The desert storm has settled leaving Sebastian Vettel on the top step of the podium for Scuderia Ferrari at the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix.
It wasn’t an easy lights to flag finish obviously, because pole man Bottas didn’t win it. There was a lot of action up and down the field. Let’s talk about some of the main highlights.
Early troubles for Bottas :
Valtteri Bottas led the pack from pole, but it was hardly convincing. He looked so slow out front during the early stages of the race that the speculations started flying. Does he have an engine problem? Is he backing Vettel into Hamilton?
Photo : LAT images
As it turned out, Mercedes had generator issues on the grid which meant Valtteri’s tyres weren’t bled. This meant reduced grip and oversteer – Bottas was tip toeing out front.
Ferrari proactive with their strategy?
I know, this surprised me too. If this was last year, Ferrari would wait and wait and wait to finally mess up with their strategy.
But here, we were looking for one of the front runners to pit first and trigger a chain of reaction pit stops. It came from Ferrari. They pit Seb Vettel early. It was almost a disaster given that the safety car came out after Vettel had pit, but the Mercs had slow stacked pit stops, which meant Vettel came out in front, and stayed there.
Photo : Reuters
Hamilton deserved that penalty
Going into the pit stop under safety car, Lewis Hamilton knew that he would have to be the stackee because Bottas was lead Merc and would play the role of the stacker. So in order to give himself space, he slowed down dramatically pulling into the pit entry and continued to do so even after entering the pits, massively holding up Daniel Ricciardo behind him.
This resulted in Lewis being handed a 5 second time penalty which he took at his next pit stop, and to be fair, he seemed to accept his mistake in the post-race interviews.
It wasn’t Stroll’s fault!
Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz had a coming together out of turn 1. Carlos coming out of the pits dove down the inside of Lance who shut the door resulting in an accident.
Photo : Sky Sports
It is easy to look at that and blame the rookie, but it was Carlos’ fault. You can’t expect to dive bomb someone from 60 m away and expect to not have a crash. You could argue that Lance should be looking in his mirrors more, but this accident wasn’t his doing. Carlos Sainz has been handed a 3 place grid penalty for the Russian GP, and rightly so.
Pascal Wehrlein is back
After sitting out of the first two races of the season, Pascal Wehrlein made a return to F1 in emphatic fashion. He put his Sauber into Q2 in qualifying, and finished P11 in the race. Yes, only 13 cars finished but wasn’t the case of just bringing the Sauber home safely for Pascal, but he had to fight for position constantly and he kept Kyvat and Palmer behind him. Awesome way to silence your critics then eh?
Alonso wouldn’t stop ranting
Plagued by more..yeah you guessed it – engine problems, Fernando Alonso was constantly on the team radio during the race making his disappointment clear to his team.
“I’ve never raced with less power in my life”, exclaimed the ex Minardi driver.
“Do whatever you want mate”, he answered when his engineer asked about a tweak to the car. Clearly, Alonso can’t wait for May when he goes off to race in the Indy 500, and neither can I.
Feature image : The Durango Herald
– Aditya Bhat.