Vettel takes competitors to school in Bahrain
Vettel started second and quickly took the lead on the third lap of the 57 lap race. Controlling the lead, he finished 9.1 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus. Romain Grosjean finished third for Lotus to round out the podium finish.
Force India driver Paul Di Resta finished in fourth place and put di Resta into his first top five finish. Lewis Hamilton finished in fifth for Mercedes beating out Sergio Perez and McLaren for sixth. Mark Webber finished in seventh for the second Red Bull car.
Fernando Alonso, who lost use of his DRS in his Ferrari, finished in eighth, ahead of pole finisher Nico Rosberg of McLaren. Jenson Button rounded out the top 10 for McLaren.
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It was good fun at the beginning with some very tight wheel to wheel racing. At the start you don't know if you will be quick or not, as everyone is a bit all over the place, including yourself! It's important to get to the front; we saw at the last race that if you get stuck behind someone then it does have an impact on tire wear and today it was important to make use of the tires we had saved from qualifying yesterday. I love to be in clean air, so I was pushing hard to get into the lead and, with the speed we had mid-race, it was quite comfortable today. Well done to the whole team, to everyone here, to the factory in the background and especially to those who were working on the strategy today; it worked just as we expected, so we obviously got the numbers right."
Mark Webber (7th): "The beginning wasn't too bad, but we lost quite a bit of time in the second stint trying to clear people. We went aggressive on the first few out laps, which meant we jumped people, but the tires didn't like it. That meant the second stint was a disaster really in terms of pace at the end and that loaded the other two stints up. In the middle of the race I thought I could get on the podium, but then it was about pace management and it's a fine line between racing and saving tires. Others pitted a bit before me at the end, but it wasn't enough for me to get home. If you race people hard then you run out of tires, but if you don't then they come through. In the end it was a pretty good battle with Lewis for both of us; neither of us had any tires left, but we were trying to race as best we could."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "An absolutely impeccable drive from Sebastian today. He executed two brilliant overtakes, one on Fernando and the other on Nico Rosberg. After that he dominated the race until the finish and managed his tires brilliantly. The strategy worked perfectly with the tires that we conserved in qualifying, which ended with a dominant win on a three-stop strategy. For Mark, after racing very well in the first stint and making progress through the first round of pit stops, in the second stint he pushed very hard on the first few laps which effectively elevated him into second position. Unfortunately he couldn't achieve the longevity in that stint, which put him under pressure for the final two. His last stop put him in the range of those on two-stops, and then it was a matter of making it to the end. Despite fighting fantastically well and racing very hard with Lewis, he ran out of rear tires before the end of the race, but still got some valuable points."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "Today Seb and the team called a perfect race. All the same it wasn't easy; racing here is tough, with a lack of grip, high temperatures and the humidity was more than expected. Delivering the right engine settings for these conditions and fuel consumption rate while maintaining stability is a careful balance but everything seemed to work well today, although it was a shame Mark lost a couple of positions on the last lap. It's the 36th win for the Red Bull Racing-Renault partnership, and the 154th for a Renault engine, plus a clean sweep of the podium for the RS27, so there is a lot to be happy about today."
Fernando Alonso (8th):
Felipe Massa (15th):
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal:
Luca di Montezemolo:
Sergio Perez (6th): "That was an incredible race β really enjoyable. I have to thank the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team first of all β " we've been through some difficult times recently, but they kept on supporting me. All in all, it's been a solid weekend β β we got pretty much the maximum from the car, ran a great strategy, looked after the tires, and scored some very useful points. I guess I was a little aggressive on track today; banging wheels with Jenson was perhaps a little too risky, a little too hard, but the team never came on the radio to tell us to stop racing. There were no team orders. There was a lot of adrenaline from both of us, and Jenson is always a very strong racer, but hopefully we'll help each other a little more in the future. He was calm and friendly after the race, though, which was great; but that isn't surprising because he's a great guy as well as a great driver."
Jenson Button (10th): "Today wasn't brilliant for me. Okay, the race was a lot of fun, but I didn't get the result I wanted because I used up my tires fending off Checo. There was a lot of action out there, and as I say I wasn't really able to conserve my tires as a result. That was partly because I had to work my way back through after my second pitstop, when I'd been fighting with Romain [Grosjean]. But there was a lot of clean racing out there too β β although as I say Checo was a bit tough, which was a little unusual. He did a good job overall though: he had good pace, and he looked after his tires well. So, congratulations to him, because together we scored some very useful points for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team today."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "The 2013 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix was a fantastic motor race, and I'm sure it was hugely entertaining for the tens of millions of viewers who watched it at home as well as for those lucky enough to be here at Sakhir to see it for real. Checo drove his best race for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes so far, passing both Fernando [Alonso] and Mark [Webber] in the closing stages, to finish a fighting sixth at the flag. It was a very good drive, especially when you consider that he was able to maintain such strong race pace despite having sustained damage to his rear wing and one of his front-wing endplates. Jenson would have finished right up there, too, had he not had to make an extra tire stop with just 10 laps to go. Nonetheless, he, too, finished in a solid points-scoring position. The two of them spent much of the afternoon in close proximity to each other β β sometimes in nail-bitingly close proximity actually β β but that's motor racing. Both Jenson and Checo are fast, forceful and hungry for success β β and that's exactly how it should be. It's called racing, and we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes always allow our drivers to race. It's what this sport is all about. Having said that, it's probably fair to say that Checo was a little too combative with Jenson this afternoon, and I think he knows that. From here we travel back to Woking [Surrey, UK], where we'll work hard on our upgrade package for Spain, where in three weeks' time we hope to continue the process of demonstrating the fruits of our steady development of MP4-28 into the competitive machine we need it to be."
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd):
Romain Grosjean (3rd):
Eric Boullier, Team Principal:
James Allison, Technical Director:
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader:
Lewis Hamilton (5th): "I'm really happy with our result today. It's been a tough weekend for us but we got through it and finishing in fifth place was some good damage limitation. My race didn't start well at all. I was looking after the tires but I really struggled on the first two stints and was falling back. But as the temperatures dropped, the car picked up and then I had the grip that I needed to push and close the gap. I had so much fun fighting with Mark at the end. We really needed that point and I was so determined to get by. It was good, clean wheel-to-wheel racing. I'm very proud of what we have achieved over the first four races and to be third in the Drivers' Championship is beyond any of our expectations. But we've got to keep pushing and find more performance. We're hanging on by the skin of our teeth at the moment and, if we can make that next step, then we can close the gap."
Nico Rosberg (9th): "A tough day for me. As nice as it was to start from pole this afternoon, it was just as hard to finish in ninth place. I didn't feel comfortable in the car today and it wasn't much fun out there really. We switched to a four-stop strategy at the end of my third stint but it wasn't enough. We were using the rear tires too much and at the end, I was really struggling and wasn't able to push hard enough. There is a lot of work ahead and we need to focus on why our race performance isn't matching the pace that we can show in qualifying. Hopefully we can make some steps here before the European season starts."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We struggled badly in the early part of the race when the track temperatures were at their highest. This is an issue we have to address and we will continue working on solutions to improve our performance in this area. In the second half of the race, as the track temperatures cooled somewhat, our pace was not bad - particularly with Lewis. We got two cars home in the points, both drivers enjoyed some exciting wheel-to-wheel racing and the pit crew delivered some great stops. Lewis and Nico did as good a job as possible with the car we had this afternoon but it was a case of damage limitation for both of them. However we must make it a priority to cope better with elevated temperatures: the tires are the same for everybody and we are not performing as well as our competitors in these conditions."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We knew it would be a tough day and the high track temperatures were clearly not good for us. That's not an excuse but a priority area to improve. We need to analyze carefully why we suffered so much, particularly in the early stages, and why we were not on the pace. Both drivers were tough but fair in defending their positions and delivered some good racing, particularly Lewis in the closing stages. But from a team perspective we must see this as a disappointing result. We learned a lot this afternoon but it is clear that we still have a lot to learn."
Nico Hulkenberg (12th): "It was a difficult and frustrating weekend. It was clear from the beginning that we were not fast enough and that it would be challenging. We are lacking speed and eat up the rear tires too much so it simply wasn't enough this weekend. We pitted a bit too late, because we expected to have more problems on low fuel, which in the end we didn't have. That cost us at least one position. This weekend clearly showed we need to bring some new parts to Barcelona in order to improve our speed and fight for points."
Esteban Gutierrez (18th): "I expected a difficult race and this is what I got. We need to find more speed. On the first lap I had contact down into turn 10, which was really hard to avoid. Apart from that, things were quite ok, but, of course, finishing a race like this is definitely not enough and we need to improve. We have to analyze the strategy and hopefully we will bring some good updates to Barcelona."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We can't be satisfied with this race. We knew this track would be difficult for our car, but this cannot be an excuse. It's important that we gathered a lot of information over the last two races, which we will use as a basis for the development of the car. Nico drove a good race, so it is now our job to provide him with a quicker car. This race was a good example of how exciting Formula One can be."
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "It was clear it would be difficult for Esteban starting at the back of the grid. Unfortunately, we had to change the front wing after the first lap. It was then impossible for him to recover from there. Nico's race went as planned, but we were just not quick enough to score points, so we have to have a good look at our data, regroup and prepare for Barcelona."
Paul di Resta (4th): "It's great to round off the fly-away races with a fourth place and a race that was probably my strongest Grand Prix. The podium was very close, but with our strategy we were always going to be vulnerable at the end of the race β β especially to Grosjean who had two new sets of medium tires. I had a good start to the race, a strong opening stint and we showed our true speed today, but ultimately fourth place was the maximum that was possible. We will get on the podium one day, hopefully soon, but for now we can be very happy with the points we've scored today. A big thanks to the whole team because it's been an excellent weekend and I feel we managed to get 100% out of the car."
Adrian Sutil (13th): "It's disappointing to get a puncture in a race that looked so promising. My start was clean and I was racing Massa going into turn four. I was on the outside; I gave him a lot of space but he was off-line and made contact with my front right tire. I don't know what he did exactly but I had a puncture immediately. I had to pit and lost a lot of time, which ended my chance of scoring points. I had amazing pace in the race and I just kept my head down to try and recover something from the race, but I had lost too much with the puncture. But I'm happy for the team and fourth place for Paul gives us more points. There are many more races to come so we will keep focused and next time score points with both cars."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "A tremendous job by the team and a wonderful drive by Paul saw us come within a whisker of the podium today. Although we missed out on third, the twelve points scored keep us up in fifth place in the Championship and give us every reason to be optimistic for the coming races. Of course, we could have achieved so much more had Adrian not picked up a puncture on lap one. The contact with Massa proved very costly because Adrian's race pace was on a par with Paul's and we should have brought both cars home in the points. We will focus on the positives and enjoy this fourth place, which has confirmed the pace of the car and shown once again that we can race up at the front and beat some of the top teams."
Pastor Maldonado (11th): "Considering the problems we have been having, I think we got 100% out of the car today. We put everything together today, working well as a team and managing the tires, and 11th was the maximum we could have achieved. We are really looking forward to the next race where we should see a step forward. We must stay together and positive. It's a difficult time, but we still have many races to go."
Valtteri Bottas (14th): "The race was really dominated by the rear tires today. In the first two stints I was fighting with a lot of cars so it was difficult to look after the tires and manage the pace. The last two stints were better as I had more clean air and managed to make up some ground on the cars ahead. We now need to keep on working to get some updates to help us in coming races."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "Having seen our pace on Friday, we were expecting a better race performance than what we showed in qualifying, and that is what happened today. We planned three pitstops with both cars and our strategy worked as we had hoped. We nearly got into the points, and although some cars ahead had problems, we were still pushing to the checkered flag. Both cars would likely have been fighting each other again at the end, but Valtteri lost some time due to a problem during his pitstops. We now need to continue improving the car performance for the next races."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "Whilst finishing outside the points cannot be an entirely satisfactory result, we can be positive that we are fighting with the midfield to get in the top 10. Pastor drove a controlled race and was just outside the points so we need to keep this momentum going for the coming races. With time we can get back to where we want to, and should be, racing."
Daniel Ricciardo (16th): "I got a reasonable start, better than some of the guys around me and I got ahead of Grosjean. Then at some point, I locked up the wheels and lost a position or two. All afternoon, we just struggled with speed: in the first stint, tire warm-up was a problem and I was losing a lot of time on braking. We never really recovered, even though we tried to make a few changes to the balance of the car at the pit stops. We must look into what exactly was wrong with the car as we were really limited in terms of downforce."
Jean-Eric Vergne (DNF, Damage): "I was pushed by Bottas as I passed him on the outside of Turn 4, giving him plenty of room and he clipped my car. Unfortunately for Van de Garde, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was a big impact, which caused a lot of damage to the car, including a puncture and left it with a big piece of the floor missing. After I pitted, I tried to carry on to see how the car felt, but in the end, I was a lap down, I'd lost plenty of aero and the team could see that the damage was causing the car to overheat to an unsafe level, so they called me in to retire. This opening sequence of races has not gone too well for me and I really hope that the beginning of the European part of the season will be like a new start for me."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Our race pace with Daniel is currently a mystery, as the car obviously and unexpectedly lacked performance today. Daniel did everything he could and we also tried to make some changes during the pit stops, but that did not work. As soon as we can, we will have a look at the car, because we assume there is some fairly significant problem with it, which will be the obvious cause of our poor performance today. As for Jean-Eric, he was unlucky to be pushed into the path of a Caterham by a Williams. Once we assessed the car was still roadworthy when he came into the pits for repairs, we sent him out again. However, after a while it became clear the damage to the floor and other components was allowing the car to overheat to an unacceptable level. There was no point in him doing further damage, so we took the decision to call him in and retire him in the pits."
Charles Pic (17th): "That's our best race of the year so far and one the whole team should be pleased with. I quickly passed both the Marussia cars after starting on the medium tires which held up for the first stint pretty well, allowing me to pit for the first time on lap 11. By that point the car felt good, well balanced and I was pulling away from the cars behind without any issues. We stayed on the hard tires for the second stint and again the deg levels were good. I passed Gutierrez and was running comfortably in 16th until Sutil got past about two thirds of the way through the race. As the fuel levels dropped the deg levels increased a little but it wasn't an issue. I was keeping pace with Ricciardo just ahead, and keeping Gutierrez behind me and we decided to stay out after the third stop so I did a very long stint on the hard tires, 21 laps, and brought it home in 17th. I'm really pleased with how close we finished to the Toro Rosso ahead, and the fact we kept a Sauber behind β β maybe if I'd been slightly further up the road after the start we could have beaten Ricciardo, but we can take this performance as a good step and look forward to what's coming next in Spain."
Giedo van der Garde (21st): "I didn't have a great start but I was up to about 16th with a couple of other cars going into turn four and saw that Vergne had spun and was moving off the line. I tried to miss him but couldn't and we made contact which destroyed my front wing and basically ended my race on the first lap. I couldn't really do anything from that point so I just got my head down and pushed but after losing so much time with the unplanned stop on lap one, and having a delaminated right front after my fourth stop, there really wasn't anyone to race with. From that point I just made sure I brought the car home and used this as another step in my learning curve. Despite today it's been a good weekend for the team. The developments we put on my teammate's car have worked well and there's another step to come in Spain when I'll have the same package as Charles. From that point I think my season will look different. We'll be on tracks I know really well, from GP2, World Series and from F1, and with the updates we have coming we have reasons to be positive. The first four races have been exactly what I thought they would β β pretty tough, but I'm learning all the time and the whole team's right behind me. I'm feeling really good physically and mentally and I can't wait to get started again in Barcelona."
Jules Bianchi (19th): "A really difficult race for us today and a tough weekend all round to be honest. I was hoping that things might improve for the race, but we really struggled with the tires. On my fourth stint the plan was to go to the end but we had to pit again. From there it was just about making it to the finish and holding position with the cars around me. There isn't much more to say about here; it was not destined to be our race and we are at the stage where we need to implement the next round of upgrades, which of course are coming right when we need them for Barcelona. My thanks to the pit crew today for a busy day of pit stops and for keeping their spirits through the weekend."
Max Chilton (20th): "Despite a difficult weekend for us here, there were some encouraging signs in the race today. I got a really good start, which I was very pleased with, and this meant that we were able to leapfrog both of the Caterhams for a while. Unfortunately we struggled on the tires and it wasn't long into each stint before we hit that window again. I'm pleased that I have demonstrated that I drove to the pace of the car today and although we weren't in a position to race who we want to be, I did at least have a good battle with my team-mate."
John Booth, Team Principal: "A difficult weekend continued into the race unfortunately. Our performance today was defined by the fact that this track just hasn't played to the strengths of our car and at the same time as this has hurt us, the cars around us have made their own progress. It was also a busy race in the pits today, given the higher tire degradation that we experienced. All in all, I believe we got the most out of the car today, but clearly we need a good step for Barcelona to maintain our objective of continuous improvement throughout the year. We head back to the UK now for a busy few weeks in the factory preparing our upgrades for the start of the European season, whilst analyzing what we've learned at the last two races. I'm sure that the result of this work will be a much-improved car for the next race and we can get back to competing where we want to be."
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