The Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix delivered what the fans had been waiting for after a thrilling start to the 2016 campaign. There were plenty of ups and downs in the race and here we have listed the best ten:
Nico Rosberg dominates another race
Nico Rosberg cruised to second straight victory of the season in two races as he contested a flawless performance at the 2016 Bahrain GP under the floodlights. The win takes him 17 points clear of the reigning world champion and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and most importantly keeps his momentum alive since losing the title to the Briton last October with five consecutive wins.
The German had the complete control over the race after making a perfect start at the lights and leading into the first corner. Although Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari was not far behind in the end, Rosberg worked his strategy to perfection and emerged victorious. Behind him, the race was action-packed.
Lewis Hamilton’s woeful starts continue:
Lewis Hamilton failed to convert another pole into a race victory when he botched the start and bogged down early. He was dropped to the midfield after making contact with Williams’ Valterri Bottas, who received a drive through penalty, and was forced to fight back through the field with a damaged car. His troublesome start meant that he had to content with only the bottom step of the podium and in turn lost valuable points to his Mercedes team-mate and current championship leader Nico Rosberg. He has to get his race starts right in order to win races from next time onwards.
Romain Grosjean proves his worth:
Thanks to two entertaining races, the new qualifying system has largely been overshadowed. Romain Grosjean delivered more than what his team boss Gene Haas would have hoped for on its debut but to do it again in Bahrain took some courage.
Haas’ sixth-place finish at Albert Park had the element of luck running in their favour but it was down to Grosjean’s brilliant driving to secure fifth at Sakhir. Even with a troubled pitstop, the Frenchman’s car had enough stamina left in it to cross the finish line ahead of Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen. The instant hit of Haas may very well open doors for customer cars in F1 in the future.
Sebastian Vettel’s misfortune:
What shaped up to be a tantalising GP at the front was left in disappointment when Sebastian Vettel’s engine failed in the formation lap. This brings Ferrari’s reliability on focus as Raikkonen retired a fortnight earlier in Australia with engine related issues. This meant, the Maranello-based squad are down on constructors’ championship-leading Mercedes by 50 points. With the SF16-H having all the potential to become a close contender for Mercedes, Ferrari really need to iron out the poor reliability to bag as many points as they can.
Pascal Wehrlein shines for Manor:
The Mercedes protégé and Manor Racing driver proved his mettle once again that he’s a force to reckon with in Formula One in the years to come. He did a good job in bringing home his car ahead of both the damaged Force Indias and sometimes engaged in wheel-to-wheel battle with the midfield rivals. He was also the star among the seven departures in first part of qualifying as his last flying lap put him ahead of both Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber and Sergio Perez driving the Force India.
Reliability a major concern:
The Bahrain Grand Prix was marred by several retirements which include Renault’s Jolyon Palmer who didn’t make it to the grid after the formation lap. On lap 10, Esteban Gutierrez was forced to pull over into the pits which marked second retirement for the Mexican who endured a massive crash with Fernando Alonso in Melbourne. What would’ve hurt him most was that his team-mate turned two races into plenty of points. Carlos Sainz was another DNF causality on lap 29 while Jenson Button who could’ve made amends for a difficult first race was left disappointed as well.
Fernando Alonso rebuked a pundit:
The two-time world champion stayed in Bahrain to assist the newbie Stoffel Vandoorne in spite of his injuries. When Sky F1 commentator and ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert said “we haven’t seen this two-time world champion that everyone says is the best”, Fernando Alonso approached him and explained: “I’m a world champion. You ended up as a commentator because you are not world champion.” after shaking his hands. He was clearly not impressed!
New qualifying should be ditched:
The elimination qualifying system failed to impress once again which begs the question why has it not been ditched yet? Unanimously it’s a format not liked by viewers, drivers, teams, pundits and the paddock and everyone hopes to revert to the old qualifying system. Nico Hulkenberg improved on his time late to squeeze into Q2 for eight place and Hamilton had to do a second run to achieve his 51st career pole but the fact that he could celebrate before the chequered flag fell made the viewers watching stern faced.
An aggregate qualifying should be put in place?:
There are discussions going on between the organisers and the teams but Bernie and FIA are reluctant to go back to the 2015 format. They think reverting back to the old system will result in embarrassment as they don’t yet understand the fact that the new elimination system is indeed a disgrace.
An aggregate format is currently mooted which works in a way that the drivers will qualify based on time taken to complete two quickest laps. It was first introduced in 2005 but later ditched due to its unpopularity after just six races. It’s safe to adapt the usual qualifying system prevailed until last year to get the fans cheering on Saturday rather than tuning in to watch race live only on Sunday.
Stoffel Vandoorne debuts strongly for McLaren-Honda:
Stoffel Vandoorne received a last minute call to replace the injured Fernando Alonso when he was in Japan testing for Super Formula. He managed to get the better of his veteran team-mate Jenson Button astonishingly considering that he never turned the wheel of a MP4-31 in race conditions.
He managed to bag a solitary point for his team to round off a spectacular Formula One debut and mark our words the reigning GP2 champion from Belgium is a star of the future. [Powered by – Surendhar M]