Winners and Losers at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Winners and Losers at the Bahrain Grand Prix

7 April 2014 – The 2014 edition of the Bahrain Grand Prix yielded one of the most thrilling lead battles in recent seasons, with Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg going wheel to wheel in their respective quests for intra-team supremacy. GPUpdate.net presents its winners and losers from Formula 1's 900th race.

Winners

But for a faulty piece of rubber tubing in Australia – which retails for about a pound – Lewis Hamilton would be in a commanding position in the championship. He's still playing catch-up to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, but this was a crushing performance by the 2008 World Champion. Hamilton dominated the three practice sessions but the car went away from him as the weekend progressed and he ultimately fell short in qualifying. At the start he made the marginally better start and kept his foot in it when Rosberg edged him towards the boundary of the track. The duo squabbled on the first lap but still Hamilton fended off the advances of Rosberg. Every time Rosberg attacked, Hamilton demonstrated a masterclass in the defensive skills – and when he needed to he pounced, pressing home his advantage as the Mercedes pairing swept into the esses. Late on in the race, he simply should not have been able to defend against a driver with DRS and faster tyres, yet he did. This was one of Hamilton's best drives and there could be many more to come. Once Mercedes were told they could push, the gap to third-placed Sergio Pérez just grew and grew. It was 1.7s when the safety car came in, 4.4s a lap later, then 7.1, 9.8, 12.0, 14.1. Two seconds a lap, at least. They'll take some catching.

Bahrain was to be a huge weekend for Sergio Pérez. The young Mexican went well in Bahrain in 2013 during his difficult season for McLaren, while Force India team-mate Nico Hülkenberg had taken the plaudits so far in 2014 after a fabulous couple of races. Pérez, meanwhile, had been on the receiving end of a dose of bad luck. His race in Australia was compromised after compatriot Esteban Gutiérrez punctured his tyre, while he didn't even make the start last weekend in Malaysia. Pérez, not known for his qualifying skills, comfortably saw off Hülkenberg and despite an enormous lock-up at the start, he managed to maintain his position. From there he managed the gap to the Williams of Felipe Massa and swept by when the Brazilian began to struggle with his tyres. The timing of his pit stop left Pérez behind team-mate Hülkenberg, but he remained calm and took advantage of a couple of battles ahead to scythe past the German. When the safety car was deployed, Pérez's grip in third place was loosened, yet he kept his composure and thanks to a little help from Hülkenberg, claimed a well-deserved podium.

Daniel Ricciardo had endured a miserable start to the season despite showing excellent pace, so in Bahrain it was pleasing to see the Australian having a trouble-free run to fourth place. He started way down the order, a hangover from his pit stop from hell in Malaysia. He was hindered early on by Red Bull's lack of straight line speed but in order to compensate for their deficit, they went for a short-gear meaning only Red Bull regularly reached eighth gear. Allied to a high downforce set-up it allowed Ricciardo to pass his rivals at places where only the Red Bull could go, most notably up the inside of Turn 11 or, in one instance, around the outside of Kevin Magnussen at Turn 12. On options late in the race, Ricciardo charged up the inside of team-mate Sebastian Vettel to prove that he'll be no pushover at the team and while his run to the podium came up just short, this was an exemplary race by the Australian.

Losers

A week ago, Nico Rosberg knew he was outclassed by team-mate Hamilton around the sweeping turns of Sepang. In Bahrain, it was a different story. Rosberg claimed his second successive pole at the track and was the more comfortable of the Mercedes driver with the handling of the W05. But he lost his main advantage at the very start and from there on; he was tactically inferior to Hamilton. This was the circuit where, two years ago, Rosberg announced his arrival as no pushover by edging Hamilton and Fernando Alonso onto the artificial sand, prompting the Spaniard's infamous 'you have to leave a space' rant. Hamilton is frequently labelled as an unintelligent driver compared to Rosberg – in itself a grossly unfair and lazy stereotype – but in Bahrain it was the German who should have pressed him his advantage. The timing of the safety car was a gift for Rosberg yet he tried the same approach several times to no avail. This was his race to lose and he lost it. With Mercedes having produced one of the most dominant cars in the history of Formula 1, he can't squander many more chances if he is to stop Hamilton from winning the crown.

The Sauber drivers didn't have a very good time in Bahrain. As if the fact that the car was reluctant to turn and not exactly rapid in a straight line wasn't bad enough, both drivers were taken out by errant drivers. While Adrian Sutil's clash with Jules Bianchi was more of a racing incident, Esteban Gutiérrez was the passenger in the latest antics of perennial miscreant Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan driver stumbled out of the pit lane and just went straight into Gutiérrez, tipping the Sauber driver into a flip. Maldonado typically shirked responsibility for the accident and hinted that Gutiérrez outbraked himself. The Mexican's baffled reaction while still in his car, 'what was that' suggested otherwise. Last week, we lamented the harshness of the ste wards for not allowing collisions to happen, but there is a difference. Maldonado's actions were simply clumsy and dangerous. He has been penalised, but the question is whether he has the capability to change. It's doubtful.

Luca di Montezemolo has been urging the sport to change but in reality it's not for the interests of Formula 1, it's in the interests of his Ferrari team, which has yet again come up short. Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen were sitting ducks on the straight, while the F14T was hardly handy around the corners either. Alonso conceded after the race that while Bahrain was a weak circuit for Ferrari, ninth and tenth is where they are on pure pace alone. Despite having two of the best drivers, a huge budget courtesy of their position in the sport and having re-opened their wind tunnel, the F14T looks the fifth quickest package at best. Alonso was quick to emphasise how good a job the team had done in terms of pit stops and strategy, but conceded that work has to be done with the F14T. That's an understatement. Barring a huge upturn in fortune, they can wave goodbye to any hopes of a win in 2014, let alone a shot at the world title.

Phillip Horton
Twitter: @PHortonF1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 23 October 2014

  2. Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1 13:21

    Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1

    The consortium that purchased Caterham F1 at the end of June has insisted that Tony Fernandes did not transfer the relevant...

    F1
  3. Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory 11:54

    Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory

    Further doubt has been cast over Caterham's ability to contest the remainder of the 2014 Formula 1 season after staff...

    F1
  4. MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015 10:55

    MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015

    The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has published a provisional entry list for the 2015 MotoGP season, with the...

    MotoGP
  5. Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia 10:13

    Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia

    Adderly Fong completed his maiden Formula 1 test on Wednesday, getting behind the wheel of Sauber's two-year-old C31 in...

    F1
  6. Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up 09:43

    Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up

    Felipe Massa, Sergio Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez have been confirmed on the line-up for the upcoming Austin Fans' F...

    F1
  7. Video of the Day: Racing without a driver 05:08

    Video of the Day: Racing without a driver

    A driverless Audi RS 7 was recently sent out to tackle the Hockenheim circuit. Find out how it fared.

    Misc
  8. Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia 04:47

    Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia

    Amlin Aguri has confirmed that António Félix da Costa will partner Katherine Legge for the second round of the Formula E s...

    Formula E
  9. Wednesday 22 October 2014

  10. Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit 19:37

    Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit

    Caterham's new bosses have warned that they could be forced to step away from the F1 team, claiming that Tony Fernandes...

    F1
  11. Haas: First five years revolve around survival 17:06

    Haas: First five years revolve around survival

    Gene Haas is under no illusions about the task his Formula 1 team faces when it joins the grid, stating that he will be...

    F1
  12. Background: The Toro Rosso candidates 15:57

    Background: The Toro Rosso candidates

    New Toro Rosso recruit Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver in F1 history when he takes to the grid aged 17 next...

    F1
  13. Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation 15:12

    Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation

    Mercedes-Benz will stage the once annual 'Stars & Cars' event at its Stuttgart museum on November 29. Lewis Hamilton, who...

    F1
  14. Sam Michael set to leave McLaren 13:15

    Sam Michael set to leave McLaren

    McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael is to leave the team at the end of the season. A McLaren spokesperson has confirmed...

    F1
  15. Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015 11:12

    Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015

    Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez says he expects to retain Romain Grosjean for the 2015 season, despite admitting that the...

    F1
  16. 09:43

    Photos: Márquez, Pedrosa visit Indonesia

    MotoGP
  17. Pérez on brink of new Force India deal 09:34

    Pérez on brink of new Force India deal

    Sergio Pérez says he is likely to sign a fresh Force India deal "in the next week", a move that would complete the outfit's...

    F1
  18. Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success 05:15

    Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff discusses the brand's maiden Formula 1 Constructors' success.

    F1
  19. Tuesday 21 October 2014

  20. 16:03

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  21. Silverstone senior executives suspended 13:55

    Silverstone senior executives suspended

    The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has taken "a closer role" in the day-to-day running of Silverstone following the...

    F1
  22. Caterham insists team not threatened 12:25

    Caterham insists team not threatened

    Caterham has dismissed media reports suggesting that Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) being placed into administration will...

    F1
  23. Lotus mourns death of Total chief 11:08

    Lotus mourns death of Total chief

    Lotus says it has been left "shocked" and "deeply saddened" by the death of Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of team...

    F1
  24. Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name 09:50

    Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name

    The Spa-Francorchamps circuit says it will contest an application from car manufacturer Nissan to trademark "Eau...

    F1
  25. Video: Miami welcomes Formula E 09:30

    Video: Miami welcomes Formula E

    Watch as the track layout for the Miami ePrix, scheduled to take place on March 14 next year, is revealed.

    Formula E
  26. Miami reveals Formula E circuit layout 09:22

    Miami reveals Formula E circuit layout

    Miami has become the latest Formula E host to reveal its track layout for the electric championship. Produced by track...

    Formula E
  27. Pons retains Tunjo for 2015 FR3.5 season 09:07

    Pons retains Tunjo for 2015 FR3.5 season

    Pons Racing has confirmed that Óscar Tunjo will remain with the team in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series next year. The...

    FR 3.5
  28. Video of the Day: Nasr samples FW08C 05:11

    Video of the Day: Nasr samples FW08C

    Williams reserve Felipe Nasr sampled Keke Rosberg's 1983 FW08C at the team's Partner Day at Silverstone.

    F1
  29. Monday 20 October 2014

  30. Brawn, Domenicali on new Accident Panel 17:54

    Brawn, Domenicali on new Accident Panel

    Former Formula 1 team bosses Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali have joined the FIA's new Accident Panel, which has been put...

    F1
  31. Moscow Raceway earns licence for F1 races 17:14

    Moscow Raceway earns licence for F1 races

    Moscow Raceway has been granted an FIA Grade 1 licence, allowing it to stage Formula 1 races. The track, located some...

    Misc
  32. Wolff confirmed for Race Of Champions 15:04

    Wolff confirmed for Race Of Champions

    Susie Wolff will become the first female driver to compete at the Race Of Champions after signing up for this year's event...

    F1
  33. De Vries gets FR3.5 seat with DAMS 14:43

    De Vries gets FR3.5 seat with DAMS

    McLaren junior Nyck de Vries will compete in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with reigning champion team DAMS next...

    FR 3.5
  34. Lotus to trial new nose design at Austin 13:58

    Lotus to trial new nose design at Austin

    Lotus will test a new nose during practice for the United States Grand Prix, as the team looks to finalise its design for...

    F1
  35. Rossi says tyre choice crucial to victory 13:23

    Rossi says tyre choice crucial to victory

    Valentino Rossi says choosing the extra-soft Bridgestone front tyre was crucial to his second victory of the season at...

    MotoGP
  36. Force India retains Hülkenberg for 2015 10:08

    Force India retains Hülkenberg for 2015

    Force India has confirmed that Nico Hülkenberg will continue to race for the team next season. Hülkenberg, 27, returned t...

    F1
  37. Silverstone, Le Mans back on FR3.5 calendar 09:19

    Silverstone, Le Mans back on FR3.5 calendar

    The World Series by Renault package, which includes Formula Renault 3.5, will return to Silverstone and Le Mans next...

    FR 3.5
  38. Sainz Jr. elated by championship success 07:22

    Sainz Jr. elated by championship success

    Red Bull youngster Carlos Sainz Jr. hailed his "incredible" season after he succeeded Kevin Magnussen as Formula Renault 3.5...

    FR 3.5
  39. Video of the Day: Mercedes celebrates title 05:04

    Video of the Day: Mercedes celebrates title

    Mercedes celebrates its first Formula 1 Constructors' success at its bases in Brackley and Brixworth.

    F1
  40. Sunday 19 October 2014

  41. DTM champion Wittmann gets Toro Rosso test 20:39

    DTM champion Wittmann gets Toro Rosso test

    Marco Wittmann will receive a Formula 1 test with Toro Rosso as his reward from BMW for winning this year's DTM...

    DTM
  42. Verstappen ends F3 season in third place 17:11

    Verstappen ends F3 season in third place

    Future Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen has finished his sole FIA Formula 3 European campaign in third place after losing...

    F1
  43. Kubica: Formula 1 return would be a dream 14:30

    Kubica: Formula 1 return would be a dream

    Robert Kubica says he has not yet given up on the prospect of returning to Formula 1 at some point in the future and will...

    F1
  44. 13:38

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Sunday at Jerez

    FR 3.5
  45. Dominant Rowland wins FR3.5 finale at Jerez 13:37

    Dominant Rowland wins FR3.5 finale at Jerez

    Oliver Rowland claimed victory in the final race of the Formula Renault 3.5 season as he controlled proceedings throughout...

    FR 3.5
more news