Grand Prix of Bahrain – Race


Ferrari fill the front row of the grid, with LEC just ahead of VET after a strong Qualifying session by the youngster.

Quali ended with the provisional grid: LEC, VET, HAM, BOT, VER, MAG, SAI, GRO*, RAI, NOR*, RIC, ALB, GAS, PER, KVY, GIO, HUL, STR, RUS, KUB; *Q1 incident involving GRO and NOR under investigation

Following that investigation, “The Stewards accept that the driver of car 8 [Grosjean] did not intentionally intend to impede, however it is the driver’s responsibility to be aware, when travelling abnormally slowly, that faster cars may be approaching.” Consequently, GRO was given a 3 grid spot penalty (so he’ll start behind RIC) and one point on his Super Licence. [F1]

VET was called to see the stewards over an “alleged breach of article 27.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and failing to observe the race director’s instruction, document two (item 16.1), driving unnecessarily slowly on an in lap at 18:13 during qualifying.” [racefans] “However the stewards decided to take no action after determining Vettel had slowed due to tyre vibrations.” [racefans]

Grid: LEC, VET, HAM, BOT, VER, MAG, SAI, RAI, NOR, RIC, GRO*, ALB, GAS, PER, KVY, GIO, HUL, STR, RUS, KUB (*Penalty for blocking NOR in Q1)

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says “If Charles is fast enough to stay in front, we will let him stay there”.

The wind is picking up and HUL said it could be “exciting and entertaining” as a result of changing conditions; SAI says “We will all struggle out there today”.

One-stop or 2-stop strategy? Yes, probably 🙂 The difference is so small, we’ll probably see a mix of both.

Air temperature 26°C, track temp 30°C, wind 8.6 km/hr (compared to 3.2 in Quali) and up to 25 km/hr in Turn 5

The front 10 have to start on the same tyres they used in Q2; the rest of the grid appear to be on soft tyres except for KUB who is on mediums

LEC leads everyone away on the formation lap
Grid forms up; green flag

01/57: VET takes P1 from LEC before Turn 1
A lot of sparks from STR
BOT past HAM and LEC
HAM lining up LEC now

02: VET, BOT, LEC, HAM, VER, SAI, MAG, RAI, RIC, PER, HUL, GAS, NOR, ALB, KVY, GIO, KUB, RUS, STR, GRO
BOT locks up; LEC reclaims P2
BOT defends but HAM takes P3 from his teammate
STR and GRO in the pits; new nose for STR; GRO had a puncture; that suggests they made contact off the grid

03: DRS now enabled
VER locks up in T10; SAI using DRS to attack the Red Bull

04: LEC fastest lap 1:36.383
SAI attacking VER still; contact?
SAI runs wide – damage to his McLaren
SAI is a slow moving chicane

05/57: VET, LEC, HAM, BOT, VER, MAG, RIC, RAI, HUL, PER
LEC under 6sec behind VET, so he’ll also have DRS
Radio from LEC telling his team he’s quicker than VET – I don’t expect VET will be told to let him pass

06: LEC lines up VET and takes P1
VET fights back but can’t retake the lead
Incident involving GRO and STR (on lap 1) under investigation

07: LEC has already got a 1sec lead over VET

08: LEC locks up and runs wide but hangs on to P1

09: NOR takes P9 from MAG
Incident involving VER and SAI under investigation
PER makes a scheduled pit stop

10/57: LEC, VET, HAM, BOT, VER, RIC, HUL, RAI, NOR, MAG, KVY, GIO
RAI, GAS and ALB all pit
No action required for GRO and STR incident

11: NOR and MAG pit
RAI takes P10 from KUB

12: VER pits from P5; mediums go on; rejoins P9
No action required for VER and SAI incident
HAM closing on VET
KVY off backwards at T11 – there was contact with GIO

13: BOT pits from P4; mediums; rejoins P5
HUL pits too
VER takes P5 from BOT

14: LEC pits from P1, with HAM right behind him; rejoin P3 and P4 respectively
VER f/lap 1:35.387
BOT takes P5 from VER

15/57: VET pits from P1; rejoins P4, behind HAM
HUL f/lap 1:35.215
Incident between KVY and GIO under investigation
LEC takes P1 from RIC
Christian Horner tells Sky Sport that VER had to pit for a slow puncture

16: LEC f/lap 1:33.914
HAM takes P2 from RIC

17: Pirelli tweet that everyone went for mediums in their stops except ALB and GAS who both went for a second set of softs
(Isn’t HAM on softs?)

18: KVY given 5-sec time penalty for speeding in the pit lane
GRO in the garage; looks like his race is over

20/57: LEC, HAM, VET, BOT, VER, RIC, RAI, HUL, NOR, PER, GAS, ALB, MAG, GRO, KVY, KUB, RUS, STR, SAI; retirement: GRO
No action required for KVY and GIO incident

21: HUL takes P7 from RAI
Radio from HAM saying he’s struggling for grip, “I’m in big trouble” as VET closes on him

22: GAS takes P10 from PER

23: VET ~0.5sec behind HAM
HAM defends but VET has DRS to help claim P2

24: VET locks up; HAM closes but can’t get the power down to take advantage

25/57: LEC, VET, HAM, BOT, VER, RIC, HUL, RAI, NOR, GAS, PER, ALB, MAG, GRO, KVY, RUS, KUB, SAI, STR
RIC is the only one yet to pit and holding up teammate HUL

26: With that, RIC pits; rejoins P13
ALB makes his 2nd stop

Half distance

30/57: LEC, VET, HAM, BOT, VER, HUL, NOR, RAI, GAS, PER
RIC takes P11 from MAG

31: Will Mercedes pit HAM soon? He’s slowly falling back from VET

33: VER pits from P5; long stop; mediums go on; rejoins P7
HUL pits too; rejoins P11

34: VER steals P6 from RAI
RAI and PER pit

35/57: HAM pits from P3; mediums; rejoins P4
RAI passes both Toro Rosso cars, then ALB passes his teammate for P13

36: VET pits from P2; mediums; rejoins P3 just a car length ahead of HAM
Radio from LEC – struggling for grip

37: LEC pits from P1; mediums; rejoins still P1
HAM f/lap 1:33.528
HAM attacking VET; very close but no contact

38: BOT pits from P2
HAM still all over the rear wing of VET
VET defends; HAM takes P2; no contact but VET spins
Radio from VET complaining of tyre vibration; wants to box
VET’s front wing breaks on the back straight – caused by vibration from his tyre?

39: LEC f/lap
VET pits; new nose; rejoins P9

40/57: Renault teammates HUL and RIC battle of P6; was there contact?

42: VET takes P6 from RIC
LEC is ~10sec ahead of HAM, who in turn is ~26sec ahead of BOT

43: VET’s dash says “use high gear” – might be because of temps or fuel saving
VET dives inside HUL to steal P5

44: NOR past RIC for P7

45/57: LEC, HAM, BOT, VER, VET, HUL, NOR, RIC, RAI, GAS, ALB, PER, GRO, KVY, MAG, STR, RUS, SAI, KUB; retirements: GRO
RAI around the outside of RIC for P8

46: Radio from LEC – “there is something strange with the engine”; “we’re checking it now”
RAI looks at the outside of NOR but the McLaren stays ahead

47: HAM closing on LEC
Radio from LEC “what’s happening?” – sounds very flustered
HAM now under 5sec behind LEC

48: Looks like LEC’s Ferrari has lost its turbo, the ability to harvest energy (MGU-H)
HAM now right on LEC’s tail; waits for a safe place to take P1

49: BOT is ~25sec behind LEC

50/57: HAM, LEC, BOT, VER, VET, HUL, NOR, RAI, RIC, GAS, ALB, PER, GRO, KVY, MAG, STR, RUS, SAI, KUB; retirements: GRO
SAI takes P17 from RUS
Radio for LEC, trying to keep him calm; “we need to bring the car home”

51: Radio for BOT, “no need to take risks”

52: BOT catching LEC by more than 2sec/lap
Radio from HAM, “downshifts are very clunky”

53 = 5 laps remaining: Radio from VER asking if his pace is enough to catch LEC; told yes

54: BOT easily past LEC for P2
HUL is in the gravel – so is RIC – was there contact?
Radio from RIC – “everything just cut out”

55/57: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, VET, NOR, RAI, GAS, ALB, PER, GIO, KVY, MAG, STR, RUS, KUB
SAI is in the garage and getting out of his car
Replay of HUL’s enging going bang
Safety Car deployed

56[SC]: If the SC stays out long enough, LEC might finish P3; if there’s a restart, he’ll be swamped by the pack

57/57[SC]: Marshals have removed one Renault but RIC’s is still beside the track, so the SC will stay out
Radio for HAM – “SC will come into the pit lane”

Chequered flag
VER spun on the in lap!
Radio from HAM – “That was extremely unfortunate for Charles. He drove such a great race! We’ve got work to do to try and keep these guys on our tails.”

Provisional result: HAM, BOT, LEC*, VER, VET, NOR, RAI, GAS, ALB, PER; GIO, KVY, MAG, STR, RUS, KUB
DNF: HUL, RIC, SAI, GRO
*LEC gets the additional point for fastest lap

RIC is under investigation for not replacing the steering wheel when his Renault broke down

In the cooldown (pre-podium) room, HAM tells LEC “You drove great. You’ve got a great future ahead of you.”

Interviews:
HAM: “Today was a really, really hard job and the team were incredible. It was a devastating race for Charles. We were lucky today. I gave it everything in the race. This guy (LEC) has a lot of race wins coming in the future.”
BOT: “Yeah I mean as a team we got lucky today we kept it together.”
LEC: “It happens, a part of motorsport, unfortunately today it was not our day but I’m sure the team did an amazing job. We have been very lucky in a very unlucky situation as we then had the safety car situation. It’s a very hard one to take, but we will come back stronger. I didn’t do a good start, then we are very strong, it’s a shame to only finish third but that’s part of racing. I’m never looking at the result, just the potential. Congrats to Lewis and Valtteri, we will come back stronger.”

Unsurprisingly LEC was voted Driver of the Day on the official F1 site.

BOT is 1 point ahead of HAM in the Drivers’ Championship (44 vs 43 points) with VER in 3rd (27) and LEC 4th (26).