Formula One 2010

Bahrain F1 GP: El torero mata al toro - 1st & 2nd for Ferrari, 3rd for Vodafone McLaren

“The Torero killes the Bull� - This is what the above-mentioned title means in Spanish, and which easily describes what happened at the first round of the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship, which took place on the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain last Sunday (14.3.2010), where Ferrari finished at first and second place while Vodafone McLaren finished at a respectable third place.

In retrospect, the eyes of all the Formula One fans and professionals were focused on the start of this season as the 2010 Formula 1 grid will be composed of 4 world champions namely Fernando Alonso for Ferrari, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton for McLaren Mercedes and last but not least 7 times Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher for Mercedes GP.

Labeled by the Tifosi as a betrayer, when he switched to the Silver arrows, Michael Schumacher’s burden was increased by the media and fans, who were expecting him to return to his top shape in no time. In the qualifying, Michael Schumacher landed on the 7th place, which was exactly the same starting position he scored in his Formula 1 debut in the Belgian GP back in 1991.

At the 2010 Bahrain F! GP the pole position was invaded by Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Renault) with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa following on P2 and P3 respectively.

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Renault) who started from P1 defended his lead easily into turn one, while Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) starting from third position on the grid overtook his teammate Felipe Massa on position two with a tactical move to start to chase the race leader.

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP) passed Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes) for fourth place, while Michael Schumacher (Mercedes GP) who started from position number seven gained one place by overtaking Mark Webber (Red Bull Renault).

The biggest loser of the start was Adrian Sutil on Force India, who was the only driver in the top ten starting the race with hard tires. Fighting fiercely for the ninth spot, he and Renault driver Robert Kubica slightly touched to end up in a spun. The result of this spin was horrendous for the German driver, who found himself suddenly thrown back to the 23rd place.

While Sebastian Vettel was the pace-setter leading the field, both drivers of the Scuderia Ferrari desperately tried to keep the same pace and to keep the gap constant.
On the soft tires, the Red Bull Renault of Vettel was working without respite with the precision of a Swiss watch.

On lap 16 Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher entered the pit lane to do their one and only pit stop to replace their tires with harder compound Bridgestone ones.

One lap later, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button (McLaren Mercedes), did their scheduled
pit stop. Lap 18 witnessed the pit stop of Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa, ending the pit stops of the leading cars.

Equipped with the harder compound tires, the gap between the two Ferrari cars and the Red Bull Renault started to melt slowly but constantly.

Alonso then began to hunt down the German, whose lap times got slower and slower until the turning point arrived on Lap 34. Technical problems (initially thought to be exhaust, but later identified as spark plug failure) stroke the Red Bull heavily.

Sebastian Vettel complained about a sudden loss of power on the straight line where both high revs and top speed are essential in order to counter possible attacks from his opponents. He frantically tried to seek help from the pits, but he was told that the failure is mechanical and could not be fixed during the race!

For him, the apparently easy victory started to fade away. Fernando Alonso dived past in the penultimate corner of lap 34 to grab a lead. Felipe Massa had also closed in driving the second Ferrari and passed Vettel as they braked for Turn One at the beginning of Lap 35. The Spaniard however did not lean back after snatching the lead but put in some fast laps to build a solid buffer and to discourage his teammate from attacking him.

The final driver to pass Sebastian Vettel and steal the final place on the podium was Lewis Hamilton. Nico Rosberg on the other hand was not able to pass Red Bull driver, as the latter defended his position with a killer instinct to limit the damage and minimize the loss of vital amount of points.

Nico Rosberg also complained from a negative change in the aerodynamics of his car whenever he got close to Sebastian Vettel.

Michael Schumacher, who celebrated his comeback here after three seasons of abstinence, scored a solid sixth place ahead of Jenson Button after a tension and incident free race. Mark Webber on the second Red Bull Renault arrived in eighth place while Tonio Liuzzi (Force India) and Rubens Barrichello (Williams) scored ninth and tenth place respectively.

This was the first round ending with a Full house for the Scuderia Ferrari, but one must rest assured, that the Vodafone McLaren team, the Mercedes GP team and the Red Bull team are already getting prepared to strike back during the next race held in Melbourne (Australia) after 14 days.


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