.

Teams begin to clear the grid

Looks like the top 14 bar SAI starting on supersoft; he’s on soft tyres

HAM leads everyone (except MAG) away on the formation lap
ROS had a bit of a problem getting away – did the car jump into anti-stall?
ROS moves back to his P2 position
Radio from VET – “not sure – I might have an engine failure”
Yes, lots of smoke from VET’s car
VET pulls off the track, close to a gap in the armco so they should be able to move his car quickly

Grid forms up
Gap in P3
PAL pulling into the pit lane

01/57: Both Mercedes cleanly off the line
ROS leads into Turn 1
HAM hit by BOT
Lots of damage visible on HAMs car
HAM falling back down the order
Radio from BOT – everything feels ok

02: ROS, MAS, BOT, RIC, RAI, GRO, HAM
HUL pits
PER hits SAI going into Turn 1
Radio from SAI – puncture
Surprised HAM didn’t pit

03: RAI fastest lap 1:38.079
PER pits – new nose
SAI makes it back to the pits too
Timing screen PAL has retired

04: ROS f/lap 1:37.731
Replay of the start shows RIC lost a large part of his front wing on BOT’s rear when BOT hit HAM
HAM passes GRO for P6

05/57: ROS, MAS, BOT, RIC, RAI, HAM, GRO, GUT, VER, BUT, VAN, KVY, WEH, NAS, ERI, MAG, HAR, HUL, PER, SAI; retirements: PAL, VET
ROS f/lap 1:37.483
PER f/lap 1:37.384 down in P19

06: ROS has opened a comfortable 6sec lead over MAS
RAI attacking RIC, around the outside, claims P4

07: RIC pits
RAI looking to pass BOT, around the outside again for P3
Lap 1 incident involving HAM and BOT under investigation
BUT has pulled off the track; parks the McLaren

08: MAS pits
HAM inside BOT into Turn 1; takes P3

09: BOT pits
BOT given a drive-through penalty for causing a collision (with HAM on lap 1)

10/57: ROS, RAI, HAM, GRO, VER, VAN, KVY, WEH
BOT serves his penalty
VAN pits, as does GUT
GUT is wheeled into the garage

11: VER pits, followed by NAS
HUL turns into Turn 1 as VER rejoins; HUL has to back off
VAN sees his chance and passes HUL for P14

12: GRO pits from P4
WEH pits too
Carbon fibre flying off PER’s car; VAN can’t avoid it
Mercedes mechanics getting tyres ready
PER locks up under pressure from VAN

13: RAI pits
VAN passes PER for P10
RIC passes MAS just as RAI rejoins the track

14: ROS pits from P1; soft tyres going on
HAM pits too; mediums
GRO f/lap 1:37.285
RAI takes P2 from KVY

15/57: ROS, RAI, RIC, KVY, HAM, MAS, GRO, VER, VAN, BOT; retirements: GUT, BUT, PAL, VET
RAI f/lap 1:36.814
PER pits
KVY the only one yet to pit

16: RAI f/lap 1:36.761

17: KVY pits
HUL pits again

18: GRO takes P5 from MAS – a Haas passing a Williams

19: ERI passes teammate NAS for P10

20/57: ROS, RAI, HAM, RIC, GRO, VER, MAS, VAN, BOT, ERI

21: KVY dives inside NAS for P11
KVY picks off ERI too

22: SAI pits; bit of a slow stop

23: Replay shows SAI’s car fell off the jack
GRO catching RIC

24: GRO looking around the outside of RIC
RIC defends
GRO finds a gap and steals P4

25/57: ROS, RAI, HAM, GRO, RIC, VER, MAS, VAN, KVY, BOT
RIC pits; rejoins P10

26: VAN pits

27: VER pits
PER takes P12 from WEH

28: GRO pits
RIC on newer tyres passes his teammate KVY for P5

29: HAM pits; clean stop; supersoft tyres
RIC f/lap 1:36.510

30/57: RAI pits from P2; supersoft tyres too
MAS pits, as does ERI

31: ROS pits; front wing adjustment; slow stop but rejoins still well ahead of RAI
HAM f/lap 1:34.721
SAI pits; into the garage and retirement

32: HAM under 3.5secs behind RAI
Radio from NAS – “car is terrible to drive; very difficult”

33: ROS about 8.5secs ahead of RAI
GRO easily past KVY for P5; big lockup from KVY

34: MAG past PER for P11
GRO past VER

35/57: ROS, RAI, HAM, RIC, GRO, VER, KVY, BOT, VAN, MAS, MAG, PER, HUL, ERI, WEH, NAS, HAR; retirements: SAI, GUT, BUT, PAL, VET
KVY and BOT pit

36: HUL all over the rear of PER
HUL past PER for P11 … and ERI follows through for P12

38: RAI pits from P2; soft tyres; bit slow; rejoins P3

39: PER pits

40/57: ROS pits; soft tyres; bit slow on the front left
KVY easily past VAN for P8

41: GRO pits from P5; left rear problem for the Haas team; rejoins alongside VAN but stays ahead into Turn 1

42: ROS f/lap 1:34.482
HAM pits; soft tyres, same as ROS and RAI

43: VAN pits; clean stop

44: ROS 4.6sec ahead of RAI, who in turn has a 20sec lead over HAM
RIC pits from P4; medium tyres – why not soft?

45/57: ROS, RAI, HAM, VER, RIC, MAS, KVY, GRO, BOT, ERI
MAG dives inside NAS for P12
KVY pits; supersoft tyres for the last few laps

46: Radio from ERI asking if there’s a problem with his dash display; told there’s no failure
GRO closing on MAS
GRO around the outside in Turn 1; takes P6 from the Williams

47: VER pits; supersoft

48: Radio for RAI telling him gap to ROS is closing; “remember last year”

49: MAG closing on ERI
ERI defends as MAG looks for a gap

50/57: ROS, RAI, HAM, RIC, GRO, MAS, VER, BOT, KVY, VAN; ERI, MAG, HUL, WEH, PER, NAS, HAR
KVY closing on BOT
MAG harrying ERI but they’re getting blue flags as HAM laps them
KVY runs a little wide as he pressures BOT

51: KVY finds a gap and takes P8
BOT fights back but KVY uses all the track
ROS laps BOT

52: WEH lines up HUL; down the inside to take P13
VER steals P6 from MAS

53/57 = 5 laps remaining: HUL pits
WEH now closing on ERI

55/57: ROS, RAI, HAM, RIC, GRO, VER, MAS, KVY, BOT, VAN
WEH harrying ERI for P12
ERI runs wide but WEH isn’t close enough

56: KVY closing on MAS
ROS laps MAS; KVY tries to follow ROS

57/57 = final lap: KVY squeezes past MAS for P7

ROS takes the chequered flag; 5 consecutive victories

Provisional result: ROS, RAI, HAM, RIC, GRO, VER, KVY, MAS, BOT, VAN; MAG, ERI, WEH, NAS, HUL, PER, HAR
DNF: SAI, GUT, BUT, PAL, VET

Interviews:
ROS: great weekend; key was the start
RAI: not too bad; we had very good speed
HAM: damage limitation; so much damage on the car I couldn’t keep up with Kimi
ROS: such a great race track