Grand Prix of Bahrain – Race

An exciting Quali session saw BOT secure his first ever F1 pole.

Provisional grid: BOT, HAM, VET, RIC, RAI, VER, HUL, MAS, GRO, PAL, KVY, STR, WEH, OCO, ALO, SAI, VAN, PER, ERI, MAG.

As expected, ALO’s McLaren is getting another new engine [skysports]

BOT is sitting in his car well ahead of the pit lane opening – presumably he just wants to focus and shut everything out

As everyone heads out to the grid, it sounds like ALO is back in the garage … but the timing chart says it’s VAN
Yes, confirmation that it’s VAN’s car that’s back in the garage but it’s on ALO’s side because the team have set up chairs on VAN’s side to watch the race
No-one appears to be working on VAN’s car, and he’s out of the McLaren – did he still go to the grid for the anthem?
Official FIA page says VAN will not be racing because it’s another power unit issue

Sun has set; floodlights are on
Air temperature down to 25°C, track 31°C; kind 6kph

Grid: BOT, HAM, VET, RIC, RAI, VER, HUL, MAS, GRO, PAL, KVY, STR, WEH, OCO, ALO, SAI, (space where VAN would have been), PER, ERI, MAG.
Looks like everyone is starting on super-softs except ERI who is on softs – will ERI try to 1-stop?

BOT leads the remaining 19-car grid away on the formation lap
Radio for HAM updating him on the wind speed and direction; they’ll have a headwind as they brake into Turn 1

01/57: VET ahead of HAM into Turn 1
VER passed RIC
VET tucked right up under BOT, looking to strike
KVY locks up and runs wide, barely missing teammate SAI

02: BOT, VET, HAM, VER, RIC, MAS, RAI, HUL, GRO, OCO, SAI, PAL, PER, STR, ALO, MAG, WEH, KVY, ERI

03: DRS enabled
VER fastest lap 1:36.716

04: VET just 0.4sec behind BOT

05/57: BOT, VET, HAM, VER, RIC, MAS, RAI, HUL, GRO, OCO, SAI, PAL, PER, STR, ALO, MAG, WEH, KVY, ERI; Did Not Start: VAN
BOT f/lap 1:36.463
Replay of the start shows HAM got a little wheel spin, as expected on the dirty side of the track

06: Radio for BOT telling him there’s a little overheating (tyres or brakes?) but not significant
PER takes P12 from PAL

08: VET still about 0.4sec behind BOT
RAI attacks MAS into Turn 1; takes P6
STR closing on PAL but he’s complaining of a flat spot

09: STR pits; soft tyres
Radio from VER saying he thinks he’s quicker than HAM but he’s stuck behind the Mercedes
MAG has parked his Haas off to the side of the track

10/57: BOT, VET, HAM, VER, RIC, RAI, MAS, HUL, GRO, OCO, SAI, PER, PAL, ALO, WEH, KVY, ERI, STR; retirements: MAG, VAN
Radio from BOT complaining about grip; told the pressures are a bit high

11: VET pits – an early stop; supersoft tyres; rejoins P12, behind PER
Is that Ferrari trying to undercut BOT?
Radio from VER saying he thinks they need to pit too
STR f/lap 1:36.303

12: VER pits from P4; supersoft; clean stop
WEH and OCO pit too
VER across the gravel trap, into the tyre wall
Radio from VER saying his brakes failed

13: RAI pit; slow stop – front right; supersoft
VET f/lap 1:34.597
STR stopped on track
SAI is off too
Radio from STR – “I was hit from the side”
Safety Car deployed

14[SC]: BOT and HAM pit, followed by RIC, MAS and more
Replay shows SAI leaving the pits; STR turns in for Turn 1 and collects SAI
Another replay clearly shows SAI well behind STR as they brake for T1
Pit entry incident involving HAM and RIC under investigation – did HAM deliberately hold up RIC?

15/57 [SC]: VET, BOT, RIC, HAM, MAS, RAI, HUL, ERI, PER, GRO, OCO, ALO, PAL, KVY, WEH; retirements: SAI, STR, VER, MAG, VAN
Replay shows HAM very slow before the pit entrance

16[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap

17: BOT attacking VET
HAM past RIC
MAS and then RAI are past RIC too
PER steals P7 from HUL

18: Radio for RIC telling him to keep it together, the tyres will come good
ALO and PAL battle over P12; ALO comes out ahead

19: VET, BOT, HAM, MAS, RAI, RIC, PER, HUL, GRO, OCO, ERI, ALO, PAL, KVY, WEH
ALO attacking ERI; takes P11

20/57: VET f/lap 1:34.503
PAL inside ERI to take P12
Now KVY lining up ERI
5-sec penalty for HAM for driving unnecessarily slowly in the pit entry

21: Radio from HAM saying they need to keep with the Ferrari
Incident involving STR and SAI will be investigated after the race

22: Radio from HAM – “If I can’t catch him (VET) I’ll let him back past”

23: RAI nearly runs into MAS as he tries to take P4
Radio for RIC asking about his tyres; “they’ve got worse not better”

24: RAI attacking again; this time he makes it stick
KVY wide, kicks up dust; PAL nips past to steal P11

25/57: VET, BOT, HAM, RAI, MAS, RIC, PER, HUL, GRO, OCO, PAL, KVY, ALO, WEH, ERI
ALO battling hard with KVY
Yellow flags because of debris in Turn 1; DRS disabled

26: Marshals clear the debris
Radio from ALO – “300 metres behind me and they overtake me on the straight – I’ve never raced with less power in my life” – ouch!

27: BOT gives P2 to HAM
Radio for RAI telling him Mercedes have swapped order, so BOT is now the car ahead “and he’s not very quick”

28: HAM pulling clear of BOT

Half distance
Official FIA timing app has problems again 🙁

30/57: VET, HAM, BOT, RAI, RIC, MAS, PER, HUL, GRO, OCO, PAL, KVY, PAL, ALO, WEH, ERI
KVY mugs PAL to take P11
ALO attacks PAL too; manages to pass

31: BOT pits from P3; soft tyres; rejoins P7 behind PER

32: GRO pits; softs
BOT tucked up behind PER
Radio from RAI asking team to check “what happened in Turn 4”; told to make setting changes

33: BOT past PER for P6
Radio from VET – struggling with tyres

34: VET pits from P1; supersofts; rejoins P3 behind his teammate
BOT f/lap 1:34.087
BOT takes P5 from MAS

35/57: HAM, RAI, VET, RIC, BOT, MAS, PER, HUL, OCO, KVY, ALO, PAL, GRO, WEH, ERI
HAM 14.5sec ahead of RAI but it sounds like Mercedes will pit HAM, and he’ll have to serve his 5-sec penalty when he does
Radio for VET telling him to look after his tyres

36: VET easily past RAI for P2
VET f/lap 1:34.004

37: VET f/lap 1:33.826
PER pits, as does HUL
ALO pits too

38: RAI pits from P3; softs
MAS pits too, as do OCO and PAL

39: HAM’s lead continues to disappear as VET is almost 1sec/lap faster
Radio for BOT telling him it’s important to close on VET

40/57: RIC pits; rejoins P5
RAI f/lap 1:33.767
HUL takes P10 from WEH
OCO passes WEH too

41: HAM, VET, BOT, RAI, RIC, MAS, PER, GRO, KVY, HUL, OCO, WEH, ALO, ERI, PAL; retirements: SAI, STR, VER, MAG, VAN
HAM locks up his front left

42: HAM pits; serves his 5-sec penalty; softs; rejoins P3 in clean air
RIC f/lap 1:33.748
KVY pits; drops him to P14

43: RIC f/lap 1:33.495
Radio from HAM – “why did we go for this tyre?”; told “it’s all based on data”

44: HAM f/lap 1:32.962
BOT is about 10sec behind VET
KVY passes ERI again

45/57: VET, BOT, HAM, RAI, RIC, MAS, PER, GRO, HUL, OCO, WEH, ALO, KVY, ERI, PAL
HAM f/lap 1:32.887

47: HAM f/lap 1:32.798
Radio for HAM telling him VET’s lap was 1:34.1
HAM closing on BOT; sweeps past his teammate into P2 and storms off into the distance

48: VET posts 1:34.5; HAM 1:33.5; gap is 12 secs
Radio for HAM telling him VET is catching some backmarkers

50/57: VET, HAM, BOT, RAI, RIC, MAS, PER, GRO, HUL, OCO, WEH, ALO, KVY, ERI, PAL; retirements: SAI, STR, VER, MAG, VAN
VET’s lead under 10secs

51: HAM lapping 0.8sec/lap faster than VET, but how much more does VET have available?

52: ERI slows but doesn’t pull off track very quickly
Double waves yellows as the marshals push ERI’s Sauber away

53 = 5 laps left: VET closing on ALO

54: VET laps WEH as HAM closes on the 3-car train

55/57: ALO locks up; KVY steals P12
Radio from ALO – engine problem

56: ALO pits and retires the McLaren
HAM losing a little time as he laps WEH and KVY

57 = final lap: KVY attacks; WEH defends and keeps P11
Feels like HAM has backed off, but then he’s still a few seconds back from VET

VET takes the chequered flag
HAM 6.6sec behind

Provisional result: VET, HAM, BOT, RAI, RIC, MAS, PER, GRO, HUL, OCO; WEH, KVY, PAL
DNF: ALO, ERI, SAI, STR, VER, MAG
DNS: VAN

If HAM hadn’t tried to hold up RIC in the pit stop, he may well have won this race
HAM and BOT seem fairly tight-lipped in the pre-podium room
VET’s 44th victory

VET: “I love what I do”
HAM: “pit lane was my fault”
BOT: “tricky race for me”

Next race is Russia in two weeks.

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