After more races than I can remember, we finally were treated to an strategic and intriguing Formula 1 race today in Bahrain (politics aside). At last we had the top teams utilizing various strategies among their cars, leading to an uncertain contest and an exciting battle for the win between winner Sebastian Vettel and Valteri Bottas.
Handicapped by his 9th place starting spot, Lewis Hamilton was able to savage a 3rd place finish but clearly he wanted more. And judging by the provided in-car radio communications, clearly their selected strategy caused him & the team confusion and uncertainty throughout the race. Radio problems didn’t help. Imagine their problems if the Red Bulls hadn’t broken down and had remained in the fight. Perhaps Lewis should actually leave the the Gulf Emirate happy with his 15 points based on the issues he faced throughout their troubled weekend.
Truly impressive was Vettel and Ferrari’s ability to stretch the Soft tire (tyre) for nearly 40 laps and still be able to hold off a charging Bottas on his fresher Medium tire over the last 5 laps. And perhaps Bottas’ tires weren’t all that great after going over 30 laps themselves.
But it wasn’t all roses for Ferrari as Raikkonen’s race came to an early end due to an unacceptable and completely preventable accident during his pitstop, resulting in a severely injured crew member. Hopefully, he’ll recover fully soon and they will never repeat such an absurd mistake. It would have been super interesting had Raikkonen’s pitstop gone correctly and he would have joined in the final charge on the softest, freshest tires. In a pure analysis, his strategy probably calculates to be the fastest to the finish.
There were interesting battles throughout the field and great surprises from Toro Rosso and Sauber. Gasly’s 4th place is just insane and completely unexplainable. Magnusson delivered a strong 5th to make up for the Aussie debacle. Hulkenberg’s 6th, Alonso’s 7th and Vandoorne 8th’s are pretty much what expected, but how did Sauber and Ericsson pull a 9th out of their hat? Not a great day for Force India with just Ocon’s 10th place points. Somebody has to finish outside the top 10 and Sainz should have had to pace to stay in front of Vandoorne & Ericsson but he and Renault didn’t get the job done. Perez, Grosjean and Hartley had penalties or issues from banging wheels with others.
LeClerc beat the Williams, which are truly lost so far this year. Sad what has happened to the once proud championship team and it seems they only have themselves to blame.
|4||10||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||57||+62.234s||12|
|7||14||MCLAREN RENAULT||56||+1 lap||6|
|8||2||MCLAREN RENAULT||56||+1 lap||4|
|9||9||SAUBER FERRARI||56||+1 lap||2|
|10||31||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||56||+1 lap||1|
|12||11||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||56||+1 lap||0|
|13||28||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||56||+1 lap||0|
|14||16||SAUBER FERRARI||56||+1 lap||0|
|15||8||HAAS FERRARI||56||+1 lap||0|
|16||18||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||56||+1 lap||0|
|17||35||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||56||+1 lap||0|
|NC||33||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||3||DNF||0|
|NC||3||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1||DNF||0|
* Provisional results