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Hamilton and Rosberg Keep Mercedes Ahead Under The Lights In Bahrain
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  04 Apr 2014   |  5:55 pm GMT  |  243 comments

Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team showed ominous pace in Free Practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix to head the field by a comfortable margin on the first day at the Sakhir Circuit, with Fernando Alonso completing the top three, a second down on Hamilton.

Having set the fastest lap ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg in this morning’s first practice session using Pirelli’s medium compound tyre, the order was unchanged when the switch to the soft compound came during qualifying simulations in FP2, with Rosberg settling in behind the Briton, 0.36s adrift of Hamilton’s 1:34.325 pace, with Alonso a further 0.7s slower.

What stood out today was the time gain in using the soft tyre, with around two seconds being par for the grid. Felipe Massa’s quickest time of pre-season testing, a 1:33.2, is just over a second faster than Hamilton managed today as the teams used heavier fuel loads to put their cars through the race simulations.

Last week’s Malaysian Grand Prix winner also showed strong pace on longer runs, shadowed by Rosberg, as the teams concentrated on measuring the degradation of the soft tyre.

Rosberg saw a drop-off of just 1.3s across 11 laps on the soft compound, his time moving from a 1:38.8 to a 1:40.1. This was mirrored by other teams, although the gap to Mercedes sat at around 0.6s. Indeed, Mercedes’ pace looks as strong as has been seen so far this season.

Behind third-placed Alonso today was Daniel Ricciardo. The Red Bull driver has suffered some poor fortune in his short career with the world champions and will this weekend be looking to clinch his first points for the team. The Australian’s best time of 1:35.422 was 0.2s quicker than team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

The pair finished either side of Williams’ Felipe Massa and the McLaren of Jenson Button, who is this weekend celebrating his 250th Grand Prix start. Williams looked dry strong on the long runs, as did the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, which looks set to dispute the significant points paying positions with Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari.

Daniil Kvyat maintained his impressive start to his career by taking eighth place for Toro Rosso, beating the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and Force India’s Sergio Perez, who completed the top 10.

Perez will, however, be making a trip to the stewards office following the session in relation to an incident with Rosberg. With Perez approaching the Mercedes quickly, Rosberg moved across the circuit and into the Mexicans path, forcing him in to evasive action across the track. The move was seemingly made in order to let Perez stay on the clean line and will likely see no repercussions.

Completing the fewest laps today was the Williams team. Felipe Massa was joined by reserve driver Felipe Nasr in FP1 and the more senior of the two Brazilians spent much of the session in the garage before eventually completing 11 laps.

It was a similar story this afternoon, as Valtteri Bottas reclaimed his seat and joined his team-mate in the garage until they finally took to the track in the final 20 minutes of the session, with Bottas taking 11th place.

Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Free Practice

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.325s 28
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.690s +0.365 31
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.360s +1.035 28
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m35.433s +1.108 28
5. Felipe Massa Williams 1m35.442s +1.117 13
6. Jenson Button McLaren 1m35.528s +1.203 21
7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m35.606s +1.281 29
8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m35.640s +1.315 31
9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m35.662s +1.337 22
10. Sergio Perez Force India 1m35.802s +1.477 40
11. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m35.920s +1.595 9
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m35.972s +1.647 32
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m35.998s +1.673 18
14. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.366s +2.041 32
15. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m36.962s +2.637 13
16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m36.975s +2.650 35
17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m37.259s +2.934 24
18. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m37.599s +3.274 23
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m37.800s +3.475 15
20. Max Chilton Marussia 1m38.247s +3.922 10
21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m38.257s +3.932 33
22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1m39.136s +4.811 30

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243 Comments
  1. Bert Puttocks says:

    Another disappointing session for Ferrari, and especially Kimi, I think this may be his last season in F1 (and I’m a fan).

    Another couple of poor race results and he will become ‘officially’ the number 2 driver.

    Let’s hope the race is more exciting than Malaysia.

    1. Grant H says:

      Its clearly desperate at Ferrari, Fernando was trying a mix of options and primes at same time in P1 haha….maybe he had terrible understeer !!!

    2. JB says:

      Don’t dismiss Kimi so soon.
      Remember, he has to start from zero while Alonso is on his fifth year at Ferrari.

      Hamilton managed only on par with Nico on his first year and at him now. He is unstoppable.

      1. MISTER says:

        The car this year is new to both drivers. How does it help Alonso the fact that is is there for some time?

        I think Kimi is feeling the car as much as Fernando, but we already see how much more Alonso can get out of a bad car. It might end up showing that Massa was not that bad, but Alonso really good.

        Both drivers definitely deserve a better car.

      2. FerrariFan says:

        By your same logic Massa should have had the advantage when Alonso was new to the team. But I remember Alonso getting the upper hand from the beginning.

      3. FerrariFan says:

        But I do think Kimi will be closer to Alonso once Ferrari builds a good car (though I wonder when that will happen). I think Alonso is good at extracting something out of bad cars like he showed in 2012.

      4. Quade says:

        I think it is time for Kimi fans (I’m one) to swallow the bitter pill. Alonso is just miles better.

        About Lewis finishing at par with Rosberg, history shows something totally different. Lewis finished well ahead of Rosberg even though he was uncomfortable with the car. It wasn’t even a “nearly” thing.

      5. David Howard says:

        I’m curious if the pullrod suspension is catching Kimi out a bit as well. It took several races for Alonso and Massa to get used to the pullrod vs the pushrods that are used by rest of the field. If I remember correctly Alonso even made a point of complaining about it early last year. Both Ferrari drivers had similar problems last year to the ones Kimi seems to be experiencing now. Just a thought.

      6. KARTRACE says:

        There is no more “pull rod” suspension on F14T

      7. David Howard says:

        I was under the impression that Ferrari had retained the pull rod suspension. Here is a link to a launch analysis of the F14T where it was mentioned as well. http://www.f1technical.net/features/19079

      8. Yago says:

        Ferrari does have a pull rod suspension, both front and rear. They are using it since 2012, so last year was not their first year with it. Alonso was a bit uncomfortable with the front end since last races of 2012 all through 2013 I believe, as I think Ferrari stiffened the front end. So probably the Ferrari has a bit of a stiff front end, and maybe Kimi does not like it. But there is much more than the suspension, as one can see how Fernando is lockingall the time this year, while last year he did not have that problem.

    3. The F1 kid says:

      Dont discount Kimi just yet. That front end of the Ferrari isnt to his liking and also he was not too comfortable with brakes. Maybe some update on that front end will bring Kimi The necessary performance booster he needs. I still hope he will be battling Alonso on equal terms as the season is quite long.

      1. KARTRACE says:

        Aren’t they already on equal terms. It is a brand new formula and brand new car for both drivers. This just shows us how much better and more adoptable driver Fernando is. Stop looking into something that doesn’t exist.

      2. thinktank says:

        Nonetheless, the car was designed around Fernando for 2 years. Please, get some info about F1 before making such comments.

      3. KARTRACE says:

        Built around Alonso ? the car than no one could test, the new car with completely new front suspension, give us a break. The car was built around new regulations, battery packs, radiators, same as one would build the fork lift, driver just got to sit on top of it. Please, next time, before you start spreading those ballocks use your common sense and stop looking for endless excuses for KR.

    4. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      I think Ferrari, and McLaren for that matter, will have massive tyrewear issues in this race because of their poor downforce, poor traction and the nature of the track.

      Then you’ve got the two tyre types, there is a big big difference between times, the softer tyre looks to be 2 seconds or even more than 2 seconds per lap faster.

      I wonder if Ferrari and McLaren would consider a four stop race, less worry over tyre wear and less time on the slow rubber. Let their drivers push more – that is if they have the fuel to allow it ;)

    5. German Samurai says:

      I have been saying for years and many times on this site that Raikkonen is over-rated.

      He barely beat Massa in 2007 and was beaten by him in 2008 and 09 up until the accident.

      Has had good cars since his second year in F1 and has only one championship to show for it. People diminish Vettel’s four consecutive championships because he drives a Newey designed car, but Kimi couldn’t win one championship in a Newey designed McLaren.

      Qualifying record is abysmal.

      Then you have things like him not really being a team player let alone a team leader in the mold of Schumacher, lazy, questionable motivation, rude (to fans, media, team personnel), poor social skills.

      Like I said a couple weeks back, Ferrari must be masochists. They kept an underperforming Massa for all those years, they let Alonso spend the last 4 years rubbishing the car, and they decided the solution was throwing $20m at a guy who is the oldest on the grid, has already failed at Ferrari, and compared to his peers is lazy.

      1. proxomos says:

        Kimi would have won a couple of championship is newey designed cars if it was not for unreliability issues

      2. German Samurai says:

        He had bad luck in 2005, but not 2003. Schumacher out drove him. Schumacher had 6 wins to Kimi’s 1.

        Kimi’s 2005 car was fragile compared to the Renault of Alonso, but Vettel’s Red Bulls of 2010 and 2012 have been fragile compared to Alonso’s bulletproof Ferrari’s of 2010 and 2012. Vettel was able to win both years.

        That’s the difference between a Vettel and a Raikkonen. Different class of driver. Vettel makes the most of every opportunity.

      3. Roland says:

        ‘Failed at Ferrari’ by winning a championship, something that has eluded Alonso in four years. It’s an old refrain but if either McLaren or Mercedes had got their act together in producing both a reliable and fast car, Raikkonen would have been champion in ’03 and ’05. Doesn’t matter whether they were Newey-designed, they were also incredibly fragile. Also, to say that he had good cars capable of winning championships in 2002, 2004 or 2009 is complete fantasy. He’s currently not on terms with Alonso but remember the difficulty Raikkonen had at the start of 2012 – where he was getting routinely outqualified by Grosjean. He soon put that right by getting to front suspension changed to his liking. The front end of the car is one of the things that hasn’t changed with the new regs because it has nothing to do with the powertrain and is pretty much the same as last year. No wonder Alonso has a much better feeling. Raikkonen is clearly a great driver but like anyone he needs time to readapt. Even Alonso was getting beaten by Trulli at the start of ’04 if you remember.

      4. German Samurai says:

        Kimi was almost gifted that 2007 championship by Hamilton in the last two races. In fact, Massa gifted Kimi the win in that final race in Brazil to enable him to win the championship.

        Alonso hasn’t won at Ferrari, but he’s up against one of the greatest of all time in Vettel. I put Vettel and Hamilton ahead of Alonso.

        McLaren had very fast cars in 2003 and 2005. The 2003 one was reliable, the 2005 was relatively fragile. Schumacher in the 2003 McLaren would have almost certainly won that championship.

        If Kimi was good enough to beat Massa in 2008 he would have been champion. On that basis alone, the more deserving driver won in 2005.

        Kimi not having a car as good as the Ferrari in 2002 and 2004 was partly a product of not maximising the incredible resources he had at his disposal. He likes to turn up to the circuit, get in the car, get out, go back to the hotel. Look at how Vettel maximised the resources at Red Bull from 2009 onwards. Instead, McLaren kind of languished until Alonso and Hamilton arrived in 2007. Funny how Hamilton leaves and they’re languishing again…

    6. f1analising says:

      So You think Kimi will be fired again?

    7. Paige says:

      The Fernando vs. Kimi dynamic right now is really more so about the balance of the car and how it suits their respective driving styles.

      It’s well known that Kimi is a driver who likes a very positive front end that is easy to turn. He likes to have a flat car under braking to slow the car with the brakes, guide the front end, get the car rotated quickly, and have a flat car on acceleration out of the corner.
      Fernando is a driver who likes to “slam” the car into the corner with a positive rear end and apply lots of steering load in the apex. If they each have a car perfectly suited to their liking, Fernando will carry more speed through the apex, but Kimi will be faster on the exit and make up the time on the straightaway. A car that is not as front-oriented will suit Fernando more than Kimi, and Fernando will be faster, as Kimi will have to apply more load than he wants on exit and not be as flat. A car that is more front-orietned will suit Kimi more than Fernando, as Kimi will hit his rotation point and have a flat car under acceleration while Fernando will be kicking the back end out too much when he applies his aggressive steering load in the apex.

      It’s extremely hard when you have two drivers who are as diametrically opposed in their driving styles to build a car to suit both. And Kimi and Fernando could not be more different in their driving styles.

      1. thinktank says:

        +1
        but for German Samurai it is too hard to grasp.

    8. C63 says:

      I’ve just seen the post qualy interviews. I know people take the p**s out of Lewis. But Kimi wearing sunglasses in the dark!! Really?

  2. AlexD says:

    Hamilton seems to be building on the momentum – good for him. Rosberg…what is in his head? I am sure he is thinking about ways to get the most of it and clinch the title, but how?
    Alonso is doing good, but a second off? Interesting, did Ferrari improve vs Red Bull or not really? Is Dan really faster then Vettel over a single lap?

    1. Sanky says:

      I dnt think Ferrari improved more than Redbull…Bahrain is a power circuit with long straights nd here the Ferrari engine would give them a slight advantage compared to Renaults….Merc powered teams will also be good here

      1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Red Bull have way better traction, and in FP1 the Ferrari powered car with the highest top speed was Alonso’s with 310’7 Km/h, the 14th fastest of the frid, Kimi, the Saubers and the Marussias were all even slower…

    2. Random 79 says:

      “Is Dan really faster then Vettel over a single lap?”

      Maybe. They do seem closer than some thought they would be, but it might be circuit specific.

      If you look back Webber seemed to have a slight edge over Vettel at circuits like Silverstone and Brazil, so in a sort of indirect (and irrelevant) comparison between the three it might be interesting to see how Ricciardo goes there.

      1. kent says:

        wasn’t vettel’s advantage over webber last year mainly in (or out of) slow corners?

      2. Random 79 says:

        You might be right.

      3. Sid says:

        I don’t think Webber held advantage over Seb in Brazil… In 2013 Seb qualified on pole with a margin of more than a second and won the race, 2012 was havoc, Seb beat Webber in quali in 2011 and gifted him the race win, in 2010 he again outqualified Webber and won the race…

    3. Joe S says:

      I’m a big Hamilton fan but I don’t see why Rosberg would be thinking how to get the title any more than Hamilton. Just because Hamilton has had two poles out of two qualifying sessions and a win doesn’t mean he’s uncatchable at all. Rosberg had handling issues I think in Malaysia and Lewis will have the same during in the season. Momentum will swing between the two as the season progresses.

      1. Pete says:

        For entertainment’s sake, lets hope so! I found Malaysia extremely boring :(

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        All Rosberg has to do is keep finishing 2nd and pick up a win or two when Hamilton inevitably drives the car to death. 25 points to zero will soon make up for any gap Hamilton can build. Then again, maybe Hamilton has become more considerate towards his machinery than he has been in the past.

      3. matthew says:

        lewis has never been harder on his machinery….uless you can prove me wrong by showing us evidence,that backs up what you said.you probably wont be able too.

    4. Aj says:

      If he’s faster than Vettel then he’e the fastest on the grid I guess.

      1. Breton says:

        Vettel isn’t the fastest on the grid!!!!

      2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Or maybe Seb never was fastest?

      3. f1analising says:

        Schumacher was. The elder, that is.

  3. Blackmamba says:

    Cue Luca throwing his toys out and rolling around the ground screaming for changes mid season. Embarrassing really!

    1. Doug says:

      Yes..I’m sure the 83% of fans who don’t like the new format…according to a poll on the Ferrari website (cough cough) would have voted exactly the same if Ferrari were dominating like Mercedes!?! ;-)

      LDM..what a whiner!

      1. LT says:

        LOL!! Couldn’t agree more. LdM and the red fan base never cease to amaze me with their arrogance and entitlement!

      2. Sid says:

        Haters…

      3. Matt says:

        Actually Doug, I think a lot of them would.

        I don’t like the new F1, there are lots of people that think the same.

        I actually feel that it’s pretty childish for no-one to be able to state the above without being sniggered at because their team’s not winning. I see that attitude in almost every article I read at the moment.

        Does that mean it’s only Mercedes that are allowed to not like the new formula and everyone else’s opinion is invalid?

        How grown up.

        F1 is in crisis. Face it. It’s been heading in a direction that has been alienating fans for a number of years. I never hear football fans complaining, or golf fans, or Moto GP fans. All I hear is F1 fans complaining and it’s been building to a crescendo for years

        I’ve loved the sport my whole life… my Dad was a racing engineer for Mike Hawthorne in the fifties… so it’s very dear to me.

        But it’s been heading away from being a racing formula for years. This is supposed to be the pinnacle if motor sport.

        It is not supposed to be road relevant. Why has it taken us until yesterday (Adrian Newey) to say that?

        These are cars are doing 200mph on tyres that last 15 minutes. Road relevant? Explain how ERS will transfer to road cars when they have nowhere near the braking forces or the power to recover the energy on the road? Explain to me how anyone will want to part with £150k – £500k for a super car with ERS when it sounds terrible because of the turbo harvesting. The noise is half the point of owning a car like that… ask anyone with one. The links are supremely tenuous at best.

        This situation is about nothing more than money. Manufacturers won’t part with any money unless they can spin some marketing off it.

        If this F1 is what we’re left with or else it would’ve died (which is what Pat Symonds and others have alluding to at times) then that’s fair enough. But let’s not dress it up as anything else. Let’s go about changing it.

        F1 is supposed to be extreme. It’s supposed to be loud. It is supposed to be about seeing who the fastest driver is. It’s supposed to be on the limit. That’s what gets people excited. It’s a sport. It’s emotional.

        Right now it’s about machines that aren’t emotional. They don’t inspire emotion. I applaud the technological feat but they don’t make me want to drive one or see one go in the flesh. Drivers are not on the limit, so we don’t know who’s the fastest. It is not loud and they aren’t anywhere near as quick. Half the people in F1 admit it:

        Vettel: it sounds s***
        Perez: new F1 boring
        Bernie: sounds terrible, needs to change
        Alonso: give it a bit more time but it feels slow
        Montezemolo: they’re taxi drivers
        Newey: we didn’t think it through

        The only positives you hear are about the technical endeavour. Not that the sport is better, or closer, or purer, or more exciting.

        What reaction do you expect from fans about that? Euphoria?

        No. The reason there is a new article daily from quarters inside and outside the sport attesting to this, is that they’ve got it wrong. They really have.

        Finance the sport in a different way. The answer lies in not having to base engineering decisions on finance that will pull out if the teams don’t do X or Y. There is enough money in the sport already but it’s being exploited by CVC.

        If half that money went to the teams, they could say goodbye to Renault / Honda, put the V8s back in, bring back refuelling and lose ERS.

        We can leave the changing the world stuff to Audi at Le Mans, in an ever so slightly more road relevant formula… Diesel and they have to go for a day. Oh, this is awkward… has someone else been doing energy recovery for ages anyway, so F1 doesn’t need to? How annoying.

      4. Matt says:

        I spelt Hawthorn with an e there but I shouldn’t have.

      5. Doug says:

        Hi Matt

        So, you’re not keen then? :-)

        Great post but I do think you’re living in the past a bit.

        For example your comment:-
        Explain to me how anyone will want to part with £150k – £500k for a super car with ERS when it sounds terrible because of the turbo harvesting. The noise is half the point of owning a car like that… ask anyone with one.

        …er…Porsche 918…and although it doesn’t harvest power under braking the new McLaren P1

        Of course road cars won’t be running systems as extreme as being currently used in F1…but it’s a hotbed for the development of such systems…have you noticed that there are quite a few hybrid cars out there in the real world and that the majority of high performance cars from hatches/saloons/GT’s etc. are now turbocharged?

        You may not like this reality…but it is our reality. We need to change & move with the times…and this is what F1 is doing.

        I do agree F1 does some stupid things…for example double points!! But a lot of the moves this year I applaud…I love the new noise (I work in an audio field…so sound is important to me), love the higher top speeds & the tactics playing out over a race distance (as they always have).

        I wonder how long it will be before they have to slow the cars down & the drivers no longer have to fuel save…not long I bet..isn’t F1 GREAT!

    2. Random 79 says:

      Do Ferrari make dummies?

      1. C63 says:

        Not sure , but on current evidence it would appear dummies make Ferrari’s . ;-)
        Ooh, was that a bit harsh?

      2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Nah, they just use hand me down dummies from Red Bull 2013, Horner spat his out straight to di Monty ;)

  4. Anil Parmar says:

    Any word on Raikonnen’s troubles, James? Alonso looking much better so far this season compared to his Finnish team mate.

    1. aveli says:

      raikkonen said some parts are being made for him. until he gets them i doubt he’d be comfortable in that fiat.

      1. pm says:

        Apparently he got the parts this weekend. The team probably has to play around with the new suspension to get it to his liking. New parts doesn’t immediately translate to performance. It takes a while to set them up properly

      2. kent says:

        maybe Kimi really needs to have his car set right for him? didn’t he have isssues with his power steering that kept him from being fast in a new car a few years ago, til it was resolved after a few races? I think Alonso is the best driver out there, and he’s been cheated out of several world championships by not being given a decent car ( again this year it looks like), but let’s give Kimi a chance, guys.

      3. aveli says:

        he will come to life once he gets confidence in his brakes.

      4. Rockman says:

        Kimi himself doesn’t make excuses, so why does his fanbase feel the need to make up excuses?

        During an interview, Kimi said he didn’t have any issues with his brakes and he has no clue where this came from.

        Yes Alonso seems better at this stage, but let’s see how it is end of the year. For now let’s not make constant excuses for either…

    2. Blackmamba says:

      This proves without doubt that the 2007 and 2008 Ferrari’s were much better than the McLaren counterparts and should have walked both championships. Also I think Fernando would have won the championship at least once in the Lotus of the last 2 years!

      1. Sumanth says:

        Exactly what i was thinking. That lotus must have been really good.
        Ferrari have wasted Alonso for the last 4 yrs. Hopefully they can turn this around, though its looking unlikely.

      2. FerrariFan says:

        That’s what Flavio Briatore said. Though coming from his mouth that sounded a bit unrealistic.

      3. Quade says:

        I’m very tempted to agree with you. Kimi’s performances so far have been very uninspired.

        Some of the gap to Alonso would be due to new boy blues, but its just too big to for that to account for anything but a small percentage. It might hint at where the 2007 and 2008 Ferrari’s really were compared to the McLaren’s; perhaps Lewis or Alonso would have wrapped up the championship by mid season in one of the red cars.

      4. Rockie says:

        That’s a silly assumption, it’s just like saying Vettel would have won the title in 12 with the Ferrari because towards the end of the season Massa was qualifying the car higher up than Alonso could manage.

      5. PP says:

        Are you sure Alonso is the kind to shut up about not being paid 20 million euros?

  5. Gaz Boy says:

    Mercedes 1-2: not exactly a shock.
    Good to see Big Rob back in F1, although looking at his bearded visage, Mr Smedley could do with a good shave. Remember with this weight limit (fiasco?), shaving off all your facial hair could save a thousandth of a second – Rob should set a good example for his drivers on the facial front.
    Still, at least Felipe has one member of his team who will back him – better one than none at all I suppose.
    Kimi still struggling with front end lock ups. Is this a Kimi issue or something more esoteric? I say that Fernando seems OK with the Ferrari’s front axle retardation.

    1. Yago says:

      I don’t think Fernando is too comfortable either, he is locking quite a lot too. But he is able to extract the potential anyways yes.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Could it be the aero balance with the Ferrari that is causing front axle locking? A car with too much rear biased aero balance will shift the weight under hard braking (centre of gravity and centre of aerodynamic pressure are pretty much exactly the same) to the front axle, causing it in most cases to lock. Perhaps somebody can expand on this theory, but whatever, Kimi is certainly suffering under hard braking.

      2. Yago says:

        Alonso was a bit uncomfortable with the front end since last races of 2012 all through 2013 I believe, as I think Ferrari stiffened the front end. So probably the Ferrari has a bit of a stiff front end, and maybe Kimi does not like it. But there is much more than the suspension, as one can see how Fernando is locking all the time this year, while last year he did not have that problem. Maybe there could be a something on the aero balance, and remember this year they have smaller front wings, and less downforce on the front of the car. Also harder tyres. I think overall the cars are difficult to drive, the Ferrari specially, so I think Kimi issue is that he can not handle it the way Alonso does. I think people is looking too much into it. The driver has to adapt to the car, not the other way around, and that has always been that way. Kimi needs to work on the understanding of the car, and that is what he is doing, together with the team

    2. Phil R says:

      Not sure if his wife reads this blog, but does anyone actually call Rob Smedley “Big Rob”?

      1. Sid says:

        Big Rob should have been booted out by Ferrari after his ridiculous message from pitwall to Massa. Team orders were banned at the time but his words were clearer than pure water and hence got Ferrari in trouble nad fined. If i were Stefano, i’d kick him out that same day… Traitor

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Not to knock Kimi or insult Alonso but I guess Fernando has had several years to let the team know his preferences and the last baseline for Kimi was several years ago when the design team was quite different. It may just be Alonso adapts faster to things – that’s certainly a skill he’s mentioned before – he does get to grips (pardon the pun) with changes faster than most. In terms of outright ultimate pace I think Kimi is a much closer rival but he does struggle to feel comfortable as we witnessed with his early days returning with Lotus. It was many races before they even tweaked the steering to his needs and this is a much bigger deal than that.

      1. MISTER says:

        It does look like Kimi is as Jenson..meaning when he has the car to his liking, he’ll deliver the good, but when he doesn’t, he’s way of the pace.
        In the past years at Lotus, we heard Kimi complaining alot about power steering and stuff like that. Seems Alonso just gets on with what he has.

      2. Red Rider says:

        I don’t know whether or not you’re right, but it’s an interesting thought.

      3. Elie says:

        This Ferrari has had 4 years of Fernando input . The design will follow a basic setup he is comfortable with. – This totally no surprise to me.

        If it was a mature formula with stable rules and more easily configurable cars then Raikkonen would be ahead of most drivers & we saw that last year.
        If people look really carefully at the first few laps of any test, any race weekend- two drivers always get to 95% of the cars ultimate pace within the first few laps – Hamilton & Raikkonen – regardless of which car they drive.

        Kimis problem is he needs a very specific handling car with a very specific front end to get that last 5%. But when he gets it he uses it better than any driver on the grid. the million dollar question is will Ferrari be able to do that with the F14T??. Either way they will struggle with outright performance of the PU both in performance & its actual weight!. Lets hope Ferrari make better aero & set up gains this year!

    4. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      It wasn’t just Kimi, there were quite a few lockups in practice, some of them going off track at quite some speed. What was Rosberg’s like, a speedy 360 degrees circle looking at one point like he would be driving towards oncoming cars!

      Alonso has got bigger things to worry about, like making sure his pit crew don’t accidently put on a wet tyre with three drys ;)

  6. goferet says:

    Aah the night Bahrain looks more like Singapore than Abu-Dhabi. Very nice!!!!

    Very strong performance from the Mercedes team once more and it seems like the team’s mode of operation is different for they don’t believe in sandbagging as they would rather psychologically defeat the rivals even before qualifying come around.

    For sure, this time it will be interesting to see how the Mercedes battle at the front plays out and indeed who will be the first night race victor in Bahrain after both Rosberg and Lewis lost out to Alonso at Singapore 2008.

    Encouraging seeing Williams back in the mix, hopefully this time they can take advantage of their equipment by giving the team a much sought after podium.

    Am not sure whether Alonso’s times are representative of were the team is considering Kimi ended the day down in P14.

    It’s a shame about Riccardo’s grid penalty for he’s looking in the mood to give Vettel a battle this weekend.

    Overall, seeing as the championship fight is not on an even playing field, I guess I will be looking forward to the teammate battles once more.

    P.s.

    So far, only Vettel has back to back poles in Bahrain 2010/2012.

    1. jake says:

      Maybe that was them sandbagging..

      1. goferet says:

        @ jake

        Lol… Maybe.

  7. Sikhumbuzo says:

    Guys

    I think Ross left too early.

    ST

    1. David in Sydney says:

      I don’t think he had a choice.

      1. Pete says:

        Agree.

        Success is Mostly Ross’ efforts. Sad he’s not there to get the glory of all that hard work!

        To happen once it’s crazy (Ferrari) but twice it’s ridiculous. How can this be for such a giant of the sport, and one of the few to challenge Newey.

        This Wolff guy reeks of politics and money. As if his double shares in Williams and his wife’s testing role wasn’t enough sigh.

    2. Vin S says:

      I think Mercedes Board didn’t like the ‘Cheat’ Tag the team got thanks to Ross Brawn conducting a secret cheat test to gain an advantage.

      It’s a big deal for Corporates like Mercedes, and Ross Brawn got off the hook by FIA by the skin of their teeth. People still call Mercedes out for cheating the rule books.

      So, Ross Brawn was sent fishing. Not to forget the media storm Mercedes got in Germany over Brawn’s unnecessary team orders in Malaysia. I guess Mercedes philosophy is to let their drivers race, but Brawn is the champion of No.1- No.2 stupidity. Merc & Brawn’s philosophy didn’t match at all.

  8. Lexus says:

    Those who said that Rosberg would be closer to Hamilton at this track cannot rely on practice time to justify that theory. Although practice times are only practice times. Perhaps qualifying and or the race will tell a different story! Can’t wait this season is not boring as the last.

    1. Grant H says:

      +1 hope we get a show down sunday

    2. Kingszito says:

      The time that matters is qualifiers and Sunday’s race. This is just practice, both drivers are still optimizing their styles for the circuit.

    3. JF says:

      Your right not as boring as last year: could be more so. Right now Merc has a bigger advantage than RedBull ever had this early on, if this continues it will be a cakewalk for Merc, not much fun.

      Luckily, RedBull are very strong at development, once Renault comes good we may have some racing especially if Ferrari is able to get into it as well.

      Here’s hoping!

      1. aveli says:

        wishful thinking.

    4. Ahmed Sydney says:

      Lexus, your kidding right?
      Mercedes currently has a bigger advantage than any team in recent history. In dry conditions they will qualify 1 & 2, and finish in the same order. They are literally playing with the field with min 1+ sec in hand.

      Even at Red Bulls best, they never enjoyed such a massive margin over the next best car.

      Well done to Merc, but this will be a domination like no other in recent history. 2014 the Year of the bore fest!

      1. Dazzler says:

        I suppose that you think the last 13 races of 2013 were the best ever ?

        I fell asleep through Grands Prix

        Why don’t you watch MotoGP instead ?

  9. Gazza says:

    At last Lewis in a car deserving of his talent, Nico will do well to hang on to him this year.

    1. Carl Craven says:

      So what you are saying is that to be the fastest driver, the driver needs the fastest car?

      1. grat says:

        Not really. Lewis arguably had the fastest car in 2012, but the team let him down.

        Sebastian has had the car, the team, and the speed the last few years– And you’ve got to have all three, plus a bit of luck, to win the championship.

      2. Vinola says:

        No, he’s not saying that. An outstanding driver needs a “competitive car”-one that’s there or thereabouts. A superior car is a bonus -but de rigueur for an average to above average driver to win a championship.

      3. Gazza says:

        No I am just saying it helps. He is probably the most talented driver out there with Alonso and Vettel very close but now he has the machinery to go with his talent and he will dominate this season as Vettel did when he had superior equipment.

      4. Rach says:

        Yes!

  10. goferet says:

    Meanwhile, it appears Jenson too was 29 when he had the Brawn car in 2009.

    Likewise, Jim Clark was 29 when he won his second title in 1965.

    Also British drivers Mike Hawthron and James Hunt were also 29 when they won their titles.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Also Jackie Stewart had a great start to the 1969 season when he was 29, winning the South African and Spanish grand prix. OK, he did turn 30 in mid-June that year, and went onto the Dutch, French, British and Italian grand prix to clinch the WDC when he was 30, but netherless his 29th year was netherless the stepping stone to his first world championship.
      It does seem for British racing drivers that they have a great season when they are 29, although John Surtees, Our Nige and Damon all took a WDC in their 30s, and Jackie Stewart took his two other titles at the ages of /3132 (1971) and 33/34 (1973).
      I would say a driver is at his peak in his early to mid 30s, just like a good prop forward.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Gaz Boy

        From what I heard, I was told F1 drivers mature from their late 20s to early 30s.

  11. Brett says:

    Wondering if this will be Raikkonen’s last season. He can’t seem to come to terms with Alonso or the new (terrible) formula 1. Rather than stick around next year as Alonso’s #2 he may walk away all together. Any thoughts James?

    1. James Allen says:

      Maybe, but I think he’ll stay the course

      It will improve for him and he’s already proved to himself how much he misses racing when he’s not in F1

      1. C Lin says:

        I think he will stay the course too.
        But if things don’t improve, 2015 will be his final year in F1 for sure.

    2. Galapago555 says:

      Maybe Kimi is not the one to say arrivederci at the end of 2014 season…

      1. f1analising says:

        Ferdy comparing his Ferrari to a truck, you mean?

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Don’t know who Ferdy is.

      3. justafan says:

        Fernando Alonso

    3. Elie says:

      Kimi doesnt give a toss about Fernando or anybody. If/ when they improve the car to his liking- it wont matter who he is compared to. Just like the last 2 years in the Lotus

    4. James says:

      It’s all that drinking he does. he was bound to deteriorate faster as he got older.

      Really though, Malaysia might have been a real indication of where Raikkonen and Alonso are, in more normal conditions at least; dry and rubbered in. Except the track had the rubber washed away by rain, and the puncture meant no contest so it never got chance to show.

      If the Ferrari struggles with traction and is a handful under braking, expect Raikkonen to struggle relatively to his team mate. I say this because Raikkonen has never been great in wet conditions which create reduced grip. Monza 2008, China 2009, being beaten by a Jordan in Brazil 2003. Crashing out while trying to keep up with Hamilton in Spa 2008. Not the fairest comparison as that McLaren had better mechanical grip, but you get the picture. Has Raikkonen ever been incredible in a wet race? Some good drives, yes, but nothing outstanding. Alonso on the other hand has had some pretty good wet races. That may be an understatement.

      So if Bahrain is dusty and sandy, and not very rubbered in, expect the same. The hotter and grippier the tracks become, the quicker Raikkonen will be relative to Alonso. As long as the nose has the Kimi touch…Oh, and fuel load. Raikkonen comes into a race as the car gets more responsive in the latter stages.

      That’s my guess anyway. Possibly too, possibly the same can be said for Lewis and Nico. The track was washed out before the race in Malaysia, so the grip went, as did Rosberg’s speed.

      Anyway….if anyone agrees or disagrees, or if this is just an outlandish theory, I’d be glad to hear.

    5. John says:

      It’s early days for Kimi. Alonso is in his 5th season at Ferrari. Kimi’s been away for 4 seasons from Ferrari. Although it’s a new formula for both, Alonso will have had more insight to the 2014 car presumably. Kimi will be up to speed soon.

  12. Phil says:

    Mercedes pace feels more ominous with every passing race. I’m sure we’ll see the others start to eat into that advantage come the end of the early season flyaways, but if they can mount a solid development race defence they could very well stay untouchable for the rest of the season.

    1. Grant H says:

      Indeed!

      Read a interesting article today on bbc describing where the pace comes from on the merc engine, apparently the design follows increased spacing between turbo/compressor to full length of engine which allows for less losses and reduced mass…clever stuff!

      1. Elie says:

        Yep it also means they can move the engine forward more than a conventional design meaning they can better balance the car.
        & because this innovation was made more than 2 years ago Mercedes were able to design/ package their car around the PU car -customer teams only got their Merc PU last year.

      2. Phil says:

        Doesn’t it also reduce the (minimal) lag, meaning they have to use less energy to spin up the turbo, giving them more for the kinetic boost?

      3. Elie says:

        @Phil- Yes

  13. Rich B says:

    Williams must be confident running so few laps

    1. Grant H says:

      Brave saving engines i guess!

  14. aveli says:

    the best f1 driver to have stepped foot in the sport no longer needs to convince anyone of his car handling abilities. all he needs to do now is win as many races as possible from pole and put on a show on the odd occasions when he’s not on pole.

    1. AlexD says:

      perez?

      1. aveli says:

        Does he win races?

      2. Ahmed Sydney says:

        Maldonado??

      3. aveli says:

        does he win races? don’t ignore the s for plural.

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Quite optimistic IMO, I really doubt he will be able to do poles with this Ferrari any soon. The difference with Kimi shows the awesome job he does, but still, unless the F14-T improves (and I hope it will), podium is the best he can achieve in normal races.

    3. Brax says:

      That’s impossible, Aryton Senna is no longer alive.

      1. NJ says:

        And Michael Schumacher is still in Grenoble.

    4. Random 79 says:

      Strange – Vettel used to get bagged for doing that same exact thing…

      1. pargo says:

        Yes, but Vettel had the fastest car on the grid. So all credit belongs to Newey, not Vettel, remember? nudge nudge wink wink…

      2. Rohind says:

        +1

      3. Elie says:

        No other driver has equalled or beaten a double WC- in their rookie year no less!!. Hamiltons speed amongst the top handful was/ always will be undeniable among those who know …Like many other great drivers only politics and BS gets in the way.

        2007/8 made me question who was the best of the modern era because both there talents crossed paths so often in similar machinery and the championships were closer than ever.

      4. aveli says:

        you tell them elie, the penny will soon drop that he is the best f1 driver in the history of the sport. at the end of the season, they may just remember how rosberg performed in his mercedes from 2010 to 2012. and compare that with his performance in the 2013 to 2015 period.
        the evidence is so overwhelming yet they choose to ignore it,

      5. Random 79 says:

        I agree Hamilton is among the best, but I just find it amazing how two drivers doing the same thing can lead to two very different reactions.

      6. aveli says:

        there is very little evidence that vettel has as much control over his car on the edge. he has simply won in a car with speed advantage, missing multiple apexes in the same lap yet putting the car on pole. the onboard videos are available on the official f1 website.
        this season vettel has the aerodynamic advantage but the buts that mercedes has a special way of harvesting and delivering energy to the rear wheels in a way that the others don’t know about. they are all confused, not realising that power is the rate of consumption of energy. they are busy chasing power, which is not tangible. mercedes are experts on energy conversion and have a firm grip on the laws of energy conservation. while mercedes have energy converters in their cars, the others are bogged down with power units. how can they compete?

      7. Phil says:

        I remember reading a while ago that German engine manufacturers are a good 5 years ahead of their French, Japanese and Italian counterparts on producing efficient engines. Seeing the very best that they can each produce in the pinnacle of motorsport would tend to back up that assertion.

    5. jf says:

      Don’t worry. Your hero Vettel will be back to it soon!

    6. Sasidharan says:

      I think it should have been “Fastest Driver in F1″ and not “best F1 driver”. Anyway people are all set not to understand what you are trying to say. Lets enjoy this…

      1. aveli says:

        what is the point behind f1 or any form of racing? isn’t it about being the fastest? is the fastest not the winner and is the fastest not the best? if he is the fastest then he must be the best. can a slower driver be better than him?
        i don’t understand why or how you can find this difficult to accept. don’t worry the acceptance will become easier with time.

      2. Brax says:

        Difficult to accept? Seriously?

        A while back, Autosport rallied 217 F1 drivers to vote whom they thought is the greatest ever.

        1. Ayrton Senna
        2. Michael Schumacher
        3. Juan Manuel Fangio

        9. Fernando Alonso

        17. Lewis Hamilton

        While it’s great that you have your own opinion, the continuous bleating that Hamilton is the greatest ever is getting tiresome.

        I for one choose the opinion of 217 F1 drivers over an armchair critic any day.

      3. SteveS says:

        ” is the fastest not the winner and is the fastest not the best? if he is the fastest then he must be the best.”

        It’s odd, but I can’t recall you ever once saying that Vettel was the winner and so the fastest and thus the best driver in F1. But correct me if I’m wrong.

      4. aveli says:

        brax, i respect your opinion and the opinions of all the others who gave their opinions when asked. i would however be most grateful to you if you could post youtube links of any driver you think is the best who has driven the car better than hamilton does so that I could compare and adjust my opinion accordingly. i have read many of the reactions to hamilton and his display of driving acrobatics so I am not surprised that those who responded to the magazine placed hamilton so low on their list. losten to murray walker when he talks about past greats and you can tell he has hamilton in mind. he goes to lengths to explain that he has seen f1 from tha start and so he knows best. why does he have to say that? after all anyone who has watched f1 for any length of time knows who murray walker is.
        is you want to convince me, show me evidence like this.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MeTHySzddY

      5. aveli says:

        @steves, hamilton has been described as the faster driver in f1 by many pundits long before now, even while vettel won everything in his redbull. I haven’t heard or read that any of the pundits said vettel was the fastest driver. even then, am sure you can’t have two fastest unless they are equally as fast.
        with that in mind, if f1 is a race all about winning, why is the fastest not accepted as the best?
        some people have already started describing vettel as a fake time world champion simply because he was beaten by ricciardo while his car wasn’t up to it. vettel is a very good driver but you will never find any evidence of vettel driving like this.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MeTHySzddY

    7. SteveS says:

      He needs to drive like Vettel, in other words?

      1. aveli says:

        you can see many of vettel’s onboard pole setting drives on the official f1 site along with a few of hamilton’s. feel free to notice the difference.

      2. SteveS says:

        “feel free to notice the difference”.

        The one and only only difference is that you’re a big fan of Hamilton and not of Vettel, and that you thereby manage to persuade yourself that Hamilton’s pole setting laps are the greatest feats of driving which have ever occurred while Vettel’s are irrelevant.

    8. neilmurg says:

      Alonso hasn’t even got a pole yet

      1. aveli says:

        what does he need one of them for? he hardly ever wins from pole.

    9. neilmurg says:

      and if he could avoid breaking his wheel on walls and his wing on rear tyres, that would help

  15. JB says:

    Hamilton is showing amazing pace. Mercedes clearly is in a league of their own.

    1. aveli says:

      sandbagging is a waste of time.

      1. neilmurg says:

        a perfect non sequitur
        not if the river level is rising

      2. aveli says:

        you will drown in your own tears if you don’t stop crying.

      3. Random 79 says:

        It’s okay so long as you have a paddle.

      4. neilmurg says:

        @aveli
        enigmatic is one way of saying ‘I dunno’
        A guy I know said you have the brains of an ass, but I disagreed with him

    2. Sid says:

      Seb showed amazing pace all the time from 09-13… whats different here?

      1. aveli says:

        the only way you will understand is when they become teammates.

  16. Irish Con says:

    Daniel’s long run looked the best of anyone. Something to look out for come Sunday.

    1. Grant H says:

      Be surprised if he’s any real threat on sunday he will start from low down with the penalty and the red bull lacks a bit of top speed with bahrain being a point shoot circuit

    2. Malcolm says:

      Daniel is very impressive, esecially when you consider he never competed in GP2 or Renault 3.5 series, and I think only F3.

      1. Tomo says:

        err Dan finished 2nd in the Renault 3.5 championship in 2010 won the F3 championship in 09

      2. Tyler says:

        @Malcom, Ricciardo did two FR 3.5 seasons. He finished runner up to Aleshin in his rookie FR 3.5 season (2010) and fifth in 2011 when he ran a part time campaign, dovetailing with his F1 rookie year (the first half as STR third driver, then 11 races with HRT).

      3. aveli says:

        he is quite competitive in comparison with his teammate. how well would he compare against rosberg or hulkinberg?
        both gp2 rookie champions.
        vettel has been extremely lucky in f1. the youngest ever back to back to back to back quadrupole champion and what they pay him doesn’t reflect that. the guy who oversees the design of his cars however, has shares given to him by the team owner. that in itself tells the complete story. it’s not easy to fool nature, it will all unfold in our eyes.

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Excuse, I hate to ask, but of the current drivers who is the only one to have been put straight into the best car on the grid in his debut season?

        I don’t agree with all this silly talk about some drivers being lucky to have had certain cars and such, but if you want to follow that path at least do it truthfully.

  17. KARTRACE says:

    What happen to Kimi ?

    1. Harshad says:

      Broken floor (tea tray broke) and braking issues in FP1.
      in FP2 the car responded on Softs but not on Mediums…..this is in addition to the handling issues that he’s had. The new parts haven’t solved the problem completely….

  18. Sri says:

    Kimi was good in FP sessions in Malaysia,so what happened to him now. He cannot be 1 sec off Alonso’s pace. Let us see in quali – but if this is his true pace, he will not get into Q3.

    Having said that, Ferrari really is very bad. How can a team cannot get its act right for 5 years (’09, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14)?

    1. neilmurg says:

      only 1 team can get it rightest each year, there are 4 or 5 teams with a realistic chance, it’s very difficult to make a step change without a rule change.
      maybe FOM should redistribute the extra money Ferrari get to somewhere that gives a better return

  19. Peter says:

    Do people really think that Raikkonen has forgotten how to drive a car fast? He was close to winning the WCh in lotus in the last two years showed amazing race craft and consistency. Please calm down an give the guys some time to sort out the car that is obviously not suited to his style. Alonso has been with Ferrari for years and has a totally different driving style especially front end application, corner entry etc. Draw conlusions after the first half year maybe.

    1. Elie says:

      Spot on Peter

    2. KARTRACE says:

      Close, to wining championship with Lotus ? Your imagination is infinite. However the one who was close to winning was Alonso and yet somehow the Champion was Seb. Or we were following different competition.

  20. triple drs says:

    Does anyone know how much lewis’ s drop off was? Someone seemed to suggest that he was running 0.7s faster than Ros in their last 3 comparable laps?

  21. giorgio says:

    Merc looks like Mclaren MP4/4 during its great era with Senna and Prost.
    One only can guess, who else would win race this year 1st apart from Merc,
    it’s may be wrong but i guess – SV.

  22. Urko says:

    James, since in FP2 teams & drivers mainly do their race simulations, would it be possible to have history chart graph also for those long runs made in FP2. It would be good info for the coming race.

    1. triple drs says:

      I agree. I’ve been looking for similar information too and I found some on this link.
      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/04/04/2014-bahrain-grand-prix-friday-practice-analysis/

  23. dufus says:

    Go Daniel !

  24. maanz says:

    hello james …willl be glad if you answer it…but replies from others are also requested

    its an irrelevant question as compared to the article above but was wondering
    1.when engine manufacturer can make modification to their cars in 2014 …like there are in-season testin in 2014 i guess ..so after thoses in season tests can they make modification to their engine to increase performance ????…cause renault cars are at the tail end.
    2.recently read about dr.helmut marko saying tht if renault do not show signficannt improvement in 2-3months then they will definetly thing about alternatives..so my question is that only based on software upgrades and maps can redbull cover the deficit to mercedes
    3.does renault need to change design or hardware change to improve or software upgrades are enough

    1. C63 says:

      1. Engine specs have been frozen, (late Feb early March I think)although reliability upgrades are allowed.
      2. Software upgrades are permitted. Not sure where Red Bull would get different engines from. Who is there apart from Renault that would be prepared to supply them?
      3. See #1 , whether it’s enough, only time will tell.

      1. aveli says:

        honda.

      2. maanz says:

        yeah HONDA seem to be a realistic option…as they are building their factory/european base in MILTON keynes not away from redbull factory ….secondly honda and redbull already enjoy close ties as redbull is the title sponser in MOTO GP of factory honda…moreover moto gp riders of honda factory team CASSY STONER also visited redbull racing factory which actually proves that redbull and honda have close terms …..and at times i feel that honda is the reason tht there is a little cold relation between maclaren and redbull…

        do u think that redbull can quite renault for honda??

      3. C63 says:

        Honda are committed to supplying McLaren as the ‘works team’ so far as I am aware. I believe there is some kind of clause ( read it on JA I think) which guarantees this . Might be wrong but I am pretty sure I read it.

  25. Paul D says:

    Kimi’s about where I expected him to be.

    He’s never been in the same class as Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton.

    He’ll make a very solid and capable number 2 to Alonso, probably outpacing him on occasion when he’s in the mood. I’m sure he’ll do his two years and retire.

    1. Sri says:

      So you are saying Kimi is actually 14th fastest amongst the drivers now? One who is in top-15 of most F1 statistics for drivers of all times (read the recent bbc’s compilation of f1 statistics and Kimi is mostly in top-15 always). He may be not a class act as Schumi or Alonso although he fought them well in 2000s. He beat Hamilton last two years and Vettel has much better car, so not fair to compare.

    2. KRB says:

      Pretty harsh on the guy with the 3rd most fastest laps ever, and one every fifth race! He’s also 5th in podiums all-time, just a shade under 40% podium rate. Kimi was unlucky in both 2003 & 2005.

    3. Elie says:

      He was faster than Alonso & Schumacher by 2 sec at Spa. He was faster than both at Monaco by more than 1/2 sec.

      Maybe he will retire soon-but if his car is improved he may even win another championship first!

      1. German Samurai says:

        Massa used to be quick at Turkey. I’m not sure how Kimi having a couple of good races is proof he’s above Alonso, let alone a 7-time world champion. Also, neither Schumacher or Alonso have ever driven Newey designed cars, which makes Schumacher’s achievements simply astonishing.

        Kimi’s qualifying record is abysmal. The fact he has so many fastest laps shows that he has had fast cars throughout his career, but has trouble putting a good lap together when the pressure is highest (in qualifying) and doing so consistently (in a race).

        Kimi wasn’t unlucky in 2003. He won one race all year. He had a Newey designed McLaren.

        Sure, he had poor reliability in 2005, but he had a great car in 2008 yet couldn’t beat his teammate Massa. Beat his teammate, he wins the championship.

      2. PP says:

        You clim a “Newey designed car” is somehow the formula to success, which is simply not true. In 2003 Ferrari had the tires altered to suit Bridgestone and not Michelin, which no “Newey designed car” could have neutralised.

      3. Sri says:

        “Newey designed car” — Is Newey a guaranteed success?

      4. Elie says:

        @german Samurai Raikkonen was one of the best qualifiers whose records stood at several circuits till the last few years.
        - he never had custom made Bridgestone tyres
        - he never drove for a Works factory team with unlimited budget and testing
        - he was never given or insisted on no1status
        - he never had Michael Schumacher consult Ferrari to set the 2008 Ferrari to Felipes driving as pay back for years of loyalty. Ferrari wouldnt have hired back if they didnt know this
        - he never collided with anyone intentionally to win
        - he finished just as strongly in a Lotus that didnt break as he did in “Newey” cars that never made the finish line – despite him winning 6 or 7 races in 2005 ( out of 15or 16)
        And being in lead of races in 2003 ( still finished 2 pts off)

      5. German Samurai says:

        Newey’s been the best designer for over two decades. McLaren had a budget as big as Ferrari, the best designer in the business, Ron Dennis overseeing everything, and Kimi couldn’t make it work. Hakkinen made it work, Vettel made it work, Kimi couldn’t.

        Michelin had the best tyres for most of 2003, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about there.

      6. f1analising says:

        Even a 43 year old Schumacher was faster around Monaco than Raikkonen. Get your facts right, mate.

      7. Elie says:

        The Mercedes has always been one of the fastest cars over one lap. !- Get your facts right I was talking about 2003-2005. When he destroyed everyone including team mates by those sort of margins

        Anyone with an ounce of sense would know the Lotus was never good over one lap but looked after its tyres which is why it won races and neither car ever qualified on pole.!

      8. justafan says:

        Elie, Schumacher has won in Monaco 5 times. Raikkonen 1 time. Doesn’t look as if Raikkonen would be faster than Schumacher.

    4. aveli says:

      wait till he gets his new brakes

    5. Paige says:

      Kimi Raikkonen is one of the most talented drivers to ever get behind the wheel of a car.

      The problem for Kimi is the same problem that Schumacher had sometimes during his day. Kimi and Schumacher both have driving styles that require a very specific setup- particularly, a very positive front end with a lot of grip. They like to have a flat car under braking, apply as little steering load as possible, hit an early point at which they have the car rotated in the corner, and then have a flat car under acceleration and blast down the straight. A number of their teammates have complained of massive oversteer when either of these guys were doing well with the car.

      When each driver had cars with a front end working how they wanted it, they were peerless. (Schumacher in the Benetton and Ferrari, Raikkonen in the McLLaren.) If you give them a car with a front end that isn’t working so well, they will struggle, as they will be applying more load at their acceleration point than they want or will be applying the throttle later than they want. Schumacher really struggled with this early in his days at Mercedes. Raikkonen had a well documented problem at the beginning of his time with Lotus with a steering setup that wasn’t very reactive and required more load, and he had a well documented problem with a rear-oriented Ferrari in 2007 and 2008.

      1. James Allen says:

        Kimi would fly in the new Red Bull, which has amazing front end turn in grip.

        Bit down on the straights mind you, but as a chassis it’s perfect for Kimi

  26. Paul D says:

    Hamilton is fantastic. Watching him cadence brake into 9 & 10 is a joy to behold.

  27. Joe S says:

    I can’t believe Williams doing little running today. They said it was because they had done so much running in pre-season that all they had to do was fine-tune the setup. Seriously? Why wouldn’t you be out on track if you can, especially at the season’s early races. They should be wanting to use all the time they can instead of being so sure of themselves.

    1. James Allen says:

      Each driver has just 5 engines for the season

      They saved engine mileage today and were still quick with strong long run pace

  28. rodolfo says:

    if anyone still believes this is not going to be a boring season with one team dominating please speak up … I would love to hear your arguments! :)

    1. aveli says:

      silverstone is enjoying record tickets sales. is that not evidence of people exciting by the season so far? it’s all about evidence.

      1. Dutch Johnny says:

        But if your honest this season looks to become more boring then all the last 4 years combined!
        But what do you care your boy is winning right? then its no problem…

      2. maanz says:

        increase sale of tickets at silverstone is not due to exciting season but due to fact that a british driver will definetly win this time #hamilton

  29. JOdum5 says:

    Who’s bright idea was it to reduce the number of engines in the first year of a new engine formula? Thoughtless.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Give it a few years and they’ll be down to one for the entire season, guaranteed.

      By the way I’ve solved the problem of silly grid drop penalties for engine / gearbox changes:

      Let them use their allotted five (or however many), but then after that they have to use an engine from a Fiat Panda for the remaining races.

      Thoughts?

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        What about an engine from the Fiat 500? I’m thinking of the 800cc twin-air unit that is a little rocket-ship!
        Random, pardon my ignorance but is the Fiat 500 popular with young women in Australia and New Zealand? In Britain, seemingly every 18-25 year old woman, and even the F1 drivers WAGS (and a couple of young ladies sired by Mr E) desire a 500 like a Gucci handbag and a Yorkie!

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        PS Have you seen that Top Gear episode when the lads drove to Notting Hill? They should rename that part of West Central London Fiat 500 Hill!

      3. Random 79 says:

        Doubtful – I’ve never seen anyone driving a Fiat over here ;)

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        Fair enough – I guess the little 500 would be too small and have an inadequate fuel tank range for the desert or travelling great distances across Australasia.
        By the way, do you remember a certain advert featuring a certain driver featuring the Fiat 500? Clues: it had an over-dubbed voice and was a bit cringe worthy. I think the driver in question has also got bushy eyebrows……..

  30. kenneth chapman says:

    i seem to recall webber running to 4th from 18th on the grid a few years back in what was one of the best drives i have ever seen.

    ricciardo could finish up starting from as far back as webber did and i guess the question is, could he do the same? with the fuel flow problems/renault performance acting as a millstone i doubt it but if anyone can do it ricci will. at least as long as the car can take it he will drive the wheels off.

    so here’s hoping no first lap bingles for him and a great result.

    1. TJ says:

      Webber drove from 18th to 3rd in China in 2011.

      The track layout in Bahrain is more of a disadvantage with 3 long straights as opposed to 2 in china and less low speed corners (where red bull gets there advantage).

      As much as I would like to see Ricciardo charge through the field, if he is surrounded by Mercedes powered cars then I just cant see him getting past them on the straights.

      1. TJ says:

        more like 4 straights here in bahrain isn’t it. Just cant see the RB passing anyone in a straight line which means passing for DR will be near impossible with the car being under powered at the moment.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ TJ.. you may well be right but there is no way i would write ricci off at this stage. in all the ‘hoo har’ surrounding the front row lockout by the mercedes cars a lot of people have lost sight of what a stunning lap ricciardo was able to pull out in Q3.

        his longer stints have been consistently fast so as i said earlier, if he can avoid any ‘first lap nut cases’ then i expect him to give it his all and go for a great result.

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        @TJ daniel did the business after all. the only mercs that he didn’t blow away were just the three in front and that would’ve been only two but for four tenths of a sec!

        a great performance eh?

    2. PP says:

      Kimi went from 22nd to 3rd in the 2006 race..but you won’t hear that from anyone else on here, of course.

      On an unrelated note, I’m sure Ricciardo will end up starting <18 so he should have a decent chance.

  31. TGS says:

    “Take that Nico Rosberg!”… I laughed out loud at that. They may want to maintain mutual respect but everyone else wants them at each other’s throats. Bring on the team mate wars!!

  32. Sasidharan says:

    There is something on the verge of illegality that Merc is doing and the FIA is not aware of. Look how the whole field is very close after Alonso, one second for 11 cars. This is going to be repeat of 2010. Just need to watch who takes the role Button and who takes Barichello’s role.

    1. Sasidharan says:

      2009 it was

    2. Random 79 says:

      Mercedes is faster than everyone else and so must be cheating?

      Maybe they just built a better car.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Isn’t the point of the constructors to build the fastest car under the regs? Twas ever thus!

    3. James Clayton says:

      Are you assuming just because Merc have such an advantage they’re doing “something on the verge of illegality”? Or do you have some information you’d like to share with us?

      1. Random 79 says:

        Just between you and me I think he’s shared quite enough already ;)

    4. Dazzler says:

      Are you suggesting that Mercedes are cheating or breaking the law ?

      That is a serious allegation against a reputable global enterprise.

      Provide evidence or be quiet.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ dazzler….have you taken into account the tyre test taken last year under massive subterfuge and the findings of the tribunal? do reputable global enterprises kit their F1 drivers out in plain black helmets to avoid identification?

        something about people who live in glass houses comes to mind.

    5. Paige says:

      The only thing that they can really be questioned on right now is the position of their camera pods on the front end, which they have turned into quasi-”elephant ears” ala 2008. (Not surprising, considering that the legacy of the elephant ears starts with this team from their Honda days.) This will affect the flow to the rear end some, but it is not nearly as questionable legally as, for example, the parachute that McLaren has on the read end formed from the exotic wishbones on the rear suspension.

  33. Sujith says:

    Another stop go type of circuit and we see Kimi struggling with Braking.

    It has and always was the breaking issue. Well he got new parts for this race to improve the “Feeling” at the front so I guess that has not worked.

    Lets see what happens on Saturday! Kimi’s been great at this track during race days and normally has dragged himself onto the podium from a bad Saturday. It would be a shame if he can’t do that now!

  34. Spinodontosaurus says:

    The fastest cars are only a few km/h off the top speeds that were achieved here during the 3 litre V10 era… very impressive.

    1. KARTRACE says:

      The wings are considerably smaller so the drag to.

  35. Richard says:

    I don’t think it will be as clear cut as these results seem to indicate. I am of course referring to the message to Hamilton received which said he must go faster and save more fuel by changing the way he drove the lap. That being the case it seems that fuel usage will be highly critical this weekend which may cast doubt on Mercedes and help Williams as they seemed to be the best on fuel usage.

    1. aveli says:

      williams used less fuel in Malaysia because they were slower. had they been faster, they would’ve used a lot more.

      1. Richard says:

        They will I think be further up the grid come qualifying, and they put less fuel in the car than others. Fuel will be critical in the race which adds a new perspective on the inter team battle between Hamilton and Rosberg.

    2. James Clayton says:

      If you’ve got a 1-second per lap advantage then you can probably afford to go into cruse mode for pretty much half the race, if needs be.

      1. Richard says:

        If fuel becomes critical in a Mercedes then others could be in trouble by the end of the race.

  36. JohnBt says:

    This is Hamilton’s year…he’s too strong at the moment with the Mercedes being the best. Let’s see how far ahead he finishes in Bahrain, will it more than 17 seconds?

    As Luca spoke about the taxi driver issue, well now we have F14 T(axi) for you. Sincerely what a waste of two talented drivers in Alonso and Kimi. But Nando will still put up a strong fight no matter, as for Kimi I just hope he doesn’t just fade away this year.

  37. Breton says:

    Talk about Red Bull sour grapes!!!

    Red Bull design chief Adrian Newey has criticised Formula 1′s new rules, saying their merit is “questionable”.
    The 55-year-old says the new turbo hybrid engines and fuel limits were introduced “without proper thought”.
    Newey said the sport should have spent more time considering whether it had gone in the right direction.

    Only two races in and they are whinging about the new rules because they are not winning.

    Everyone is complaining about Merc dominance and the racing being boring.

    I remember the dominance of Mclaren, followed by Williams, followed by Ferrari, then Red Bull for 4 years.

    Now people are moaning about Merc Dominance after 2 races.
    Give the other teams time to catch up within the existing regs before deciding they don’t work.

    Newey seems to be a dinosaur and wants to go back to Cosworths for everyone!

    1. KARTRACE says:

      And the mourning goes on… In each and every era dominated by some team there were those who were complaining. so what. That is no relevance, the relevance is whether this F1 is something to be proud of or not. In my view it isn’t, it is horrible regardless who is dominant right now. They are blown up Scalectrix slot cars. They look and sound horrible and they are not exciting.

    2. kenneth chapman says:

      @ breton… adrian newey speaks from the very highest level of both success and experience and his opinion is a valid response to the question. do you really think that his opinion is without merit? and your claim to fame is exactly what?

      given two opinions, yours and newey’s i know where i would be casting my vote.

      yes, some people are voicing disquiet re the mercedes dominance, so what? all other teams will be working to change that dynamic. what newey is saying is that the ‘overall effect’ of some of the changes implemented are proving to be problematic and the outcomes are not in line with expectations. seems valid to me. IMO of course.

      1. Breton says:

        I am entitled to my opinion, whether you value it or not is up to you.

        I do not claim to know more about F1 than Newey so there is no point in sneering about that.

        The rules are the rules, he himself said he should have thought more about the changes.

        Perhaps what he really means is …if I had realised what a mess Renault have made of their package I wouldn’t have agreed to the changes.

        It smacks of sour grapes.

        I know you are well connected to F1 from previous posts and I have always enjoyed reading your posts so I am saddened that you stoop to the level of tealeaf and Sebee.

        You well know that F1 depends on the car manurfacturers to supply engines at great cost to the grid. They want to take engine technology a certain way otherwise they will carry on supplying engines.

        F1 has a choice to go back to the days when all teams used the same engine apart from Ferrari ie the Cosworth, and then they can be as noisy and as thirsty as they want.

        The Teams complaining about the new regs are the teams at the back of the grid……………………sounds a case of sore losers.

        Newey should stop complaining and get Renault to sort out the power unit and challenge the Mercedes.

        As soon as the grid gets more competitive the racing will get more exciting.

        To complain after two races is ridiculous.

      2. Paul D says:

        Newey’s comments were convincing, but I can’t help but wonder why he didn’t voice them at any point last year.

        He’s not really coming at it from a neutral position, seeing the struggles they are having with the Renault engine. Not sure he’d be saying the same thing if they had a Merc engine strapped in the back.

      3. Breton says:

        Pat Symonds with three decades in F1 dissagrees with Newey.

        Do you take issue with his credentials as you do to mine?

      4. kenneth chapman says:

        @ breton, yes, my response to your original post was forceful and i meant no offense. you should read it again and think it through. here we have one of the greatest F1 designers ever, voicing an opinion, and i, being a humble sort of chap, tend to listen and learn from what he says.

        to state that his comments are mere ‘sour grapes’ i don’t think is at all accurate as no one really knows what goes on within the strict confines of ‘high tech’ paddock comment.

        your last comment though does need some further debate. to compare your credentials with that of symonds, without knowing where you sit within the paddock hierarchy, is a no brainer unless i am completely in error.

        symonds is one of the paddock ‘illuminati’ and has the cred as they say. listening to the two of them i throw my weight behind newey for no other reason than his ability to dissect the new F1 and where these massive changes have taken the the entire show.

        what we are seeing is the emergence of ‘unintended consequences’ and newey is quite right in identifying and making his points public.

        i have no allegiance whatso ever with red bull, in fact i deplore their past politics but i do believe in neweys expertise as it has been demonstrated time and time again that he is most likely the absolute best of the modern era.

      5. Breton says:

        Ken

        I have the utmost respect for Newey, he is an all time great in F1.

        I was pointing out that Symonds who has gravitas within F1 disagrees with him.

        When looking at Neweys comments in the light of RB performance it does look like a case of sour grapes whether it is only he will know.

        My only experience of motor sport was running a team in the national prokart series.

        Best team wants best driver, best driver wants fastest kart, and everyone trying to push the rules as far as they can!!

        Not unlike F1!

      6. kenneth chapman says:

        @ breton…. where we differ is that you join in with the chorus of people who are all ‘singing from the same songsheet’! [excuse the lame cliche] and take every opportunity to diss on red bull.just look at the number of comments all saying exactly the same thing.

        i try to look deeper and see just what newey was really saying. i have absolutely no idea of the highly complex details of the design/build/ integration and operation of these new PU’s and i seriously doubt that there is one poster on here that really does. let alone on the level that newey has.

        if one looks at the totality of what he is saying then it does make sense, to me that is. i just somehow find it somewhat irksome when people make shallow statements maligning the character of a person of neweys standing within the F1 community.

        of course symonds statements need to be considered but as i pointed out i prefer neweys explanation as i find him to be a unique figure in the highly complex technical world within which he inhabits. he has always been a champion of competetive wheel to wheel racing and that attitude strikes a chord with me. the ‘green’ issue is a charade and the road car relativity is also questionable as many others have highlighted. WEC utilise extremely advanced hybrid solutions and that is where the advances have really been used towards an evolution into road cars. by all means introduce new technology, that is great but spare us the ‘luvvies’.

        we obviously won’t agree but it was fun debating this issue breton.

  38. Stevie P says:

    “ripped the Botticelli out of that one!” – our own inimitable James talking about the wheelie-pulling Maldonado. Ha ha ha ha!!!!

    I salute you, sir!

    1. James Allen says:

      I can’t claim originality in that line..

  39. Paige says:

    I have a theory on Mercedes.

    Could it be possible that they have found an efficiency solution in their engine allowing them to run less fuel?

    The Mercedes were using less fuel than the Renault and Ferrari engined teams. If Mercedes has found additional ways to save fuel on top of it- perhaps in terms of tuning or packaging- then they could afford to run less fuel over a race distance. This would give them a huge advantage in race pace.

    1. KARTRACE says:

      That is not just your theory but just an obvious fact. When you produce engine that got more power then your adversaries have it means that you have to push less in order to achieve the performance hence overall uses less fuel. It is a simple law of physics. But we keep forgetting that there is a complicated system of kinetic energy recovering which simply could be better utilized by Mercedes power packs vs. the rest.

  40. richard says:

    I have been an Formula one fan for over 50 years, since the days of Jim Clark. But it only took me 15 minutes, at three in the morning, of watching practice 2 from Melbourne to realize that this was not Formula one, it was not even close to Formula one! Where was the sound and fury of Formula one? Where was the spectacle? All gone forever I,m afraid, and so am I. I did something I thought I would never, ever do, I turned off the TV and went to bed.

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