Some unfinished business
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Vettel takes ‘surprise’ first pole of season as Rosberg slips up
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Red Bull
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Apr 2012   |  4:12 pm GMT  |  162 comments

Sebastian Vettel claimed his first pole position of 2012 in Bahrain today as he made the most of two runs in the final part of qualifying to beat Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber in an eventful session. It was a day for not making any mistakes, particularly front wheel lock ups under braking and for getting the perfect lap as the soft tyres were only good for one lap.

Vettel is the third different pole sitter in four races. It was his 31st career pole position. Red Bull has led just one racing lap in the first three Grands Prix of the season. At the same stage last year the team had led 127. Tomorrow in the race, Vettel and Webber have the chance to redress the numbers a little and given that they’ve enjoyed a race pace advantage in the first three events, there’s every reason to think they’ll take the honours tomorrow.

“It feels great and I completely owe this one to the team,” said Vettel. “It wasn’t an easy start to the season for us and there was a lot of expectation, but I think more than anything it was about what we expected from ourselves and we didn’t match it. We’ve been working extremely hard on the car, trimming here and there and finding the right way to go forward. The boys haven’t had much sleep the last few races!”

Vettel used a set of scrubbed option tyres to set a banker lap early on in the final phase of qualifying and at this point Hamilton and McLaren team mate Jenson Button occupied the front-row of the grid after using a new set of the soft compound tyre for their first run. During the second round of laps it was a case of leaving it as late as possible, due to the sandy conditions that make Sakhir an ever-evolving circuit. It looked as if Red Bull could have had a clean sweep of the front-row, until Hamilton knocked Webber back to third with a very late lap. But Webber took some satisfaction from seeing Vettel taking his set-up, as he told Australian Network 10 TV this evening.

Button, who’s been outpaced by his team mate all weekend, was unable to beat his first flying lap and ended the session in fourth place.

McLaren had earlier taken a huge risk, by not going out at the end of Q1 as many cars improved and they only just made the cut.

Behind the Red Bull and McLarens was the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Last week’s Grand Prix winner was unable to convert his practice pace into consecutive pole positions as he did just one run in the shoot-out and made a mistake with a small lock-up in the middle sector. However, Rosberg will be relatively pleased as he has a new set of soft tyres for what promises to be a race all about tyre life. Michael Schumacher had a problem with his rear-wing during the first part of qualifying which restricted him to just one run and left him down in 18th after a late charge from Heikki Kovalainen. After Pastor Maldonado takes his grid penalty for a forced gearbox change, this will move Schumacher up to 17th.

Daniel Ricciardo had a very strong session throughout, taking sixth position on the grid, the best for Toro Rosso since Jaime Alguersuari in Spa last year. The young Australian had shown good pace from the outset as he claimed second position in the first phase on qualifying. He will line up ahead of Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez. Grosjean put in a very good lap to reach the final shoot-out, however he was unable to find a significant amount of time in the final session to get in amongst the three top teams, as the Lotus was a little disappointing on the soft tyre.

The sister Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen will begin the race in eleventh after setting his flying lap too early in the second phase of qualifying and missing out on the track at its optimum condition at the end of the stint. Completing the top ten are Fernando Alonso and Paul Di Resta, neither of whom set a flying lap during the final session and will therefore have an extra set of options available for tomorrow and free choice of what tyre to start on.

Lining up behind Raikkonen is Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Hulkenberg who could not match the pace of their team mates. They start ahead of Felipe Massa, another victim of setting a flying lap too early. The Ferrari driver had looked like he was going to progress to the shoot-out, however late laps from those behind soon pushed him down the order to fourteenth place.

Bruno Senna is next up, just 0.3 seconds behind eleventh placed Raikkonen. Senna will share the eighth row of the grid with Heikki Kovalainen who put in a stunning lap that was just less than a second faster then team mate Vitaly Petrov. The two Caterham cars sandwich Schumacher and Vergne following Pastor Maldonado’s five place grid-penalty for a gearbox change which drops him back to twenty-second.

Behind Petrov is Charles Pic, the Marussia rookie out-qualifying Timo Glock for the first time. Glock will also start behind Pedro de la Rosa, who once again was the faster of the two HRT cars; Narain Karthikeyan bringing up the rear of the grid.

[Additional reporting: Matt Meadows]
BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX, Sakhir Circuit, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m32.422s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m32.520s + 0.098
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m32.637s + 0.215
4. Jenson Button McLaren 1m32.711s + 0.289
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.821s + 0.399
6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m32.912s + 0.490
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m33.008s + 0.586
8. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m33.394s + 0.972
9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari No time
10. Paul di Resta Force India No time
11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m33.789s + 1.367
12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m33.806s + 1.384
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m33.807s + 1.385
14. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m33.912s + 1.490
15. Bruno Senna Williams 1m34.017s + 1.595
16. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m36.132s + 3.710
17. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m34.865s + 2.443
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m35.014s + 2.592
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m35.823s + 3.401
20. Charles Pic Marussia 1m37.683s + 5.261
21. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m37.883s + 5.461
22. Pastor Maldonado Williams No time
23. Timo Glock Marussia 1m37.905s + 5.483
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m38.314s + 5.892

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162 Comments
  1. Vipin says:

    Oh! Not again!

    He will not win tomorrow.

    1. Wayne says:

      James, it’s literally a different car at every track that seems to have the legs this year. I relaise that some cars will always be suited to different tracks but cannot recall the order swapping around so much for quite some time – any idea what is different this year?

      Also, Is the McLaren really the fastest overall car, generally speaking, across the first races? If so do you think McLaren have made the best of their early opportunities?

    2. Bhodha Gezi says:

      here’s what MIG2009 posted “RedBull will sail to victory thru brilliant strategy while McLaren will most likely shoot their driver/s in the foot.”

  2. Andrew Barratt says:

    Normal service has been resumed it seems. As the tyre deg will be such an issue I guess it’ll be a scrap to the first corner after which it’ll be prossesional till the final tyre change when it’ll turn itno a scrap

  3. For sure says:

    The only reason why Vettel out-paced everyone is because of the car. He is not and will never be in the same league as Fernando or Lewis.

    1. Mike J says:

      and Webbers setup. Not the first time this info has been shared across the garage to Vettel. Probably not the last. One benefit of Webber is his ability to set up the car.

    2. Vegas says:

      Come on son, don’t be ridiculous.

    3. Dean V says:

      That’s strange, Vettel has one more WDC title than Hamilton…

      1. For Sure says:

        Exactly. The point is that when Vettel does well, it’s because of the car, and when he loses it’s because he is just an average driver who got the best car.
        He can never wins can he

      2. O.S says:

        So Hamilton’s results this season so far have been 100% due to his supreme talent and nothing to do with the fact that the McLaren is the best all-round package?

        Vettel is one of the premier drivers in F1, along with Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Webber, Rosberg etc.

        So far this season, the fans have said when Vettel is in an average car he becomes an average driver.. Now he takes pole and it’s only because of the car??

        Come on guys, at least let’s be consistent- F1 is either 95% car for all teams or it isn’t..

      3. Wu says:

        It’s good then that the drivers don’t care what people like us think :)

        Vettel is a good driver… perhaps not a great yet despite the titles, but he has capacity to improve, just like Hamilton. When both drivers reach their limit of greatness there will be fireworks.

      4. For Sure says:

        Can I just say that I think Vettel is a great champion, I was just being sacartstic to those who bash him, hello??

      5. David A says:

        @O.S. I think “For Sure”‘s original comment was a bit tongue in cheek, that’s why he said that Vettel “can never win” with the critics.

  4. P King says:

    James, you say “and at this point Hamilton and McLaren team mate Jenson Button occupied the front-row of the grid after using a new set of the soft compound tyre for their first run.”

    On Sky, Ted Kravitz reported that Button & Hamilton did the first “banker” run on used tyres, and the second run on new tyres.

  5. Miridau says:

    Nice to just read about the facts concerning the qualifying. Should be interesting tomorrow. As a Schumacher fan of many years, bit sad at what happened to him. Looking forward to the race.

  6. Matthew Yau says:

    Hi James,

    Could you be more insightful when midfield drivers do well to get into the Q1. I can’t watch the highlights until later so would like to know:

    1. How is Ricciardo 6th while his team-mate is 18th?
    2. How is Di Resta 10th when the Force India appears to be the weakest of the midfield cars?
    3. And did Raikkonen make a mistake to be nearly a second off his team-mate?

    1. James Allen says:

      1. Ricciardo just put it all together better than Vergne. His Q3 lap was outstanding too
      2. Di Resta did a very good Q2 lap, the Force India isn’t the weakest midfield team, it changes from track to track. Compare Toro Rosso from China to here
      3. The mistake was sending Kimi out too early in Q2, the track got a lot faster

      1. Shane Stobie says:

        Hi James,

        What do you put the torro rosso pace down to. China was a shocker compared to the first 2 races but Ricciardo atleast has shown the car has great pace here in Bahrain. I assume being 1 week since China they wouldn’t have had time for any real updates so is it all to do with the temps & the car handling the tyres better?

      2. Martin says:

        According to the team quotes it was down to understanding the China upgrade package a lot better. Whether this was contributed to by track temperature and grip is probably guesswork until the Mugello test.

  7. Ash says:

    Exciting stuff…..

    Well done to Vettel and his finger, and to Lewis ‘mr consistent’ Hamilton – I can see another podium….Webbers in good shape and in a position to score some good points and so his Button….but would like to see more fight in quali from Button – 4th and 5th in the last 2 quali’s – not good enough and over the long term will damage is championship.

  8. Vvipkho says:

    Caterham is to save soft and medium tyres for tomorrow race.

    Tyres battle with a few pitstop by every team tomorrow race day.

    I predict 3-4 pitstop by every team after tyres degradation so fast for soft and medium.

  9. Kevin Green says:

    James

    Not find it rather (was going to say strange but come on) rather relevant how Force India very clearly seemed to have very very very limited Tv coverage on there cars today.

    All for what acknowledging the fact there team was put in danger a couple days before and choosing to leave in daylight for there safety’s sakes?? fair enough it probably was also a stance that F1 should not be there this yr (if at all) and they get punished???

    Its disgusting as i warned over a week ago F1 WILL come out of this race damaged in quite a few ways, interesting to see the % of main sponsor deal drop ot/changes over the next season (contract permitting etc.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Come on James please elaborate why you never put the post up even via e mail

      1. James Allen says:

        Don’t know which one you mean, but a lot of your posts don’t make it because there are too many of them and they often break the rules. We get 1000s of comments a week there is no time for mod to deal with nonsense – [mod]

  10. Michael S says:

    Brialliant lap Seb… always great to see someone do something when not in top car…. That pole should have been a breeze for Rosberg and yet Seb snatched it up…

    Still mad Kimi only did one run in Q2 but at least he has fresh tires for the start

  11. F1art says:

    Not much mention of Force India in that?

  12. dzolve says:

    Good job by the ‘invisible’ Paul Diresta!!

  13. Methusalem says:

    Awesome drive from both Sebastian and Lewis. It would be very interesting for the race, we might even have another surprise tomorrow, though!

  14. brendan says:

    come on james who do you think will win? and can schmacher get top 6 with all new tyres

      1. Wu says:

        Knowing his luck, Schumacher will get bird droppings on his visor and crash out of the race.

  15. CraigD says:

    James, will Burton be worse off at the start of the race do you know? I say this cos didn’t most of them do their first q3 lap on used options, then the others did a faster second run in new options. Button abandoned this run however, Si does that mean he’s started on used, used options?!!

    1. Martin says:

      Hi Craig,

      Assuming the used options call is correct – which I don’t think it is – then you would be be right – his tyres would have six laps on them rather than three. Your thinking is completely right. The same logic applies as to why Fernando didn’t post a time in Q3 – it would only have disadvantaged his race to do so.

      Given that Lewis was very happy with his two runs that were very similar in time – about 0.15 between them for track improvement – and Jenson was just behind him, I’d say there’s no way he was on used softs for his lap.

      Martin Whitmarsh would normally be making some song and dance about an advantage over Red Bull if Jenson had saved a set of tyres. Jenson only did 12 laps, and since he used the mediums in Q1, he must have saved a set for your scenario to be correct. Vettel needed an extra run in Q2, hence his need to use used softs for his first run. Webber did two runs in Q1, both on mediums. I don’t know if he used new ones for both due to the track evolution and engine mode options.

      I didn’t hear the statement from Ted Kravitz that the McLarens were using used softs, but I think you were thrown by dodgy info.

      Cheers,

      Martin

  16. CraigD says:

    Ha I mean Button, not new star driver ‘Burton’!!!

  17. Rob says:

    James,

    Can you confirm the Mclarens did use a new set of Soft tyres on their first run in Q3.

    A pit lane reporter, who will remain nameless, said all the cars where going on on used softs.

    Thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      THey looked new to me. I’ll get the new tyre list tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure McLaren drivers have used 3 sets of softs

      1. DK says:

        Hi James, where can we get team’s tyre usage info prior to the race?

      2. Rob says:

        I was hanging onto the hope that maybe the Mclarens where easier on their tyres (better 1st run times).

        Well I suppose we will find out soon enough.

        P.S just started posting love the site!

      3. James Allen says:

        Thanks! Tell your friends!

  18. CraigD says:

    Sorry James, I misread your report. McLarens were on new options in their first stint…

  19. Dmitry says:

    Oh no, not again…

    I really hope, I won’t see any of Vettel’s fingers tomorrow (sorry everyone, he is one of two racers I really don’t like at all in all F1).
    Regarding pace, I am not so sure RBR will have much (if any) advantage tomorrow… yes, it’s true in the previous races they looked a bit better, than in qualifications, but it can be different tomorrow…
    Well, anyway we’ll know it in some 20 or so hours!

    1. Martin says:

      Given that the McLarens are on the sandy side of the grid, yor best hope might be Webber getting a good tow into turn one. Unfortunately Mark tends to be a bit conservative with cold brakes. Good starts from Webber are about as common as Mercedes wins too.

      Cheers,

      Martin

  20. David says:

    Alonso has an extra set of primes, he went straight to the options in Q1. Interesting to see the Red Bulls leading the pack. Do you think it’s down to unlocking the package James, or the track conditions harming rivals more than themselves?

    1. James Allen says:

      The Red Bull likes the hot conditions, for sure

  21. Ray says:

    James, any insight into the allegations of FOM excluding Force India from the qualifying coverage?

  22. Michael says:

    First time I’ve listened to your radio commentary today. Hardly missed the pictures.

    It looks really close – should be lots of (the right kind of) action tomorrow. Look forward to seeing Schumy work his way forwards.

    Do you think Alonso’s gambit will give him enough of an advantage to regain the places lost by not setting a time? Seems awful risky.

    1. Martin says:

      Hi Michael,

      Since Alonso only had used softs available, it would be unlikely that he could have beaten Perez’s Q3 time which was faster than Alonso’s Q2 time. To have made a run on used softs means that he has to start on those tyres, which will then have six laps on them. Which means he has to stop three laps earlier and his first stint is compromised. Raikkonen and eveyone behind can start on brand new softs or mediums, so with six more laps on a race with possibly four stops Alonso would soon be running in clear air behind the HRTs to stop the pain.

      Cheers,

      Martin

  23. Ade says:

    So James, is Bernie really that petty minded that he arranged it so that we didn’t get to see any Force Indias running on TV today? Or, was there a plausible reason for their absence on camera?

  24. tank says:

    Schumi’s luck deserted him at the end of 2006 and hasn’t made much of a reappearance since :-/

    Great for Vettel, makes for an interesting championship to have him in the fight.

  25. Ahmed says:

    So the force India cars were blanked out of all TV coverage of the session… Is that a Bernie thing or a local director’s thing? Seems very petty either way – you would have thought they could use a more sophisticated way to punish them. Getting the feeling that motor racing is a bit of a mafia right now.

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t know the circumstances, but I can confirm that FOM produces the world feed TV pictures at every race, except Monaco I believe.

      They decide what is seen on screen.

      1. Chris N says:

        Japan is produced by FujiTV

      2. Kevin Green says:

        And obviously under a level of manipulation going by today and so so obvious another kidney punch for Bernie etc at the end of the day.

      3. D@X says:

        If I was going on a drinks night out I would definitely take Bernie with me. He does not miss a trick and not to be under estimated or taken for a fool. Never known anyone who has his finger on the button within the sport…Take him on at your own peril, even time tends to be kind to him and seems to avoid him.

      4. vitaly says:

        very diplomatic

  26. wally erickson says:

    OH NO, not again!

    1. daphne says:

      The dreaded (index) finger returns.

  27. Rhett Hislop says:

    James, thanks for the great post. I, like many Australian’s would like to see some sort of comment or opinion on Channel Ten’s decision to move their high definition F1 coverage to their standard definition channel, and even worse for Western Australian viewers, a delayed telecast from Bahrain onwards. Surely you have some thoughts?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’m sorry but I don’t know enough about it. I’ve not had a briefing from 10 because I work out in the field for them, at the GPs. So I don’t really know where things get shown etc.

      1. James Clayton says:

        You don’t work for Sky either, and until recently didn’t work for the BBC, but still gave the share deal a fair bit of coverage. I think this deal deserves a bit of James Allen investigation!

      2. JackFlash (Aust) says:

        Still James… you have a line to Ch Ten/OneHD Australia’s ear. Here is something plain to pass on mate – “We the F1 fans in Australia are less than f’n impressed”. If they’re trying to fathom a way to lower viewership, this is the right way to go about it Ch Ten.
        We waited years for FOM to pull their digits out of their ass to Broadcast F1 to us in glorious HD, and the gain is being thrown under the bus here to get the mothership SD Channel ‘out of dodge’. I feel gutted for my F1 mates in Western Aust too!. What a kick in the guts to them.
        —-
        So Tonight… I’ll watch the race on SD Ch Ten (really peed off), but I’ll purposefully make sure that NOT ONE SINGLE ADVERT is observed in the household. I don’t care if I misjudge the return to coverage timing: I’ll wear that on principle. JF

      3. James Allen says:

        I’ve passed on the comments to the people in Sydney. I can’t do any more

      4. Dan says:

        Guys,

        I created the boycott site, but I really don’t see the point in hassling James (or other Journalists/TV Presenters, including Greg Rust) too much over this issue. Beyond making sure they’re aware of the issue (which James and others have already indicated they are).

        These guys are trying to make a living and Ten is their employer (or in James’ case his client). So when you ask for a comment, is it reasonable to expect anything other than for them to pass on the message? These guys aren’t making these programming decisions.

        Personally I find James to be the best part of Ten’s pre-show. Having been lucky enough to meet James after the Singapore GP last year it was clear how passionate he is about the sport.

        And regardless of the fact many of us Aussie fan’s would prefer to get Sky’s or the BBC’s pre-show, the Ten presenters are just doing their job and are no doubt passionate about F1 and motorsport themselves.

    2. Kevin Green says:

      Cost related i would think no???

      1. Tom in adelaide says:

        Ratings related. F1 coverage has been popular this year so channel 10 decided to move it to their ‘main’ channel which happens to broadcast in SD….

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Either way would surely cost less not being in high definition no??

    3. Freddofrog42 says:

      Interesting that there were very few adverts for ONE’s (the HD channel from Channel 10) live coverage of qualifying – wonder if that’s a factor, i.e. not enough revenue?

      I agree though it sucks to see coverage go from HD to SD – it will be interesting to see if this is a one time deal or the norm going forward. I’m based in Sydney so don’t the same timeshift issues as WA though – must be really annoying and totally devalues any live timing apps etc.

      Frankly, the more they screw up coverage (along with MotoGP) the more likely I am to use “alternative sources”. I already resort to a Slingbox to cover the usual number of repetetive ad breaks and the banal post-break comments by the local in-studio team which is sometimes more painful than the ads.

      Your broadcast comments are much appreciated though James.

      1. Ryan Eckford says:

        You can watch Ten’s coverage live on the internet on the Ten Sport website.

      2. Rob the Gardener says:

        You can, but the stream from ONE HDs website was delayed into the west of Australia too.

        Channel Ten and ONE HD , the Marussia of broadcasting!!!!!!

      3. Ryan Eckford says:

        More like Hispania, probably worse than them.

    4. Rhett,

      Agree it seems strange for Ten to put the F1 on 10, not Channel 1. I doubt James would have any inside info on that choice.

      One thing I would love to see is coverage of practice sessions, which we only ever get when the Melbourne GP is on. But I presume this is a budgetary constraint as well. I assume Ten buys a ‘package’ from FOM re: coverage, and having extra sessions and content may be too expensive.

    5. Grant says:

      Agreed, would prefer it staying on OneHD but I would assume this is purely a commercial decision to air it on their main TEN channel for revenue/advertising purposes. I noticed that there seems to be a lot more Ad breaks during the coverage now. So it looks like F1 is getting more commercial value in Australia, which is good for the sport. Still remember the old days of delayed telecasts for most races.

    6. Peter says:

      I believe Channel 10 is suffering in the ratings and the F1 coverage gets good viewing figures on One. The decision is to make the F1 broadcast at part of 10′s Sunday night viewing package in the hope that viewers will tune in and stay tuned in. Ironic that One, the dedicated sports channel, ( at least it was ‘sold’ to us that way when it launched) is showing less sport all the time and more reruns of MASH. TV is a business, and One must sacrifice its strongest performers to help the mother ship survive.

      1. Ryan Eckford says:

        Should have kept the channel(ONE) as a all-sports channel.

    7. Nathan says:

      Hey Rhett. I’m from WA also and didn’t believe your post until I checked myself. It’s live over east but not in WA so they don’t interrupt normal programs. I called ch 10 and am going to lodge a complaint about this. Can’t advertise live coverage when only half the country gets it live. For this race at least the only option for me is to steam it off ten’s website.
      Need more people from WA sending complaints to ch 10 about this. They have 3 channels to choose from so surely they can put it on live on one of them!

      1. Ryan Eckford says:

        Should be a law in place in the anti-siphoning list that the big three networks(Ten, Nine and Seven) must have a sister channel dedicated to covering sport.

    8. N says:

      I lodged a complaint. Channel 10 website doesn’t have any proper feedback-form. There are channels like Twitter, Facebook and Windows Live (i think) for the registered users, which I’m not intending to be. It can be done via letter too. After some search I found this line:

      How do I contact Ten?
      At the moment, we recommend you use the “Contact Us” at the bottom of our Homepage. Alternatively, you can email us at tenwebsite@ten.com.au

      I don’t know if it works as a channel for a complaint, but maybe it’s helpful for someone.

    9. Martin says:

      I haven’t checked to coverage itself, but in Canberra One is still showing the race, and the channel is in 1080i right at the moment. I think the change comes from One not being a sports-only channel now, so Ten being the lead station brands the telecast even though it is delayed. From what I’ve seen, all that has changed are the labels in the shirts and mircophones.

      Cheers,

      Martin

    10. Shane Stobie says:

      Thanks for passing on feedback James. Aussie F1 fans aren’t happy. Hopefully Ten hears us.

  28. Marc Aubry says:

    So please to see that every GP week end so far this season, shows to be difficult to predict.
    Here is hoping for great and hopefully eventful race. Eventful in racing terms needless to say.
    Marc

  29. Yos says:

    A strange season with three different cars on pole in four races so far and only 0.6 seconds separating the first 6 cars, this time last year vettel’s redbull was almost a second faster than any other car of the grid.

  30. Nigel says:

    Are you able to comment on this story, James ?
    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/99062

    I was very disappointed not to see anything Di Resta’s impressive lap in Q2 on the BBC highlights show. For some reason the director chose to show us shots of the pits, and Ricciardo’s out lap.

    Ecclestone’s comment is clearly at odds with reality (yet again).

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t know the circumstances, but I can confirm that FOM produces the world feed TV pictures at every race, except Monaco I believe.

      They decide what is seen on screen.

      1. Ryan Eckford says:

        What about Japan? Is that produced by Fuji Television?

  31. Rob Newman says:

    Good to see the world champions at the front. However,Vettel has a tyre disadvantage for Sunday. Also, there are some very good fast starters in front – Button, Nico and Grosjean.

    No surprises that FOM decided not to show any of the Force India cars during qualifying. Hope we will have an incident free race tomorrow.

  32. kp says:

    Was it Rosberg that ‘slipped up’ or Hamilton?

    McLaren have clearly got the best mechanical package this year, but not the best driver package.

    Vettel and Button together at McLaren next year … you hear it here first!

    1. efi says:

      really,based on what did you come to those conclusions.Red bull looked fastest to me.P1 nd 3

    2. KRB says:

      [mod] Congrats to Vettel, he did a great lap. Lewis did a great lap as well. He was two-tenths up on his teammate, never a bad thing.

      I don’t think one can use the adjective “clearly” when saying the McLaren is the best car. It’s EXTREMELY tight, was throughout all the practice sessions and in qualification. The Mercedes was clearly the best car last week in China, and the McLaren was clearly the best car in Australia. But beyond that, I don’t think “clearly” can be used. The Red Bull has been fast on race pace, it’s just that they’ve suffered from poor starting positions (e.g. Vettel 15th after lap 1 last week, but finished 5th). The Red Bull has looked good this whole weekend so far, we’ll see how they go on in the race.

    3. Dmitry says:

      In your dreams…

    4. D@X says:

      If you have an Adrian Newey car, count your lucky stars. Every driver wants to drive his cars and I fail to see why Seb would move to Hamiltons den when he owns a good home at Redbull. They are both young and have a lot of time on their hands compared to veterans like Mark and Jensen. I respect them both cause they race fairly and have been in F1 for a while driving cars at the back of the field. So far it looks well balanced and makes the races so exciting. Besides I dont think we would ever see Hamilton if he ended up in a Redbull, driver car combination would mean he would be off in the distance much like Seb but by a longer distance.

      1. Jay says:

        “Besides I dont think we would ever see Hamilton if he ended up in a Redbull, driver car combination would mean he would be off in the distance much like Seb but by a longer distance.”

        Incorrect. LH hasn’t made great use of the poles he’s had this year, including at Melbourne, where his teammate dominated the race and LH languished in 3rd.

      2. Sascha says:

        At AUs Lewis had the wrong clutch settings at the start wich his engineer made, despit Lewis was happy with his settings before. This cost him the lead.
        Nico Rosberg said yesterday at RTL . “The first meters at the start, depend on your engineer if he got it right “Safetycar and strategy cost Lewis in Australia 2nd.

        Once you are in the lead/clear air on those cheesy tyres, you have a big advantage, all the others suffer from dirty air, therfore the racepace of the leader is faster than the followers.

      3. Jay says:

        @Sascha – LH had the fastest package in Australia, yet was lagging ~10 seconds behind Button, and only a handful of seconds ahead of Vettel (who was closing on him) before the second round of stops and the safety car.

        Bottom line: if people are going to diss Vettel by saying LH could have done better than SV’s near perfect season in 2011, he ought to prove it, rather than have people come up with poor excuses.

  33. blueninjasix says:

    James, I am livid. I tuned into BBC one half an hour prior to today’s qualifying program only to see the result of the pole position shoot out flash before my eyes on the ticker tape on Final Score.
    Is this pure malice, gross inconsideration or sheer incompetence by the BBC? I want my license fee back.

    1. Stephen Hughes says:

      Had the same problem last weekend when the radio blurted out the result. When it’s football we get warned to stop listening or turn away now, anything else they don’t seem to care.

      ITV is even worse with the BTCC highlights on their website – you can’t even get to the video without going through the page which tells you who won…

    2. OldIron says:

      I’d suggest a few minutes (5 – 10) after the posted time. Gives some leeway in case they run late: once in the program, I think they won’t run spoilers, and the early part of it is just chatter.

    3. Kevin Green says:

      Dry your eyes! there is so many ways the info can suddenly pop out inc radio stations pub talk queue talk etc, at the same time you and others never appreciated knowing the result there’s probably appreciated hearing it!.

    4. Wu says:

      If you don’t want the results look away and turn your volume down.

      Seriously, if you don’t want to know what happened don’t look at any media with sports news on it. That goes for websites, radio, and especially the news channel.

      As for being incompetant, I doubt it. Pretty sure there’s a secret clause in their deal with Sky to spoil the results at every oppertunity. Sorry if this sounds a bit Grassy Knoll but it makes a lot of business sense. We really do need to see the details of the deal that was made between BBC and Sky, but fat chance seeing that.

      1. blueninjasix says:

        It’s probably just me being too naive. I purposely avoided the media (and pubs and queues too!) all day – I just never thought that the BBC would do the dirty on its own licence payers in that way. Wouldn’t you expect the schedulers to know that people tuning in for a program at 5:20pm could reasonably tune in a little earlier? In fact don’t those very same idiots entice viewers for a particular program by planning a whole evenings schedule that makes it difficult to tun over to the opposition?
        I suspect that you are correct with your conspiracy theories!

    5. Paul says:

      I saw the result flash up on Final Score and was absolutly livid. I complained to the BBC and got this response today:

      “Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘Final Score’ from 21 April on BBC One.
      I understand you were unhappy the programme showed the results of the Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying on the screen before the Formula One highlights programme at 17:20.
      We appreciate your concerns; however it must be stressed that there was a considerable gap between the qualifying race ending and the highlights being shown later that day. Our on-going duty to our viewers is to provide up to date information on newsworthy events – including sport.
      Every week ‘Final Score’ includes a BBC Sport news ticker, which not only includes football results from across the country as they come in, but also those of other sporting events taking place. On this day, for example, we also included details of the latest diving and horse riding results.
      That said, concerns about giving out Formula One scores before the highlights programmes have been raised with senior editorial staff. We hope this allays your concerns, and I’d like to assure you I’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is an internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily and is available for viewing by all our staff. This includes all programme makers and presenters, along with our senior management.
      It ensures that your points, along with all other comments we receive, are considered across the BBC.
      Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.
      Kind Regards
      Philip McCrea
      BBC Complaints”

      1. blueninjasix says:

        Hi Paul
        I also complained to the BBC and got exactly the same reply word for word!

        I feel like taking this further with them – what do they expect us to do for the rest of the season? Tune in EXACTLY at the start of the program? Watch ITV in the meantime? I’ll ask for their suggestions!

      2. blueninjasix says:

        Just a further update on this issue by way of further correspondence from the BBC:

        Thank you for contacting us regarding, ‘Final Score’, broadcast on the 21 April 2012.

        I understand you continue to be unhappy the programme showed the results of the Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying on the screen before the Formula One highlights programme.

        We appreciate your continued correspondence and we’re sorry that your enjoyment of the qualifying was affected and can assure you that the team involved have been told to avoid giving the F1 result when these circumstances arise in the future.

        I’m grateful to you for taking the time to raise your concerns with us and I’d like to assure you that we value your feedback highly. The comments we receive from our audience help to inform decisions regarding future programming and go towards improving our services.

        Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

        Kind Regards
        Patrick Clyde
        BBC Complaints

  34. Anand R says:

    Hello James,

    How dirty is the even grid slot positions? Is say 3rd better than 2nd and 5th better than 4th and so on?

    If so, why isnt something ever done about this? Like a bigger distance between starting grid slots on circuits like these? Just seems unfair to nail a P2 or a P4 and then beaten by a P3 or P5!

    1. James Allen says:

      Other way around looking at the GP2 race. P2 got away well

      1. KRB says:

        … but P1 got away well too and won.

    2. The Crappest says:

      As a long suffering Webber fan, hopefully this will off set his lacklustre starts. Typical Mark in the way he acknowledges his issues during interviews.

      Button always seems to start well with the Mclaren always very quick off the line.

      Mark seems really comfortable in his car this year and has been consistent with very good race pace so far. Hopefully he will be able to convert this into a WDC this year.

      Fingers crossed.

  35. AlexNK says:

    That’s what I’m talking about!
    Congratulations to Seb, marvellous pole against faster McLarens. Considering that the race pace deficit of the RB vs the McLaren is less than in quali, Seb is looking very strong for tomorrow. Still, tyre management will be the key, so perhaps some midfielder starting on primes will be a surprise leader.

    1. OldIron says:

      RB are fast in Bahrain – even Webbers rather scruffy lap was competitive. The mishaps for merc mean we can’t really be sure of their pace; still, it looks like RB have the edge.

      Their race pace has been very good even before now, just hard to exploit given poor qualifying.

      Just hope we don’t get a 2011 style race tomorrow

    2. KRB says:

      I don’t think the McLarens are faster on this circuit. Webber and Vettel are 1-2 in the best sector times for Sectors 1 & 2, and Vettel’s less than a tenth down to LH in Sector 3.

      If the tire wear on both RBR and McLaren is the same, then RBR should win the race. Also depends on how well (or not) DRS works on the circuit. It sounds like RBR have taken a short seventh gear, so they’re trying to do the same thing as at Monza last year, get out in front and build a gap. If they get caught behind others, then they might not be able to pass them.

      I wonder when the first pit stop will be. I could see it by lap 7.

  36. daphne says:

    Could insect debris be jamming up the W duct? On the Saubers, which have white side pods and roll hoops, it was easy to see just how dirty they got from bug splats by the time quali ended.

  37. T Nelan Esq says:

    Not to be harking back to what was mentioned earlier on by other contributors… but it was sooo shockingly petty and unprofessional of FOM not to show the Force India cars today. You would expect a professional body to rise above that sort of thing.
    They’re acting like schoolgirls who had been stood-up at the dance and were now getting their own back. Very mature. Really set a high standard with that one.

  38. AlexD says:

    I need to say that I would love to see Vettel of P1 for several more races….it was much more interesting to see Red Bull a bit behind Merc and McLaren.Hopefully in Barcelona 4-6 teams will be fighting for podiums: McLaren, Ferrari, Merc, Red Bull, Lotus and Sauber

  39. KRB says:

    It is VERY tight in F1 qualifying right now … I don’t think it’s ever been this tight.

    Vettel and RBR look to be in a good position, b/c their long-run pace looked to be the best of the field. If RBR win tomorrow, it will be the 7th time that four different constructors have won the first four races of an F1 season (1959, 1962, 1967, 1970, 1972, and 1983). 1983 had 5 different constructors winning the first 5 races even.

    1. Simon Donald says:

      That’s what I thought. Pole to 15th is covered by only slightly over 1.5 seconds!!! I can remember races when pole to second place was 1.5 seconds!!

  40. Vettel's Finger says:

    I’m back people!

    1. Doohan says:

      This is just too brilliant.

      1. SP says:

        Haha. Love it. His showing of the finger seemed short lived compared to the past. Maybe he’s waiting for a race victory ;)

      2. Angelina says:

        +1

    2. Chris J says:

      Oh and there was I much preferring the big green cucumber!

    3. daphne says:

      Which finger are you? Index or middle?

    4. Craig @ Manila says:

      And it’s GREAT to have you back.

    5. For Sure says:

      Hahaha nice one mate, very funny

  41. Vinola says:

    Question about qualifying set up vis a vis Lewis/Jenson. We’ve had 3 race weekends so far with Lewis seemingly finding the “right” set up for speed thus outperforming Jenson on 2 of the 3 Fridays ( I believe). For instance Jenson struggled finding the right set up until the actual qualifying this past weekend. Is lewis better at unlocking the speed in the car or Jenson just experiments more until the last minute? Any insights?? I believe the pattern is true BTW for most of last years’s races

    UPDATE**…make that #3…JA, I’m starting a clock on this:)

    1. James Allen says:

      Braking is important, I think here and they go a different way on that with different materials

      Also the McLaren seems a bit loose at the back this weekend and Hamilton deals better with that than Button

      1. KRB says:

        Their time in the speed trap is at the high-end, which hasn’t been the case in the previous GP’s. Just guessing that they’ve taken off some downforce for this weekend, figuring that coming thru traffic will play a significant part tomorrow. Who knows if they’re right? We’ll see.

    2. Martin says:

      Based on the P3 and Qualifying data on Formula1.com, it seems that Lewis is running less wing than Jenson. Either than or Lewis got extremely lucky with the wind.

      That could be a result of Jenson wanting to nail the rear end down more as James alluded to. If this is the case, then Jenson might have traded off qualifying speed for tyre wear in the race. But if Lewis can manage the rear tyre wear, the extra wing level would just give Jenson worse wear.

      Cheers,

      Martin

  42. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I feel Hamilton is the favorite tomorrow, when nobody expect it. He and the McLaren are always there in the front this year and it is not the same for RBR or Mercedes, but they also need a bit of good luck and no mistakes.

  43. Angelina says:

    Congrats to Vettel.
    Nice to see u back Vettel’s finger.
    Hope we will be able to see you again on Sunday.
    :D Good Luck!

  44. Mike J says:

    Firstly, what a fantastic effort from Dan Ricciardo. Now that is something to stand up about. Under 3/10’s away from an interview spot! That will keep his boss, Mr Marko happy.

    It was obvious that the later you left your run the more the track was coming to the car. Vettel and Hamilton made the most of that position. Vettel should be satisfied but I wouldn’t get carried away with his change of fortune yet however the rear of the RB looked pretty awesome in the S2. And he used Webbers setup again…

    Where was Newey? In the factory working out issues and ready for Mugello?
    Why didn’t Alonso do a run? Maybe he will be a dark horse again tomorrow?
    Did I miss something or did Force India miss out on some TV coverage? Slap on the wrist, I hope not?

  45. Andrew says:

    “But Webber took some satisfaction from seeing Vettel taking his set-up”

    I didn’t see that interview, but I assume your being sarcastic? He didn’t seem too impressed at all in the post quali interviews.

    1. James Allen says:

      You’ll see it on Network 10 today, I did the interview

      1. JackFlash (Aust) says:

        ..but in SD on Ch Ten (not OneHD sports), and on two hour delay if in West Aust. Boo-Hiss Ten-Aust.

      2. Mike J says:

        and viewers in the UK thought that they had it bad. At least if they wanted to get SKY they could, no choice here

  46. Dean G says:

    All these “Oh no!” comments… What exactly is so disappointing about a season where we now have THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS fighting for pole? And where no one has any idea who might win or even be fast on any given day?

    Silly me, I like racing MORE when there are more people with a chance at winning. Even guys with a penchant for giving us ‘the finger’!

  47. KRB says:

    JA, who’s the consensus best right now accelerating out of low-speed corners? That will be important on the back straight tomorrow.

  48. KRB says:

    Ok, just read the Daily Mail article by Chris Power from today. In it, he puts:

    “… And Vettel did not cover himself in glory on Thursday by saying that it was time to get back to ‘the stuff that really matters, like tyre temperatures’ before describing the coverage of events in Bahrain as ‘hype’.”

    Ok, I read the Thursday press conference, and it’s obvious that Vettel was saying the first bit about tyre temperatures firmly tongue-in-cheek. So I can see that Mr. Power’s twisting his words there. But I’d like to know where he said the coverage was “hype”? That is the BE party line, which I don’t and can’t agree with. Best for them to just say nothing. They all know they’ve been put in a bad situation by Bernie, but one loose comment could make things a lot worse.

  49. Leo says:

    James,
    You said that Vettel used Webbers settings for quail 3.
    Was this his decision within the team, or did he not have a choice ?
    Why would a driver give his team mate his settings to then get beaten to pole??
    Same old story eh ??
    Love to hear your comments.
    BTW your comments are the best around!

  50. Is it me or Schum has been the king of DRS issues lately? They sure need to dress up their press releases a bit when “smelly things” happen and poor DRS takes the blame.

    Unrelated, but must confess the smelly thing in Monaco 2004 was me fav, just watching Schu exiting the tunnel with 3 wheels instead of 4 was exciting. *jumping with joy*

  51. Mr Squiggle says:

    James – will there be a race strategy report for bahrain?

    I’ve heard this straight is the longest of the season, so the time give up on each pit stop will be the highest.

    And tyre degredation seems to be the biggest issue here

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes there will be one

    2. James Clayton says:

      This isn’t the longest straight of the season. Korea has the longest, Shanghai second longest. I don’t know where Bahrain ranks.

      1. JackFlash (Aust) says:

        He meant the Longest Pits on Pit Straight… I think. That is true – Bahrain Sakhir tack has the longest pit lane of all, if I recall correctly! JF

  52. The Crappest says:

    There seem to be quite a few “conspiracy theory” comments relating to the lack of coverage for Force India over qualifying.

    I’d hate to think that Bernie and FOM would do this (not saying it couldn’t be the case), but there was also very limited coverage of Daniel Ricciardo in the Torro Rosso.

    In saying this though, there qualifying coverage was mostly about the big teams as we didn’t really see too much of any of the guys from the smaller / slower teams doing their hot laps unless they were the last to run as was the case with Kovalainen’s run – and even then we didn’t see too much.

    This season is turning out to be a cracker, with my money today on Vettel for the win with Webber coming in second and Lewis in third.

    I hope there aren’t too many commercial breaks in the Network 10 coverage in Australia. The number and druation of breaks along with their timing has been shocking this year, and I can’t wait to be able to watch F1 commmercial free via a live stream on the net.

    1. Marko says:

      Don’t hold your breath – I tried the channel ten live F1 stream and it just cut to adverts when the TV did! Or do you know of another feed we can see in Australia?

      1. The Crappest says:

        Yeah, unfortunately the only one I know of is the Channel 10 one, unless you get use a proxy, but with the BBC no longer having the full rights who knows when we will get decent coverage.

        I was talking more about F1 having a subscription based service to watch it online rather than through a TV partner.

  53. Luke Clements says:

    James, prob too late for answering this now, as the milks been spilt! But anyway, how disturbing for Webber would Di resta have been on the second last straight? It appeared MW was on a beautiful lap until then but had to stay very close to Di resta as he passed and from the onboard it looked just a little like it “threw” the momentum for breaking and cornering into the final corner. I’m thinking a tenth at least, so would have been extremely close to a RBR front row lock out. And secondly, what the heck was Di resta doing? He didn’t appear to be on a lap & he had to have known the big boys were coming, yet he stayed on the racing line on the straight and must have been travelling at least 100kph slower than MW as he passed. I thought it looked a bit dangerous and stupid of him, he should have pulled to the right of track at that speed.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, a bit. He didn’t leave a big enough gap, as he said afterwards. I think Seb was faster today though

      1. Craig @ Manila says:

        Maybe Di Resta was just trying to get some TV coverage for the team……

  54. MattNZ says:

    Funniest part of qualifying – hearing the BBC world feed, and getting to hear the unplanned broadcast of off camera commentary disussion. “I’m sexy and I know it…”

    Brillant

  55. VM says:

    As tyres seem to be the most critical factor it would be good for broadcasters to give us punters the following information:
    Qualifying tyre (which they do) with laps used, number of primes available (laps used/new) and number of options available (laps used/new).
    We can then better understand how a driver is going in terms of tyre use and pace and what strategy they may try and play out. Last week’s race was all too confusing at times. If anyone has this info, please share! Thanks

  56. Amritraj says:

    Hi James,

    Firstly, thanks for the coverage for the weekend.

    I am very surprised with the way the FIA manages signalling for the weighbridge (case in point, Jean Eric Vergne).

    I am not sure if there is a radio message sent to the driver before he enters the pits. If not, I think it is grossly unfair to expect a driver to spot a nearly camouflaged FIA official at roughly than 100 kms/ph, with nothing but the official’s finger pointing the driver to go to the weighbridge area.

    Could we suggest the FIA to use better devices to help overcome this problem?

    Regards,
    Amritraj

    1. Bash says:

      This is the case in all racing. Up to the driver to spot the official, not the official to make himself visible to the driver.

    2. Jenson says:

      Agreed. As high tech as F1 is, there are just some things that are still so primative.

      * Some official point in the direction where you are suppose to go for weigh in.
      * No track-cleaning trucks (at all events).
      * No proper drainage at all tracks (eg Brazil with streams of water flowing from one side of the track to the other side)

      It’s not as if F1 doesn’t make enough money.

    3. VM says:

      There is also a red light signaling driver to stop for weighbridge entrance.

  57. Jay says:

    I don’t think Rosberg’s mistake cost him anything, the car just didn’t have the pace of the Red Bulls.

  58. Simon Donald says:

    Do you guys not get Channel Ten in HD? There did seem to be a big advertising campaign about how F1 is on Ten now not One for the race, but to be honest I can’t really see how it makes any difference, would have thought most people who have One anyway.

    1. JackFlash (Aust) says:

      No. Channel Ten choose SD broadcast standard DVB-TV (it’s their workhorse SD entertainment channel). Conversely, the Ten Network has channel OneHD broadcast at HD DVB-TV standard -where the sport should be shown. No problems receiving the channel 10, but you can’t make HD out of SD transmission.
      If Channel 10 decide to up the brodcast to HD for the F1 timeslot on Channel 10, then some of the angst would be alleviated (not all) – But of course delaying the Ch10 broadcast by 2 hours in West Australia for primetime avoidance(not live at all) is pretty crappy for them. This for WA is not a broadcast defintion issue as much as a ‘not live’ issue (despite Live F1 being the Channels mantra). JF

      1. SImon Donald says:

        I had no idea of that! I almost never watch Channel Ten anyway so I didn’t realise that they didn’t broadcast in HD when they changed to digital. It does seem a strange decision to change from One to Ten with F1 seeing as One is their sports channel, at least at the weekends. I am in Sydney so I’m lucky with the timing, but I would be might pissed with it if I lived in WA.

  59. Matt Cheshire says:

    Webber should copy Vettel’s start preparation, given his car set up was borrowed by SV. If Webber’s engineer has been a factor in all those buggered up the starts, he should be diced and set on fire.

  60. Gee says:

    Well here we are four hours from the race… I am still in awe of Schumachers bad luck, perhaps it’s time to call it a day this season… Before his car blows up!

    Fingers crossed he’ll rocket up the front today, to balance out all the misfortunes he’s encountered in 2012 & 2011 for that matter.

    I call it

    Seb
    Button
    Webber

    Boring but, I’m not crossing my fingers for an exciting race today.

  61. Charalampos says:

    I do wonder. What if the double drs of merc allows them to pass other cars while others have difficulties. What if also the faster car is not leading lap 1 whoever that migh turn out to be (Bulls or Macs). Then a train would emerge behind the leader. And I think that this would allow Rosberg to win the race if his car has also a comparable pace, which most likely is true?

    Then again his tyres r pretty worn out used in both q2 &q3 so he would have to pit early. But he will come out with new softs and with the double drs he might not have a problem coming back…

    Just a possible scenario.

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