Bahrein GP 2013 review, by Patrick TAMBAY and Gustavo LINQUET

Updated: April 26, 2013

GL: Many said that after China “tyre fiasco”, things improved in Bahrein. Got to agree from one point of view. At least we watched many real fights and good show but, in the end, I feel much of the same.
This F1 is artificial to me: three and four pit stops, DRS as almost exclusive overtaking “winning card”, by the way it’s impossible to defend against DRS, the poleman that fights his heart out only to fell down (I felt “sad” for him), race pace that is 8% slower than qualifying lap times. I don’t like this.

PT: It’s normal you felt the same, it was more or less the same situation technically…everyone trying to put on a good show, which they did, with lots of artificial overtaking most of the time, and a Sebastien Vettel unconcerned about all this, just concerned on taking the best start as possible and doing the first lap as good as possible, getting into some ‘fresh’ air and from than on managing the gap while the opposition were shooting their luck away. When he had to build up his gap, he did, when he could save tires and fuel, he did, and so on in an eventless race for him…For the other’s there was plenty screen action, but I am not sure that they all felt it was for real….


GL: We exchanged some mails and you put it pretty clear: it’s a battle between four teams, being Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes the dominant forces.
I would add that we have four clear number one drivers that performed – once again – at a high level grabbing the most they could get.

PT: Vettel, Alonso, Raikkönnen was the 2012 World Championship podium, and guess what…?
Who are the 2013 favorites? Once again the World Champions…
In 1st place is Sebastian, off to a great season start with 2 wins and 77 points already in the bank, Kimi is not far behind with one win and 67 points, an unexpected Lewis is 3rd with 50 points, and Fernando 4th with 47 points…

There is no doubt in my mind that the 2013 World Champion is among those 4…

The favorite at this point is Sebastien Vettel, car stability and balance with a great tires management know how and understanding, could be difficult to catch now… Mark Webber will do his part and grab points away from the oposition once again, and Vettel will make sure that he does not take some away from him…

My 2nd best is Fernando Alonso, Ferrari has done all it could and more, to obviously, kick off to a better start of the season than last year…wind tunnel management is now apparently under control and so is the tires understanding…and on top of that Massa’s back and could be a very important player this year!

3rd is Kimi Raikkönen, excellent and better than last year’s start, more and more speed and strong reliability, are his quality, car development will be the decisive factor. His team mate, Romain Grosjean, could also give him an helping hand, no, no, not like last year…

The 4th man was not expected to be there so soon and could create the season « hold up »…Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, has a fantastic driver line up too, if the car progress like it should they could be the « upset » of the season…?

Don’t completely count the others for once in a while star result, I really think that the battle will be a three, than two way battle and probably not until the end….

GL: In fact, Vettel was untouchable: brilliant moves on Alonso and Rosberg to earn a quick lead that after five or six laps looked unassailable, a fast and steady pace. After such display, who would dare not to tip him as the number one contender for 2013?

PT: Like I said previously, the start and the first few laps were the key to his race, after that it was technical management all the way, in such a commanding way that it looks obvious that there is not going to be easy to catch him and yes unless something terribly silly happens he should obtain his 4th title in a row….but there are still some miles to do and some hurdles to jump!

GL: Bad luck for Ferrari, once again. The F138 is definitely quick, Massa was there (even if I think he is in trouble each time he has to recover), Alonso made no mistakes. Now they have no chance but going in “full attack mode” and regain points… and confidence!

PT: Like I said earlier on Fernando Alonso, Ferrari has done all it could and more, to obviously, kick off to a better start this season than last year…wind tunnel management is now apparently under control and so is the tires understanding, and technical staff are all on top of things…and on top of that Massa’s kind of back in business and could have for Ferrari and Alonso a very important role to play this year.


GL: After qualifying, Raikkönen said that the Lotus was “simply slow”. And one day later they got a very strong 2-3 that lead Helmut Marko to point them as Red Bull main contender. What’s your call?

PT: Kimi’s playing mind game with the medias, quick out of the box on FP’s on Friday and after that going into smart and tricky race mode strategies…of which he is not going to talk to us about obviously? Can you see him say just before the race where everybody is spying for bits of information concerning their tires degradation “I have just a great car, well balanced and with a phenomenal tires life durability…”. Marko’s right they could be the season “upset” to McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Raikkonen_Bahrein01 Kimi Raikkönen, Lotus Renault, Bahrein GP

GL: Would you explain me what happens in McLaren camp? Is it so difficult to solve flaws? Are they also missing Hamilton? Would you consider swapping back to 2012’s car?

PT: Do you really want to know what I think? Well it’s not going to go down nicely on Jenson’s, and I hope I am wrong…Jenson does not have it anymore. It’s as simple as this! He is like last year, nor better nor worth, just plain racing, no big attack and each time looking for a good reasort to prove me wrong.

Perez_Button_Bahrein01Sergio Pérez and Jenson Button, McLaren Mercedes, Bahrein GP

GL: I don’t understand Jenson Button complaining! Why didn’t he move aside and let his faster team mate pass him instead of complaining that way? Was he expecting a “Multi 2-1”? Or, let’s say, a “Multi 8-7”? I’m with Pérez this time and salute McLaren’s choice to let them go to the wire.

PT: He is on pressure from Jenson Button and management adaptation, he must rebuild his conditions, just arrive when they will, let me know you needs and I will stuck it up for you….


GL: Force India is doing really well. A podium finish would have been logical since Di Resta was ahead of Raikkônen at initial stages and with good pace, but it seems that they didn’t choose the right tyre strategy. Anyway, great weekend for “born again” Di Resta and a pity for Suttil, who had a strong pace. A last a talent victory over Finance? WELCOME HOME…!!!

PT: A DTM Champion leading a GP race what a strange situation for a while I could not believe it,  and we are going to see more of that in the times to come…


Paul Di Resta, Force India – Mercedes, Bahrein GP

In brief:

Drivers of the race: Vettel, Di Resta.

Surprises: Force India, Grosjean, Pérez.

Disappointments: Gutiérrez, Mercedes race pace, Button, Williams, Van der Garde, Webber.

Move of the race: Vettel on Alonso, lap 1.


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