2010 Bahrain Grand Prix - Sunday

Start of the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix , Photo Courtesy of LG EPR

The Bahrain Grand Prix could  still be cancelled and if it is at least there is no one team who would feel especially hard done by as Red Bull and McLaren both look to be in with a chance of victory and even Rosberg can’t be ruled out after last weekend.


Qualifying was thrilling though and as fans if the race is cancelled then we would be denied a potentially great race, in reality though it is probably too late for the race to be cancelled except in the most extreme circumstances; if the race was cancelled the revenge reaped on protestors could be severe according to many in the country and those who have knowledge of the regime and how they reacted last year when the race was cancelled.


So from practice we already knew that McLaren looked good on race pace and not on qualifying pace, at least compared to Mercedes and maybe to Red Bull. In qualifying though it briefly looked as if McLaren might be able to take the front row and certainly go faster than Nico Rosberg who blew it on his last run. In the last few seconds though we saw a good lap from Webber and a fantastic lap from Vettel with Hamilton only managing to split them. We waited for Button to come round to see if he would be able to do any better but he had already ditched his final lap and it was his earlier banker lap that counted for fourth on the grid, though still ahead of Rosberg.


Still most believe that McLaren should have a better race pace than the Red Bulls but we can’t be sure and don’t know to what extent: so the battle should be great including the battle between the Red Bulls themselves and potentially Button having to get past both before he chases after Hamilton assuming that the McLarens will be fast enough to and that things won’t change entirely in the first couple of corners.


Things can and probably will get tight in turn 1 so there is a lot of advantage of being up front and getting a good start. Vettel didn’t struggle with getting away and making a gap last season so it will be interesting to see how he gets on with less of an advantage. As for Webber he has started ahead of Vettel so far this season but still hasn’t been starting well so he could lose places or back things up so that Hamilton and Vettel get away while the midfield up to Webber bunches up.


Vettel and Hamilton have to be the two favourites for the win any way, we know they are both fast and it could be that the pace of the cars then will be all there is between them.


Further back Rosberg is looking to almost certainly beat his teammate Schumacher who didn’t make it out of Q1 this won’t make Rosberg any less determined though and he may be starting to see himself as a title protagonist this year. As for Schumacher we get to see him fighting through the filed but this isn’t the first time since his return and the prospect hasn’t lived up to its billing over the past two years.


First on the road behind the top five is Ricciardo, things had been looking pretty even between him and teammate Vergne so far this season but Vergne also went out in the first qualifying session and Riccciardo, in a car that struggled to challenge for points in China, can be very proud of himself therefore.  Ricciardo and Grosjean perhaps will be a good match in the race, both having only done part seasons before this their first full seasons, both are potential future world champions and very exciting to watch though and Grosjean starts 7th .


Perez, Alonso and Paul Di Resta add a further three manufacturers to the top ten on the grid and as tyre degradation will be critical the mid-field race should be fascinating seeing how the races comes to and go away from different teams on different strategies and using their tyres in different ways. Then there is how many sets of tyres drivers actually have left after getting to the top ten, Alonso and Di Resta who didn’t set times in Q3 and Raikkonen who is the first driver to start on his choice of tyres may have an advantage over those in front.

Williams have dropped back by as much as Toro Rosso, or at least Ricciardo’s, have moved forward and Senna starts 15th and Maldonado 22nd taking a five place drop but having already been behind Kovalainen.


In Q1 Kovalainen timed a late run perfectly to beat Schumacher and Vergne to get through to Q2, a good step forward for Caterham but undoubtedly a case of Kovalainen outperforming the car to some extent. If Kovalainen gets the same kind of great start he did in China he will be right up there in the mid pack though; hopefully Caterham’s race pace, already more competitive than their qualifying pace, will also have made a step forward.