At the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend all eyes were on Mercedes F1 to see if the team that’s dominated Formula One 2014 so far could make it three in a row. Fans of the Silver Arrows weren’t disappointed.
Right from the off both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set the pace, with the Brit just being pipped to pole by his German teammate. Clearly the class of the field, even third place qualifier Daniel Ricciardo was nearly one second back.
Despite an impressive performance, the Australian’s hard work was undone by a 10-place grid penalty resulting from an unsafe pit lane release last time out in Malaysia.
Still, it was a better performance than four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel could manage in the sister car. The German was knocked out of qualifying in the second session. He wasn’t happy.
It was a decent performance for the McLaren pairing, recording a solid qualifying result – Button bagged seventh spot while Magnussen set a time good enough for ninth, with both moving up one place due to Ricciardo’s penalty.
If Saturday was Mercedes’ asserting their authority, Sunday was a demonstration in total and utter annihilation. From the moment the lights went out, both cars romped off into the distance, leaving the rest of the field trailing in their wake.
However, it was Hamilton that got the better of Rosberg at the first corner, signalling the eventual finishing order.
Rosberg didn’t go down without a fight, however. After a safety car was issued when Pastor Maldonado collided with Esteban Gutierrez, flipping the Sauber driver’s car upside down, it left a 10-lap sprint to the finish.
From the restart, Rosberg challenged Hamilton hard, attempting two overtaking moves into turn one. Hamilton was wise to the attack however, electing to let Rosberg sail by and under cut him on the exit of the corner.
The real action came at the fast turn four as Rosberg attempted to go round the outside of Hamilton, only for the British driver to fairly squeeze him out to the edge of the track.
A great display of bravery ensued as the pair went side by side into the fast left-right kinks of turn five, six and seven.
Eventually, Hamilton held out for the win, with Rosberg coming home right behind in second. Sergio Perez rounded off the podium for Force India in third, while Daniel Ricciardo charged hard from 13th on the grid to finish fourth, ahead of teammate in sixth.
It was a disappointing weekend for Ferrari again, with Fernando Alonso crossing the line in night while Raikkonen followed the Spaniard home in 10th. It seems Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo isn’t happy with the new rules, likening the 2014 regulations to “taxi driving” due to the apparent need to conserve fuel and tyres. Mercedes seem to be managing…
Unfortunately for our local squad McLaren, the race didn’t deliver on the promise of qualifying, with both cars retiring before the finish. However, the team once again showed good pace, which bodes well for the rest of the season.
It might not have been McLaren’s weekend, but the Bahrain Grand Prix proved that the new 2014 F1 rulebook is working – there was great racing all through the field, right from the sharp end through the battles for the final few points.
If this is how the season will paly out, we can’t wait for the next race. How about you?