F1: Bahrain Grand Prix live blog

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarSunday, April 6th, 2008

 
 

Wind is already scouring the Sakhir circuit in preparation for the third race in the 2008 Formula One World Championship.

We can’t quite promise to report on the progress of every last grain of sand – but we’ll be here for the next two and a half hours, live blogging the race.

Robert Kubica will be defending his first pole from a rampant Felipe Massa determined to make up for the mistakes of his first two races while Lewis Hamilton will be seeking to compensate for some slight mistakes in qualifying which have left him on the second row.

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen appears to be pursuing his own strategy, based on a heavy fuel load and a dash past his competitors at the pit stops – and it’s one we think the other front runners might find hard to handle.

Will there be fireworks at the start as Kubica is carved out by Hamilton, Raikkonen and Massa? Stick with us to find out… Refresh for the latest news.

________________________

Podium: It’s not every race you hear the Brazilian national anthem, is it?

– – – – –

Final order:

Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 10 points
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 8 points
Robert Kubica, BMW: 6 points
Nick Heidfeld, BMW: 5 points
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 4 points
Jarno Trulli, Toyota: 3 points
Mark Webber, Red Bull, 2 points
Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1 point

– – – – –

Lap 57 (final): Massa home free for the full 10 points, followed by Raikkonen and Kubica in fairly short order. Fisi is the biggest gainer, having dragged his Force India six places up the racing order.

– – – – –

Lap 55: Inquisitions at McLaren will doubtless focus on the lack of pace and traction of its cars this weekend. Brits on Pole management now whiling away the final laps considering how our McLaren Grand Prix League team has fared. We’ve invested heavily in BMW but not (needless to say) in Ferrari. So if Raikkonen could just crash…

– – – – –

Lap 54: Massa’s keeping it on the island, currently some six seconds in front of Raikkonen. And it’s as you were behind the two red cars.

– – – – –

Lap 53: Hamilton takes 13th place off Nakajima, but it’s a fairly hopeless furrow he’s ploughing. Hamilton lets Heidfeld through.

– – – – –

Lap 50: McLaren reportedly unwilling to stir things up by reporting Alonso for brake-testing since neither he nor Hamilton are in the points. ITV’s commentators politely disagree – they’re dying to know what Alonso’s telemetry would tell us about the incident.

– – – – –

Lap 49: Massa is lapping Hamilton for the second time. Perhaps his car will get a bit wider when it’s Raikkonen’s turn – that will be helpful to Kubica… uncharitable thought.

– – – – –

Lap 48: BMW are still taking the race to Ferrari! Kubica is actually starting to eye the back of Raikkonen’s car. Obviously he’s forgotten to read Ferrari’s engine-saving script. Kovalainen has also unaccountably speeded up – now we’re getting into the running-on-fumes zone.

– – – – –

Lap 47: Amazingly, Heidfeld is still pushing Kubica. Barrichello is challenging Alonso – go, Rubinho!

– – – – –

Lap 46: As you were. At the moment it’s Massa, Raikkonen, Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Trulli, Webber and Rosberg in the points. That puts Raikkonen in the lead in the drivers’ championship ad possibly BMW in the constructors’. Kovalainen finally pits. Hamilton is almost certainly going away empty-handed.

– – – – –

Lap 44: Suspicions that Raikkonen will stop pushing his team-mate are confirmed by a slightly larger gap between the two drivers. Only Massa can beat Massa now…

– – – – –

Lap 43: Trulli comes in, hoping to come out ahead of Mark Webber, with points involved. A very quick stop, he comes out well. But Webber is tryng to make up sufficient time to get ahead. Heidfeld pits from the front.

– – – – –

Lap 42: Kubica trying to get past Sato is a sight to raise sweat on anyone’s brow. Piquet’s long-standing gearbox problems finally came home to roost, we learn, and that has implications for several races down the line. Heidfeld leads but Kubica is putting in some cracking times. Hamilton is currently 14th.

– – – – –

Lap 41: DC pits. Webber and Trulli are fighting for position. Webber four seconds behind.

– – – – –

Lap 40: Kubica pits from the lead – he is looking at his second consecutive podium finish. He’s away with no problems but does come out sixth into a spot of traffic.

– – – – –

Lap 39: Massa pits and loses time getting away. However Raikkonen hits traffic and Massa is comfortably clear. Precedent suggests that Ferrari will now stop their drivers racing which means a win for Massa. That in turn would ease the pressure very slightly on Hamilton. But McLaren’s main worry here is their complete lack of response to the BMWs.

– – – – –

Lap 38: Raikkonen is brought in first for his pit stop and is fuelled to the end. He rejoins in fourth. Alonso pits, getting him off Glock’s back.

– – – – –

Lap 37: The only news is the Massa/Raikkonen scrap. Massa, described as “a pint-sized Brazillian,” is holding on. The sheer unusualness of watching two racing Ferraris stuns all observers, including the commentators. Piquet suddenly loses speed and lets Hamilton through. Hamilton is now in 15th place.

– – – – –

Lap 36: Nakajima comes close to impeding Raikkonen. Four seconds between the two Ferrari drivers. Alonso is trying to overtake Glock who holds him off, but we don’t fancy his chances for long. Mind you, GP2 racing is a pretty lively sport…

– – – – –

Lap 34: Trulli in sixth is catching Kovalainen who is 14 seconds behind the BMWs. Raikkonen has just set a fastest lap of 1:33.7. It is pointed out that the race stewards are being laissez-faire about both the Hamilton/Alonso and the Coulthard/Button altercations.

– – – – –

Lap 32: Ferraris are described as in a race of their own. Massa has responded to Raikkonen’s challenge with a speed burst. Behind them are Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Trulli, Webber, Rosberg.

– – – – –

Lap 31: Raikkonen is starting to push Massa. Hamilton pits, 20 secs off eighth place and a single point. Hard tyres go on, he comes out behind Massa, only a lap down. He’s in clear air and looking to take advantage of the pack-shuffling of the next pit stops. But it’s a bloody tall order.
– – – – –

Lap 30: Rosberg and Glock duelling for eighth. Webber has got his eye on getting past Trulli, possibly in the pits. Hamilton in 14th is having to fight tremendous oversteer to get past Fisi with help from slipstream in the pit straight. He’s now looking at Barrichello, who is up the road in 12th. Kimi Raikkonen is the fastest man so far.

– – – – –

Lap 27: Kovalainen in fifth is 30 secs behind leaders. Hamilton in 14th is now 58 secs behind leaders – so pulled a bit back, but still a fairly desperate situation. Button is interviewed by Louise Goodman, is philosophical about his accident with DC and says his race was fatally compromised by having to make his early pit stop. Says the car had great pace, however.

– – – – –

Lap 26, and it’s as you were after the pit stops, with Raikkonen not pulling off his usual pit stop magic overtake. Right now it’s Massa first, then Raikkonen, Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Trulli, Webber, Rosberg in seventh, Glock, Alonso with a big bite out of his rear wing, then Nakajima, Barrichello, Fisichella, Hamilton in 14th, Sato, Piquet, Bourdais, Davidson, Coulthard and the last runner is Sutil.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Lap 22: Coulthard turns out to have had his front wing damaged in the spat with Jense. Thus he is on his third nose cone of the race. Hamilton, faced with the difficult task of overtaking a Super Aguri, goes wide but does manage it – a sign of what a mess his car is in.

– – – – –

Lap 21: Everything upside-down until the pit stops sort themselves out. Davidson temporarily up to 16th, let’s hope he doesn’t suffocate due to oxygen deficiency. Webber pits.

– – – – –

Lap 20: Jense takes the opportunity to do a full pit-stop. Massa pulling away a bit from Raikkonen – much good may it do him. Ferrari mechanics out, not clear which driver. Surprise! It’s Massa. And we all thought the Flying Finn was fuelled heavy… Toyota come in and a space has been cleared in the Honda garage which suggests young Button has bollixed his car in that impatient little move on DC. Terrible driver to choose, the Scot more or less has scythes tied to his wheel hubs…

– – – – –

Lap 19: Kubica goes off the tarmac on his outlap but survives. Button and Coulthard have hit each other. Both on the track but Button loses front wing. Wily old DC holds the place, having shut out his young mate once he was committed to a chancy overtake, and forces him off the track.

“That was kind of going to happen, wasn’t it,” says Brundle gloomily. Allen predicts “a cold beer and a stiff talking-to”.

– – – – –

Lap 18: Pit stops are starting, Kubica in. Kimi Raikkonen has just put in the fastest lap of the race. Will he soon be leading? Rosberg has pitted. Kubica comes out in ninth, behind Webber.

– – – – –

Lap 16: Button and DC duelling for 19th, for what that’s worth.

– – – – –

Lap 15: Fisi has his Force India up to 11th, good for him. Hamilton’s car seriously out of sorts and lapping two and a half seconds behind the leaders. Brundle states that he will not leave Bahrain leading the world championship.

– – – – –

Lap 14: Hamilton now on a two-stop strategy. Alonso’s car a bit dodgy, according to team radio, and there’s a bloody great tyre mark on his right wing. Heidfeld is losing Trulli. We may have to eat our words about Toyota, who we did not tip for greatness.

– – – – –

Lap 13: As you were. Ferrari thought to be making the most of their soft Bridgestone tyres.
Massa’s last lap 1:34.8, he’s lapping faster than Raikkonen and neither car is escaping from the BMWs. Speculation that Hamilton’s car has been messed up by the accident, either that or it’s heavily fuelled following his pit-stop. Either way he’s more than a minute behind the leaders.

– – – – –

Lap 10: Davidson, Hamilton, Coulthard and Button are running 17th to 20th. We’re thinking about a redesign – how does “Backmarker Brits” sound?

– – – – –

Lap 9: Massa’s lead up to four seconds. Kubica has had a look at Raikkonen, leading to the Finn putting his foot down. This is starting to look a bit processional. Can the McLarens shake things up?

Vettel interviewed – says he hit Fisichella and was hit himself at turn four – doesn’t say who. Money would be on Button or Coulthard since they had to make pit stops.

– – – – –

Lap 7: Button was pulled in, like Coulthard, for a right rear puncture. Massa has just put in a blistering fastest lap.

– – – – –

Lap 6: Hamilton is 18th with a mountain to climb. Continued speculation about the Alonso/Hamilton incident. Kubica and Heidfeld are holding onto the backs of the Ferraris.

– – – – –

Lap 4: Fisi up seven places in 11th. Order is Ferrari one-two, then the Beemers. Kovalainen hangs on in fifth and Kubica is not letting the second-placed Raikkonen pull away. Trulli is sixth holding off Rosberg in seventh. Then Webber, Glock, Alonso.

– – – – –

Lap 3: Of the last five runners, it’s likely four are Brits right now. Button is 20th for some reason.

– – – – –

Lap 2: Raikkonen takes Kubica for second place – now a Ferrari one-two. Hamilton has got the car to the pits but is in for a lengthy stop. DC also in for a stop after a right rear tyre disintegrates. Heidfeld has taken Kovalainen for fourth. Replay shows Hamilton more or less stationary on the start line. McLaren muttering about Alonso’s tactics.

– – – – –

Lap 1: Kubica has bad start, Massa takes lead, the Pole goes second. Hamilton screws up the start and loses places – down to 10th and clouds of smoke from the wheels. Raikkonen is third, Kovalainen fourth. Trulli has got himself up to fifth from seventh.

Whoops – Vettel has already crashed. Heidfeld takes Trulli for fifth. Hamilton takes Webber for ninth then hits Alonso and is likely out of the race. Yellow flag. Piquet has spun but is running again

– – – – –

Formation lap: Nelson A Piquet for Renault reporting gearbox problems. Massa’s problems put down to malfunctioning earplugs that stop him talking to his engineer. Ferrari sources have reportedly told James Allen that above all he (Massa) needs to stay calm.

– – – – –

Massa pulls up very late for his front-row grid spot and Ferrari look a bit flustered. Have there been dramas in the garage? Brundle has managed two drivers, two celebs and a prince – obviously not blacklisted this week, then. Even Bernie manages to mutter a few words. Reminders that this is kind of a home GP for McLaren with its Bahraini backers – makes the garage situation even more embarrassing.

– – – – –

Martin Brundle: “I wonder if any of the grumpy drivers will talk to us today… let’s give it a try.” He addresses Jenson Button as “geezer”. Button, relaxed and confident, speculates that the wind will be a issue for many teams. He’s looking for a race of attrition and some points, we would suggest.

– – – – –

Lewis Hamilton, interviewed by Steve Rider after qualifying, says he is quite satisfied with the second row: “I guess I’ll have to pull one of those miracle moves.” Speculating about Robert Kubica’s strategy, he says he knows him very well from karting days and is delighted for him about the pole position – but promises to “give him hell”. He also suggests Kubica is fuelled light.

– – – – –

Toyota’s Timo Glock, live on TV, admits to having tried to mount a horse in childhood only to fall straight off the other side again… stick to racing cars, mate.

– – – – –

Pre-race: On ITV1 Ron Dennis is making the best of the fact that his McLaren team are squeezed into two tiny garages at the bottom of the pit lane – he says that the cars will be able to get away faster at the end of the pit stops. “The facilities are excellent here in Bahrain… we are very philosophical about many things at the moment.”

Meanwhile Christian Horner denies that a complaint from Red Bull is responsible for McLaren’s exile. The blame seems to be squarely at the feet of Max Mosley – Ted Kravitz says: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, we can’t get hold of him at the moment.”

Comments are closed.

 
  • McLaren eshop

    McLaren store

  • F1 gear (and more) at OnPole.com

    2012 F1 Merchandise from OnPole.com