Grand Prix 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

And so it is with fresh optimism and renewed hope that the F1 band wagon rolls northwards from Australia and into the Middle East. Not everyone's favourite holiday destination at the moment which means it should be relatively cheap if you still want to pop out and take a look.

Previously a British protectorate, Bahrain became an independent state in 1971 and a Kingdom in 2002. It's cultural routes stretch back thousands of years. One of the first regions of the Gulf to adopt the Islamic faith, during the 7th century, at one stage prior to this it was home to a group who worshipped a shark deity call Awal which for a time the country was also called. More recently if made headlines for the brutal crack down of an uprising as part of the Arab Spring. With neighbour Saudi Arabia sending tanks across the causeway that links the two countries in support of the the monarch and government. Bahrain unlike many of the other states in the region has an economy that is focused on banking and tourism therefore global relations are extremely important.

The 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix was the first F1 race to be held in the Middle East and was deemed a huge success by the FIA. Shunted around the calendar over the next few years, the GP has had the pleasure of opening the series on a number of occasions. The 2011 race was cancelled due to the turmoil mentioned above and there was a great deal of pressure from a number of quarters for the 2012 race to follow suit. The cancellation in 2011 was not as a result of the fact that they made viewers sit through an extremely dull race using the much longer 'Endurance Track' layout in 2010. Since 2014 the race has been held under floodlight conditions in order to be broadcast at a more suitable time for European TV audiences. A happy hunting ground for want to be World Champions as 8 of the 11 winners have gone on to lift the title trophy, Fernando Alonso leads the pack with 3 wins.

It will be interesting to see how the cars run here in a hotter climate. We still don't really know about the operating ranges and limits of the 2016 tyres and with the fact that the tyre rules allow for a far greater use of strategy than before, that level of 'unknown' has certainly added to the interest this year.

There can be no doubt that the 2016 Mercedes is the car to beat but the big question is just how hard to beat will it be? Was Australia a true reflection given that the qualifying system was a mess and that Hamilton made a complete dog's breakfast of his race start?

Ferrari will be kicking themselves for not being able to draw first blood when it seemed like a really strong result was on the cards. A must for the team should be getting both cars home and as high up the grid as possible. That pressure on Mercedes will surely see mistakes being made.

Further down the grid, there are a lot of tidy looking cars out there this season which should add some real drama to the midfield battle. It was an encouraging start for Red Bull who, despite having a poor weekend with Kyvat, did show that the new TAG-NotRenault engine has improved since last year. Haas made a fantastic start to their campaign and life in F1 becoming one of the very few teams to have scored points on their d├ębut and, for the old school among us, actually score real points from back in the day when only the top six scored. That just goes to show that if you spend a full year getting yourself together before joining the grid you can reap the rewards (I'm looking at you Toyota !!).

With the relative closeness of the midfield, you get the impression that the drivers will make the difference. Max '****ing' Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Jo Palmer, Daniel Ricciardo etc etc, all of these guys are pushing hard.

Of the established teams, McLaren have improved, there is no doubt about it but they must be relieved that Alonso's crash gave the team more positive headlines about the strength and design of the car then they would of received had he made it to the finish in one piece. Again it's going to be another long year but surely a more fruitful one. Williams on the other hand seem to be slipping right back into clutches of the midfield having threatened to make the Ferrari, Mercedes scrap a three way battle they now seem incapable of dragging the best out of the combination of their chassis, drivers and Mercedes engine.

Finally, it looks like another long year ahead for Sauber and Manor but there was an encouraging start for Pascal Wehrlein who, despite losing out to his team mate in the farce of Qually, ran well enough in the race to suggest that a point or two may not be a remote prospect this season.

Let's just hope that the season continues to unfold in a positive and exciting way.
 
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Spinodontosaurus

Points Scorer
Lingering on the apex is fine, it's a legitimate and fairly common defensive tactic.



Force India were rubbish this race, but they were quite competitive in Australia so lets hope this was just an anomaly.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
Lingering on the apex is fine, it's a legitimate and fairly common defensive tactic.

Yes, when defending in normal battle. Not the best idea in the first corner. He should have been long gone but wasn't far from getting caught up in the Bottas/Hamilton incident.

I've already said that Lewis has only himself to blame for being in that position though.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
You really have to wonder whether the ever-increasing addition of tiny aero appendages on F1 cars' front-wings these days isn't a total waste of time. In the first few laps of the Bahrain GP there was more bits of carbon fibre flying about as a result of minor collision than snowflakes on Mont-Blanc, and it never seems to make hardly any difference to lap-times.
 
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Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
I've already said that Lewis has only himself to blame for being in that position though.

I think that's a little bit unfair, in my opinion it was an ambitious move from Bottas to try from that far back, I agree that had Hamilton got off the line properly he wouldn't have been close to Valerie but still ;)
 

Benmausgof1

Learner
Bottas figured it was the only way to give anyone a fighting chance against a Merc. He's probably still feeling jaded from Russia as well.

Honestly I think it was an honest racing incident and the penalty was ridiculous.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Williams snatched defeat from the jaws of victory again. When you think they were up to 2ND through the first corner.

The big surprise for me though is that Bahrain is a track for the engines and the Merc teams were expected to lead the way. Apart from the Merc works team that didn't happen.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
We already saw it in Australia. The Merc's power advantage has been reduced this season. Ferrari are up there and the Renault no longer seems particularly vulnerable on the straights. It's the law of diminishing returns we're seeing here.

So as you were saying the other day RasputinLives the last thing F1 needs right now is a raft of new regulations that' ll reset everything just when it's beginning to look as though the law of diminishing returns is starting to show signs things will even themselves out up front.

Yet that is precisely what we'll be getting next year... :givemestrength:
 
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ATL11

Podium Finisher
Interesting TV picture I noticed at the start, notice anything missing?
 

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cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
ATL11 Other than the fact that your picture is of the start of the formation lap and not the start of the race then no, I don't notice anything missing?
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
And that is why 'the promoters' keep pressing Bernie to 'spice up the show'. It's an ever decreasing circle. The more it costs to put bums on seats, the higher the costs of tickets, the less people come the harder the 'promoters' have to fight to get people through the door, the more they complain to Bernie about the need to 'spice up the show', the more Bernie and the FIA screw things up royally, the bigger the problems in F1, the less interest in racing from the public, the less people watch races, the less money comes in, the harder the teams and promoters demand change, the more screw ups are made, and so on and so on and so on until we all go home and end up watching something else.
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
i feared the worst when vettel retired & bottas was an idiot going for gap that was always going to close. it basically gave rosberg the victory. but the midfield battle 5th below was amazing & i really enjoyed the race just as much as the australian gp Proof that F1 can be good when the people in charge stop machine gunning everyone in the foot

Vandoorne what a brilliant debut, any points for mclaren are good points but could be postive signs thay Honda are finally making strides because to be so competitive on a big power circuit, I knew he was good I would arguably say as good a record anything that come out of junior formula since Lewis Hamilton but even better debut that surpassed my expectations

Romain Grosjean easily driver of day a 2nd straight race what a drive ive said before this is the good news story f1 badly needs. & If any people thought they lucked into 6th in Australia then Bahrain will certainly silence any doubters. Finally What ever they put in kimi drink they should order it by the crate, because I saw more fight in Bahrain some fantastic overtakes on massa & riccardio that all of 2015 season
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
18 months ago a seat at Williams seemed like something to aim for for a number of drivers who weren't going to get into Ferrari or Merc. Are they now the third best team on the grid and how will their season play out?
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
I would say Red Bull are definitely the 3rd best team on the grid and if only they have Mercedes power then they just might get at Ferrari and the main Merc team

Williams you've got the most powerful engine and you've got engineers who have been past winning championships pedigree.. what's missing ? Clearly a world class driver or is they've got the wrong designers on the chassis

- It's time Williams freshen up the team unless they want to be Mercedes B Team

Amusingly Toto Wolff was not trying to criticise Bottas too much for crashing into him at the start
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Williams and Force India have been flattered by their power units, it was never likely that they'd keep Red Bull and McLaren behind them for long. At least Williams have got some good sponsorship off the back of it.

Also goes to show what an amazing job the Mercedes works team is still doing.
 
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