Sebastian Vettel romped to another convincing victory at last weekend’s 2013 Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, prompting the question, can anyone stop Red Bull?
The German driver qualified second but lost out at the start to Ferrari driver and last week’s winner in China, Fernando Alonso. The Spanish driver capitalised on a strong launch off the line, demoting Vettel to third with a spectacular move.
It was short lived however, as the Red Bull driver breezed past the Ferrari just a few corners later. From then it was just a matter of time before he took the lead.
Vettel has been criticised for not being able to race wheel to wheel in the past, making rash, hot-headed and impatient moves. Despite the soaring temperatures in the Bahrain desert, Vettel kept his cool, stalking down first place driver and pole sitter Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes.
A few laps later the reigning world champion passed Rosberg to take the lead, driving a flawless race to the finish and showing the rest of the field just how to manage to often troublesome Pirelli tyres.
From there it was a case of best of the rest, with Alonso, Lotus teammates Raikkonen and Grosjean and both the McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez making progress.
The Ferrari man’s Drag Reduction System on his car’s rear wing, and along with it his chance of victory, while the two Lotuses taking second and third with Raikkonen and Grosjean respectively.
T W White & Sons’ supported team and our local F1 squad McLaren continued to make real progress with its car. After making it through to final qualifying, former world champion Jenson Button didn’t set a time, helping him save a set of tyres.
From his 10th position on the grid he was elevated to eighth, following grid penalties for Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton. Fellow McLaren driver Perez put in a solid Saturday performance, starting 12th on the grid, elevated to 11th by Hamilton’s five-place penalty.
The McLaren’s showed real speed in the race, too – not least against each other.
The two Woking drivers battled it out on the track, rubbing wheels on the main straight at over 180mph and trading paint in the sinuous turns of the sandy circuit.
Perez eventually finished sixth, ahead of Webber, Alonso and pole sitter Rosberg, while Button eventually finished 10th. After an initial struggle this season the McLaren squad has worked relentlessly to develop the car and improve its pace, with both drivers rising to the challenge.
It was a decent points haul for the famous constructor, with Button and Perez climbing the standings to 10th and 11th respectively. McLaren now lie sixth in the constructor’s championship – arguably not where a team of its calibre should be, but importantly it’s moving in the right direction.
Despite the political issues in the Kingdom and the question of whether the race should go ahead or not, there was one resounding message to take away from the 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel are going to be tough to bet this season.