The Bahrain GP is notorious for being hot and dusty. This weekend it was perhaps less hot than it has been in previous years, but it was windy and the dust was flying all over the track.
Qualifying was not particularly exciting. The first session knocked out the usual suspects – except for the inclusion of David Coulthard who was suffering from gearbox problems. The second session was good for the Brits, with Lewis Hamilton running really well in his McLaren and Anthony Davidson, in the Super Aguri, pushing harder than we all thought his car could go. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite make the top ten shoot out, but he was looking very strong. The final session was all about the battle between McLaren’s and Ferraris, with Massa in the Ferrari grabbing pole at the very last moment.
The race began smoothly at the front of the grid, with Hamilton unable to continue his first corner overtaking that he’s achieved in the two previous races. Alonso managed to jump Raikkonen for third place, but he lost it later in the race during the pit stops. At the back of the grid though, going into the first corner, a three-way crash happened, with both Jenson Button and Scott Speed spinning off the track, and Sutil in the Spyker limping into the pits for a new nose.
David Coulthard was having a particularly good day, overtaking most of the back of the field. His retirement from qualifying meant he started back in 21st place, but he got up to 11th before his Red Bull car gave up. As he made it back to the garage slowly, the back of his car was shown to be on fire – but thankfully, it was under control very quickly.
During the race, just like qualifying and the start, it was all about Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen and Alonso. Fernando Alonso was looking pretty pensive at the start of the race, and it would appear this was because he knew he didn’t have the pace of the Ferrari’s. Once Raikkonen appeared in front of him after the pit stops, Alonso fell back to fifth position, behind Heidfeld in the BMW as well. And he didn’t seem to have the pace to get it back, which is a shame.
This race was really quite frustrating because all those who looked like they had pace seemed to suffer mechanical problems, and those in the lead just trundled round until the end. The driver’s championship now has three people with a joint number of points, Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton – in that order based on previous form.
Hamilton has also made history by being the first person to be on the podium on his very first three races. Looks like he is really going to be a record breaker!