F1 Bahrain Grand Prix: “…the best driving I’ve ever seen”

Hamilton wins his second straight F1 grand prix

Mercedes leads the F1 Constructors cup

Mercedes starts the F1 season strong

Following an action packed Bahrain grand prix, David Hobbs of the NBC crew described the action as “some of the best driving I’ve ever seen”.   So after all of the griping about offseason changes, it appears that F1, the FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone have put an exciting product on the track.  Also, thanks to the first ever night race at the Bahrain circuit, US viewers (the fastest growing viewership in F1) were able to watch the race live at 10:30 am.

Lewis Hamilton won his second straight race after battling all day long with teammate Nico Rosberg who finished second.  Rosberg has found the podium in all of the first three races and leads the drivers championship in points.  The Mercedes team has dominated in the first few races, taking 5 of the 9 podium spots.  The only exception was in the season opener in which Hamilton retired and Rosberg won.

The second half of the race was a battle between the Mercedes drivers, often going tire to tire and trading positions in successive turns.  Race fans were treated to an action packed grand prix with several intra-team battles down the stretch.  Mercedes performed well in the F1 preseason practice sessions in Bahrain, prompting many, including isportsweb to predict a fast start for the duo.

Force India finds the podium

Perez and Force India make a good team

Sergio Perez finds his first F1 podium of 2014

Sergio Perez of Force India finished third, bringing Force India their first podium since 2009.  Perez and teammate Nico Hulkenberg also fought for position throughout the day.  Perez was clearly thrilled to be back on the podium after 2013 with McLaren in which he failed to finish higher than sixth.  Hulkenberg, who started 11th on the grid,  finished 5th with an impressive race all around for Force India.

Gutierrez walks away from a nasty crash

Maldonado and Gutierrez in a dangerous crash in F1 grand Prix

Maldonado and Gutierrez collide

Late in the race, Pastor Maldonado caught the back tire of Esteben Gutierrez’s Sauber Ferrari sending the number 21 car airborn and landing upside down.  What could have been a terrible crash, Maldonado got out of the vehicle unassisted and walked away.  The accident is under investigation and it seems like Maldonado has been in the middle of one too many of those incidents early in the season.  More to come on that front.

“His car is faster”

Daniel Riccardo, who placed third in qualifying was penalized for a second time in this short season and forced to start 13th.  He worked his way back up through the field in aggressive fashion to finish fourth.  The run saw him pass half the field, including teammate and four time champion Sebastian Vettel.   Over the radio, fans heard the Red Bull team instruct Seb to “let Daniel pass:  his car is faster than yours.”   Seb hasn’t always been known to heed such instruction, but he did in Bahrain and came in to finish 7th.  While disappointed not to find the podium, it was a solid race for Red Bull racing, and they seem to be getting more consistent results every week.

The Ferarri team finished 9th and 10th, and were disappointed across the board.  Fernando Alonso has performed well enough in the first three races to find himself in 4th place overall in the drivers championship.  Kimi Raikkonen, however, seems to be off to a tough start.  He hasn’t picked up a position in any of the three races, and has lost several spots in the last two races.  He seemed frustrated at his team in the middle of the race for reasons that aren’t so clear.   We’ll see what we can find out.   Out of the gate, it seems Ferrari is well behind Mercedes on mastering the new machines and regulations.

The unofficial results of the race are as follows:

2014 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX

Provisional Results

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 57 1:39:42.743 2 25
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 57 +1.0 secs 1 18
3 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 57 +24.0 secs 4 15
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 57 +24.4 secs 13 12
5 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 57 +28.6 secs 11 10
6 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 57 +29.8 secs 10 8
7 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 57 +31.2 secs 7 6
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 57 +31.8 secs 3 4
9 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 57 +32.5 secs 9 2
10 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 57 +33.4 secs 5 1
11 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 57 +41.3 secs 12
12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 57 +43.1 secs 16
13 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 57 +59.9 secs 21
14 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 57 +62.8 secs 17
15 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 57 +87.9 secs 18
16 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 56 +1 Lap 19
17 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 55 +2 Laps 6
Ret 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 40 +17 Laps 8
Ret 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 39 Accident 15
Ret 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 33 +24 Laps 20
Ret 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 18 +39 Laps 14
Ret 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 17 +40 Laps 22

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