Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 19. huhtikuuta 2015

Bahrain GP: Hamilton took win in a thrilling race!

The setting sun looked breathtaking when the cars were ready for the warm-up lap. Unfortunately Jenson Button was unable to start to the race due to severe technical issues in his MP4-30. Felipe Massa´s Williams was also hit with electrical problems and the Brazilian was unable to start to the warm-up lap. Williams managed to solve the issue and Massa started to the race from the pit lane.

The start in the darkening night of Bahrain was absolutely thrilling. Hamilton maintained his lead and Sebastian followed the Briton closely. Kimi at the wheel of his Prancing Horse took an impressive start and going to the turn 1 he made his way past Rosberg, who dropped down to P4. Everything looked promising for Ferrari. Soon it became obvious that Rosberg was dangerously fast behind Kimi. On lap 4 Nico was within DRS distance from Kimi and managed to squeeze past the Iceman. The other Finn Valtteri Bottas was driving in P5 only a couple seconds behind Kimi. Only a few laps later Rosberg had closed the gap to Sebastian and was right at the German´s tail. Sebastian made a mistake and went wide but managed barely to maintain his second place. At Sakhir we saw very truculent Nico Rosberg: the German had clearly decided to attack in an aggressive way. And that´s definitely what Nico has to do if he aims to beat his invincible team-mate Hamilton in the near future!

On lap 9 sparks were flying and my heart jumped into my mouth when Nico made his aggressive overtaking move and passed Sebastian in his Ferrari after a fair fight. Sebastian was the first top driver to pit for a fresh set of soft tyres on lap 14. Mercedes had to react as well and Nico pitted on the following lap. However, Sebastian benefitted from the undercut and moved ahead of Rosberg. Hamilton pitted on lap 16 and rejoined the track right ahead of Vettel and Rosberg. At the same time Rosberg made another aggressive overtaking move on Sebastian and took P3 (Kimi hadn´t pitted yet and was driving in the lead).

Kimi pitted not until on lap 18 and the Iceman´s strategy differed from that of his rivals´. After the pit stop Kimi headed back to the track on the harder compound of Pirelli tyres. I was a bit suspicious about Kimi´s lap times: could the Iceman set lap times competitive enough to still fight for a podium finish? Kimi answered me very shortly: he set absolutely stunning lap times and was even a second per lap faster than the top three drivers!

Again Sebastian was the first top driver to make his second pit stop. Prime tyres for him for the last stint. Hamilton pitted from the lead a lap later with similar strategy. Also Rosberg made his last pit stop but for the second time Sebastian managed to jump him during the pit stops! I felt so delighted that Sebastian had once again got ahead of Rosberg but my delight was sooo premature... Only a short moment later Sebastian made another mistake and went slightly off track so it was an easy task for Nico to move ahead of the German Ferrari driver. There were more setbacks to come: Sebastian told the team that there was something wrong with his front wing and he had to pit for a nose change. Sebastian rejoined the track right behind the Finnish Williams pilot Bottas in P5.

Kimi was still driving in the lead but the Finn didn´t have a problem-free race, either as the Iceman reported that he was having problems with the radio. Kimi pitted not until on lap 41 for a fresh set of soft tyres. I knew we were about to see Kimi on fire after that: the Iceman was going to storm towards Rosberg! And Kimi´s performance on the fresh tyres was breathtaking: he was 2-3 seconds faster per lap than Rosberg. It was exactly the Kimi I have missed! I had absolutely no doubt that he was inevitably going to catch up Rosberg.

I thought Sebastian would have had a strong chance to get past Bottas but I was wrong. Williams´s straight line speed was faster than that of Ferrari and Bottas drove very wisely not making any mistakes. Sebastian drove behind Bottas for the last 20 laps but it seemed that there was nothing the German could have done to overtake the stubborn Finn ;) Kimi on the other hand had caught up Rosberg when there were only 2 laps to go. Going into turn 1 Rosberg went wide and Kimi thanked for the opprtunity by passing Rosberg with style! A moment later we heard Rosberg complaining about a brake issue on the team radio. Though I´m convinced that Kimi would have managed to pass Nico even if there hadn´t been any brake issues!

Hamilton won the race under the fireworks and Kimi took stunning P2. Rosberg had to settle for P3 and Bottas managed to drive to the chequered flag in P4 right in front of Sebastian in his Ferrari. Ricciardo had a dramatic end to his race in P6: right after crossing the finish line the Australian was hit with an engine failure! Grosjean in his Lotus finished 7th, Perez in Force India 8th, Kvyat in his Red Bull 9th and Bottas´s team-mate Massa 10th. Toro Rosso´s performance was a huge disappointment: both cars were lacking pace really badly and both Sainz and Verstappen faced DNF due to technical failures.

It was enjoyable to watch Kimi on the podium today. Although the Iceman wasn´t entirely happy with his performance as he had to settle for P2 instead of the win. But it was such a pleasure to see the fighting Kimi back on track! It´s obvious that Kimi and Sebastian make a fantastic line-up and the atmosphere in the team is awesome. I´m absolutely convinced that Maurizio Arrivabene is the perfect Team Principal for Ferrari. What a charismatic leader with an awesome attitude and philosophy! I was slightly disappointed that Sebastian made those mistakes, which cost him the podium place but mistakes are part of motor racing and I´m sure the German will bounce back stronger when the F1 circus moves to Europe in three weeks!

Hamilton has a convincing 27-point lead in the drivers´ standings with his team-mate Rosberg second. Sebastian in P3 is only 1 point behind Rosberg and Kimi made his way up to P4 in the standings. Kimi is now 23 down on his team-mate. There are 52 points separating Mercedes and Ferrari in the constructors´ standings in favor of Mercedes. This is a good sign in terms of the upcoming races: Mercedes aren´t as dominant as they were last season! All teams bring major updates to Barcelona so it´ll be very interesting to see, which team will make the biggest step forward. These three weeks can´t go fast enough... Roll on Barcelona!

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