2008 Bahrain GP preview: ducks to break

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2008, sunglasses, 470150

It’s round three of the season and the last chance for several top drivers to score their first points of the year before the ‘European season’ kicks off.

First among these has to be Felipe Massa. He’s already pointed out this week that it’s a long championship and there’s 160 points still to be won. But if he wants to avoid being relegated to ‘number two’ at the end of the year he already needs to make up 11 points on his team mate.

Who else will score their first points of the year this weekend?

David Coulthard was a decent ninth at Sepang after his dramas in practice. But team mate Mark Webber has shown Red Bull can beat their engine suppliers Renault and if Coulthard can match his team mate he’s got a good chance of getting his first score of 2008.

He drove magnificently at Bahrain last year to rise from 21st to seventh before retiring with a broken driveshaft.

Sebastian Vettel has shown excellent pace but poor luck so far this year. He was bundled out at the first corner in Melbourne and his engine failed at Sepang. Meanwhile team mate Sebastien Bourdais has two points (which might very easily have been five but for another Ferrari engine going pop).

Nelson Piquet Jnr put the misery of Melbourne behind him at Sepang – but the race also showed how hard it will be for him to score points until he or Renault find some more performance. He was 22s behind Alonso in Sepang, or 0.39s over a 96s lap, which is not unreasonable for a rookie alongside a twice world champion, but a crucial three places further behind.

That said, his team mate might not be pleased with him being beaten by Hondas for much longer. And speaking of them, can Jenson Button sneak into the top eight this weekend?

Who are your tips to break their points ducks at Bahrain?

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14 comments on 2008 Bahrain GP preview: ducks to break

  1. Sudhakar said on 2nd April 2008, 9:11

    Rubens and Fisi may taste their first championship point(s) over this weekend.

  2. I think DC and Massa are most likely, depending on the usual potential woes!

    With Ferrari seeming to be using Massa as a bit of a guinea pig regarding engine reliability, it would appear that he may already be lining up as Kimi’s number two – and given their reliability so far I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t finish.

    Hopefully this race will see both McLaren and Ferrari at the front of the grid so we can see a proper battle between the top four, as the first two races gave us either a McLaren or Ferrari duel but not both.

  3. frecon said on 2nd April 2008, 10:46

    I think Felipe is able to do the best or the worst. After 2 GPs with "the worst", i would bet for pole and victory of Massa

  4. I was just reading the track preview from Renault and when reading the part on breaks, Massa came to mind immediatelly:

    "The Bahrain race is one of the more demanding circuits on the brakes, being similar to Montreal as one of the most severe tests of the year. With three big stops from over 320kph into first or second gear corners, the car needs good stability to avoid locking tyres during the race. The frequency of braking is also significant, especially between Turns 4 and 13, where the brakes are constantly running at high temperatures without the chance to cool down. Braking is further complicated this year by the absence of engine braking systems, and a mistake into the slow corners of 10, 13 or 14 could prove costly with the drivers having to be defensive down the following straights."

  5. ade said on 2nd April 2008, 12:10

    I’ll go for Button or Vettel to break their ducks… I agree with previous posters that Massa will be caught out again.

  6. John said on 2nd April 2008, 13:06

    What’s breaking a duck?  I assume from context it’s similar to "get off the snide"?  This is the second place I’ve seen it in 2 days (the other being autosport I think) and I can’t remember having seen it before so I assume it’s British?

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd April 2008, 14:01

    It is British, John, it’s from cricket. A batsman who hasn’t scored any points is "on a duck" and if they fail to score before being dismissed they’re "out for a duck". If they are dimissed on the first ball then it’s a "golden duck".

    I know my dad occasionally checks in on this blog and he’ll be delighted to know I’m talking about cricket…

  8. Chalky said on 2nd April 2008, 14:02

    I can only assume the "duck" reference goes with Cricket, that is British or is that now Australian. ;)
    It a batsmen scores "0" in Cricket then they are "out for a duck".
    Therefore to "break a duck" is to score a point(s) above zero?
    I’ve never used the term outside of Cricket though.

  9. Rabi said on 2nd April 2008, 15:35

    Some useless and pointless knowledge: In the subcontinent they refer to it as an egg ("aanda tootgaiya" translates to "the egg has broken") and is used in exactly the same reference.

  10. MacademiaNut said on 2nd April 2008, 21:18

    Keith,I too am glad that you are talking about cricket. :)  It’s hard to find someone talk about cricket and F1 where I live.Cheers!

  11. Wesley said on 2nd April 2008, 23:44

    I will have to agree with a few other folks here and say that I believe Massa will not fair well on this low grip track.I would like to see Vettel grab a little glory,he deserves it and he needs to prove himself in case he gets that call from Ferrari.Poor Piquet is going to have a hell of a time wringing out any more power from  that Renault,and to have Alonso as a team mate doesn’t make him look any better.

  12. It’s going to rain. Oh yes, it’s going to rain cats and dogs. And then Adrian Sutil will score points, bucketloads of them.

    Seriously?

    I’m in the ‘Massa will do well’ camp, so how about Massa wins, Vettel takes seventh, just holding off DC in eighth? Piquet and Glock remove each other on the first corner.

    Actually, thinking about it – it doesn’t say much for people’s expectations of Glock (compared with Trulli in the last race) that he doesn’t even make it into discussions like this, does it?

  13. I made a prediction about this race in mid-2006 – but if you found my Malaysia prediction a little outlandish, then you’ll find this one completely crazy (not to mention too long for the comments section of a blog).

    More seriously, I can see Massa getting pole and heading out into a decent lead… …before either his engine blows up or he spins off (the heat, McLaren ECUs and any other excuse readily to hand will be blamed for either). Raikkonen will power through the smoke/dust to take victory, followed at a long distance by the two McLarens. Heidfeld and Alonso will have a good fight with Nick winning.

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