Alice live blogs the Bahrain GP.

What up Bahrain?

The first night race of the season and we all know that shit gets freaky when the sun goes down.

No Alonso tonight after his massive shunt in Australia but let’s see how the new kid on the block grid holds up.

Vettel’s Ferrari is in a world of NOPE right now. We’re on the formation lap and Vettel’s car is billowing smoke. Could be worse, you car could be on fire…oh wait…

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LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO!!!

Lap 1: Oh kasmashy in the first corner! Not a big one but Bottas in the Williams and Hamilton in the Mercedes have made contact and lost chunks of their cars.
Rosberg leads followed by the Williams of Massa and Bottas then Ricciardo in the Red Bull and the Ferrari of Ra-Ra-Raikkonen.

Lap 2: Perez and Sainz connect with the Toro Rosso of Sainz receiving a puncture as a result. 

Something happened to Perez but I missed it.

Lap 5: Hamilton is 6th behind Raikkonen who is on the tail of Ricciardo.

Lap 6: Massive lockup by Ricciardo which allows Raikkonen to overtake and move up into 4th.

Lap 7: Breif Finn on Finn action as Raikkonen overtakes Bottas. That shit was clean.

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Tragedy for the James Bond of F1; Jenson Button, in the McLaren. He gonna retire. Even Alonso looks pained to see this and that guy had a collapsed lung.

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Lap 9: Hamilton has moved up into 3rd ahead of Bottas who pits onto mediums and is now the proud owner of a drive through penalty.

Lap 10: Massa overtakes Nasr. Say that 10 times fast.

Gutierrez is out. Bye friend.

Lap 11: Vandoorne is not fucking around. He may be new but he is mighty in his McLaren. Takes 13th ahead of Force India’s Hulkenberg.

Lap 13: Zero fucks given by Iceman Raikkonen who overtakes Massa AND Riccardo is silky smooth moves to pop himself back up into 3rd after his pitstop.

Lap 14: Raikkonen is overtaking LIKE A BOSS. Casually cruises by Kvyat to claim 2nd.

Lap 15: Hamilton did the thing, is now in 4th behind Ricciardo.

Lap 16: Sweet wheel to wheel racing between Massa and Kvyat through the corners with Massa coming out victorious to claim 5th.

Lap 17: Hamilton overtakes Ricciardo to put himself in the podium position of 3rd for now.

A Haas has overtaken a Williams.
Grosjean has overtaken Massa.
Let that sink in.

There is literally so much craziness going on right now that I am struggling to type fast enough to keep up which is ACTUALLY FUCKING FANTASTIC because it means there’s lots of overtaking and good racing happening.

All this with only 18 cars still in the race.

Yeah we lost Palmer towards the start of the race which I think I failed to mention but there you go.

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Lap 20: Max Verstappen: Wonder Kid overtakes Massa to take 6th.

Lap 21: Kvyat does a one, two overtake on the Saubers of Nasr and Ericsson to pop himself into the points in 10th.

Lap 23: Guys, guys, guys, guys…Grosjean is really close to Ricciardo right now. The Haas. Is on the tail. Of the Red Bull. WTF.

Lap 24: HE’S OVERTAKEN HIM?!?! GROSJEAN HAS OVERTAKEN RICCIARDO?!?! FOR 4TH PLACE?!?!

Lap 27: Ricciardo takes 8th from Bottas after a pitstop.

Lap 28: Kvyat and Ricciardo do the old switch-a-roo moving the latter into 5th

Lap 29: Bottas is gonna have a bad time if this keeps up. Grosjean AND Verstappen overtake him for 7th and 8th respectively.

Lap 31: Crappy pitstop for Rosberg but it makes next to no impact on his lead.

Another one bites the dust with Sainz retiring.

Lap 33: Grosjean keeps overtaking Red Bulls like it’s his freaking mission statement in life. Knocks Kvyat out of 5th position.

Lap 34: Magnussen has managed to get his Renault past the Force India of Perez.

Lap 35: THERE’S A MCLAREN IN BETWEEN TWO WILLIAMS! AND IN THE POINTS!!!

There are Marussias in the mix, a McLaren in the points, Haas is kicking ass, Hamilton isn’t leading…

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Lap 41: Grosjean’s pitstop was not ideal. Still manages to rejoin the race in 8th ahead of Vandoorne.

God I miss team radio. Why did they have to go and restrictions the comedy gold that is team radio? Stupid FIA making stupid rules.

Lap 45: Oh some nice scrappy fighting between Magnussen and Nasr through the corners with the Renault taking 12th.

Lap 46: Grosjean overtakes Massa because that’s what happens now apparently.

Okay not to get ahead of myself but there are 10 laps to go and Kimchi Raikkonen appears to have a firm hold on 2nd. We might just have a Kimi podium here people. Get amongst it.

Lap 50: There are some GOOD scraps happening through mid field. Magnussen and Ericsson: the battle of the esses through the esses.

Lap 51: Kvyat and Bottas battling wheel to wheel like it’s nobody’s business through the turns. It’s Kvyat, then Bottas, then Kvyat makes it stick for 7th.

Lap 52: Max Verstappen: Wonder Kid overtakes Massa for 6th.

5 LAPS TO GO PEOPLE.

Lap 56: Brundle describes driving Wehlein’s Marussia “like wrestling with an octopus” which I feel deserves an honorable mention.

FINAL LAP.

Lap 57: Kvyat gets the job done on Massa to steal 7th. Once again proving it ain’t over until it’s over.

Rosberg wins the Bahrain GP followed by Ra-Ra-Raikkonen then Hamilton.

Here’s how the rest of the field finished up:

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The amusing part is that Kimi is on a podium where the “champagne” is actually just rose water. He’s seems psyched.

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Honorable mention goes to Vandoorne for getting McLaren’s first points of the season and can’t you just taste the irony. 

That was a damn good race in my “professional” opinion. Let’s keep it up.

See you in China!

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Alice live blogs the Bahrain GP

I stayed up until 1am again for this shit so it better be worth it. Australian Formula One fan life.

No Jenson Button this race. I’m going to miss the James Bond of F1 on the track.

And now Massa’s car won’t start. Draaaaama and we haven’t even got going yet. He’s getting shunned to the back of the pack.

Let’s do this thing Bahrain.

LIGHTS OUT HERE WE GO!!!

Beautiful start by Hamilton in the Mercedes defending against Vettel’s Ferrari. Raikkonen’s Ferrari has taken Rosberg’s Mercedes and holds 3rd.

Lap 3: Rosberg and Raikkonen battling it out!!!

Lap 4: Hamilton locks up and Vettel closes the gap.

Lap 6: Sauber’s Ericsson hot on the tail of Force India’s Hulkenberg.

Lap 7: Massa in the Williams making up lost ground taking McLaren’s Alonso for 14th.

The problem with watching the GP on the telly is that there are bloody ad breaks! I mean streaming is a pain but right now I’m questioning if this is worse. I can’t win.

Lap 9: Rosberg has overtaken Vettel.

Lap 10: Kimi closes in on Vettel.

Lap 11: A whole bunch of cars are pitting. Three stop strategy for these guys?

Lap 12: Nice battle between Kvyat in the Red Bull and Alonso unfolding for 9th.

Lap 13: Lotus’ Maldonado has set the fastest lap?!?!?

Lap 14: Vettel pits for the undercut
Grosjean’s Lotus has taken Hulkenberg for 9th with Alonso in the pit.

Lap 15: Mercedes responds to the Ferrari undercut but Vettel stays in front. Rosberg told to attack to reclaim 3rd. The Williams of Bottas and the Red Bull of Ricciardo pit.

Lap 16: Hamilton is pitting. KIMI RAIKKONEN LEADS. ROSBERG CHALLENGES VETTEL DOWN THE STRAIGHT. SPARKS ARE FLYING. ROSBERG RECLAIMS 3RD. Rosberg and Vettel within a second of Hamilton who is in 2nd.

Another ad break. I literally could not care about pizza right now Domino’s so please get off my screen and let me get back to the race.

I can only assume that during the break Raikkonen pitted due to the fact that he’s now in 4th. Yep. Comfirmed.

Lap 20: Massa up to 10th but is sandwiched between Hulkenberg in 9th and Sauber’s Nasir in 11th

Lap 23: Massa fighting to hold 10th in his slightly damaged Williams from Nasir.
 
Lap 25: Nasir has overtaken Massa but now they’ve all pitted! Maldonado comes out ahead of Massa and now Nasir is once again behind the Williams. Woah that was cray. There was a scrap in pit lane. Magical.

Lap 27: Yeah Ericsson’s pit stop was bad. Dude is now in 17th.
Raikkonen is closing the gap between himself and teammate Vettel.

Aaaaaand more ads. Channel 10 why can’t you play the GP ad free? It’s 1.50am on Monday morning and this is just unnecessary. I DON’T WANT TO BE A NAVY OFFICER GET THIS ADVERT THE HELL OUTTA HERE.

Lap 29: Hulkenberg’s Force India gets the job done on Alonso’s McLaren for 11th place.

Lap 30: Yeah now Massa has overtaken Alonso. Poor sweet Fernando. Maybe next year will be your year.

Lap 31: Sainz Toro Rosso looks like it’s done with this race. It’s out.
Now Nasir has overtaken Alonso as well and it looks like Kvyat has taken Maldonado.

Lap 34: Hamilton and Bottas both put onto the medium tire.
Maldonado retakes 8th back off Kvyat.

Lap 35: Rosberg pits onto mediums and Vettel gets ahead of him again in that time with a fastest lap and Kimi is again race leader.
Beautiful overtake by Nasir on Hulkenberg for 11th.

Lap 36: Oh bloody hell Vettel’s gone rouge and decided to do some off road driving, basically handing Rosberg 3rd place.
Verstappen’s Toro Rosso appears to have sympathetically stopped working, same as his teammate. That’s both of their cars out of the running. Disappointing for a team showing great promise.

Lap 37: And now Vettel has opted to replace his front wing which could potentially be him throwing away a chance at the podium. WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW PEOPLE?!

Oh yeah great time for an ad break. It’s cool, I’ll just miss a bunch of laps for products and services I’m never going to use. Sweet.

Lap 39: What the fuck is going on with Alonso overtaking Raikkonen? What is happening right now? You’re race leader! What the hell?

Lap 40: Hamilton is now race leader overtaking Kimi and now the Ferrari pits onto soft tires and comes out in 3rd. That was a hell of a stint on those tires by Raikkonen.

Lap 41: It’s looking like a Bottas v Vettel battle ahead. Fun times!

Lap 43: Oh dear what has happened to Maldonado’s Lotus? A lot of smoke coming from his breaks.
Kimi sets the fastest lap.
Maldonado has managed to reset and restart.

Lap 44: Vettel closes on Bottas. Kimi taking time off the gap between himself and Rosberg. Excitement cautiously mounting.

Lap 46: Ah Minttu! Kimi’s beautiful partner. Also looking cautiously excited. She knows what’s up.

Ads. Ads. Ads. I’m going to cuddle my cat in order to calm myself.

Lap 49: The battle between Bottas and Vettel is getting fairly intense. These guys are damn near neck and neck.

Lap 50: In 7 laps Kimi has taken 11 seconds off the gap to Nico. This. Is. Epic.

Nick Mason looks like Jeremy Clarkson in 15 years. Just sayin.

Five laps to go. Start saying your “Hail Marys” people.
Woooo Vettel got super close to a fender bender with Bottas but no change.

Lap 55: ONE SECOND BETWEEN RAIKKONEN AND ROSBERG. TRAFFIC AHEAD.

Lap 56: ROSBERG GOES WIDE. KIMI ATTACKS. TAKES SECOND AND DEFENDS. THIS. IS. HAPPENING.

Lap 57: Hamilton having break issues but looking secure in 1st.

Lewis Hamilton wins the Bahrain GP.

KIMI RAIKKONEN HOLDS SECOND. WE ARE GETTING A KIMI RAIKKONEN PODIUM. AND HE HAD THE FASTEST LAP OF TH- unbiased coverage. Okay. Get it together. Calm down…

Rosberg takes third. Sorry not sorry.
Bottas holds fourth leaving Vettel in fifth.
Ricciardo crosses the line in spectacular fashion with his engine billowing smoke to take sixth!
Grosjean in seventh with Perez eighth, Kvyat ninth and Massa with a valiant effort to finish in the points taking 10th. Props to all those dudes for this great driving.

Omg Kimi podium. Dream come true. Crowd loves him. He keeps stealing the microphone off Jackie Stewart. And touching his sweaty face. He is a monotone god.

It’s now 3am here so I need to go to bed. Bahrain I thank you. It was 110% worth staying awake for the race and you did not disappoint.

Bahrain Qualifying wrap up

Okie dokie we are in beautiful Bahrain this evening for qualifying and the battle for pole position!

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Basically Q1 blessed us with a comedy of errors. Raikkonen managed a massive lock up in his Ferrari which he later recovered from but Button’s McLaren did the thing where it forgot it was meant to be a Formula One car and decided to knock off early. No recovering for Button, just game over straight out the gate. To round it all out there was a lack of performance by Kvyat’s Red Bull which will only add more fuel to the Renault engine fire (aka the raging Red Bull anger of 2015).

Early drama aside, Q1 looked relatively normal. Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams all looking strong with Sauber and Force India keeping their drivers in the running with decent times and both Toro Rosso’s managed to carry themselves through to Q2.

Credit where credit is due – Alonso managed to get his not so broken McLaren Honda into 9th place by the end of Q1 which is kind of like the equivalent of the team conquering Mt Everest.

The participation award goes to Manor Marussia for getting both cars through another Q1 session. Albeit at the bottom of the time sheet. Gold stars for you.

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So that leaves us with Maldonado, Kvyat, Stevens, Merhi and Button all getting the boot at the end of the session. Better luck next time boys.

It’s definitely windy in Bahrain! Excellent discussion between Crofty, Brundle and Ted Kravitz about just how windy it is. Is it gusty? Or just a touch breezy? Important British commentary.

The plot thickens in Q2 with the Mercedes vs. Ferrari vs. Williams three way (sadly not of the sexy kind) resulting in Hamilton besting Rosberg – SUPER SURPRISING YOU GUYS – only to have Raikkonen take 2nd away from Nico. Probably because he’s a Finn posing as a German…just a theory. Then Massa and Vettel both add insult to injury for Mercedes lesser loved son by putting their Williams and Ferrari in 4th and 5th respectively.

Grosjean in the Lotus, Ricciardo’s Red Bull, Hulkenberg’s Force India and Sainz Toro Rosso round out the top ten at the end of Q2 leaving Perez, Alonso, Verstappen, Nasir and Ericsson to get dropped from quali.

Prior to Q3 going ahead I was thinking about making up a qualifying drinking game just to spice things up a bit. It could have rules like:

  • Commentators cross to Ted Kravitz – take a sip
  • Team radio – take a sip
  • Serious shot of Team Principle in the garage/on the pit wall – take a sip
  • Rosberg is grumpy after qualifying/at Hamilton – finish your drink

I’m open to suggestions and improvements.

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Thankfully Q3 managed to provide us all with some well-earned excitement. The Ferrari’s came out early on used tires and both managed a 1:34:5 only to be totally outdone by Ricciardo who on fresh tires lay down a 1:33:850. Rosberg decided to pick up what Ricciardo was putting down but only managed a 1:33:854 which has got to hurt. At this point I think Nico should legally change his name to Nico ‘hundredths of a second’ Rosberg. Hamilton trumps them all with a 1:33:5.

At this point everyone pitted on to fresh tires and then shit got real. Really real. In the course of about a minute Vettel managed to put his Ferrari on pole with Raikkonen coming through in 2nd to lockout the front row. Those dreams were then almost instantaneously dashed by Rosberg who managed to steal 2nd only for Hamilton to do what Hamilton does best – claim pole position.

So where does that leave us for tomorrow? Well the results look a little something like this…

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Basically we should all get stupidly excited for the race this evening because the Ferrari boys are in with a fighting chance. I’m hoping for good old-fashioned Formula One fisty-cuffs and wheel-to-wheel racing against the Mercedes. The Williams look strong, as per usual, but Valtteri Bottas said even he doesn’t think they’ll be strong enough to take on Kimi and Seb.

Further back we can all look forward to some good scraps for points between Sauber, Force India, Lotus and Toro Rosso. Personally I’ll be keeping an eye out for Max Verstappen: Wonder Kid to fight his way up the leader board after a generally crappy qualifying. Don’t know about the Red Bull’s for this one. At this point I honestly would not be surprised if the engine literally fell out of the car.

Lets all just keep our fingers crossed that McLaren Honda and Manor Marussia can keep their cars on track until the end of the race. How depressing, I’m comparing McLaren to Manor…

Honourable mention to Niki Lauda for being Niki Lauda.

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