Red Bull Sebastian Vettel finally got his first victory of 2012 after being run close by the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen in an action-packed Bahrain Grand Prix. Who was your driver of the day?
After using the old-spec Red Bull in China, Vettel switched to the new package in Bahrain and looked strong in Friday practice. Almost got knocked out in Q1 and Q2 but got everything together in the shoot-out to take a shock pole position for the first time in 2012. Made a clean getaway and then pulled out a gap early on which allowed him to control the race. Resisted pressure from Raikkonen in the penultimate stint to stay in front and score his first win of the season and 22nd of his career to take the lead of the drivers’ standings.
Qualified 11th but by missing out on Q3 saved an extra set of tyres which would allow him to start every stint in the race on fresh tyres. A disappointing start saw the Finn drop behind both Ferraris, but the Lotus, which had a new rear wing, floor and barge boards in Bahrain, looked fast and consistent in race trim. The Finn battled through the field, passing his team-mate Romain Grosjean for second before setting off in pursuit of leader Vettel. Put the German under pressure but couldn’t find a way and ultimately settled for second, his first podium four races into his return to the sport.
Out-qualified Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to start seventh and start on the clean side of the grid. Made a great start, making several places and then battling Mark Webber for third early on. Rose as high as second with a supreme move around the outside of Lewis Hamilton and pegged the gap to leader Vettel. Could do little about Raikkonen’s pace and the Finn duly passed him. But the Frenchman looked after his tyres well and finished a strong third, the first podium of his career and the first for a Frenchman since Jean Alesi in the Belgian Grand Prix in 1998.
Paul di Resta
Missed second practice after the team decided to leave the track early so they could return to their hotel in daylight but made up for lost time with an extended programme in final practice. Made it into Q3, but didn’t complete a lap so that he could save tyres. Started 10th and showed that his Force India could look after its tyres as he made a two-stop strategy work. Ran as high as fifth before dropping a place when Nico Rosberg passed him on fresher tyres. Managed to defend his sixth place from Fernando Alonso on the last lap to equal his best ever finish.
Arrived in Bahrain having failed to score a point in the first three races. Showed encouraging pace compared to Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso in practice. Missed out on Q3 by just over a tenth of a second and started the race 14th. An electric start saw him rise up to seventh in the opening laps. From then on, managed to match his team-mate for pace and though he faded, he only finished seven seconds, and two places, behind Alonso in ninth which is a distinct improvement based on the season so far.