What did we learn from the Bahraini GP?


Well, we learned that Rosberg can get rattled, Vettel does not reign supreme in the red car pit and Kimi Raikkonen can still produce the goods (when he wants to).

For those who were hoping to see Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) challenged, then they were disappointed. Topping the sheets in all three Qualifying sessions and being totally in charge for the race (and don’t for one moment think that Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari could have produced an upset at the end), Rapper Hamilton is currently the best.

So where was Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes, who still is trying to convince senior management that he is the golden haired boy? Nico is looking less and less like a challenger and more and more like someone out of his depth. Not even runner-up material, he can be forced into errors and then gets increasingly more desperate. His third place was as good as he was going to get. (And here’s a prediction – Mercedes does not renew Rosberg’s contract at the end of the year, but gives the seat to Nico Hulkenberg. It makes sense – Hulkenberg is quick, he is German and they don’t even need to change the name on the dressing room door!)

So to the Ferrari resurgence. Sebastian Vettel (formerly known as “The Finger”) looked good sitting on the grid in second place, but from then on his race deteriorated, ending up 5th and unable to pass the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. “I was probably pushing very hard and did some mistakes. I think all in all, not a perfect race.” A masterpiece of understatement.

Kimi Raikkonen’s second Ferrari was the one who brought the fight to Mercedes and pushed his way into second at the flag. With rumors around that Kimi will be dropped at the end of the year, who would you put in as a replacement? I expect the grumpy Finn to be still wearing red in 2016.

The Williams team had a mixed day. Bottas was the quicker in Qualifying and drove a mature race to finish fourth and in front of The Finger who had no answer to the Finn’s pace and clever blocking techniques, always leaving the Ferrari on the wrong side with the marbles. The second Williams of Felipe Massa baulked at the start and he had to begin from Pit lane and was coming up through the slower cars until the inevitable happened – a clout from Maldonado (“Lotus”). Massa was lucky to finish 10th. By the way, there is no truth in the rumor that Maldonado’s race suit is padded with $100 bills.

Sixth place went to everyone’s favorite driver Aussie Daniel Ricciardo who had a totally uneventful race until the final corner when his Renault engine blew in synchronization with the fireworks marking the end of the race. Will Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz pull the plug on F1 as he has threatened to? Actually I think he could. Red Bull is no longer the world-wide sponsor of different sports, and Monster Energy is becoming just as well known as Red Bull. Now would be the time to pull out, rather than let Monster overtake. The Renault problem may be a smokescreen to hide the real intention?

The final unlapped runner was Romain Grosjean “Lotus” in seventh, and the rest were nowhere, though I must mention McLaren Honda, with Button’s car withdrawn before the start and Alonso 11th. How the mighty have fallen. Is someone at Honda committing Hara-Kiri? Will Ron Dennis explode? Will McLaren buy a couple of old Mercedes engines and become competitive again?

The next GP is Spain on May 10.