Bahrain Grand Prix – Race

There weren’t any surprises in Qualifying, with Mercedes taking both front row spots for the 11th time.
Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, VER, ALB, PER, RIC, OCO, GAS, NOR, KVY, VET, LEC, STR, RUS, SAI, GIO, RAI, MAG, GRO, LAT

Floodlights are on again; sun’s setting; green lights are on so cars can leave the pits.
Radio from VER on his way to the dummy grid, complaining of a yellow light on his dash which he doesn’t recognise.

Air temperature 26°C; track 29°C; FIA forecast says 20% chance of rain!

The top 10 all start on their Q2 tyres; rest of the field are on mediums except LEC, GRO and LAT are on the hard compound, and SAI on softs.

HAM leads everyone around on the formation lap
They all make it to their grid spot

01/57: ALB and PER pass BOT
Big impact – fireball!
Red flags immediately out – race suspended
It was GRO who spun into the barrier
He’s sitting in the medical car – phew!

02[Red flag]: 21 cars are in the pit lane and many drivers are jumping out
GRO is being helped to walk to an ambulance
Replay shows GRO’s Haas broke in half – that’s why there was a fireball, because that’s where the cockpit meets the engine
A couple of wheels broke lose – one went back across the track and another went through/over the barrier

Haas tweet: “Romain has some minor burns on his hands and ankles but otherwise he is ok. He is with the doctors just now.”

It’s unbelievable that the cockpit is impaled in the barrier
The halo probably kept the barrier away from GRO’s head – it almost certainly saved his life!

As Will Buxton tweeted: “And having seen all that, 19 young men will strap themselves back into their cars and go racing.”

Guenther Steiner, Haas Team Principal: “The latest I have got, he is okay. Obviously shaken and for sure he is going through all the checks. I want to thank all the rescue crews, they were so quick. It was scary, very scary. We were lucky and I prefer that luck to any racing luck.”
I don’t understand how F1 “fans” are giving a thumbs down to this – how much do you have to hate someone to disagree with this? 🙁

Alan van der Merwe, Medical Car Driver: “I’ve not seen that much fire and an impact like that. Romain started to get out of the car himself which is pretty amazing after an impact like that. All the systems we’ve developed, the halo, the barriers, the seat belts – everything worked like it should.”

Race control have announced the race will restart in 12 minutes (1835 local time)
RC: Cars are to get in their correct grid position on the lap to the grid
Order for the restart: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, RIC, BOT, GAS, OCO, NOR, LEC, GIO, STR, SAI, MAG, VET, LAT, RAI, RUS, KVY
They’re going to use the order at the second Safety Car line on lap 1

02[SC]: Safety Car leads 19 brave drivers around, past the scene of the accident, to come round to form up the grid for the restart
SC enters the pit lane

03/57: Clean start – phew
Yellow flag – sector 2
SC deployed
STR is upside down in Turn 8
Replay shows KVY was inside STR, taking the apex; STR turned it, makes contact, and flips over
Medical Car

04[SC]: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, BOT, NOR, OCO, LEC, RIC, GAS, SAI, KVY, RAI, LAT, RUS, VET, GIO
BOT has a puncture; pits; rejoins P16
MAG pits too – new front wing

08[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap, so HAM will start to bunch everyone up

09: LEC tries to push OCO wide but the Renault keeps P6
RIC locks up, SAI steals P8

10/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, NOR, OCO, LEC, SAI, RIC, GAS, KVY, RUS, RAI, LAT, VET, BOT, GIO, MAG; out: STR, GRO
HAM fastest lap 1:33.733
Incident involving KVY and STR (from lap. 3) under investigation

11: DRS enabled
BOT closing on VET

12: SAI inside LEC to take P7
BOT takes P15 from VET
RIC inside LEC to claim P8

13: GAS takes P9 from LEC
VET has dropped to P18, behind MAG and GIO
10sec penalty for KVY for the collision with STR
Radio from VET, “The car is undrivable”

14: BOT passes LAT for P14

15/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, NOR, OCO, SAI, RIC, GAS, LEC, KVY, RUS, RAI, BOT, LAT, GIO, MAG, VET

16: BOT closing on RAI – the Alfa Romeo has a broken front wing

17: RIC pits from P8; hard tyres go on; rejoins P18

18: OCO, KVY and RAI all pit
KVY serves his 10sec penalty
RAI released almost into KVY

19: OCO past VET for P14
NOR pits from P6; rejoins P11
RIC passes VET too
NOR immediately takes P10 from LAT

20/57: HAM pits; mediums go on; rejoins P3
ALB pits too; rejoins P7
RIC dives inside GIO – that was a bit close

21: VER pits from P1; hard tyre goes on; rejoins P2
PER pits too, so HAM is P1 again

22: HAM, VER, SAI…who pits
ALB easily takes P5 from LEC
Radio from VER, “We have nothing to lose; let’s go full send”

23: VER f/lap 1:33.085

25/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, GAS, BOT, NOR, OCO, RIC, SAI, MAG, LEC, RUS, KVY, RAI, GIO, VET, LAT
Radio for BOT, “We’re going to extend” (i.e. longer stint before pit stop)
NOR uses DRS to catch BOT and take P6

26: LEC takes P11 from MAG
GAS pits, as does BOT
SAI runs around the outside of RIC to take P7

Half distance

29: GIO takes P14 from teammate RAI
Radio from RIC asking why he and OCO are racing each other

30/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, NOR, SAI, OCO, RIC, GAS, LEC, BOT, RUS, KVY, GIO, RAI, VET, LAT, MAG; out: STR, GRO
OCO lets teammate RIC take P7

31: RAI locks up and VET takes P15

32: BOT takes P10 from LEC; LEC tries to fight back but the Mercedes just pulls away

35/57: VER pits from P2; slow stop; rejoins P3
ALB pits too but VER’s long gone by the time he reaches the Red Bull box

36: HAM pits; hard tyres go on; rejoins still P1

37: PER pits from P2; hards; rejoins P5
VER f/lap 1:32.663
RIC pits; rejoins just ahead of OCO
OCO takes P10 from his teammate

38: PER past SAI for P4
OCO defends, RIC looks for a way round his teammate, uses DRS to reclaim P10

39: NOR pits from P6, rejoins P7
BOT pits too, rejoins P11
ALB makes a move on SAI, takes P4

40/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, SAI, GAS, NOR, LEC, RIC, OCO, BOT, RUS, GIO, VET, RAI, KVY, MAG, LAT
SAI pits, hards go on, rejoins P8

41: SAI passes LEC again for P7

42: NOR closing on GAS

43: HAM’s now led 600 laps this season (not sure how many were behind the safety car)

44: NOR easily sweeps past GAS for P5

45/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, NOR, GAS, SAI, RIC, BOT, OCO
VET catching RUS

46: Radio from ALB complaining the rear tyres are gone

47: VER pits; new mediums; rejoins still P2

48 = 10 laps left: GIO locks up and KVY takes P12

49: VER f/lap 1:32.014

50/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALB, NOR, GAS, SAI, RIC, BOT, OCO, LEC, KVY, GIO, RUS, VET, LAT, RAI, MAG
Radio from PER, “Are you falling asleep?” 🙂

52: SAI takes P6 from GAS

53: RIC closing on GAS – the AlphaTauri’s tyres are 27 laps old

54: PER slowing – smoke from the Racing Point’s engine – now flames
PER pulls off track, stops close to the fire marshals
Idiot marshal running across the track in front of NOR!!!!
Radio from NOR ” “There is a guy running across the track. He’s the bravest guy I have ever seen”; “Is he brave or stupid?” – the answer is stupid
Safety Car deployed
Otmar Szafnauer has his head in his hands

55/57[SC]: Radio for HAM “stay out, stay out”; discussion about whether there will be time for lapped cars to unlap and then for a restart

56[SC]: Marshals still pushing PER’s car away

57/57[SC]: Radio for BOT, “Possible rear right puncture”
SC pulls into the pit lane so he’s not in the chequered flag photos

Provisional result: HAM, VER*, ALB, NOR, SAI, GAS, RIC, BOT, OCO, LEC; KVY, RUS, VET, LAT, RAI, GIO, MAG
DNF: PER, STR, GRO
*Fastest lap: VER

Interviews:
ALB: “It was obviously a bit of luck with what happened to Sergio (Perez).”
VER: “We were just lacking a bit, I tried to keep it close, we weren’t really aggressive enough with the strategy and had the issue with the pit stop – it is what it is.”
HAM: “It was such a shocking image to see. When I get in the car, I know that I’m taking risks. But it’s horrifying, I’m just so grateful that the halo worked. It could have been so much worse. But it is a reminder to people watching – this is a dangerous sport. It’s an amazing job that Formula 1 and the FIA has done to make it safer.”; “Physically very demanding, [Red Bull] had a lot of speed today so I was flat out trying to keep them at bay. I’m grateful to my team who at the end of the day did a great job with strategy.”

Ross Brawn, Formula 1 Managing Director, Motorsport: “We need to do a deep analysis of everything the occurred. The fire was worrying, the split in the barriers was worrying. The thing that got us through was the safety of the car. Barriers splitting was a classic problem many years ago and there’s no doubt that the halo was the factor that saved the day and saved Romain.”

Tweet from Haas: “Following medical evaluation by doctors at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean will remain in hospital overnight to be treated for burns sustained on the back of both hands after his opening lap incident at the Bahrain Grand Prix. All X-rays performed on Grosjean came back clear of fractures.”

Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter: A French journalist has received a message from Jules Bianchi’s mum. It says: “They introduced the halo after my son’s accident and now the halo has saved Romain’s life today. This is great. I’m glad that he is OK.”

GAS: “It was horrible, when I saw the images I was shocked. It was really scary but I had no idea a Formula 1 car could break that way. The halo really proved to be working. I have text him to wish him a good recovery. I think he is fine but a really scary thing.”
KVY: “At first I was angry that he had turned across me in the way he did, but that changed as soon as I saw the flames and what happened in my mirrors. I was really worried. It was a scary moment. I was hoping he was OK. I’m glad he is OK. It just reminds you that what we do is dangerous.”
NOR: “So glad to see GRO get out after that. What a fighter. Not a nice thing to see and I hope he recovers well and can join us again soon. ”
RUS: “If the halo had not been there it could have been a different outcome. The way he walked away was incredible. Safety has moved along so much, so we can only be grateful.”

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