Bahrain F1 GP 2008 – Wolf’s Race Review

Bahrain Podium 2008

Two drivers started this race with new gearboxes, 14 drivers had new engines in the backs of their cars. Felipe Massa at the end seems to have kept his engine from Malaysia and clearly it did not do him any harm…

Many expected Ferrari to dominate this race, thanks also to their winter test on Bahrain track. Well, this is exactly what has happened. Since Friday Ferraris were the quickest cars, Felipe Massa looked like the man to beat. It did not go all to well for him in qualifying and he had to start from P2. He however took an advantage of problems Kubica was experiencing and lead the race from the start. Kimi Raikkonen lost his position briefly to Heikki Kovalainen. He claimed it back quickly and overtaking of Kubica followed shortly.

Raikkonen lost some time during his first pit stop and from there it was clear that bar some technical problems or accident Ferrari were going to score 1-2 finish and Massa his first win of the season. None of the drivers did anything silly and Ferrari 1-2 it was.

Heidfeld Bahrain

Kubica complained about lots of wheel spin at the race start he lost his P1 quickly to Massa. Nobody apparently told him about oil on the track on lap 2. The whole situation lead to Kimi overtaking him. From then on however Kubica matched the pace of the leading Ferraris for pretty much the rest of the race. Nick Heidfeld overtook Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli and gained to places to finish 4th. This was a very impressive showing from BMW Sauber team. Pole position, third podium in the row and importantly outpacing McLaren … BMW Sauber now lead the constructors table and Nick Heidfeld sits in the 2nd position of drivers standings. It is hard to consider them just lucky after 3 races like this…


McLaren had a race to forget. After decent qualifying it all (well almost all) went wrong for them on the race day. Lewis Hamilton messed up the start, lost several places and felt back behind Fernando Alonso in Renault. Then a while later he kissed the back of his former team mate car, lost the front wing and could say bye to any chance of points. There were speculations that Alonso might have “break tested” Hamilton but it does not look like that was the case. Hamilton did not make any fuss about it (racing incident). Alonso denied it openly and Pat Symonds had telemetry data ready to prove the case. Heikki Kovalainen had a good start and climbed briefly ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. That did not last for too long though. He lost the position to Kimi after outbraking himself. Later he flatspotted his tyre and suffered from vibrations for the rest of his first stint. Things became better after his first pitstop. He recorded the fastest lap of the race eventually but that is probably not what McLaren came to Bahrain for …

Engines Bahrain

Toyota and especially Trulli continue to impress. We can’t consider BMW Sauber as a part of “the rest” anymore and so it looks like Toyota are ready to fight for the best of the rest title. Solid trouble free race for both cars, 3 more points for Trulli and top ten finish for Glock – good weekend for the team.

Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima looked very quick in free practice. Unfortunately they did not show that speed when it mattered. Nakajima lost any chances for points finish in qualifying already and spent part of the race fighting for position with Takuma Sato in Super Aguri … Nico Rosberg must have hoped for better but at the end he may be happy with the point.

Red Bull have proved they have a decent package. After barely missing out on Q3 Webber climed from 11th on the grid to 7th and scored 2 points for the team. David Coulthard again got himself involved in a racing incident after closing door on Jenson Button. Both drivers were careful not to blame each other for it. To me however it looked like Coulthard’s fault yet again … The guy needs to stay away from trouble before Red Bull runs out of spare parts :-) .

Renault had a difficult race in what now really looks like a bad car. Alonso is clearly trying to get the best out of the car but yesterday all that it was good for was fending off challenges from Barrichello and 10th place. Nelson Piquet suffered from gearbox problems from the beginning of the race and later retired to prevent a grid penalty for unscheduled gearbox change prior to next race. I am not sure though if it was wise from him to tell that to everybody … Let’s see what Renault will be able to work out during the 3 week break before the start of European season…

Force India must be celebrating. Fisichella again missed out on Q2 by a thin margin but he did more than enough to make up for that in the race. Great 12th place after a great drive that included few laps of keeping Hamilton behind … It does not look too good for Sutil. This time round he was a victim of an early accident and unscheduled pit stop but he sure does not look to me like a guy who was a hot candidate for the McLaren seat during winter ….

Barrichello Bahrain

Honda must be happy with the way things are going for them. They still haven’t scored any points. But unlike last year and unlike during most of the winter they look capable of scoring some this season. Button squeezed into Q3 for the first time this season but got hit early on after start and had to pit. He got his car fixed but unfortunately for him there was still David Coulthard on the track :-) . Rubens Barrichello had a very solid race and gave Alonso quite hard time. Eleventh place is not a bad result for the team that looked dead last for most of the winter.

This season is not going too well for Sebastian Vettel. Quick in practice but yet to finish the race … Well starting at the back of the grid after poor qualifying does not help in avoiding accidents … Bourdais had rather quiet race. Did not do much wrong but also anything exciting and finished where he started – 15th.

Super Aguri boys must have had fun in Bahrain. Both cars finished the whole race and even had chance to spend some time fighting Lewis Hamilton. Especially Sato gave Hamilton hard time and Hamilton was not impressed. Looks like he forgot there were no blue flags waved …

We have 3 weeks break and some tests to come before Spanish Grand Prix. Some teams have lots to do to catch up …

For 2008 Season Statistics, click here

Photos: © BMW AG , Honda Racing

7 Comments Post a Comment
  1. marcNo Gravatar says:

    The placement of Toyota as the new leader of Best of the Rest is spot on.

    Good news for Toyota obviously, but even better for BMW, it shows all the money and hard work has allowed them to escape that title.

    marc’s last blog post..Edwards Wins, Gordon has “Test Session”

  2. StewNo Gravatar says:

    Trulli has really impressed me with his driving. The car is pretty good, but just like Alonso, he’s getting the most of it.

    It was great fun to watch Barrichello give Alonso a good fight. You’re clearly right, the R28 is so far a dog. Not to take anything away from Barrichello, he had a great run.

    McLaren looked like a middle of the grid team. Hamilton’s crash aside, Kovalainen had no pace to match Ferrari or BMW. Stunning.

    Even though Massa dominated this race, my driver of the day is Giancarlo Fisichella. I don’t need to say much more, his driving says it all.

    Stew’s last blog post..Kubica Takes BMW-Sauber to Pole in Bahrain

  3. VikNo Gravatar says:

    No notes about Kimi early pitshop? Massa proved to be faster than him on this track. Amazing when he made late pitstop. Cleary heavier than Kimi.

    Vik’s last blog post..Broadway

  4. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    I still think Kimi was running a heavier fuel load.
    Ferrari rewarded Massa’s great start with a confidence boosting win (one he needed after two awful races).

    Had this been late in the season and Kimi needed the points to take over the lead, I would bet the story would be different.

    Even SpeedTV timed Kimi’s first stop fuel load and calculated an extra two laps of fuel over Massa.

    McLaren and Sauber must be frightened with Ferrari showing this much confidence this early in the season.

  5. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    Actually it looks like that Kimi was not heavier and he knew he would pit earlier than Massa. This is what he had to say:

    “Felipe has done some great work since Friday, while I had some problems finding the right set up for the car, especially on Saturday. During the race the set up was very difficult to handle, especially on the first two laps, when there was oil on the track. The situation improved and I could press more and keep a good race rhythm. But when you know that you’ll come in one lap before your teammate, there’s hardly anything you can do.”

  6. Black ZeddNo Gravatar says:

    With Massa proved that he’s still worth it, this might put a new twist in speculations on Fernando’s next move. Toyota seems to be a good target next..

    Black Zedd’s last blog post..Never Do These In Job Interviews

  7. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    There was actually an interesting debate on Start Sports during the Bahrain GP about what next for Alonso … The point was who would actually take that risk and sign him …

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