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Bahrain Grand Prix

Formula 1 season 2014

Circuit information
CircuitBahrain International Circuit
LocationSakhir
CountryBahrain
TimezoneGMT +03:00
Race debut2004
Laps57
Length5.412 km
Distance308.238 km
Line offset0.246 km

The Bahrain International Circuit delivered a storming race weekend to celebrate its tenth anniversary on the Formula One calendar. Although the battle for supremacy was still with Mercedes, teammates up and down the field were allowed to do battle with each other without team orders getting in the way. The race was non-stop action from start to finish, leaving us with a Mercedes 1-2 and a surprise third place for Sergio Pérez.

Event overview

Qualifying for the Bahrain race showed everyone exactly what the night race in the desert would be like. The three Free Practice sessions leading up to qualifying had been scheduled with a mix of day and night running, but it was qualifying where we really saw what the action would be like under floodlights.

Final practice saw Sebastian Vettel spinning off into the gravel, which put him on the back foot a little. Red Bull also had to go into qualifying with the knowledge that Daniel Ricciardo would be given a ten place grid penalty after an unsafe release in Malaysia. Williams were hoping for better things, having been praying for a dry session all season. They’d shown good pace building up to qualifying, and left it nice and late in the first session to head out for their flying laps.

It was Pastor Maldonado and Adrian Sutil that dropped out in Q1, along with the four regular backmarker teams. Sutil was also given a penalty for pushing Romain Grosjean, dropping the German right to the back of the grid. Grosjean made it through to Q2, but couldn’t make too much progress in the session. He qualified in 16th place, ending up just ahead of his teammate on the grid.

Sebastian Vettel left it very late to set a lap time in the second qualifying session, moving up to only eighth place on his first lap. He was bumped down into the drop zone, and gave up on his second flying lap after complaining about the car over the pit wall radio. That left him knocked out, along with Nico Hülkenberg and both the Toro Rosso drivers.

Mercedes had been showing their pace throughout the sessions, and saving their tyres by not running as often as those scrabbling for position. It was no surprise to see them take a dominant pole position, although it was Nico Rosberg who took P1, despite Lewis Hamilton showing better pace throughout the sessions building up to the pole fight. Ricciardo was third fastest, but his penalty allowed both Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Pérez to take up spots on the second row of the grid. Kimi Räikkönen was behind them, with Fernando Alonso only fastest enough for tenth in qualifying, ninth on the grid.

Rosberg’s pole position didn’t even last him until the first corner, as Lewis Hamilton got a better start off the line and moved past his teammate into the lead. Felipe Massa also got a great start, leaping forwards to third place. Jean-Éric Vergne had to come into the pit lane early for a puncture, after a collision with Pastor Maldonado.

There was a huge amount of wheel to wheel action, as drivers battled to get past their rivals. Ricciardo was trying to make his way through the field to pick up as many places as he could, and got on the radio to tell his team he was faster than the car in front – which just so happened to be Sebastian Vettel. The German didn’t hold Daniel up for long, though.

Sutil collided with Bianchi, sending the Sauber into the pits for a nose change, and the Marussia for a new set of tyres. Sutil eventually retired from the race, as did Vergne who disappeared into the garage unseen.

Out in front, the two Mercedes drivers had a significant lead over everyone else, but were scrabbling for position between the two of them. Rosberg attempted an overtaking move that saw him in front but unable to brake in time for the next corner, running wide and letting Hamilton back through. He did this a couple of times, before the pit stops began.

We also had Bottas and Massa battling in their respective Williams, each with something to prove following the team orders situation in Malaysia. They kept it clean, just, and Bottas opted to come in for his pit stop to avoid any on-track issues.

The incredible racing continued, until eventually Pastor Maldonado brought proceedings to an abrupt halt. Exiting the pits, the Lotus driver appeared to outbrake himself, ploughing into the side of Esteban Gutiérrez into turn one. The impact lifted the Sauber up into the air and round in a full 360 degree roll, before Esteban landed, unharmed back on the track again. The safety car came out, and Maldonado was given a ten second stop/go penalty plus a grid drop for the following race.

Kevin Magnussen pulled off track during the safety car period, his McLaren smoking gently. Marcus Ericsson had also retired from the race. In the final few laps, Jenson Button also slowed to a stop, having completed enough laps to be classified but technically retiring from his 250th Grand Prix.

The safety car bunched the pack up once again, allowing the wheel to wheel fighting we had seen earlier to resume. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were side by side at various points for a full seven laps, each determined to get in front and win the race. Eventually, the chequered flag dropped with Lewis Hamilton in front, Rosberg having to settle for second.

Behind them, Sergio Pérez was in third place. Daniel Ricciardo was surging through the field again, and chased the Force India driver to the line, but it was Pérez who finished third. Force India secured only their second podium in Formula One, and moved up to second in the constructor standings.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
04 AprFridayFree Practice 112:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +03:00
Free Practice 216:00
GMT +01:00
18:00
GMT +03:00
05 AprSaturdayFree Practice 313:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +03:00
Qualifying16:00
GMT +01:00
18:00
GMT +03:00
06 AprSundayGrand Prix16:00
GMT +01:00
18:00
GMT +03:00

All content in the series Bahrain 2014