2014 Bahrain Grand Prix: Race Analysis

Hamilton Wins Thriller 

One of the truly great Grand Prix, the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix was won by Lewis Hamilton after a race long battle with teammate Nico Rosberg went down to the wire. The Mercedes duo gave no quarter and in-spite of Paddy Lowe’s anxious tone on the radio, both his two drivers crossed the line. Hamilton’s victory was even more impressive considering that an untimely safety car left him on the prime tyre for the final stint, eliminating his lead, and with Nico on new soft tyres in close company, the German had the high ground. After firm but fair battling, Lewis held position and closed the gap to Rosberg in the championship to just 11 points.

HAMazing

Lewis Hamilton’s 24 career victory is one which will live long in the memory. Personally, the “Borerain” link with Sakhir is long forgotten, as this year’s race is one of the best in recent memory. It surly has to be regarded alongside the likes of Canada 2011, Brazil 2008, Japan 2005 and Brazil 2003 as a classic race of the modern era. I felt sorry for the editors of the FOM World Feed – It was difficult to know just where to look next.
We finally got the chance to see just how fast Mercedes are, as Lewis and Nico pushed each-other to the limit. Ultimately, they were consistently two seconds a lap faster than the competition, despite their frequent duels. Anxiety was crippling the Mercedes pit wall throughout the race, as their drivers went toe-to-toe for the entirety of the first stint. Nico Rosberg seemed to have the edge over Lewis in terms of outright pace, however, the German could not force his way past in the opening exchanges. After the team split their strategy with Rosberg taking the primes and Hamilton taking the options at the first of two stops, Lewis extended his lead to thirteen seconds. For British fans, the safety car deployed on lap 41 signalled disaster, as Lewis’ lead was decimated. To compound the situation, Hamilton was on the slower tyre, with Rosberg on the faster option tyre. Incredibly, Hamilton held off Rosberg throughout the final stint, in one of his most well-earned victory’s. Nico may have been faster and that will concern Lewis for the future races, but to further close the gap in the championship will be welcomed by Lewis, especially after such a gruelling race.
The battle itself was certainly intense. The pair were aggressive from lights to flag and provided some of the best close combat in recent memory. As Martin Brundle stated during Sky Sports F1’s commentary, “no quarter was given – Quarter was asked by Paddy Lowe,” in reference to Lowe’s message “bring the cars home please,” administered to both drivers during the safety car period. This was not team orders – merely a message to remind the drivers of their responsibilities as teammate. Essentially, ‘you can fight, but don’t crash into each other.’
This stance from Mercedes is definitely welcomed, especially considering their dominant position. It seems likely that Hamilton and Rosberg will fight for the title, given their impressive early form, hence, team orders to diffuse the situation would take the intrigue not only out of the race, but out of the title fight. Consequently, I hope the management at Mercedes continue to allow the drivers the freedom to fight, even though the on track battles will carry more and more weight as the season progresses.
“To try and stay ahead of Nico was so hard and when I came across the line I was just so relieved,” Hamilton stated after the race. “When you’re racing your team-mate, the pressure is really intense and we both knew that we had to bring the cars home for the team and for the championship. All credit to the team for allowing us to race and I hope the fans loved the show that we were able to put on tonight. A big thank you to the team, especially to my engineers for all the information they were giving me during the race, and to everyone here and back at the factories for all their hard work.”

Vettel Told To Give Way

When Daniel Ricciardo was announced as the replacement for the departing Mark Webber, the phrase; “another push-over Aussie” was banded around the paddock.

More to follow… 

    

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