2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Recap: The Iceman Is Back
The Bahrain Grand Prix rarely fails to produce exciting races, and this past weekend was no exception. There was action all over the grid from start to finish, and though the wheel-to-wheel battles weren’t quite on the same level as that of Hamilton and Rosberg’s epic showdown last year, this time around the two Mercedes drivers were unable to run away with the lead.
In qualifying, Vettel managed to split the Silver Arrows by slotting himself in 2nd, and in the race it was his teammate, Räikkönen, who delivered the 2nd place trophy for the Ferrari team. Hamilton and Rosberg joined him on the podium, the former once again on the top step.
Because Ferrari prioritized Vettel on the pit strategy, Räikkönen had dropped far behind in 4th place after the first stop, but he steadily (and surprisingly) made up ground despite using the theoretically slower “Prime” tires. For the final stint he switched to the quicker Options and continued to catch up even more quickly.
Vettel saved him the trouble of having to overtake him when he damaged his own wing by going too wide into the sand, prompting an extra drive into the pits for a front nose replacement.
Read More: 2015 Chinese Grand Prix Recap
By the end of the race, Räikkönen had brought down a 15s gap with Rosberg in the same amount of laps, at which point the latter’s brakes failed and made it easy for the Finn to overtake. First place might have been a possibility, but there were just too few laps remaining to catch Hamilton.
When asked if he felt happy about being back on the podium for the first time since the 2013 Korean Grand Prix, his response was classic Kimi. “Well obviously you’re never happy when you finish second,” the Iceman said in his usual deadpan.
I couldn’t help but think of the old Laurie & Fry sketch about F1 drivers.
Read More: 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix Recap
Rosberg did manage to score third place despite the brake issue, but it was a shame to see his race end that way. Earlier on, he had pulled some brilliantly aggressive overtaking moves on both Ferrari drivers, which looked even more incredible with the flying sparks caused by the new titanium skid plates.
Further down the grid, everything was a bit of a mess. Vettel made several unforced errors and found himself stuck behind Bottas’ Williams for most of the end of the race, unable to climb higher than 5th.
His old teammate Ricciardo was lucky to finish 6th. The Red Bull’s Renault engine went up in smokes as he exited the final corner, fortunately just late enough for him to cruise across the finish line.
Massa had an action-packed evening brought on by a stall during the formation lap. He had to start from the pit lane and managed to climb back up to 10th after a series of thrilling duels with Nasr and Grosjean.
Read More: 2015 Australian Grand Prix Recap
Just behind him was Alonso, who put in the best result so far for McLaren, and had managed to get his car to Q2 for the first time in qualifying the day before. It’s hard to think his and Button’s talents aren’t wasted on the MP4-30, though the Brit wasn’t even able to race because of an ERS problem.
And then there was Maldonado, who avoided crashing for once but somehow got himself into every other kind of trouble. He was penalized five seconds for starting out of grid position, then his anti-stall kicked in during his second pit stop and the engine temporarily cut out.
Nonetheless, he still finished ahead of the Marussia/Manor team, which was still so slow as to be nonexistent throughout the entire race.
Getting to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix only one week after the Chinese Grand Prix made me realize just how much I wished every race weekend was back-to-back. Alas, you can’t always get what you want.
It’s a three-week break until the next race, this time at the legendary Catalunya Circuit in Spain. See you then!
Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.