Ferrari is officially the team to beat as the Prancing Horse scored a 1-2 victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Double World Champion Fernando Alonso was the leading Ferrari as he crossed the line about 16 seconds ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel who started from pole and who was leading halfway through the race suffered from a mechanical issue which forced him to let go of his lead. He managed to keep on racing but had to settle for fourth.
Third place was taken up by Lewis Hamilton of McLaren. Fifth and sixth spots were filled by both the Mercedes GP Petronas cars led by Nico Rosberg. Michael Schumacher showed that he still has what it takes to race in Formula 1 as at times the German was pressured by reigning World Champion Jenson Button in his McLaren and Mark Webber in the other Red Bull.
Button and Webber finished in seventh and eight positions respectively. Force India managed to make it into the top ten as Vitantonio Liuzzi finished in ninth. His teammate who started from tenth was part of an incident on Lap 1 which pushed him out of the top ten. The final point paying position was taken up Rubens Barrichello in his Cosworth-powered Williams.
Lotus Racing was definitely the top team among the rookies. Both Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli made clean starts and Kovailanen finished the team’s first ever Grand Prix in 15th place. Both Virgin and Hispania failed to finish the race as all four cars went into retirement due to mechanical issues. Karun Chandhok of HRT was the first to retire followed by Lucas Di Grassi of Virgin. The Timo Glock and Bruno Senna joined the list later on. However before Glock retired he was exchanging positions with Kovalainan which was quite interesting to look at.
Jarno Trulli almost crossed the finish line but his car came to a stop at the final moments, most probably due to lack of fuel. Nevertheless he was classified in the finish list and took 17th position. A total of seven drivers retired today.
Lap 1 wasn’t really incident free as Mark Webber’s Red Bull produced a cloud of smoke and Adrian Sutil along with Robert Kubica in his Renault spun after Turn 1. Vettel led Alonso, Massa Rosberg, Hamilton, Schumacher, Webber, Button, Liuzzi and Barrichello at the beginning part of the event. Refueling mid-way through the race is banned this year and all cars ran on a one-stop strategy strictly for changing tires.
There were only few incidents and highlights were made up by Nico Hulkenberg’s spin at the beginning part of the race and Vettel’s mechanical problem that cost him the victory. Unfortunately, there weren’t many overtaking moves despite the FIA’s actions to make Formula 1 more entertaining.
Schumacher spent the entire day behind his younger teammate but as mentioned he managed to keep his nose clean and crossed the line about 4 seconds behind Rosberg. Under the new points system, Alonso scored 25 points and Massa bagged 18. Hamilton scored 15, Vettel with 12, Rosberg with 10, Schumacher with 7, Webber with 4, Liuzzi with 2 and Barrichello with 1. Next stop: The Australian Grand Prix on March 28th!
Please click here to view the full results.