An eventful race, which was won by pole sitter Sebastian Vettel, however the Scuderia Ferrari didn’t have it all it’s own way, we catch up with the teams…
Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix over Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, but it wasn’t easy. Using a one-stop strategy, Vettel had to manage his last set of soft tires for the final 39 laps, allowing Bottas to chip away at what had been Vettel’s advantage of more than eight seconds. Vettel’s margin of victory was only .699 of a second when the checkered flag dropped. The win was the 49th of Vettel’s Formula One career, his second straight this season and his second consecutive win in the Bahrain Grand Prix. It was Vettel’s fourth victory at Bahrain International Circuit.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “Today’s result, with a win for Sebastian, is confirmation of the great job done by the team, of an effective car and of a driver who drove like a true champion right to the very end. It was a shame for Kimi, who would have completed a fine result for the team. We chose to take one of our mechanics up onto the podium as a mark of respect to our colleague Francesco who was injured during the pit stop. The whole team hopes he recovers quickly. We are already preparing for the next race in China and as usual we will give it our all.”
Sebastian Vettel: “Obviously, this is a great way to start the season and it wasn’t expected. Obviously Australia was a different race and if you compare these two races, here we had the pace and won on our own. So, I think it’s been much better, but it was a very tough race. It took a while for the adrenaline to go, but for the next week we are not sure where we are going to be. It is difficult to predict with everything changing so much. In China it will be a different track and a different challenge, but we have to improve our car and work on it. We still need to improve the balance. However, if we should have a similar feeling like here, then I think we should be in a good shape. We were losing a little bit at the end and Bottas was getting closer. We couldn’t wait and see what he was doing. So, in response to that we had to come in first to protect the track as much as I could. We had targeted two stops and that’s why we had chosen Soft tires. But then we had to change strategy; the tires were already wearing out, but then it seemed everything was ok. But after 10 or 12 laps, the tires got worse and the last five laps were very tricky. It feels better winning here than in Australia, because here we had the pace. So, I am very happy, even though it’s sad to see one of our guys getting injured. I wish him to get well soon, I know he’s in very good hands now.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “What happened to our guy Francesco today at the pit-stop is very unfortunate. I feel sorry for him and hope he’s going to be OK soon. It’s always a bad thing when someone gets injured but I am sure he has the best people taking good care of him and I wish him a speedy recovery. As for the accident itself, all I know is that I moved when I saw the green light go on. I couldn’t have possibly realized that there was an issue with the rear left wheel, then I saw someone had got hurt and, immediately, I was told to stop by the team. Unfortunately something must have gone wrong and we’ll need to find out what. The car had good speed today but I had some wheelspin at the start. Anyway, there’s not much I can do now but wait for the next race, where we’ll try to do our best.”
Haas F1 Team equaled its best result in its still young history competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship as driver Kevin Magnussen finished fifth in the Bahrain Grand Prix Sunday at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. The 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn track has proven to be a good one for the American squad, as it was Magnussen’s teammate, Romain Grosjean, who finished fifth in the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix to give Haas F1 Team its best finish in only its second race. The resulting 10 points from Magnussen’s fine effort in this year’s edition of the Bahrain Grand Prix placed Haas F1 Team seventh in the constructor standings after two races, eight points ahead of eighth-place Sauber and only two points behind sixthplace Toro Rosso. Magnussen began his sixth point-scoring drive as a member of Haas F1 Team from sixth in the 20-car field. He utilized a two-stop strategy to earn his third career top-five finish. After a spirited opening-lap battle with the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg before eventually pulling away, Magnussen rose to fifth after fourth-place starter Daniel Ricciardo was forced to pull his stricken Red Bull off the track. Magnussen made his first pit stop on lap 13, jettisoning the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires he used to qualify and start the 57-lap race with for another set of supersofts. This dropped Magnussen to 12th, where he had to work to get around the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin. Magnussen finally made his way past Sirotkin on lap 16, and with the pit strategies of other teams playing out, was back in the top-10. Magnussen eventually worked his way back to sixth before pitting for his final time on lap 27 whereupon he donned a new set of Yellow soft tires that would take him to the finish. Emerging from the pits in 12th , he immediately made his way past the Force India of Sergio Perez and, as other two-stop strategies took place, Magnussen advanced up the leaderboard, eventually taking fifth place after Fernando Alonso pitted his McLaren on lap 39. With a healthy 24-second margin over sixth-place Hulkenberg and fourth-place Pierre Gasly comfortably ahead by 12 seconds, Magnussen wheeled his Haas VF-18 home in fifth place, scoring his best result since finishing fifth in the 2014 Russian Grand Prix while driving for McLaren. The points haul placed Magnussen ninth in the driver standings, two ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull and two behind Ricciardo and Gasly.
Grosjean endured a more difficult time in the Bahrain Grand Prix. He started 16 th and ran as high as seventh before making his first pit stop on lap 18, swapping his Red supersofts for new Yellow softs. Grosjean emerged from pit lane in 17 th and worked his way back to ninth by lap 28. But shortly after returning to the top-10, pieces of the left-side bargeboard came off Grosjean’s car as he drove down the straight and into turn one. Grosjean eventually pitted on lap 30 for new supersofts and dropped to 16th . Despite the aerodynamic imbalance of the damaged left-side bargeboard, Grosjean eventually made his way back to 10th once Brendon Hartley pitted his Toro Rosso on lap 42. But Grosjean’s time back among the top-10 was short-lived. On lap 44, the Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr., and the Force India duo of Esteban Ocon and Perez got by, pushing Grosjean down to 13 th . Haas F1 Team opted to bring Grosjean in for a third pit stop on the following lap, where it was discovered the remaining portions of the bargeboard had lodged itself underneath the car. With new supersofts on his Haas VF-18, Grosjean returned to the race in 15th.
Alfa Romeo SauberF1:
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team shone under the Bahrain floodlights with a fantastic 9th place for Marcus Ericsson, who scored the team’s first points of the season, and 14th for Charles Leclerc, recovering important positions in a hectic race, where tyre choice and pit stop strategy played crucial roles.
Marcus Ericsson had a great start from 17th position on the grid and recovered valuable positions from the first laps. The one-stop pit strategy paid off for the Swedish driver who had a strong and consistent race, fighting hard in the midfield, finishing 9th.
It was a difficult race for his team-mate Charles Leclerc, who started 19th and had to pit on lap three due to vibrations on his front wheel. He was then able to recover positions, lapping with a consistent pace throughout the race to finish 14th.
Highly motivated by the good teamwork, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, currently 8th in the Constructors’ Championship, is now heading to Shanghai for the third round of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 Championship.
Marcus Ericsson; “It is an amazing feeling to back in the points, especially this early into the season, as a start to our new chapter with Alfa Romeo. It is a great reward to everyone at the racetrack and back at the factory. The strategy we had today was good, and it was a challenge to make it all the way to the end of the race with the tyres and fuel we had. I had to be clever as a driver and pick the right fights to make sure that I do not use the tyres too much. It was a great team effort. I am very happy, very pleased, and I look forward to continuing on this positive path.”
Charles Leclerc; “It has been a motivating evening for the team. After working hard all weekend, we scored two points, with Marcus having a very strong race. At the same time, I am not completely satisfied with my own result. We went for a high-risk strategy after I struggled with a flat-spot at the beginning of the race. We opted for a set of medium tyres – unfortunately, they did not last as long as we hoped. We are looking into what happened in the stint on the medium option and will be sure to learn from this experience. In any case, it was a positive race for the team, and I look forward to being back in the car next weekend in China.”
There’s no rest on the Formula One schedule as the series immediately heads to Asia for the Chinese Grand Prix April 15 at Shanghai International Circuit…