Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Vettel beats Lotus pair for first win of 2012

Sebastian Vettel took a dominant and contolled victory in Bahrain to move top of the driver's championship.

After a difficult start to the season, defending double World Champion Sebastian Vettel took a brilliant victory in Bahrain, his first win of the season. It was an even better day for the Lotus F1 Team though, as Kimi Raikkonen finished 2nd and just behind Vettel, with Romain Grosjean 3rd, meaning they had both cars on the podium today.

Vettel's brilliant start
Vettel made a superb getaway from pole and didn't look troubled on the first lap. Hamilton and Webber held second and third place but Romain Grosjean had an excellent getaway and moved up to fourth at the start for Lotus. Fernando Alonso made yet another brilliant start and was up to fifth for Ferrari, as did his team mate Felipe Massa but Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button had disastrous starts. Grosjean's impressive start continued as he passed Webber for third and then took Hamilton. Raikkonen had lost out to Massa at the start but quickly retook the place and then picked off Alonso in the DRS Zone soon after.

Paul di Resta was sixth after leading the race
The first round of stops came early. Tyres were dropping off quickly and Jenson Button, usually the master of managing tyres, was the first man in, on Lap Eight. Massa and Rosberg were also in that lap. Next time round the pits were flooded with Hamilton, Webber, Alonso, Perez, Senna, Schumacher and Hulkenberg all coming in. There was drama for Hamilton though as a terrible nine second stop cost him a lot of time. The McLaren man came out right behind Nico Rosberg. He was lining up a move at Turn Four but Rosberg shoved him off the track and onto the run off area. Bravely, Hamilton went past, albeit on the sand. Vettel was in the brilliant position of being able to pit after his rivals. All bar Paul di Resta, who stayed out and led for a lap. Vettel and Grosjean quickly made light work of him though.

Vettel was in control despite Lotus' pressure
The gap between Grosjean and Vettel was still around five seconds, but Grosjean's team mate Kimi Raikkonen was coming on strong at this time. He got up the inside of Mark Webber on Lap 13 for third place. By Lap 21 he was just a second behind Grosjean and was in the DRS zone. He held on for a few laps, and with maybe a hint of team orders, Raikkonen made it past on Lap 24. Lotus may have regretted waiting so long to get Raikkonen past. The next time Vettel came in he came in with Grosjean, and the Red Bull pit crew performed an excellent stop. Raikkonen then began taking bits out of Vettel's lead, reducing it to just a few laps by Lap 34. On the next two laps the Finn made two attempts using DRS, the second one forcing Vettel to move over to cover the inside. This meant Raikkonen had to go to the outside, and couldn't make it stick. This was the closest he got to taking the lead from Vettel.

Alonso and Hamilton both had issues with Rosberg
The other big incident at the next round of stops was another shocker for Lewis Hamilton. His stop was a disaster as he lost lots of time and was out of the top ten for many laps. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso was the latest driver to encounter issues with Rosberg. Rosberg repeated his harsh move on the run up to Turn Four. Alonso was furious and expressed his frustrations over the team radio. Incredibly Rosberg wasn't punished for this move nor his move on Hamilton. Di Resta was having a good race, and took advantage of Pastor Maldonado's scrap with Sergio Perez to pass both of them at Turn Four. As Di Resta was on a two stop as opposed to most people's three, he came under pressure from those on better tyres, with Webber easily passing him for fourth.

The podium celebrations in Bahrain
Vettel and Raikkonen came in together on Lap 40 and left together. Vettel wasn't troubled from there on. Vettel crossed the line to win but was told to stop immediately as he was out of fuel. Raikkonen was 3.3 seconds behind, with his team mate completing the podium. It was Raikkonen's first podium since his comeback, and Grosjean's first ever podium. It was also Lotus's first podiums under their new guise. Mark Webber finished fourth, which is where he has finished every race this season. Rosberg made a late pass on Di Resta for fifth, but the Scot held off Fernando Alonso for sixth place. Both would've come under more pressure had Jenson Button not retired late on. Button had to make an extra stop for a puncture and then engine problems forced him into retirement. Hamilton was eighth, and left to well and truly rue his team's awful performances in the pits. Felipe Massa got his first points of 2012 with ninth, while Michael Schumacher was an impressive tenth after starting 22nd.

The race shouldn't have gone ahead, that is my opinion. But it was a good Grand Prix, we have that to be thankful for. Sebastian Vettel is the new Championship leader and we've had four different winners from four different teams. Now we move on to a three day test at Mugello next week, before the Spanish Grand Prix.

No comments:

Post a Comment