Vettel powers to victory in Bahrain

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Race

Sebastian Vettel achieved his 28th victory in Formula 1 with an impeccable performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The triple world champion pushed his Red Bull to the front of the pack following a spectacular early dicing with his rivals. After that, Sebastian just pulled away and earned his second win of 2013.

In a carbon copy of last year’s podium result, the Lotus pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean made it through the field to second and third, with the latter denying Paul di Resta a maiden podium with just six laps to the flag.

Vettel was in a hurry to hit the front from the off. The German forced polesitter Nico Rosberg to defend heavily off the line, and although Fernando Alonso managed to get his Ferrari between them around the outside, the triple world champion surged back into second with a bold move at Turn 5.

Vettel then pounced on Rosberg’s Mercedes into Turn 4 on the second lap, only to run wide. Next time around he made the move stick, and thereafter inched away towards an ever more certain victory.

Alonso was soon up to second but his DRS flap was jammed open. The Spaniard made an emergency pitstop to fix it, but the problem reoccurred. By lap nine, he was P19, had made two pitstops but without the use of DRS, it became a difficult race for the Chinese Grand Prix winner.

With Alonso out of contention, the best of the rest battle became a contest between di Resta and Raikkonen, both two-stopping compared to the front runners who made most three.

Di Resta looked to be best-placed until his final pitstop, when Raikkonen vaulted him having stopped sooner.

Force India remained on course for third for a while, but Grosjean was coming up fast. The three-stopping Frenchman saved his medium tyres for the final stint and was able to hunt down and pass the Scotsman, who had to settle for fourth position.

The rest of the top ten featured wild racing, with plenty of wheel-to-wheel action as different strategies unfolded and different cars found pace at various stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was able to progress through the field despite a low-key start and in the end, took fifth for Mercedes.

Sergio Perez produced by far his most combative performance for McLaren yet. He was involved in a long duel with team-mate Jenson Button and the fading Rosberg, which featured contact between the pair and anxious radio messages on more than one occasion.

Despite losing a front wing endplate against his team-mate, Perez finished sixth, joining Hamilton in passing Mark Webber on the final lap.

Webber had been a podium threat for Red Bull, but in the end fell back on his final set of tyres.

Alonso fought through to eighth despite his lack of DRS, with Rosberg and Button forced to make four pitstops and ending up ninth and tenth.

Felipe Massa suffered two right rear punctures and was only P15. He had also made contact with Adrian Sutil on the opening lap, causing a puncture for the Force India driver, who made it back up to P13.

So a fantastic result for Sebastian Vettel. The German edges ahead of Sir Jackie Stewart record with 28 victories.

Vettel extends his points score to 77, ten points ahead of Raikkonen on 67, while Hamilton moves up to third on 50 from Alonso on 47. Webber is fifth on 32 from Massa on 30, Grosjean on 26, Di Resta on 20, Rosberg on 14 and Button on 13.

Red Bull have 109 points in the constructors’ championship, with Lotus moving to second on 93 from Ferrari on 77. Mercedes are still in play with 64, with Force India fifth on 26 and McLaren on 23.

Bahrain Grand Prix race results after 57 laps:

1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault           1h36:00.498s
2.  Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault              +9.111s
3.  Grosjean       Lotus-Renault             +19.507s
4.  Di Resta       Force India-Mercedes      +21.727s
5.  Hamilton       Mercedes                  +35.230s
6.  Perez          McLaren-Mercedes          +35.998s
7.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault          +37.244s
8.  Alonso         Ferrari                   +37.574s
9.  Rosberg        Mercedes                  +41.126s
10.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes          +46.631s
11.  Maldonado      Williams-Renault        +1m06.450s
12.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari          +1m12.933s
13.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    +1m16.719s
14.  Bottas         Williams-Renault        +1m21.511s
15.  Massa          Ferrari                 +1m26.364s
16.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari        +1 lap
17.  Pic            Caterham-Renault          +1 lap
18.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari            +1 lap
19.  Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth         +1 lap
20.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth         +1 lap
21.  van der Garde  Caterham-Renault         +2 laps

Not classified/retirement:

Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari          39 laps

World Championship standings, round 4:

1.  Vettel         77
2.  Raikkonen      67
3.  Hamilton       50
4.  Alonso         47
5.  Webber         32
6.  Massa          30
7.  Grosjean       26
8.  Di Resta       20
9.  Rosberg        14
10.  Button         13
11.  Perez          10
12.  Ricciardo       6
13.  Sutil           6
14.  Hulkenberg      5
15.  Vergne          1

1.  Red Bull-Renault          109
2.  Lotus-Renault              93
3.  Ferrari                    77
4.  Mercedes                   64
5.  Force India-Mercedes       26
6.  McLaren-Mercedes           23
7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          7
8.  Sauber-Ferrari              5

Next race: Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Catalunya. May 10-12.

18 thoughts to “Vettel powers to victory in Bahrain”

  1. After recording his 28th Grand Prix win in Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel was taken aback by ease of the victory. has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel admitted he never expected Bahrain Grand Prix victory to come so easily.

    The Red Bull driver notched up his second victory from four rounds of the 2013 Formula 1 season, and was untroubled up front once he had passed Nico Rosberg for the lead on lap three.

    “I surely did not expect that,” said Vettel.

    “I think it was pretty dominant today, which was certainly not the expectation.”

    Vettel spent the early laps in a very hard-fought battle with Rosberg and Fernando Alonso before escaping.

    “It the beginning it was quite tight racing,” said Vettel.

    “I knew it was crucial to get in the lead if I could as then I could have a margin to look after and manage the tyres from there. I felt I could pull away.

    “Once you settle in, it is difficult to overtake.

    “There was a strong headwind down the straight so the advantage for DRS was bigger than usual.

    “In the beginning I thought if there was a small chance to get into the lead I have to take it.

    “I think we could have had a strong race even if I had not been in the lead immediately. But I preferred it that way for sure.”

  2. This was a disappointing race for Fernando Alonso. Pre-race he was the favourite but the Spaniard suffered a problem with the DRS. He was able to recover to finish eighth and yet Alonso believes his rivals’ luck will turn. has the details.

    Fernando Alonso is sure his Formula 1 title rivals will also have to deal with the kind of misfortunes that have blighted his start to the 2013 season.

    The Spaniard’s DRS flap jammed open in the early stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix, while he was in the hunt for the lead.

    He was forced to make successive emergency stops before the problem was rectified, meaning that by lap nine he was 19th and no longer had the use of the DRS to make his way back through the field.

    Despite that Alonso eventually came home eighth, although he had been running seventh, and on the tail of the fight for fifth, until the final lap.

    Having also retired from the Malaysian Grand Prix when his damaged front wing collapsed, Alonso acknowledged that it had been a messy start to his season.

    But he is sure his luck – and his opposition’s – will turn around.

    “We were very, unlucky,” Alonso said.

    “In four races we’ve had two very unlucky moments.

    “But it will come for the others and in that moment we will take our opportunity.”

    Alonso, who has won and finished runner-up in his two clean races of 2013, said his DRS woes massively compromised his race.

    “It was very difficult,” he added.

    “I stopped two times in two laps so was at the back of the group, with no DRS to pass.

    “The race became very, very difficult.”

  3. The battle between the McLarens was the race highlight in Bahrain and yet Jenson Button believes Sergio Perez was too aggressive. has the news story.

    Jenson Button believes his McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez was too aggressive in battling with him during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    The two McLarens made contact on more than one occasion as they battled for points.

    One of the incidents left Perez with a damaged front wing, as he clipped the rear of Button’s car on the exit of Turn 4.

    Button urged the team to make Perez ‘calm down’ over the radio, but the battle continued and more contact followed.

    “I was very vocal on the radio, emotions were running high, but I would say exactly the same again,” Button said.

    “The racing was great out there. The only person that wasn’t was Checo [Perez].

    “He was too aggressive, I would say. At 300 km/h, you don’t expect your team-mate to come alongside you and bang wheels with you.

    “It was a bit of a surprise, and I’m probably not the only one that feels like that.”

    Perez felt Button had been just as uncompromising with him.

    “I think I was as aggressive as he was with me,” said the Mexican.

    “It was probably too much. We could both have ended our races.”

    Perez ultimately finished sixth after his best performance for McLaren so far.

    Button had to make a fourth pitstop and ended up 10th.

  4. Contrast of fortunes for the Mercedes GP drivers of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The former finished in fifth position while polesitter went backwards and ended up in ninth. has the story.

    An ecstatic Lewis Hamilton hailed the impact of his late-race pace after his Mercedes transformed from a ‘sitting duck’ to ‘amazing’ in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    After starting from ninth – the result of a disappointing qualifying and a five-place grid penalty – Hamilton lost ground at the start and then struggled for grip and performance.

    His fortunes reversed following his second stop however and he surged back up the field, eventually sealing fifth with a last-lap pass on the Red Bull of Mark Webber.

    “I’m very, very happy – massively happy,” Hamilton said.

    “The race started so badly. I wanted to get a good start, but I got a terrible start. Then I was so slow. I was nowhere, no speed at all.

    “No matter what I did to the car, it didn’t get any faster.

    “All of a sudden something happened after the second pitstop; all of a sudden the car started reacting differently and I could push again. It must have been something that happened to the car in qualifying when we changed the gearbox, and it sorted itself.

    “At the beginning I was a sitting duck, and then it was great to be able to do some overtaking. All of a sudden, the car was amazing.”

    Team-mate Nico Rosberg, who had started from a surprise pole, said Mercedes needs to work on translating its Saturday performances across into the races.

    The German fell back almost relentlessly during the race and, despite some dogged defending and fights, eventually came home ninth.

    “It’s been an unbelievable day – so bad,” Rosberg said.

    “I started strong and I was happy in the podium position but I knew it would be difficult [to stay there].

    “Going backwards all day long was not a good feeling. Obviously we were quickest yesterday so something has to be right, but we need to shift it more to the race.”

  5. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen admitted that a win for the team was far fetched. has the details.

    Kimi Raikkonen does not think Lotus had the speed to win the Bahrain Grand Prix even if he had qualified better.

    The Finn felt his car was simply not fast enough around the Sakhir track when he was only ninth-fastest in qualifying. He then gained one position from Lewis Hamilton’s gearbox-change penalty.

    On race day, Raikkonen pulled off a two-stop strategy to move up to second, and pegged the gap to leader Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull at under 10 seconds.

    But while he admitted that his disappointing grid position “didn’t help”, Raikkonen remained convinced that Vettel was unbeatable.

    “I think overall we did not have the speed to beat Red Bull this weekend,” he said.

    “Yesterday we could have been a few places higher but we could not have challenged their speed at the front.

    “So it was a good result. Today we got good points and didn’t lose too many to Seb.”

    Raikkonen added that Lotus had decided as early as Friday that two stops were its best option, rather than choosing that tactic in response to the qualifying disappointment.

    “Yesterday wasn’t ideal, but we already planned on Friday to try to do two stops because it felt OK,” he said.

    “Today it worked well. We gained a lot of places.

    “I didn’t have a great start or first or second lap. But after that, the car started to come to me and I could start pushing more and more.”

  6. After a strong drive in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Paul di Resta was not feeling downbeat after missing out on a podium finish. The Scotsman was overtaken by Romain Grosjean in the last remaining laps of the race. has the story.

    Paul di Resta refused to be too downbeat despite being denied what would have been his first Formula 1 podium just six laps from the finish of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    The Briton’s two-stop strategy, married to a third-row starting berth, meant he was a permanent fixture at the front of the race, even leading for three laps.

    He looked well-placed for at least a podium heading into the final sequence of pitstops, but he lost second to the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and then came under increasing pressure from the Finn’s team-mate Romain Grosjean. The latter was able to find a way through six laps from the end.

    Despite losing out on a breakthrough grand prix rostrum, di Resta emphasised the positives he and Force India were able to take from the race.

    “Overall we can be positive. It does [match my best result] and it’s probably the strongest race I’ve had,” di Resta said.

    “I ran very strong in race and was strong throughout the weekend. I led for quite a while. We can be on the podium one day.

    “[The podium fight] was very close. We were always going to be disadvantaged with our strategy and unfortunately I think Grosjean not qualifying, and having two new sets of medium tyres, [was] always going to be strong.

    “Had he got caught up behind [Mark] Webber I think I’d have been OK.

    “[Fourth] is a big credit to all the boys. We didn’t get the rewards in Malaysia but to come away with one really good results before the European season is very good – and we’ve got some goodies coming [for Spain].”

  7. Fernando Alonso could have won the Bahrain Grand Prix but for the DRS failure that forced him to make two unscheduled pit-stops, according to Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.

    The Spaniard’s DRS rear wing stuck open while running second on lap seven, forcing him into the pits for emergency repairs.

    The problem recurred when he returned to the track however, forcing him straight back into the pits.

    Domenicali believes that the pace Alonso showed in recovering to eighth place suggests he could have been a victory contender.

    “It is a bit unfortunate, because with the performance that Fernando had today we could have done an incredible job,” said Domenicali.

    “He was flying without the DRS, he was overtaking without the DRS – it’s difficult to ask more than that from Fernando.

    “I don’t want to say that we would have been able to win because it is easy to say that, but theoretically it was possible.”

    Domenicali would not confirm the exact details of the DRS problem, but did confirm that it was not related to the hydraulics of the actuator.

    Television footage suggests that the upper element of the wing had over-extended, meaning that it was unable to return to its starting position

    “It is a mechanical problem, not a hydraulic problem,” he said when asked about the problem by AUTOSPORT.

    “He [Fernando] was convinced that there was a problem with the rear tyres going away earlier than we were expected but we saw from the data that there was this problem on the rear wing.

    “So we had to call him in because the regulations force us to do it.

    “We put it back and it seemed that the situation was right and then suddenly we saw the problem came back again.

    “We had to call him back and then after that moment it was clear there was a real issue on the wing and we said to him not to use it again.”

    When pressed by AUTOSPORT on the reason why the team made the error of activating the DRS after the initial problem, Domenicali blamed the lack of time in the pits.

    “You try to react in the seconds you have to look at it and that is the reason [for] what happened,” said Domenicali.

    “It was unfortunate and we have to accept it and need to react for the future.”


  8. Despite the criticism from Jenson Button for being too aggressive, McLaren are really keen for Sergio Perez to keep showing this fighting spirit over the next few races. has the story.

    McLaren will ask Sergio Perez to slightly calm his style after his clashes with team-mate Jenson Button in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but not at the expense of the Mexican’s “spark”.

    Button described Perez’s driving as “too aggressive” following a lengthy dice in which the two McLarens made contact more than once. Perez felt Button had been equally culpable.

    Team boss Martin Whitmarsh had urged Perez to toughen up in the wake of his disappointing first few races for McLaren, and declined to come down too hard on his driver.

    “I think it was tough – Checo [Perez] is a young driver, he was robust,” said Whitmarsh.

    “What you don’t do is hit your team-mate from behind and potentially give him a puncture and potentially knock your front wing off.

    “People have been saying he hasn’t had the spark this year but I think he definitely did today.”

    Whitmarsh believes Perez will take a big confidence boost from his Bahrain performance. He ultimately finished sixth, four places ahead of Button.

    “Overall, it was a fantastic fighting result,” said Whitmarsh.

    “It was uncomfortable and cost us a bit as a team but he’ll come out of it with confidence.

    “He’s a young driver, he’s going to learn, perhaps calm down a little bit in some things but at the same time it’s that passion that got him past a few more drivers later in the race.

    “You don’t want to extinguish the spark.

    “We can focus on some of the things that weren’t perfect today but we’ve got to say our car’s not quick enough and he fought very, very hard for sixth place.”

    The team chief added that the events of Sakhir had not made him question McLaren’s practice of letting its drivers race hard at all.

    “Some of the driving was marginal between the two of them but that’s what happens when you allow your drivers to race,” said Whitmarsh.

    “We allow our drivers to race; if you don’t the guy behind has the conviction he was quicker, that he would have got by and that he was harmed by the decision.

    “I had a lot of noise in my ear from people suggesting I should stop them racing.

    “We didn’t, and it can go horribly wrong, but I think on balance it was the right thing in the long-term for both drivers to know they are racing each other and be prepared to.”

  9. Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli believes debris on the track was the cause of Felipe Massa’s punctures. has the details.

    Pirelli believes debris was to blame for both of Felipe Massa’s punctures in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    The Ferrari driver was forced to make two extra pitstops at Sakhir to replace damaged right rear tyres on a weekend when other drivers – including Lewis Hamilton – also suffered tyre issues.

    Although Felipe Massa was unsure about the exact cause of the deflations, Hembery says that Pirelli’s initial investigations point towards debris triggering the failures, rather than structural problems.

    “The first one we have got a big cut through the tread pack and the second one has a cut in the sidewall. We can see through the tread as there is a hole through the top of the tread as well,” Hembery told AUTOSPORT.

    “Plus, one of them came back with a bag of carbon from another car, some very large pieces of carbon. It shows that there was quite a lot of debris out there.”

    Massa himself has no doubt that the second tyre failure was caused by a puncture, but he was less convinced about the first.

    “The biggest problem was the punctures, which I think were two different reasons,” he explained. “The first was maybe delamination of the tyre, but the second was a puncture.

    “I didn’t touch anybody so I think it was debris. The first one it started vibrating a lot and then on the back straight, the vibration was so hard I had to get out of the throttle.

    “The second one was a puncture. I got to the last corner, there was no tyre – no warning, it was just gone. This never happened to me before, two punctures in one race.”

    Hembery said that Pirelli would hold a post-event debrief with Ferrari to find out more details about what happened.

    “People are doubting that it was debris, and saying ‘yeah you would say that, sure’ but it is quite interesting that actually we got the [quarantine] bag back with the bits in today and they are not small pieces,” he said. “It is very dramatic.

    “We don’t know if Felipe had any contact at all, and that is something we need to talk to Ferrari about, as we don’t follow each individual car around.

    “But from what we have seen so far it was debris, which probably led to some slow deflation. Then the air heats up and that has caused the instant deflation.”

  10. Red Bull still wants Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli to change its tyres for the remainder of the season, even though it triumphed at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Sebastian Vettel extended his championship lead to 10 points with a dominant performance at Sakhir to prove that Red Bull had got on top of the more aggressive tyre compounds being used this year.

    But Red Bull chief Christian Horner insisted that his team’s latest success has not altered its regularly stated belief that the 2013 tyres are too soft.

    When asked by AUTOSPORT if the Bahrain performance meant that Red Bull was now happy with the rubber, Horner said: “No, I think the tyres are still too on an edge.

    “Needing to four-stop in a race is I think a bit too extreme. There are other teams that look like they have bigger issues than Red Bull with their tyres, but you need to speak to them to ask their opinion.

    “But I do feel the tyres are on an edge and just need to come back a little bit.”

    Horner suggested that although it looked like Vettel and Red Bull had mastered the tyres, their performance was flattered by getting into the right balance window.

    “These tyres are very complex and we got it just right here,” he said.

    “The strategy worked, the strategy from qualifying worked in conserving tyres for the race, and Seb had plenty in hand.

    “When you’re in the window with the balance with these tyres, then you can have a dominant display.

    “But that window is very, very fine and if you’re outside of it then you can be four or five-stopping.

    Pirelli is holding a meeting at its Milan factory on Tuesday to evaluate how its tyres performed in the first four races of the season, and work out if any changes are needed for the remainder of the campaign.

    Paul Hembery, its motorsport director, suggested earlier in the week that any modifications made to the compounds would only be minor.

    He also argued that the situation in Bahrain of high-degrading tyres was an extreme, caused by the combination of high temperatures and a punishing track configuration also experienced in Malaysia.

    “We are at extremes, as we were last year when there were similar comments like, ‘oh my god, you have gone too far,'” he told AUTOSPORT.

    “If we made products that would just work here, we would find we had major problems when we got to the rest of the season. So, it is a balancing act.”


  11. The opportunity to win the Bahrain Grand Prix was a possibility for Lotus and yet the end result was second and third. Despite this good result, Lotus admits missing the victory was not a disgrace. has the news story.

    Lotus boss Eric Boullier says his team has no reason to be disappointed at missing out on victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean’s chances of victory were effectively dashed by a poor performance in qualifying, which left them unable to threaten eventual winner Sebastian Vettel in the key early stages of the race.

    With the pair coming through to finish second and third, there was every chance they could have challenged for the win if they had started near the front.

    But Boullier says his outfit should not be downbeat that it missed a good opportunity to win.

    “I have to be happy obviously,” Boullier told AUTOSPORT. “It is a great result for the team.

    “We worked very hard, and everybody back in Enstone built up very well, so we had a nice weekend.

    “We had a little bit of a blow in qualifying, but it was a good recovery from the positions on the grid.

    “It is clearly good, and an even better point as well is that Romain is clearly now back on track.”

    Boullier also believed his team had done the right thing in bringing forward Raikkonen’s final stop of the race, even though the Finn questioned the move over the radio.

    “We could have gone longer, but we wanted to protect our position and make an easy move on Paul di Resta,” said Boullier.

    “We knew we would be comfortably second, so there was no risk to be taken at this stage.

    “It would have been difficult to push on for the win, and anyway the original strategy was only to stop one or two laps later.”

  12. The intra-team battle between Jenson Button and Sergio Perez was the main highlight of the Bahrain Grand Prix and yet McLaren are not fearful of the driver feud. has the details.

    McLaren is not worried that the battle between Jenson Button and Sergio Perez at the Bahrain Grand Prix will boil over in to a feud.

    Button was left fuming at the aggressive manner in which Perez attacked him over the course of their scrap at Sakhir, with the pair making light contact and banging wheels.

    McLaren admitted that Perez had gone a step too far when his front wing brushed Button’s rear wheel at one point, but the team was happy to not call off the fight.

    And although both men criticised the other for how robust they were, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh thinks a line will be drawn under the matter before the next race in Spain.

    “I have spoken to Jenson now and the thing is he is so mature in his attitude,” explained Whitmarsh.

    “That is the good thing about Jenson. He can stand back and be reflective in a way that you cannot when you are hot and sticky after just stepping out of the cockpit.

    “Very quickly he gets to that point where, because he is an intelligent guy, he will know that Sergio is not a bad guy.”

    Whitmarsh believes that Perez’s approach to the race was a reflection of the pressure he has come under in his early races for McLaren.

    “Jenson knows his team-mate has been under the hammer,” he said.

    “He [Perez] is young, he has had a bit of pressure, he has something to learn and he had a point to prove.

    “He was just a guy under pressure who possibly pushed a little bit too hard on some of those issues, but that is human.

    “They are easy guys to manage because they are really good people, and there is a good spirit between all parts of the team.

    “We are racers and each half of the garage wants to beat the other half, but I think it is a good dynamic.”

  13. Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes faces a “massive mission” to get on top of its rear tyre struggles, after a disappointing Bahrain Grand Prix.

    The German qualified on pole position but he tumbled down the order in the race to finish ninth, as he was not able to look after his rear tyres as much as his rivals.

    With the Sakhir weekend having highlighted the key area that Mercedes needs to improve, Rosberg is under no illusions about the hard work that he and his outfit now face.

    “[In terms of] the way we manage the tyres and the tyre temperatures, we took a step in the wrong direction and didn’t get the best out if it,” said Rosberg on his official video blog.

    “Altogether, from first to ninth was unreal. I can’t believe it. This sport is tough sometimes.

    “As nice as it was on Saturday with the pole, it was a terrible Sunday. But there we go.

    “The great thing is we have a great car. We just need to sort out these tyre issues, which is easier said than done.

    “It is a massive mission and it is the same for everyone. Some people are doing a better job so we are pushing hard for that. ”

    Rosberg had gone in to the race well aware that he would struggle to keep his advantage at the front, but even he admitted that he did not expect it to go wrong as much as it did.

    “We had a great start and lots of fighting, but I knew from corner three onwards I could see the guys behind were putting so much pressure on that I could not go their pace,” he said.

    “It was tough and I was disappointed as I wanted to be on the podium or fight for the win, or whatever, but to go backwards? It is not great, definitely not great.”

    Team principal Ross Brawn had said before the weekend that the Bahrain GP would give Mercedes an indicator of if it could be a genuine title contender this season.


  14. Ferrari are not feeling dejected about title hopes following another operational error that cost lead driver Fernando Alonso to score big points. has the news story.

    Ferrari insists it is not despondent about its championship situation, after another operational error cost Fernando Alonso in Bahrain.

    Alonso had looked like being Sebastian Vettel’s main challenger for victory at Sakhir, but his race was wrecked by a DRS failure that meant his wing flap would not close after being activated.

    The problem meant he had to stop in the pits twice, once when the issue came to light the first time, and again shortly after when he tried to use DRS once more.

    Sunday’s result left Alonso 30 points behind Vettel in the championship, but Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali believes there is more than enough time to close that gap.

    “The gap is 30 points now, but if he has zero points next time and we win, it will be five,” explained Domenicali.

    “With only four races gone, there is plenty of time. Don’t forget, we had a 50 points [advantage] last summer, so it is easy stuff.”

    Domenicali suggests that Vettel’s performance in Bahrain was flattered by the way he was able to control his speed at the front, allowing him to manage his tyre life.

    “Sebastian did a very good race, but he was alone and was able to control the pace,” said Domenicali.

    “We know that when you have this kind of situation, you manage the tyres the best. We saw that in the last race on our side.

    “Fernando would have done a very good race, so we need to make sure that in the future we don’t have these kinds of situations.”

    With the DRS failure in Bahrain coming so soon after Ferrari mistakenly left Alonso out on track with a broken wing in Malaysia, Domenicali knows that his team has not made the most of its opportunities this year.

    However, he reckoned it best Ferrari did not rue the errors it had made, and instead made sure it gets matters sorted for the rest of the season.

    “It’s a shame and in this moment it is better to keep the heads up and not to cry too much,” he said.

    “The biggest things are not positives. We have less points than we should have if you put in place the real performance of the car.

    “We could have been always on the podium, and we could have added another win. That’s the situation.

    “I am sure that the positives will come back and the negatives we had on our side maybe will affect the others soon.

    “We need to stay focused. The championship is so long and there is no use to cry too much.”

  15. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton believes the cooler weather will aid performance in the upcoming races in Europe following a disappointing result in the heat of Bahrain. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton believes that the cooler conditions of upcoming races in Europe will suit Mercedes, after the team struggled to look after its tyres in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn had said before the Sakhir event that if his outfit performed well in Bahrain then it would be quick everywhere because it was a track where it had struggled in 2012.

    But although Nico Rosberg took pole position, he and Hamilton were beset by tyre overheating issues throughout the weekend and found themselves unable to challenge for a podium.

    Their plight has highlighted the work Mercedes still needs to do before it can regularly challenge at the front, but Hamilton says he is not leaving Bahrain feeling downbeat.

    When asked by AUTOSPORT if the tyre struggles were evidence the team could face similar difficulties to those of last year, Hamilton said: “We had a long meeting about that.

    “We got a lot of information from these first four races to know that going to a cooler Europe will be good for us.

    “It is good to get one of the most difficult races of the year out of the way in terms of heat, but there are a lot of areas that we need to improve on.

    “To get fifth, two thirds and a fifth [in the first four races], though, I could not be happier.

    “When I decided to join the team I knew potentially it could be a lot worse than that.”

    Even though the Bahrain weekend did not suggest that Mercedes’ rear tyre issues are a thing of the past, Hamilton does not think its plight is a cause for concern.

    “Mercedes never was quick here,” he said. “Last year Red Bull won here and they have been strong for the last three years I am pretty sure, so that is not a real surprise.

    “I don’t think it will be like that in all the races. Red Bull have struggled in qualifying at some races, and when we get to the cool places maybe we will be closer.”

    Although Hamilton missed out on achieving his third consecutive podium finish, he says considering the gearbox change and early race form, ending up fifth at the chequered flag was a tremendous achievement.

    “It was a massive positive, that race,” said Hamilton. “I am very happy with it.

    “Fifth was the best we were hoping to get, and obviously after the first half of the race which was a disaster for me, I kept thinking that even that would not be possible.

    “So, after falling back so far, I feel great.”

  16. Jenson Button and Sergio Perez have settled their differences over their Bahrain Grand Prix duel in a behind closed doors meeting with senior team management, AUTOSPORT has learned.

    After the pair clashed on track in an aggressive fight for position at Sakhir, Button and Perez spoke out against each other immediately after the race.

    With the matter having spilt over in to the public domain – both through team radio broadcast on television and post-race television interviews – McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh and sporting director Sam Michael elected to ensure that the matter did not continue into the break before the Spanish GP.

    In an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT on Monday, Michael revealed that the four of them got together late on Sunday in Bahrain to vent their true feelings so the controversy did not cloud the rest of the campaign.

    “Both Jenson and Checo had an opportunity to express their views to us, and then we gave them the team’s position,” said Michael.

    “That position is quite simple: McLaren allows both its drivers to race hard and fair, and in return its drivers must respect that trust and mustn’t let the team down.

    “It was a good discussion, and both Jenson and Checo were keen not only to talk the issues through but also to part on good terms.”

    Michael has revealed that in the meeting both Button and Perez admitted that they could have handled the race situation better, while the team also reckoned it played a part in not helping the matter.

    “Checo was understandably pleased with his performance, but he appreciates that at times it was too close to the mark,” said Michael.

    “Likewise, Jenson acknowledges that during the race he reacted harshly to some of the occurrences.

    “Together we’ve reviewed all the detail – the precise content of which is not appropriate for external discussion.

    “However, the team also has to accept that, in not imposing a team order on either of our drivers, despite our seeing on our pit wall monitors an increasingly intense battle unfolding between them, we weren’t adopting what you could term a ‘caution-optimised’ strategy.

    “But that’s the way McLaren goes motor racing – always has, always will.

    “Some of the most exciting moments of modern-era Grand Prix racing were provided by McLaren team-mates Ayrton [Senna] and Alain [Prost] fighting each other on track in the late 1980s, and Ron [Dennis] didn’t impose team orders on them in those days either.

    “Jenson and Lewis [Hamilton] have had their fair share of on-track battles over the past three years too – and, although they caused some nail-biting moments on the pit wall, we didn’t intervene. And that was right.”


  17. Despite the incredible result that mirrored the year, I was fairly bored. The battle with the McLarens added a bit of spice and to be honest what more do you want form a driver you’ve asked to be more aggressive in regard to Perez. But that team are seriously shite at the moment, and need some major upgrades to get a decent car on the track. They are seriously lacking and I think you can rule them out for any challenge this year.

    I just don’t anything happening this year. Consistency pretty much wins the day and McLaren haven’t had consistency as far as I can remember. Hell even Lewis winning the championship was by done by just a few positions in the final race. I was a massive fan with Lewis and Jenson in the driving seats and way before then, but it was always countered with a hatred of the people in charge.

    Bad decisions cost them driver and constructor titles, so I think a shack up is needed and, well, basically, drop Whitless (Whitmarsh). They need a proper threat of sacking. Ferrari had it I’m sure with Stefano Domenicali and things changed for the better.

    This team needs the same and Lewis made the right choice to move. He saw they were going nowhere but down and got out. People laughed and whinged, but it was the right move, I’m convinced and with 2014 being a HUGE car change, I just don’t see the talent in McLaren to make a decent car. Oh and it’s also very apparent the team spirit has gone. The PR segments the team put out look so forced and pretty cheesy. Sure Lewis and Jenson put out some cheese, but it was all in the name of fun. So far I see no fun at all.

    It’s shame the Mercedes team cannot produce the race performance they get from the qualifying performance. But there is promise and as Lewis often reports, they are doing a lot better than he expected. Hell, I think the whole team are doing better than they expected.

    But meh, it was fairly lame race and I still think the race should not be going ahead. Bernie says F1 should not be involved a counties politics. Well for one how ironic since F1 is all about politics and second, despite his views, at the race it’s all about him appearing to be best buddies with the government. You can’t have it both ways, but money talks and F1 will always side with the money.

    While we have another big break, at least for the next few races, we will have decent start times. Work and family dictate I can’t really get up so early to watch it live, so it’ll be nice trying to avoid the news and watch it as it happens. The bad news for the family is of course having recorded the race, I can skip to the beginning and in the BBC’s case no forum afterwards. With 1om start times, the build up and red button footage means while I get the full experience, everyone else has to suffer, OH WELL!

    On a side not, while I cant stand pretty much any of the presenting team on Sky (Simon Lazenby is No.1 douch and can shit right off), the BBC’s front woman Suzi Perry needs to get better real fast. While great to look at especially in skin tight white jeans (far better than DC lol) she does seem to come across and a bit simple and well, dumb. Jake was the same tho and I grew to really like him when he got settled in. While she handled the Superbikes very well, even tho she has the same job in F1 with being in-front of camera and being talked to constantly in the ear, in F1 she stumbles way to often.

    But Christ she has some outstanding legs!

  18. Oh and when Martin was doing his grid walk interviewing Niki Lauda, Helmut Marko was just leaving and Martin asked what was so funny as the two were laughing when he walked up to them.

    Niki’s reply was “Helmut was just asking, why are you saying nice things about Webber?”

    Huh, how despicable.

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