Last year we had a run of races where Hamilton and Rosberg finished 1-2 for Mercedes. In 2015 we have three races and for the first time ever it’s been the same three drivers finishing in the top three. The usual suspects plus former champion Sebastian Vettel as Ferrari make a glorious comeback.
Could it be four after the Bahrain Grand Prix? Well barring mechanical problems I wouldn’t bet against it. In what order they finish though is a question that may be a little bit more difficult to get right.
Lewis Hamilton starts the race in pole looking for his third win in four races this season. Mercedes still have worries about the tyre advantage that Ferrari seem to have. The temperatures on Sunday won’t be as high as they were in Malaysia because the race starts after sunset (4pm BST). It was interesting that in the first practice session Mercedes decided rather than going for one quick lap, instead they concentrated on how they’d progress in the long run. That’s why the two Mercedes finished 15th and 16th in that practice session but proved their superior speed in the next two.
Nico Rosberg, still chasing his first win of the season, said after the first practice session: “We are very quick on one lap again and Ferrari are very dangerous on the long run. They have serious pace. It looks like they are a genuine threat.”
As I mentioned in my previous blog this weekend, Bahrain is a vital race for Nico Rosberg who needs to get a win on the board sooner rather than later. He finished third in qualifying though and admitted afterward that “strategy wise I got it wrong” and as “thinking too much about the race and under-estimated Sebastian’s speed.” Again saving on tyres cost Rosberg and he’ll hope that doesn’t happen in the actual race tomorrow.
Lewis Hamilton is confident of victory again this weekend but fully admits that Ferrari will pose a major threat: “They are very quick this weekend. They’re going to be very hard to beat this weekend and hopefully our positioning helps. I think we’re in a good position. Looking forward to the fight.”
Sebastian Vettel was highly satisfied with his second place finish in qualifying though he admitted his Ferrari didn’t find the rhythm in qualifying as much as in practice.
Outside of the top three, Raikonnen finished fourth in the other Ferrari with the Williams cars taking fifth and sixth place. Daniel Ricciardo finished in 7th but his Red Bull teammate Daniil Kvyat was down in 16th. It was another tough afternoon for Jensen Button. His McLaren suffered a power cut and he finished last in qualifying. Alonso didn’t do too much better finishing 14th.
Another titanic three-way battle looks likely this Sunday so settle down and enjoy the fourth race of the season.
Fernando Alonso holds the most Bahrain Grand Prix victories with three wins in 2005. 2006 and 2010.
Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix last year. Nico Rosberg was on pole but finished second in the race.
Ferrari have won the race four times with two wins for Red Bull and Renault
Lewis Hamilton was criticized for what he did during his champagne celebration in China but there’s no champagne in Bahrain. Instead they use a non-alcoholic rosewater drink called Waard.