Fans could be forgiven today for thinking they were watching a re-run of last season’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel claimed his second consecutive victory at the circuit, while Raikkonen and Grosjean followed the German home to make it an identical podium to the one just twelve months ago. A case of Deja Vu for all involved. Vettel was unbeatable this afternoon, after making some spectacular maneuvers early on too secure his place at the head of the field. Who says Sebastian cannot race?
The issues for the Ferrari’s significantly aided the Lotus’ charge to another double podium. Raikkonen and Grosjean began with a mediocre opening stint, yet managed to impress with their pace in the middle part of the race. Raikkonen inherited second place, while Romain Grosjean closed down Paul Di Resta on the medium compound, to snatch the final spot on the podium in the final stint. If Raikkonen had managed to Qualify closer to Sebastian, it is highly likely that he would have challenged the German in similar fashion to last season’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Nevertheless, Lotus will undoubtedly be pleased with the result. Grosjean has managed to perform well in a race for the first time this season, bagging 15 valuable points. Meanwhile, he maintains his 100% points scoring record so far in 2013.
Sergio Perez drove a fantastic race, responding to the criticisms he has received throughout the week, with aggressive defending. Despite this, Whitmarsh and McLaren have stolen headlines following the race, as Jenson Button complained that Perez was “too aggressive”. The two battled throughout the middle stint, with Perez colliding with the right rear tyre of Button’s car on lap 30. The damage caused did not hamper either driver, however, Button expressed his displeasure with the Mexican’s tactics. “I was vocal on the radio and emotions were running high but I will say exactly what I said then: the racing out there and was great fun but Checo was too aggressive,” Button complained to Sky Sports F1. “At 300 kilometres an hour you don’t expect your team-mate to come alongside and bang wheels with you. So that was a bit of a surprise and I’m probably not the only one feels like that.” It is McLaren policy that team orders will only be issued in severe circumstances, (the likes of which are unprecedented). Consequently, their drivers are given the opportunity to fight on the circuit. However, the policy cost the team a Drivers World Championship in 2007 and could have easily cost them significant points today. Despite this, the battle was fantastic to watch; undoubtedly, the kind of fight which fans will relish.
While Adrian Sutil’s race was severely hampered by his early collision with Massa, which resulted in a puncture, Paul Di Resta equaled his career best finish with a solid P4. However, the Scot completed much of the race within the podium positions, losing out to a fast charging Romain Grosjean, in the closing stages. Force India narrowly missed out on a podium, yet gained significant ground on McLaren in the constructors championship. Paul’s result should not be underestimated. He stated, “it was very close, but we were always going to be vulnerable on the strategy we were on. Grosjean, with two fresh sets of mediums was always going to be strong. Had he got caught behind Mark and the rest of them, it may have been different.” Looking ahead, Paul exclaimed, “We will go away from here positively. We had a strong weekend throughout, and we can get on the podium one day.”
An unbelievable race concluded in familiar fashion. It was action packed, however, Sebastian Vettel escaped from the chasing pack early on to secure a typical victory. He now has a 10 point lead over Raikkonen in the championship, with Ferrari slipping down to third in the constructors after a bad day at the office. They will hope to bounce back in Barcelona.