Grand Prix 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

So we move to the Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. It is a country of great beauty, of civilisation and diversity; but just what attracts F1 to this corner of the world, this archipelago with just over 1 million inhabitants? Well, of course, “oil, stupid!” I hear you cry, but no, there is more than just that; as an influential economic trade centre with huge investment in tourism there’s far more than just the black, smelly, slippery stuff to attract the attention of Bernie and The Circus.

Before oil there was an historic background to interest the mightiest of classical brains; the years before the arrival of Islam were rich in culture as this conduit for trade and knowledge soaked up the influences of Egypt, Greece and the other “advanced” cultures of their times; on the arrival of Islam the intellectual and scientific knowledge flourished through years of political turmoil and threat from external sources, all contributing to the emergence of strong rulers and attracting continued interest from larger, more distant powers.
Portugal, Britain, Egypt and Persia focused on manipulating the region for greater gain as the area became yet more strategically important – then came interest from Uncle Sam in the form of oil prospectors Standard Oil when up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude. While initially this caused a closeness with Britain (who invested then saw great returns through oil revenues) soon it was Iran who showed interest, and the Persian influence was revisited until Bahrain’s independence in 1971. Tension between the three bubbled for the next 30 years until Emir Al Khalifa (who then became King) rose as leader and began a series of reforms which gave freedoms and rights to many. Shi’ite Bahrainis have complained of prejudice, causing a fragile politics in Bahrain, culminating in the commencement of open protest during the Arab Spring. The human rights record of the current regime is under scrutiny frequently and it is this which has made this F1 event as divisive amongst fans as it is. “Systematic Torture” is used by security forces to threaten, frighten and secure information and the control of media causes a bias in information within the country.

"Just what attracts F1 to this corner of the world?" F1 is, of course, attracted to Bahrain by money.

What’s this got to do with us, though? Well, the first Bahrain GP was held in 2004, winning the title of “Best Organised Grand Prix” for that year and was won by Michael Schumacher.
Yet it’s the years 2011 and 2012 which have caused most discussion due to the cancellation in ’11 and non-cancellation in ’12. Vettel’s Championship in ’11 would not have been altered had an additional GP been run, neither would his 2012 victory have been threatened had Bahrain been cancelled so why can political turmoil and human rights be a critical influence one year and not the next? Perhaps it doesn’t matter and the Formula 1 World Championship is all that matters, this is not the place for such a discussion but perhaps you’ll do me the favour of reading this:

So where are we now? With a great display from 3 time Bahrain winner Alonso, a super early China performance from 2 time Bahrain winner Massa and great Lotus, Merc, Red Bull and McLaren performances on 14th April what’s going to be the view on a winner? All the top 4 teams appear to be able to get one strong finish which makes for a real tight picture so I’m not putting anybody’s cash on a punt! The stewards may be in with a busy time, too, as some of the skill levels we’ve seen have caused them so much work over the China weekend. We’ve seen chewing-gum tyres causing dull qualifying with split race strategies and an unusual grid; with high Bahraini track and air temperatures surely this will be the best test so far of aero, strategy and driver skill. I don’t think the circuit is too dissimilar to China but grip levels with the sand will be a challenge, my surprise is that we still have the same questions unanswered regarding the respective qualities of the teams.

I hope you enjoy the race, despite it being my least favourite, and I look forward to your comments.
The Mercedes is not yet a front running car.
They still have issues with tyre wear and it looks like they are under-fuelling to improve their qualifying prospects and their performance in the first half of the race.
Still early days, but I wouldn't rule out either of the Merc drivers; they're close enough that a good development programme could get them up there.

Lotus were very strong at Bahrain last year, so Kimi would be my bet.
Nice preview gethinceri :thumbsup: Taught me a few things I didn't know. After the fun and games in China it's difficult to see past Alonso but you never know.
The Mercedes is not yet a front running car.
They still have issues with tyre wear and it looks like they are under-fuelling to improve their qualifying prospects and their performance in the first half of the race.

Sorry Brogan but how does under-fueling help qualifying - if they under-fueled in qualifying then they'd not have enough to get back to the pits (aka a Webber). Their qualifying pace is genuine. In the race there is no evidence that they under-fueled today - they did so in Malaysia as they thought it would rain more and they usually decide on fuel levels and fill up the tank several hours before the start.

It is a fact that the Mercedes engines consume more fuel than Renault especially and probably Ferrari too, therefore that is one of the reasons why they lose performance at the start of the race - McLaren are also usually slower at the start of the race and then get quicker throughout.

I don't believe Mercedes have any worse degradation than Ferrari or Red Bull believe it or not, but something happened today whereby both Merc drivers had lots of understeer and did not have the same balance as on Friday during their long runs. Ross Brawn has said Hamilton had rubber stuck in his front wing, which explained some of the issues but it seems these tyres change per car per track conditions and are very temperamental.

Hamilton did a 27 lap on Mediums on Friday and had less degradation than he had today over 15 laps - something not quite right there. Merc were very good on super-soft deg wise in Aus then were poor on the Medium. In Malaysia, they were very good on the Medium, probably had the best deg of anyone on that tyre, then did not work the hard in the race for some reason. I don't think their car has the fundamental issues with tyre wear that it had last year and I think at some races, possibly even Bahrain - they may show this if they get the right setup and a bit of "luck", which it seems you need.

It's like Red Bull in Malaysia, they were destroying tyres on Friday and admitted they thought they would have big issues in the race after they won and found out mysteriously they were kind on their tyres for no apparent reason. Also, if you look at Lotus, especially Kimi in Malaysia, he was ultra fast on Friday and no where on Saturday, they made effectively no changes so the track evolving meant the tyres were not working for them anymore.

Ferrari seem to have the main advantage, as they did last year if you remember, whereby their car is consistent in all conditions - this year they have the benefit of also being fast - a pretty good combination.

Overall though, I don't mind tyres with with high deg, so long as they are not random and and have strange operating windows. If you look back to 2011, there was degradation and exciting racing but you wouldn't get teams dropping out of or falling into an operating window from race to race or even session to session. In 2012 something strange happened with the tyres and it seems this year they're still a bit random. Thus, hopefully the rumours of Pirelli bringing new tyres from Barcelona onwards are true as I think the races may actually be tighter and closer between the top 4.
Greetings all, a very quick question about Bahrain this weekend.

I am honour bound to accompany her indoors to Florida, leaving Saturday morning, for two weeks holiday to include the attendance at a friend of hers wedding. I am resolved to missing qualification and just catching up with what happened, rather than seeing it live, but want to view the race.

Can anybody confirm which TV station covers it (we'll be in Miami Sun AM race time) so I can easily find out if the hotel has it available
- otherwise I'm likely to get the same answer from the receptionist as I did in Egypt a few ago; 'you want to watch F-what?'

Wiki says NBC Sports free-to-air but with a proviso:
'Most races and all practice/qualifying to be broadcast by NBC Sports Network. 4 races will be broadcast by the FTA NBC network, and two races will be shown on CNBC due to conflicts.' :s

Many thanks in advance. :thankyou:
This race will be on NBCSports ramilas1. I am not sure if this channel is available in most hotels over here, as it will be down to the cable provider. It's channel 102 for me in Florida and SPEED is 32, which is available in pretty much every hotel.

Let me know if you've any other questions, as I watch the Sky Broadcasts as well.
I hope you are able to find it ramilas1 . I don't know about those who watched the NBC coverage but I thought it was better this time than in Malaysia. However, it still has a way to go.
Hopefully it will be better than the time I watched F1 in Spain. The broadcaster decided to have an hour long news show in the middle of it!
Hopefully it will be better than the time I watched F1 in Spain. The broadcaster decided to have an hour long news show in the middle of it!
. I don't know about those who watched the NBC coverage but I thought it was better this time than in Malaysia. However, it still has a way to go.
As long as it has the pictures, which are the same, and no frickin adverts I'm OK.
Living in Poland and speaking very little Polish, and understanding only a little bit more, I'm used to not listening to the 'drivel' part of commentary and just listening for driver names in case they spot which car is in shot before I do! :snigger:
Many thanks KekeTheKing, will get in touch with hotel in advance to try and get a cunning plan in place. :thankyou:
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