Grand Prix 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Anyone fancy a protest?

Controversially it was announced that the Bahrain Grand Prix would go ahead despite opposition from almost everyone and the events that were happening in Bahrain both last year and again recently haven't seen the postponement of the 2012 race like the 2011 event. Reaction to the news has been mixed but it seems that the decision is final and there will once again be F1 cars in the Gulf state. The last race was held at the start of the 2010 season and by all accounts was the dullest race of the season with durable tyres and little overtaking with the only action at the front being a problem with Sebastian Vettel dropping him from first to fourth giving Fernando Alonso a win on his Ferrari debut with Felipe Massa finishing second, how that must feel a long time ago now for both the drivers and the team. Thankfully the painful extended modifications on the track have been abandoned for this year and the 'old' spec layout used from 2004-9 will be used which wasn't actually to bad and with DRS, KERS and the Pirelli tyres should provide for close racing and numerous overtakes.

Nico Rosberg will go into the Grand Prix weekend on the back of his best weekend in the sport. After taking his maiden pole by a margin on Saturday he successfully converted this into a maiden victory by winning by over 20 seconds from the Mclaren pair of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. The Mclarens battled various traffic issues and pit stop problems to claim the podium places in a titanic scrap where, at one point, only a handful of seconds seperated 2nd-10th. It is surprising that with so many cars in very close proximity for over half of the race that there was no crashes and barely any contact but there were cars flying about (in Webber's case literally) as cars hit the cliff with Kimi Raikkonnen being the primary case has he slipped from second to 14th as the tyres gave up on him and he even lost 8 places on one lap and that was without any spins or damage.

Over at Red Bull it is a complete contrast to 12 months ago as Sebastian Vettel struggles to get on the podium let alone win races while Mark Webber currently holds the upper hand in the team by leading 3-0 in qualifying and being higher in the drivers championship. This current superiority was emphasised late on in the Chinese Grand Prix when he drove around the outside of Vettel down at turn 14. Without the EBD the Red Bull has lost it's superiority over the rest of the field and this season is a true test of Vettel's racecraft and a true evaluation of where he stacks up as one of the great world champions and at the moment I would say he was a 6-7/10 as he has made some good overtaking moves and apart from a puncture in Malaysia has always moved forward on the grid from his starting position, but then that wasn't hard to do in China considering he started 11th on the grid, his lowest qualifying position since 2009 when Brawn were running riot.

The problems continue at Ferrari as Fernando Alonso fought the car to finish in 9th which could have been higher but for a combination of tyre of degradation and traffic at the wrong times that cost him time, but this is still a lot stronger than Massa in the sister Ferrari who continues to show that he shouldn't be a Ferrari driver after a mediocre race to 13th, he is showing almost no signs of improvement and he is rarely threatening the points these days let alone the podium and the championship challenging days of 2007 and 2008 must feel like a long time ago, if there isn't any improvement surely this will be his final year in a Ferrari seat.

So far 2012 has seen 3 different race winners in 3 races with Lewis Hamilton leading the championship from team mate Jenson Button despite Button winning the Australian Grand Prix which shows that Hamilton is getting back his consistency which won him the 2008 championship and shows that he has got over the demons of 2011 which is only a good thing for the championship fight with numerous people already showing that they are capable of fighting for the championship and today perhaps Rosberg threw his hat into the ring as a possible contender, it is certainly has the potential to be one of the closest championships in recent years and makes a change from the Red Bull dominated 2011 with Vettel steamrollering the field.

For Galahads brilliant circuit write up, see here
Wooooooooo hoooooooooooo no painfully slow second sector this time round.

I agree with Bernie on the Bahrain race thing. The people aren't protesting F1 and F1 isn't going to Bahrain to give it a bad name. F1 is going there because the race is under contract until at least 2015 and too cancel it two years in a row because of unrest is just giving in too those bad people in the world.
It wouldn't be bad if they used the 3.6 km outer track. It still wouldn't have exciting features but there would be overtaking galore.
Amazing thing about this F1 2012 is even though it's the 4th race we go into the race having no clue who will get pole, no clue who will win and pretty much no clue about the pecking order at the top or midfield. The feeling is the hotter temperatures will hurt the Mercedes and help McLaren and Red Bull. I'd also look at Lotus as a dark horse as they suit hotter conditions and look after their tyres well in those circumstances. They took all their upgrades off their car for this weekend, but that is largely due to the fact that the abnormally low temperatures on Friday didn't allow them to properly test them out. If they bolt them back on and get the 2 or 3 tenths they said that would bring then they could be right in the mix.

Expect Williams to go well too in the race!
I'm glad that the final decision has been made and that we are racing. Hammy said it very well about the intentions of F1 and how it should be viewed. A good reality check.

The race hasn't been exciting in the past, but maybe DRS and Pirelli can liven things up a little. The straights should play into the Mercedes hands, but the high temperatures are sure to hurt their tires (if this is still an issue).

I just hope that this weekend is clean, safe, and enjoyable for all.
It is interesting how few drivers will have actually raced on this layout - Trulli is the last polesitter on this circuit.

And it might be the kind of place that'll make Massa feel at home, what with his excellent record there.
God knows Massa needs a decent result!

Ok I'm going to do something I don't usually do and back Kimi for the win for the following reasons:

A) I'd love to have 4 winner with 4 different constructors

B) The Lotus looks good in warmer conditions especially tyre wise

C) Kimi has 4 podiums in 6 races at Bahrain

D) He appears to be more competitve every race this season.

Go KR!!!
Ok I'm going to do something I don't usually do and back Kimi for the win

Your prediction may well end up being right. The Lotus seemed to be hurt by the cold conditions on Friday in China more than any other team and the team have said they will be good in the hotter conditions. I think in hot conditions the Lotus may have the best tyre wear out of the front runners. Plus, they didn't use any of their new upgrade package at China because results on Friday were inconclusive, so if they get all that hooked up at Bahrain then they'll make an additional step. The only negative for Lotus is James Alison has said traction is a weakness of theirs and Bahrain is all about traction and top speed. Poor traction could lead to excessive tyre movement out of corners and thus degradation.

I think Mercedes will be good due to their super DRS but im not sure on how handy their traction is. I get the feeling their mid-high corner speed is good and top speed is good but im not sure about traction. Plus Mercedes will surely suffer more with their tyres.

Red Bull and McLaren should both like the hotter conditions more. In-fact Red Bull looked extremely good on race pace during Friday practice at Malaysia and pretty kind of their tyres. That could have been that lateral loads through the high speed corners were hurting McLaren comparatively though and Bahrain places much different requirements on the tyres. I'm pretty sure from what I heard from testing, McLaren are good when it comes to traction. Saying that both Red Bull and McLaren lack top speed compared to Mercedes and Lotus.

It should be very close between all 4 teams theoretically!

Ferrari on the other hand will suffer big time I think. Their main 2 weaknesses is top speed and traction, which is the main 2 requirements of this track. I also don't think they're too good in the hot conditions!
Lotus never have a good weekend do they?

They need to sort out their pitstops and strategies before they can challenge for a win.
By the way if Jos gives himself a mark for predicting its not going to rain in Bahrain I think we should all report him to the mods! lol
Report all you like, I still would be right!
Also, I think Lewis Hamilton has a good chance for his first win, he usually adapts to new tracks well and has experience on here before so maybe pole for him? And a win? He was 3rd in 2010, Alonso won and Massa was second and neither of them are doing well this season, you know the phrase, past glory future success
Jos. I don't mean to be picky but how can Lewis skill on new tracks and his experience on this track both be relevent? It can't be a new track he's adapting too if he has experience on racing on it can it? Or am I just fighting Boss Logic here?
Jos. I don't mean to be picky but how can Lewis skill on new tracks and his experience on this track both be relevent? It can't be a new track he's adapting too if he has experience on racing on it can it? Or am I just fighting Boss Logic here?
New after a year is what I meant, I may have went into an oxymoron there but I meant in new cars after a year without going there it is new as they are also back to the 2009 layout so another "old new thing" to get used to
well 12 of the 24 drivers have raced on the 2009 lay out including 9 drivers from the 5 top teams and 7 of those 9 have raced on it more times than Lewis has so I wouldn't let that figure in your decision too much. Also I think another 5 have raced on this lay out in GP2.

Still I agree with you that Lewis stands a good chance here but I think that'll be more to do with his current form and the Mclaren working well in hot weather. I'll certainly predict him for pole.
Well a Mclaren has never won at this track, Ferrari are most successuful so they would hope to go well.
Some news about China though, Gary Anderson says that he predicts Button would have won the race by around 2 seconds if he didn't have that pit stop problem, but could have, should have, would have it all counts for nothing if it didn't happen!
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