April 5, 2016

2016 Bahrain GP Executive Summary

With so many cars hitting each other and losing pieces left and right, the start of the 2016 Bahrain GP was  very entertaining.  Shame Vettel's Ferrari blew up on the warm up lap,  there was a decent chance two Ferraris could have ganged up to spoil the usual Mercedes party even more.

Interesting how Rosberg has been owning Hamilton for the last five races,  couple more and some people will begin to  get upset at Lewis.  More so if he continues to blow starts.

Now,  the first corner contact with Bottas.   Honestly this tendency of the FIA wanting to punish every single interaction is getting tiresome, not to mention,  contradictory:   on the one side they want more spectacle while on the other they try to squash any little incident.

Shameful they gave Bottas a penalty for what was clearly a racing incident in the first corner of the race.  

Look at the replay from Bottas'  camera.  you can clearly see Hamilton left room and even makes a slight move to the left before turning into the apex.
That was a hole,  not much of one but enough for the Williams driver to try it.  I'm not sure I buy Nicky Lauda's theory that Lewis never saw him coming: if he didn't, he probably should have.

Racing incident, 100%.

With typical FIA consistency, there was no investigation of the Sainz-Perez incident a lap later.

Raikkonen had an even worse start than Hamilton but Kimi's first lap was great and he had a solid rest of the race.  Despite that there will alway be those who think he should retire ...with Alonso.

One of the most amazing moments in F1 history don't you think?

But I digress.    Rookies were the stars in Bahrain,  Stoffel Vandoome and Pascal Vehrlein did well but it was Haas who defied expectations yet again.

The cool thing is Haas, led by the Ferrari trained strategist Ruth Buscombe, used a different and aggressive strategy with three stints on the super soft tires they were able to save by not making Q3 in qualifying.

That's right, going slower in qualifying is an advantage,  the mark of a brilliant format!.  But well done Haas for making the most of this mess.
The only person unhappy about the American's' great start to the season seems to be Bernie Ecclestone:

"That car is basically a Ferrari. It will perform because it’s a Ferrari. It’s a Ferrari second team,”

Not that's he's wrong,  the Haas is a Ferrari designed Dallara and there is a lot of Ferrari personnel at the American team but Ecclestone should thank his lucky stars someone found a way into the sport without totally sucking, like HRT or Marussia or Virgin did.    When regulations change in 2017 or whenever, Hass will need to design their own car and that will be their true test but for now, let them be Ferrari's b- team.  What's good for the bull has got to be good for the horse and the fans too.

Questions coming out of this race?

Did Ferrari gamble too much on their new engine setup?    Four failures in two races does not bode well.

What's the story with Lewis?  Lack of motivation or lack of concentration?  Or maybe there is no story, it's just one of those streaks.

Will F1 get it together and fix qualifying?  Unlikely simply because it looks like going back to the previous format would mean the powers that be had been strong-armed by the public and admit they made a mistake.   Of course the FIA and Bernie are never wrong so there will be no going back.

Qualifying will be either some reworked version of this new format or, if you believe reports, a returned to one of the worst ideas from the past: aggregate time.
Most of you will remember that in 2005, aggregate time was scrapped halfway though the season in favor of the three session knock out system which. lasted for 10 years with minor tweaks.

Ah F1...

1Nico RosbergMercedes1h33m34.696s
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari10.282s
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes30.148s
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/TAG Heuer1m02.494s
5Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m18.299s
6Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Ferrari1m20.929s
7Daniil KvyatRed Bull/TAG Heuer1 Lap
8Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1 Lap
9Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1 Lap
10Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
11Kevin MagnussenRenault1 Lap
12Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
13Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes1 Lap
14Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
15Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
16Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
17Rio HaryantoManor/Mercedes1 Lap
-Carlos SainzToro Rosso/FerrariCollision
-Esteban GutierrezHaas/FerrariBrakes
-Jenson ButtonMcLaren/HondaPower Unit
-Sebastian VettelFerrariNot started
-Jolyon PalmerRenaultNot started

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