Today the new F1 season started. There's a big change this season, no refuelling. Still unsure about how this'll play out - time will tell. I think it'll be a good thing as pits will still be required in order to do tyre changes, but it could result in actions on the track being decisive. This season has a new scoring system, 25 points for the winner, 18 for second then 15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 down to tenth place.
Another new innovation is that ex-racing drivers are to be part of the stewards panel, this can only be a good thing,
This season also sees the return of Michael Schumacher, he's not dominating as he once did, but it should be interesting over the season to see him race again.
On top of these changes, Jensen Button and Lewis Hamilton, Champions from 2008 and 2009, will be team-mates.
For the first time in ages, it seems like the tweaks all work together for a better championship, there is nothing that screams at me as worrisome.
In Bahrain, a 49 lap race, Sebastien Vettel started in pole position.
Webber's car produced an interesting smoke plume just after the start, but it didn't seem to indicate a big problem as he was still in 7th place after seven laps, indeed, he lasted the race.
Bruno Senna was the first to pit on the 12th lap, it was a little tentative for the new driver and new team, but there were no big dramas.
This was followed by Kubica, Petrov and others. Petrov's pit was very slow, with some sort of problem retiring him.
Hamilton and Schumacher pitted together on lap 16, both cleanly, both emerging with clean air. Schumacher kept on Hamilton's tail.
Rosberg emerged from the pits between Hamilton and Schumacher.
Vettel kept his lead after his pit stop, and as the halfway point approached he looked dominant.
After around 30 laps, Alonso was on Vettel's tail, but was hanging back as he was overheating due to Vettel's turbulent hot wake. At lap 34, Vettel had a sudden loss of power, he kept going but Alonso and Massa passed him without problem, this put Alonso into clean air.
The failure was, according to the race radio, an exhaust failure.
Hamilton was over ten seconds behind Vettel, but began to reel him in, and was soon on his bumper, and then Hamilton pulled ahead to a podium position.
At lap 40, Hamilton reported a lot of vibration from the front of the car, it wasn't to be a problem and he drove through to the end of the race.
At lap 44, the order was Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Schumacher, Button, Webber.
At lap 45, Rosberg was seconds behind Vettel, and closing, and in lap 46 he started to get into Vettel's dirty air.
By lap 48, Vettel was still holding off Rosberg, which was somewhat surprising, indeed, Vettel pulled away a little.
Alonso took the flag with a little flourish, showboating over the line. He was followed by Massa, Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Schumacher, Button, Webber, Liussi, Barrichello, Kubica, Sutil. I may be wrong in this, but I think this may be the first time that the winner of the Bahrain Grand Prix hasn't come from the front row of the grid.
On the basis of that race, I'm not convinced that the new pit regulations work well. Perhaps the rule should be two tyre changes, or even no compulsory tyre changes (but you must stick with the qualifying tyres to start the race). Not sure.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||12|
|5||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||10|
|6||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||8|
|8||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||4|
|9||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||2|
|12||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||0|
|13||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||0|
|15||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus F1||0|
|16||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||0|
|17||Jarno Trulli||Lotus F1||0|
|18||Pedro de la Rosa||BMW Sauber||0|
|19||Bruno Senna||Hispania Racing F1||0|
|20||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||0|
|22||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber||0|
|23||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin Racing||0|
|24||Karun Chandhok||Hispania Racing F1||0|