Welcome to Formula 1 observations, where I write about my observations and share with you my take on the F1 weekend. So what did Bahrain bring us after Malaysia and Shanghai, ending the Asia run for now while the whole circus moves to Europe.
Yes, sparks were flying in Bahrain this weekend. And not just because the titanium skid-blocks have been re-introduced this season providing us sparkly cars under artificial light.
It is safe to say, Kimi is back and Ferrari did really well on strategy. It is good to see Kimi back on the podium, even if he says nobody can be happy when they finished second during the post race interview on the podium. For a man of few words, he made a clear statement that the atmosphere in the team changed a lot in a positive way. It is quite obvious he is referring to Sir Whine Alot, who is now driving for McLaren. Kimi was also a bit grumpy because he took a large sip of champagne, but being in Bahrain, it was ¨rose-water¨ and no alcohol means Kimi no like.
Ferrari did challenge Mercedes and were dominant on strategy. Vettel messed up with sloppy driving, allowing Rosberg to pass him even when the team got him in 2nd again and right on Hamilons tail with a perfect double undercut pit strategy. Vettel messud up again, damaging his front wing and he had to com into the pit again for a nose change. This put him back behind Bottas, who he failed to pass. Given the issues the Mercedes drivers had at the end of the race, it could have and perhaps should have been the 2nd Ferrari win of the season, or at least two red cars on the podium. Kimi was also on an aggressive strategy perfectly executed perfectly. Putting in a strong performance on the harder tires half way through the race and very fast final run on the softer tires meant he got passed Rosberg and almost caught Hamilton, as both Mercedes drivers had brake issues at the end of the race.
Nico grew his balls back. Pre race he stated that he would try and pass around the outside at the start, only to stick to the inside and being passed by Kimi. He fought back, passed Kimi and pushed Vettel into mistakes on more than one occasion during the race. He was never a real threat to Hamilton. Honestly I can´t see Nico becoming world champion driving the same car as Hamilton, who will always have an edge. Not a flawless race, Ferrari beat them on strategy and that almost cost them the victory. Both cars suffered from brake issues at the end of the race. The brakes overheated causing issues with the brake-by-wire system. Rosberg lost his 2nd place to Kimi and Hamilton had to coast and weave the last lap, losing almost all his remaining lead but managing to cross the line in 1st place.
Red Bull / Torro Rosso
Not the best season so far for the Renault powered teams. The engines either stop or go boom. At least Ricciardo made it onto the straight on the final lap when his engine blew, so he could actually coast it over the finish. How’s that for finishing your race with a bang.
Ricciardo is now on engine number four for this season. Kvyat had engine issues during qualifying, Verstappen had engine issues during the weekend and scored another DNF having to stop the car in the garage during the race for technical issues. At least the engine didn’t blow in points scoring position as it did in two of the three previous races. Sainz also scored a DNF but that was not an engine issue, his wheel was just not actually attached to the car after the pit stop. He did manage to get a 5 second penalty for driving too slow from the pit onto the starting grid. How is that for crazy F1 rules.
Now Red Bull is quick to blame Renault, but there are more issues. This is the first year Adrian Newey is not 100% with the team, as he is now playing with boats. The difference in performance is quite huge, as is the ability to solve the problems. The cooling for the engine is just not good enough, part of the reason why they keep going boom. Same issue with the brakes, cooling problem and switching back to last years brakes did not help either.
Place your bets, what will explode first, the engine or the brakes.
Really Pastor? Getting a 5 second penalty for starting from P18 and not P16 where he should have been must be a new highlight. He even managed to not position himself properly at the P18 slot, delaying the starting procedure. The race director decided to start the race anyway, as he only messed up for himself and both Manors at the start.
Not long after he also came together with Max Verstappen and Felipe Massa. This resulted in front wing damage for Verstappen and floor damage for Felipe. Maldonado managed to do another nice stunt at the pitsstop. It looked like he was coming in too fast but just slammed on the limiter anyway to avoid another penalty, this time for speeding in the pitlane. The car had a “oh no you didn’t” reply ready. Locking up the rear axle and shutting down the engine to prevent further damage. Coasting to the pitcrew they had to do the pitstop and restart the car. A very helpful Marshal saw the smoke coming off the brakes and decided to use the fire extinguisher he had to carry around all weekend. Finally they got Maldonado going again but what a mess. Has Maldonado crashed today? No, but he tried, he really did.
The 17 lap weekend of Jenson Button
Jenson did not manage to finish his outlap during Qualifying. Electrical gremlins caused the car to go dark. Fun fact, the team did not manage to repair the car over night. How hard can it be to catch a Gremlin, just watch the movie. Frustrating not only for Wrong Dennis but also the group of McLaren investors from Bahrain. At least Jenson got to troll on twitter during raceday.
Alonso boldly stated that this would be the last race for McLaren finishing outside the points, finishing in 11th he was not even far from the points this race. But Honda turing up the power to full for the engine package makes you wonder if the will go fast like Ferrari or blow like Renault for the next couple for races.
Both Torro Rosso and Sauber will have mandatory training sessions during the three week period to the next GP. Sainz had to retire his Torro Rosso just after the pit stop as one of the wheels was not properly attached to the car. But hey, at least his engine did not blow up. Verstappen lost a massive amount of time changing the front wing.
Sauber did not manage to attach the left front wheel to Ericsson car at the pit stop, the mechanic fixed it eventually but that cost him a lot of time. Nasr lost 2 places he has just gained overtaking on track in one pit stop. Paints would have been available for Sauber without the pit issues.
Best dressed man
Sir Jackie Steward did the post race interviews on the podium. One thing is for sure, if sir Jackie is around, the best dressed man of the weekend award is his.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Odin is an electrical engineer with an interest in cars, racing and technology. Having a real name that is hard to pronounce, he chose this writing name because Thor was taken. He wrote this piece about himself and is determined to keep writing posts about F1 and Car related topics. Unless the weather is too nice or he actually gets a day job.