It may not have been the dream start going into the first corner of the Bahrain International Circuit in sweltering hot conditions, but ultimately after 57 laps it would be the dream start to the 2009 Formula One season for Jenson Button and Brawn GP.
After completing the first four races of the season before the F1 circus heads back to Europe, British driver Button made it three wins out of four and 31 points in the WDC (World Drivers’ Championship), en route to completing an Eastern domination for Brawn GP, who now have a staggering 50 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Button’s Brazilian Brawn GP teammate, Rubens Barrichello, who was forced to make a third pit stop despite being on a two-stop strategy, managed to hold off the advancing Kimi Raikkonen and Timo Glock and stay in fifth position.
Speaking of the flying Finn, Raikkonen finally managed to end Ferrari’s drought when it comes to points with his sixth place finish. However, it was only to be the three points for the trademark team of Italian motorsport, as Felipe Massa could only muster up a finish in 14th place.
Massa at times could be seen slugging it out the likes of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil in the Force India cars, completely emphasising the current predicament Ferrari are in.
However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, because at least the Brazilian’s teammate Raikkonen managed to avoid Ferrari’s worst ever start to an F1 season, in front of the expectant eyes of the team’s president, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.
After securing a one-two in qualifying, neither Jarno Trulli or Timo Glock could convert such form into race day, with Toyota coming away with only eight points in Sakhir, instead of the 18 they perhaps were expecting.
In some positive news for Toyota, Trulli did manage to finish on the podium with a third place finish, and the car does seem able to take Red Bull and Brawn GP to the wire for the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
Trulli’s German teammate Glock however, couldn’t emulate the performance of his teammate, ending up with a somewhat disappointing finish in seventh.
Red Bull once again did well, with Sebastian Vettel showing his true driving capability and getting the most out of his car to finish in second.
After the controversial incident with Adrian Sutil in qualifying, Mark Webber did well despite having to start from 18th on the grid. The Australian didn’t manage to secure any points for Red Bull, but was able to climb up to a very respectable 11th place finish.
One person who will definitely be pleased with his race, excluding Button of course, would be the other British driver in F1, Lewis Hamilton.
In a race that showed the true power of KERS cars, the McLaren driver just missed out on a podium place, finishing in fourth.
Throughout the race it was clear McLaren had improved since the Chinese GP, with Hamilton at times coming close and battling hard with the likes of Trulli and Vettel.
It still doesn’t compare to last season however, with McLaren most definitely having to look to next season now for a shot at the drivers’ or constructors’ championships.
Meanwhile, it was yet again a very dismal day for BMW Sauber, as Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld made up the back of the field, with the exception of Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams of course, who was the only retirement of the race.
However, one positive for BMW has to be that German driver Nick Heidfeld managed to complete his 25th consecutive race, beating the previous record set by F1 legend Michael Schumacher, who had managed to complete 24 consecutive races.
Although of course Heidfeld’s achievement, despite it being no mean feat to drive an F1 car and complete a race, in no way really compares to that of Schumacher, who managed to complete all his consecutive finishes in the point-scoring positions.
In any case, it was an improved performance today from Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jr. The Brazilian was under immense pressure today, as many in the mainstream media were suggesting the young driver was driving for his F1 career, in front of the expectant eyes of father Nelson Piquet Sr.
He managed to finish in 10th in Sakhir, Bahrain, two places behind his more experienced teammate Fernando Alonso, with the Spaniard securing one point in the last points position as he ended up in 8th place.
Lastly, it was a slightly more competitive race in Bahrain from the ones we rarely hear about in Europe, Force India.
Despite being hit with a three place penalty after the incident with Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil did well in climbing up to 16th, finishing just ahead of F1 newcomer and Bahraini resident Sebastian Buemi in the Toro Rosso.
In the other Force India car, Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella finished a place higher than his German teammate, with his 15th place finish.
Fisi had for large parts of the race been challenging with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, with highlights both the competitiveness of Force India, and the current predicament in which Ferrari are now finding themselves in.
All in all, it was a decent race in Bahrain, one in which we learnt many things.
Brawn GP, Red Bull, and Toyota are the three main title contenders this year, with Brawn GP most certainly in pole position for the Constructors’ Championship. Likewise, Jenson Button is on pole when it comes to the WDC.
And as for some of the teams at the back of the pack, the three main contenders of last year, McLaren, Ferrari, and BMW Sauber, will certainly have a lot of work to do if they are to even come anywhere close to finishing in a competitive position this season.
Once again, Button and Brawn reign supreme in Asia, but the question is, can they do the same in Europe? Time will tell, and we’ll find out come the Spanish GP at Barcelona in two weeks time.
Bahrain F1 Grand Prix: Yet another superb race. only one car did not complete the race. kazuki nakajima. the rest fought to the last lap. it was great race from first to last place. lots of overtakings.. again the big teams failed to show their colors this season. but as said by the comentator, wait for barcelona and we’ll see a different ferraris, mclarens and saubers.. they are developing something to overcome the diffuser advantage being held by brawns, toro rossos and toyotas. but anyhow, congratulations ross brawn and jenson button for winning again..
hell im still waiting for ferraris to do a lot better.. hm i have yet to decide on my favourite driver yet after schumi left.. but vettel looks good. but too early to judge his skills.. just wait another few races.. for now no favorite driver yet. favorite team – scuderia ferrari.
article from bleacher report.