The Formula1 paddock has been going through troubled times with a number of politicians in Britain and some among the F1 fraternity claiming that going to Bahrain at a time when people were fighting for voting rights was not politically correct. But economics have prevailed over politics and the teams have landed in Bahrain though Team Sahara Force India indulged in some antics and provided some off track entertainment. First it was a member of the team flying home from Bahrain after a Molotov cocktail exploded in the vicinity of the car they were travelling in when some protesters clashed with the police. Then fearing for the security of the other brave personnel who stayed behind, the team decided to abstain from participating in the second Free Practice session, a decision that manifested itself in the lack of preparedness for the actual qualifying session.
However, Bahrain could be the GP that puts the Red Bull cars back in the reckoning for this year’s championship after the initial races showed McLaren and Mercedes as front runners with Lotus biting at their heels. The race pace of the Red Bull Racing cars has been reasonable but qualifying has not been upto the usual standards that they have set in the last couple of seasons. At Bahrain the Bulls gathered enough strength and Sebastian Vettel proved to be a capable matador who took his Red Bull to pole position. His teammate Mark Webber in the other Renault powered Red Bull Racing car finished a creditable third on the grid for the race. In the Red Bull sandwich is McLaren Mercedes Benz star Lewis Hamilton. His teammate Jenson Button will start the race from the fourth position while last race winner and pole setter Nico Rosberg will start from fifth this time.
Lotus’ Romain Grosjean will start from sixth while a resurgent Daniel Ricciardo will start from seventh on the grid. Sergio Perez in an equally resurgent Sauber Ferrari will start from the eighth position while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso could only manage ninth after exhausting most of the allotted quota of his option tyres and tenth place was salvaged by Force India’s Paul Di Resta while his teammate Nico Hulkenberg could manage only thirteenth. Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa’s cup of woes continues to overflow with him managing only 14th and the under fire driver finds himself hearing even more calls for his head even though Ferrari thus far are standing by him. Kimi Raikkonen did not go out for a second run in Q2 and found himself demoted to 11th position while Kamui Kobayashi was in 12th. Equally bizarre was Michael Schumacher not electing to do another run in Q1 and then finding himself out in the relegation zone after Heikki Kovalainen put in a stonker of a lap to grab 17th. However a grid penalty for Pastor Maldonado means that both Schumacher and Kovalainen move up the grid by a place each. Pastor Maldonado in the Williams F1 will in the 22nd position while his teammate Bruno Senna will start from 15th position on the grid.