The Bahrain Grand Prix was a long, 3-hour race but not for the right reasons. The horrific accident on the opening lap involving Romain Grosjean galvanized the paddock and reminded everyone just how dangerous Formula 1 can be.
Thankfully, Grosjean managed to climb out of a blazing inferno after his car was cut in two by the barrier fence spilling fuel all over and bringing the race to a stop for 45 minutes while repairs were made.
When racing resumed, it was another win for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Alex Albon. The battle for third in the Constructor’s Championship took a turn with both Racing Point cars out and in dramatic fashion.
A win for the HANS, HALO and safety cell/monocoque for preventing more serious injury for Romain Grosjean who managed to climb from the flames with the assistance of the Medical Car team and local marshals. A sobering reminder how dangerous this sport is and how far safety has come. As I have said in the past, the HALO legitimacy “debate” is not my concern, my concern is if the driver was unconscious and how quickly they can be extracted in a situation such as the one we saw today.
A win for Alex Albon who needed a podium finish after binning his car earlier in the weekend. The confidence-building result is what Alex needed and it is where the team expect him to finish.
A win for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes who added to their point tally and dominance of the sport. Lewis has now led over 600 laps in 2020 and the team are at their zenith.
A huge win for McLaren’s Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz who finished 4th and 5th and more importantly, ahead of Racing Point and Renault. The massive points haul moves the team into the lead for 3rd in the Constructor’s Championship.
A win for Pierre Gasly who managed to keep old tires competitive and finished in 6th place with a little luck from a safety Car period.
A win for Renault who managed to claw points agains Racing Point but they still finished behind McLaren and that could qualify as a fail. A mixed bag for the team.
A fail for Racing Point who saw both cars DNF whilst leading McLaren and Renault for 3rd place in the Constructor’s Championship. The bad weekend may just cost the team $10-11M for claiming 3rd and the rare Mercedes engine failure denied Sergio Perez and terrific podium finish.
A fail for the barrier that split and allowed the car the cleve itself in two. This has been the issue for some horrible results in the past and the metal barriers were deployed in better ways to prevent that separation. The fuel cell is soft bladder and the FIA will have to inspect how the fuel got out and the barrier itself. It is impossible to anticipate every situation but this will be an opportunity for the FIA to make the needed adjustments.
A fail for Valtteri Bottas who struggled all weekend and looked to be out to lunch for the race.
The day has come when a Williams has beaten a Ferrari and while Charles Leclerc managed the claim the last point on offer, this isn’t where Ferrari should be and perhaps they will rebound next week when the team boss returns to the paddock.
Pirelli Key Moments:
- The race had to be restarted after more than an hour’s delay for barrier repairs following a massive accident for Haas driver Romain Grosjean, from which he thankfully emerged with only minor injuries.
- The re-start rules allowed teams to make repairs and change tyres. Only four drivers chose not to change tyres: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) and Lando Norris (McLaren).
- After the re-start (which counted from lap three) the top nine were all on the medium tyre, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly the highest-placed driver on hard in 10th.
- There was a safety car after the re-start. This had the effect of lengthening the stints – also considering the relatively cool temperatures of 25 degrees ambient and 26 degrees on track – by reducing thermal degradation as well as wear.
- Hamilton won the race from pole with a two-stop strategy, re-starting on the same P Zero Yellow medium tyres as he had on the original grid, switching to used mediums once more after 19 laps, and finishing with a 22-lap stint on the P Zero White hard. He took the chequered flag under the safety car.
- Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who finished second, adopted a different strategy, using White hard new tyres for two middle stints before finishing on used mediums. He was the only driver – apart from Haas’s Kevin Magnussen – who changed tyres four times.
- The three compounds selected for this year were one step softer than those seen in Bahrain last year, contributing to a higher than usual number of pit stops.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1.254s|
|3||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||8.005s|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||11.787s|
|10||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1 Lap|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri/Honda||1 Lap|
|12||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1 Lap|
|14||Nicholas Latifi||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|18||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||Power Unit|
|–||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||Accident|