Grand Prix of Bahrain – Race


In case VET’s season wasn’t off to a poor enough start, he’s been given a 5-place penalty for ignoring yellow flags in qualifying… although he only qualified P18 so it’s effectively only a 2 place drop.

The revised grid: VER, HAM, BOT, LEC, GAS, RIC, NOR, SAI, ALO, STR; PER, GIO, TSU, RAI, RUS, OCO, LAT, SCH, MAZ, VET

Honda decided to replace some energy-related components on PER’s Red Bull but it was done within parc ferme constraints so no penalty.

VER leads everyone away on the formation lap
The front 3 are on the medium compound tyres from Q2; LEC on softs
There’s a 20km/hr crosswind, so how long before someone spins?
PER has parked on the side of the track!

Race control: start aborted – extra formation lap (That means the race will be 56 laps instead of 57)
Looks like PER has power again; he heads to the pits and rolls straight to the pit exit, waiting for the start
VER brings everyone else round onto the grid again

01/56: LEC challenging BOT into Turn 1
A Haas is sideways across the track, over the gravel and into the wall – that’s MAZ that’s gone off, but fortunately a lot slower and less scary than Grosjean last season
Safety Car deployed

02[SC]: Radio from VER reporting “something weird on the throttle on the low speed corners”

03[SC]: PER pits; a different (but used) set of mediums go on
SC in at the end of this lap
HAM tucked up behind VER

04: VER stays ahead into Turn 1
NOR past GAS for P5
Has GAS lost his front wing – yes, he’s falling down the field
The other Haas (SCH) loses the tail and is off too but he recovers
VSC deployed
Radio from VER, “definitely an issue”

05/56: VER, HAM, LEC, BOT, NOR, RIC, ALO, STR, SAI, GIO

06: ALO fastest lap… now PER sets f/lap
BOT dives inside LEC to reclaim P3
ALO closing on RIC

07: VER f/lap 1:35.982
Replay of SAI making contact with STR but STR stayed ahead

08: VER f/lap 1:35.902
NOR harrying LEC for P4 but LEC pushes the McLaren wide in Turn 4

09: NOR takes P4
STR takes P7 from ALO

10/56: VER, HAM, BOT, NOR, LEC, RIC, STR, ALO, SAI, GIO, RAI, OCO, PER, TSU, VET, RUS, LAT, SCH, GAS; out: MAZ
PER past OCO for P12

12: ALO pits from P8; rejoins P17

13: NOR pits from P4, followed by LEC, STR and GIO
STR rejoins behind ALO, so Alpine’s strategy worked

14: HAM pits from P2; hard tyres go on; rejoins P4
RIC pits too; mediums go on; rejoins P12 between ALO and STR

15/56: VER stays out
VER, BOT, HAM, SAI, PER, TSU, VET, NOR, LEC, RIC
NOR f/lap 1:35.286

16: HAM f/lap 1:34.057
SAI pits; new mediums go on; rejoins P11
NOR passes VET for P5

17: BOT pits from P2; hard tyres go on; rejoins P4
LEC passes former teammate VET

18: VER pits; mediums going on but a bit slow changing the front right; rejoins P2, over 6.5sec behind HAM
PER tries to defend but BOT takes P3

19: RIC takes P7 from VET (VET has yet to pit)

20/56: HAM, VER, BOT, NOR, LEC, RIC
PER pits
VET lets teammate STR past for P7 but ALO follows through
VET reclaims P8 from ALO

21: Everyone has pitted except VET
ALO and SAI pass VET
ALO locks up and SAI takes P8
VET reclaims P9 from ALO

22: VER is faster on mediums than HAM on hard tyres; gap is down to 4secs
VET runs wide; RAI steals P11

23: RAI passes ALO for P10

24: TSU closing on VET… and takes P12

25/56: HAM, VER, BOT, NOR, LEC, RIC, STR, SAI, PER, RAI, ALO, TSU, VET, OCO, GIO, RUS, LAT, SCH, GAS; out: MAZ
VET finally pits
PER takes P8 from SAI

26: HAM’s leads has stabilised at about 3.3sec
TSU takes P11 from ALO

28: VER has picked up his pace again; gap to HAM down to 2sec
Radio from HAM, “I can’t go any quicker”

29: HAM pits; more hard tyres; rejoins P3
Radio for BOT telling him they’re now going long (delaying his pit stop)

30/56: VER, BOT, HAM, NOR, LEC, RIC, PER, SAI, RAI, TSU, ALO, OCO, GIO, RUS.. RAI and ALO pit

31: VER laps SCH
BOT pits; front jack drops the car but they were still fighting with the front right! That’s a horrible stop! BOT rejoins P5

32: VER runs wide in Turn 4, and so does HAM
LEC pits; rejoins
RIC pits too

33: ALO pits… but it looks like they’re retiring him

34: NOR pits from P3; rejoins P6, behind SAI
Apparently ALO had a rear brake issue

35/56: VER, HAM, BOT, PER, SAI, NOR, LEC, RIC, STR, RUS, RAI, VET, TSU, OCO, GIO, GAS, LAT, SCH; out: ALO, MAZ

36: Radio from VER, “If my pace is good just leave me out”
TSU passes VET for P12

37: RAI gets very close to RUS as he barges past to take P10
TSU follows RAI past RUS for P11
RUS now loses P12 to VET
RUS pits
Radio for HAM telling him they’re getting warnings about exceeding track limits; HAM queries it because the FIA said they weren’t imposing them in the race

38: SAI pits from P5; rejoins P9
RAI defends P10 from TSU

39: TSU takes P10 from RAI
PER pits from P4; rejoins P7 and into a battle with STR

40/56: VER pits; clean stop; rejoins P2, 8.5sec behind HAM
PER uses DRS to take P7 from STR

41: Radio for HAM, “VER forecast to catch us in 10 laps”

42: VER f/lap 1:33.228 and the gap is down to 6sec

43: HAM breaks the total number of F1 laps led (5,112)
PER closing on RIC

44: HAM laps RUS (P15)
VER continues to close on HAM – lead is now under 5sec
PER easily past RIC for P6

45/56: HAM, VER, BOT, NOR, LEC, PER, RIC, STR, SAI, TSU
OCO passes VET but then VET locks up and rear-ends OCO, spinning both of them

46: Incident involving VET and OCO “noted”
SAI catching STR
SAI takes P8

47: 10 laps to go but only 3.3sec lead
HAM laps VET then OCO

48: Incident involving VET and OCO under investigation

49: HAM’s lead down to 2.5sec

50/56: HAM, VER, BOT, NOR, LEC, PER, RIC, SAI, STR, TSU, RAI, GIO, OCO, VET, RUS, GAS, LAT, SCH; out: ALO, MAZ

51: VER 1.4sec behind HAM
HAM runs wide!
VER now close enough to get DRS

52: HAM closing on another back-marker – he’ll get DRS soon too
LEC past PER for P6 but PER reclaims it

53: VER passes HAM but VER was he off the track?
VER slows to let HAM reclaim P1 – he knows it was a bad pass

54: 10-sec penalty for VET for causing the collision with OCO
GAS and LAT are in the pits

55/56: HAM, VER, BOT, NOR, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, STR, TSU, RAI, GIO, OCO, RUS, VET, SCH, GAS; out: LAT, ALO, MAZ
VER wasn’t close enough to get DRS
BOT pits for new tyres to try to set fastest lap

56 = final lap: VER just close enough for DRS
HAM defends through the first DRS zone; only one left

HAM takes the chequered flag – 300th F1 GP win for a British driver
VER just 0.7sec behind
BOT P3 and set f/lap 1:32.090
Radio from VER saying the team should have let him stay ahead and he could have opened a 5sec gap to offset the penalty; he’s told Race Control told them to let HAM pass

Interviews:
HAM: “Wow. What a difficult race that was. Stopping early we knew would be difficult but we had to cover Max, they have had an amazing performance all weekend.”; “Max was all over me at the end and I was just about able to hold him off.”
VER: “It’s a shame but you also have to see the positive. We are really taking the fight to them, and I think that’s great to start the year like that.”
BOT: “Disappointing for sure but a good thing for the team we got good points. It feels for me that it was on the defensive side and not attacking. Not ideal and I had a slow pit stop which in the end took away any opportunities.”
Toto Wolff: “It was a great battle of strategies. On pace at the beginning, Max had it under control. We knew we’d run out of tyres, and [Red Bull] have a tiny edge on pace.”
Christian Horner: “A great race, a tough one to lose. It is the first of 23 so hopefully we give Lewis a harder time this year.”

Provisional result: HAM, VER, BOT*, NOR, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, TSU, STR; RAI, GIO, OCO, RUS, VET, SCH, GAS, LAT
DNF: ALO, MAZ
*BOT set fastest lap for an extra point.

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