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 only thing I can remember was Hamilton getting told to save fuel through Turns 1 and 2.

Seems to me just the usual 'fuel saving' mode that drivers do.
I'm not trying to be funny but surely there is only an infinitesimal amount of fuel that can be saved in 2 corners, saving tyres though through turn one on that track I could believe but not fuel they are not even on the throttle for most of it...


Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
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Busy weekend actually with the Moto Gp and the Scottish national as well. Time to put on my sport watching trousers.


Podium Finisher
Merc were a lot faster than the field on the medium tyre throughout practice and qualifying in China, so the fact that will be the qualifying tyre for Bahrain puts them in a strong position for pole. They were also not too bad on tyres on Malaysia when it was hot, rear tyre limited and had medium and hard tyre compounds. Hopefully they'll be able to properly race without too many tyre issues and if so we could have a 4 way team battle for the win. Merc's tyre wear in Malaysia was actually quite impressive, they only lost time due to fuel saving, but their deg was better than Red Bulls and comparative to Lotus and Ferrari.


The problem Mercedes had in China was they were slow at the end of each stint. the final pit stops in China Raikonnen pitted onto used mediums 3 laps earlier than Hamilton, while Hamilton had a new set, and Raikonnen still pulled away at the end. Also I think if Mercedes believed they could have done the same amount of laps as Lotus they wouldn't have waited 3 laps to bring Hamilton in.


Rooters Reporter
I did assume that to be the case. Although who knows what irresistible pheromones waft around on the tarmac ribbons of the planet's premier race tracks. :thinking:
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