2012 Bahrain Grand Prix Review – Live on Twitter

Posted: April 25, 2012 by thevillainf1 in 2012 Grand Prix reviews - Live on twitter

We all know it was so very wrong to indulgence in Bernie’s money-grubbing and go to Bahrain despite the mess the country is in at the moment, but the racefan in us was yet again treated to quite an enjoyable race. While not on the level of China – that epic 6 car scrap for 2nd place will be hard to top this season– Bahrain shocked the world by providing us with some fun times on the track, for the first time since F1 started going there in 2004.  Join me for the 2nd installment of backmarkersF1’s race reviews and see how the race unfolded in real time on twitter.

Of course, we could all be bummed out by the fact that we’ve had to endure the finger again on both Saturday and Sunday – the nightmares of 2011 re-emerging just as I stopped wetting my bed – one cannot take a well deserved win away from Vettel… But that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it!

In another extremely tight quali session he produced a perfect lap while his main challengers Rosberg and Hamilton made mistakes. This left the finger to start on pole yet again, and fears were immediately there of him doing a repeat 2011 performance of buzzing away at the front from lap 1 onwards. Schumi of course can’t catch any break this season as he was out in Q3 with a broken DRS and a stonking lap from Heikki – 1 full second faster than the rudderless Russian.

Of course the loyal backmarkersF1 crowd knew Heikki’s top performance and Caterham’s first appearance into q2 was all due to our #PERRRRKELE efforts, as we gave Heikki maximum Powa and reached (very, very) brief interwebz fame as even @myCaterhamF1 used the hashtag we inspired!

Schumi was joined in backmarkers hell by Vergne for the third time in a row, while his teammate Ricciardo qualified a highly impressive 6th. Ouch..

On to the race then and soon it become clear that what everyone had feared was becoming a reality: Vettel got away off the line very smoothly and by lap 1 had already build a gap and proceeded to speed away from Hamilton building himself that nice cushion from where he can manage the race as he did expertly so many times last year.  While some may have expected Hamilton to start catching  Vettel near the end of the 1st stint, it was Hamilton who started feeling the pressure from behind. It all would matter very little in the end as the Mclaren boys did everything they can to ruin Lewis’ race.with one failed pitstop after the other.

On the not so sharp end of personalities – err I mean the grid, Felipe Massa was stunning the world in the early laps with some feisty driving, including a great battle with Raikkonen in the opening laps, and seemingly keeping pace with Alonso throughout much of the race. While it petered out nearing the end of the race, and Massa still got whooped by his teammate with a whopping 6 tenths gap in quali and a few places down in the result, at least he managed to put himself on the points table.

As the pitstop game played out, and Mclaren kept failing again and again, it quickly emerged that only the Lotus cars would be able to put up a challenge to SebVet. At first Grosjean was leading his teammate, but on older tyres he managed to hold up Raikkonene for 2-3 laps. While we must give credit to Lotus for letting their guys race, it meant another delay for Raikkonen (after losing time fighting vs Massa in the beginning), and it’s likely he would have caught Vettel sooner before the end of their 2nd stint. While the Lotus was looking good, there was still the lingering fear that Vettel was just managing the gap as he so often did, just toying with the competition.

Nonetheless Raikkonen was becoming THE story of the afternoon, outshining a superb drive from Grosjean to his very first F1 podium as Kimi filled our hearts with hope and started catching Vettel by a handful of tenths per lap. Even as he breached the 3 second barrier Vettel still did not seem to have an answer so the race was on.

Unfortunately it seems Kimi had taken the best out of his tyres by the time he got on under Vettel’s rear wing. As he got within the DRS zone he managed only one attempt at a pass into turn one, which Vettel aggressively prevented by a late chop to the inside.

However Vettel’s move looked like a schoolboys karting drive compared to what last week’s hero Rosberg managed to pull off. He was so busy pushing other guys off track, he even went off track himself. I do wonder what happened to “leaving a cars’ width” space when defending. While Hamilton seemingly stayed cool, Alonso was quite furious, as heard on the team radio, and then post race on twitter. Nando is turning out to be a pretty fun guy to follow on twitter I must say.

I’m not one for dishing out penalties at the rate they did last year, but what Rosberg was doing was pure and simple blocking, not tactical racing. It’s crowding a car about to pass you off track, not tactically defending your position by say, taking the inside line and then park it on the apex so the other guy can’t get a run at you out of the corner. Even worse is that he did it twice, but what really took the cake was that Rosberg even complained over the team radio that Hamilton passed him off track!

So while this was going on the Mclaren’s day went from bad to worse, as they hit trouble in all three of Lewis’ pitstops, and Jenson first suffered a puncture late in the race to then retire with what was reported to be a cracked exhaust. While they have one of the most consistently strong packages, their constant pitwall fumbles will end up costing them dearly. As we said at backmarkersF1 last year, Mclaren may build the best car, if they can’t get their pitwork and strategy together, they won’t be WDC or WCC for a long time coming. This subpar pitcrew performance earns them my ‘facepalm of the race’, as predicted by Mauin.

As Vettel and Raikkonen dived into the pits at the same time, it would be a battle on track, as both pit crews turned their cars around normally, leaving the whole F1 paddock with bated breath to see what Kimi could do. Vettel was streaking away early on, leading some to suspect Vettel was taking too much out of his tyres in the first part of that stint. The lotus engineers seemed to agree with a confident team radio message to their driver. ‘ his degradation is worse than us, he will come back to you’.

Alas, it never really materialized and Vettel snatched the win, although apparently not the only one being on the edge when it came to fuel loads as he pulled off straight after crossing the finish line, as did Rosberg and Massa. Despite the Vettel, win, even as a non- Vettel fan a lot was made good by Lotus first podium, Kimi’s comeback podium and Grosjean popping his podium cherry. The Lotus hashtag wheresmypodium proved to be very suited to the situation this weekend.

Di Resta made a two stop strategy work superbly with his drive to 6th, While for the first time this year both Ferrari’s where in the points, and both Saubers weren’t. Ricciardo had his race ruined after a great quali to finish after his teammate, while Kovalainen’s streak of bad luck continued with a puncture early on in the race. Schumacher fought back to a nice 10th and apart from his destruction derby antics Rosberg drove a pretty anonymous race.

Needless to say you all sucked so badly again at your predictions this weekend, I really do believe I should change our award because you are doing it on purpose! I know that next time I’m going for a crazy prediction as this season is turning out to be impossible to predict. Tune in for the next podcast soon and see you at the Mugello tests!

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