F1 2014 Bahrain GP Thread - Spoilers of Practice/Qualifying & Race - Sponsored by the FIA's Faulty Fuel Sensor

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Post by Fernando on Wed 02 Apr 2014, 10:54 am

First topic message reminder :

The first back-to-back of the season sees the F1 circus leave Malaysia and head to Bahrain. After Mercedes’ dominance in Malaysia, and with Sebastian Vettel fighting back after his DNF in Australia, how will the Bahrain Grand Prix contribute to the championship?

Mercedes grabbed their first 1-2 in Malaysia since 1955; Hamilton finished a full 17 seconds in front of his team mate Nico Rosberg. Malaysia also saw more controversy, but maybe a little bit less compared to 2013. Williams gave both drivers team orders, but Felipe Massa’s order to move over for the faster Valtteri Bottas hit home for the Brazilian, reminding him – and the majority of the fans – of the famous ‘Fernando is faster than you’ radio message in 2010.

Red Bull had a varied race, with Sebastian Vettel finishing 3rd after a DNF in Australia, and Daniel Ricciardo going through numerous problems before retiring at the end of the race. Force India was also a team that had split results, Sergio Perez didn’t start the race after having technical issues on his out lap, where as Nico Hulkenberg took the VJM07 to finish 5th behind Fernando Alonso.

How will these teams come back in Bahrain after a difficult race in the heat of Malaysia?

Bahrain was first held in 2004 and became the first ever Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East; now in it’s tenth year holding the Grand Prix, the organisers have decided to join Singapore and turn the Bahrain Grand Prix into a night race.

Bahrain has been shrouded in controversy through out the years. In 2011, during the Arab Spring, the race was originally planned to be held before Australia, but violent riots meant that the race was too dangerous to hold, and risked the security of those involved. Both 2012 and 2013 also saw protests continuing the the Gulf state; in 2012 members of Force India left Bahrain with concern of their safety after they travelled from the track to the hotel and was caught in an incident between protesters and police.

However, 2014 saw two of the tree pre-season tests happen at the Sakhir circuit. Testing saw the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Force India, McLaren and Williams do consistently well over the 8 days the teams tested there. It was also announced that the first turn of the circuit would be named after Michael Schumacher, the seven time World Champion, who is firmly in our thoughts as we head through the season.

The layout of the track has been described as ‘very stop/start’ by various mechanics and drivers because of the long straights ending with hard breaking. One of its most infamous corners is turn 9, where you will be certain to find even the most experienced of drivers locking up into the difficult left hander; the corner rises up before you turn, creating a blind apex, meaning the driver has to judge his braking zone. This can make a large difference in lap times.

The long straights are favourable for cars with minimal down force and good straight line speeds. Speed trap data from Malaysia and Australia (both situated at the end of straights) shows that teams with Mercedes power are consistently giving fast speed trap times through out sessions during race weeknds, suggesting that these teams will benefit from the long multiple straights in Bahrain.

Force India have had success at this track in the past few years. 2012 and 2013 saw ex-formula one driver Paul Di Resta, take some of his best F1 finishes at the Sakhir circuit. 2013 nearly saw him clench his first F1 podium as he ran in the top 3 for the majority of the race, however he was overtaken by Romain Grosjean at the end of the race seeing Di Resta finish 4th, his best finish in 2013.

Last year Bahrain provided us with an exciting weekend, it’s argued that we saw the first of the tyre problems that ended in Pirelli changing their tyres by the Hungarian Grand Prix, the delamination of Hamilton’s left-rear tyre during FP3 caused his Mercedes to suffer broken suspension, and subsequently have to change his gearbox, leading to a grid penalty. We also saw more of the feisty Mexican, Sergio Perez, who in an attempt to pass his then team mate, Jenson Button, saw him tap his rear wheel, causing frustration for the British driver over the radio.

It’s no doubt that the Bahrain Grand Prix will create close racing.

Friday 04 April
12:00 – 13:30 Practice 1
16:00 – 17:30 Practice 2

Saturday 05 April
13:00 – 14:00 Practice 3
16:00 Qualifying

Sunday 06 April
16:00 Race

Source: RaceDepartment.com

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Apr 2014, 9:59 am

Yeah, Hamilton loves the wheel to wheel racing element & thrives under that pressure or style of racing. To me, Rosberg doesn't have that ruthless streak or cutting edge to his driving. Hamilton wasn't on top form yesterday & still won, more than worrying for Nico. In my opinion, maybe biased, but if Lewis` one euro component hadn't failed him in Aus, we`d be looking at Lewis 3-0 Rosberg.

Yeah, I think we will get certain races where you see a Senna/Prost type duel & Mercedes will allow it but, I always see Lewis being the dominator in the partnership. You feel Nico needs Lewis to have DNF`s to win this championship. It will obviously be more exciting a championship & go to the wire because Mercedes are so dominant, even if Hamilton or Rosberg have bad days, the likelihood is them finishing second behind the other. Winning by seven points & sharing wins down the road will make it go the distance.

As for Webber, we all knew he was terrible, no other way around it. To be fair to Vettel yesterday, he had issues & let's not forget Ricciardo was setup prior to qualifying with less down force & more straight line speed because they knew he had the penalty & was subsequently needing to overtake in the race. Therefore, Ricciardo was always going to speed past Vettel at the restart.

At least F1 has something to shout about finally. We may not get this excitement every week, especially when a Mercedes has an early retirement but at least there is a promising battle on our hands for one title. Let's face it constructors is already in the bag for Mercedes  Laugh 


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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 8:41 am

To be fair John being ruthless like you say Lewis can at times manifest itself into kamikaze moves that go terribly wrong ending up in crashes. Rosberg is a more balanced driver and true it may not get as much raw speed out of the car as Hamilton it does negate crashing out too often. Also I do feel you are contradicting yourself as if you think this could go down to the wire yet you feel there is such a gulf between Hamilton and Rosberg - something isn't adding up. Mechanical failure for Hamilton is just as likely to blight Rosberg.
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Post by GSC on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 9:08 am

I think it's a fair point, and the one chink in Hamiltons armor is maintaining that emotional plane. We've seen him at times yoyoing over the course of one weekend.

With a dominant car it shouldn't be an issue and he should dispose of Rosberg without great trouble.
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Post by Guest on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 11:56 am

Ruthless in a dominant Mercedes car & position is different to being ruthless & aggressive in a McLaren 2011 mid-pack, where the percentage chance of crashing is much higher. Hamilton's matured & more experienced too now, which is an important step in his development.

@CC - As for contradicting myself, I see your point. It's all dependent upon the reliability. The only reason I see it going down to the wire is because of the seven point difference each 1st/2nd race result brings & the distinct lack of competition to challenge for that second place. They will share wins along the line, which is inevitable & unless one of them has drastic reliability issues then it will remain close because the worst the other driver (etc Rosberg) will finish is second, given reliability. It's not like a Vettel/Webber, where Vettel was +25 points, whereas Webber was DNF or fourth or fifth each race. Also the +50 points in Abu Dhabi also enhances the chance of it going down to the wire. Do you see my point? I still think Lewis is on another level & should hopefully reduce Rosberg's lead & then begin to increase his own lead during the European stint of the calendar. The Championship will remain close because who is realistically going to challenge them on that podium, reducing a two second gap, just through development is near on impossible in F1 terms during a season.

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Post by mystiroakey on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 1:16 pm

LH is one of the best drivers in the world- and rosberg is a very good class 2 driver- a JB type.

The only way LH wont win this is if RB or Williams or whoever dont just close the gap on the mercs but also surpass them in terms of speed.

I wouldn't take 10/1 on rosberg winning the champs. Seriously it just wont happen.

LH is allready 1.7 or something. Rosberg represents poor value at 3.65.


The merc team does crack me up though. Giving it the whole "we dont do team orders" BS

If there was an equivalent car to them at the moment- You would bet your last penny that LH would be the no.1 as they would have to maximise there drivers positions.

Its only because they are so far ahead they can allow them to race.

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Post by Guest on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 1:53 pm

That's why @Caledonian, my original point appeared contradicting. I said Lewis was another level in comparison to Nico but the reason it would be close (championship) is because the advantage Mercedes has, negates the difference in quality between Lewis & Nico because Nico will always pick up 2nd places as a minimum, given reliability.

for example over the next few races, what could happen, just an example

Hamilton - 25, 18, 25, DNF, 25, 25, DNF - 118 pts
Rosberg - 18, 25, DNF, 25, 18, 18, 25 - 129 pts

See my point about the fact of no competition, meaning it's either a 1st, 2nd or DNF in theory. Even though Hamilton, as I said, is a different class, the dominant Mercedes gives Nico the opportunity to always get at worst a second place. Therefore, it's going to be hard for either driver to gain a huge lead, unless there is significant bad luck with reliability on one side of the garage. I just don't see RB closing a two second gap or whatever the difference is. It's a mind blowing advantage Mercedes showed in Bahrain,

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Post by GSC on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 1:59 pm

The gap in Bahrain isn't really close to representative difference across most tracks bar Monza.

Renault cars were always on a hiding to nothing there, hence why the final podium spot came down to Williams and FI with both McLarens retired.
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Post by banbrotam on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 5:26 pm

John wrote:That's why @Caledonian, my original point appeared contradicting. I said Lewis was another level in comparison to Nico but the reason it would be close (championship) is because the advantage Mercedes has, negates the difference in quality between Lewis & Nico because Nico will always pick up 2nd places as a minimum, given reliability.

for example over the next few races, what could happen, just an example
           
Hamilton - 25, 18, 25, DNF, 25, 25, DNF  -  118 pts
Rosberg - 18, 25, DNF, 25,  18, 18, 25   - 129 pts

See my point about the fact of no competition, meaning it's either a 1st, 2nd or DNF in theory. Even though Hamilton, as I said, is a different class, the dominant Mercedes gives Nico the opportunity to always get at worst a second place. Therefore, it's going to be hard for either driver to gain a huge lead, unless there is significant bad luck with reliability on one side of the garage. I just don't see RB closing a two second gap or whatever the difference is. It's a mind blowing advantage Mercedes showed in Bahrain,


This did occur to me too. But I think the rest will catch up (not overtake) which will help Hamilton who can get the most out of car that is only slightly better

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Post by banbrotam on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 5:35 pm

The 'crash kid' image that some still have of Lewis is still grossly overplayed. Really it was 2008 with the infamous Canadian pit crash with Kimi (I still laugh at Kimi's cool reaction) and the Japan race later (note this was one of the first times a racer was penalised for a first corner incident of a similar nature) where we can agree that he was a bit rash

In 2011 at Canada (again) when it was easily as much fault Button's - McLaren stitched Hamilton up by patronising blaming for him (Whitmarsh was particularly revelling in laying the boot in) it set the tone for a nervous unsure Lewis and almost certainly he made the decision to leave then, i.e. his performances were more linked to McLaren making it obvious that Button was their man.

This supports the theory that Lewis can tend to be rash when his heads all over the place - but then again so is Alonso (see 2007)

I think Mercedes see Lewis as a very good driver and like his extrovert 'flashy' driving, whereas McLaren under Whitmarsh saw it as a burden

Don't see him fouling up. Of course it will be easy to make a couple of errors - but this is the first time ever that he's had demonstrably the best car and it makes it so much easier

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Post by mystiroakey on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 5:51 pm

crash kid lewis- lol.

Do these people not watch him race. he is no more of a crash kid than alonso- and much less than senna was

crash kid = grosjean or Webber in recent years

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Post by GSC on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 7:03 pm

While the crash kid is overblown he needs to develop greater mental consistency. The only hope Rosberg has in this Championship is getting a few results and unsettling him.
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Post by Fernando on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 7:10 pm

Testing Day 1 Results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.697s 121
2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m36.064s +0.367s 69
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m36.626s +0.929s 69
4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.634s +0.937s 102
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m37.305s +1.608s 28
6. Max Chilton Marrusia-Ferrari 1m37.678s +1.981s 60
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m38.326s +2.629s 91
8. Sergey Sirotkin Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.023s +3.326s 76
9. Robin Frijns Caterham-Renault 1m40.027s +4.330s 63
10. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m40.183s +4.486s 16
11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m40.452s +4.755s 67

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