Ferrari pair cruise to easy one-two

2008 Bahrain Grand Prix review

Felipe Massa, Bahrain, 2008, Ferrari, 470150

Ferrari made it look easy in the Bahrain Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton’s bid for victory self-destructed once again and the speed of the BMWs in qualifying was not matched by their race pace.

It left Felipe Massa to take a straightforward win from Kimi Raikkonen, the world champion unable to reproduce the form we saw in Malaysia.

The prospects of a three-way tussle for the lead vanished at the start as Hamilton struggled to get his McLaren off the line – team mate Heikki Kovalainen swerving to avoid him.

That handed the initiative to Kimi Raikkonen, who seized third from Kovalainen. It soon became second as it took only two laps for Raikkonen to find a way past Kubica.

Sebastian Vettel made it no further than lap four when contact with another car – he did not know which one – forced him out. Jenson Button and David Coulthard came limping around to the pits for new tyres after picking up punctures.

Hamilton hits Alonso

Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain, 2008, 470150

A third Briton came into the pits on the next lap – Hamilton – following a collision with Fernando Alonso that became an instant talking point. Having fallen to ninth, Hamilton was lining Alonso up for a pass between turns three and four when the McLaren hit the rear of the Renault, tearing off his front wing and take a chunk out of Alonso’s rear wing. (See video of the crash)

Hamilton had a new wing fitted but his car had clearly suffered other damage and he made up little ground over the rest of the race.

Massa assumed a four second lead over Raikkonen and although that changed a little as the pair swapped fastest lap times, it never really looked like become a serious battle for the lead. Contrary to expectations, Massa pitted later than Raikkonen, and appeared to have a few tenths of a second advantage over his team mate all race long.

Processional race

Kubica fell to third ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Kovalainen, followed by Jarno Trulli, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber. Depressingly, 56 laps later all that changed in the top eight was Webber moving past Rosberg, apart from some inconsequential shuffling of the pack during the pit stops.

Nelson Piquet Jnr spun early on but recovered to over take Sebastien Bourdais on lap 11. Piquet’s gearbox wouldn’t last, however, forcing him out on lap 40, and meaning he will probably have to take a grid penalty at the next race.

The only other retirement was Button, who managed to collide with Coulthard as the pair tried to make up for lost time. Afterwards he criticised Coulthard for moving across on him in the braking zone. Button took avoiding action but ended up hitting the Red Bull.

Timo Glock got ahead of Alonso around the second pit stops and held the Renault driver back to claim ninth – but almost half a minute behind team mate Trulli.

Rubens Barrichello, 11th, was the last driver on the lead lap but Giancarlo Fisichella’s Force India team were pleased with his 12th ahead of the recovering Hamilton.

Kazuki Nakajima had a quit run to 14th ahead of Bourdais, followed by the Super Aguris of Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato. Coulthard was 18th and Adrian Sutil a twice-lapped 19th.

Ferrari seize the initiative

Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Bahrain, 2008, 470313

Massa only had a five second advantage of Robert Kubica’s BMW at the end of the race but it looked like Ferrari could have stretched the gap quite easily had they chosen to.

Raikkonen has moved into the lead in the championship standings with Heidfeld taking second – and BMW nosing ahead by a point in the constructors’ table.

But with a three-week break until the next race it looks as though Ferrari have the initiative and BMW – not McLaren – are doing the chasing. Next stop Barcelona.

Rate the 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix

Drivers’ championship standings

1. Kimi Raikkonen 19
2. Nick Heidfeld 16
3. Lewis Hamilton 14
4. Heikki Kovalainen 14
5. Robert Kubica 14
6. Felipe Massa 10
7. Jarno Trulli 8
8. Nico Rosberg 7
9. Fernando Alonso 6
10. Mark Webber 4
11. Kazuki Nakajima 3
12. Sebastien Bourdais 2

Constructors’ championship standings

1. BMW 30
2. Ferrari 29
3. McLaren 28
4. Williams 10
5. Toyota 8
6. Renault 6
7. Red Bull 4
8. Toro Rosso 2

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26 comments on Ferrari pair cruise to easy one-two

  1. Daniel said on 6th April 2008, 17:09

    It seems that Massa handled perfectly the dusty, sandy track, without TC or engine braking…

  2. ade said on 6th April 2008, 17:27

    Yeah another stunning Massa victory from lights to flag without actually having to overtake anyone except blue-flagged backmarkers. It was Schumacher-esque: Ralf Schumacher-esque.

  3. Daniel PT said on 6th April 2008, 18:01

    What surprises me is the form displayed by Toyota. Much higher than expected! Trulli is being one of the drivers of the early season without doubt. Great qualifing runs like always and, this season, keeping the race neat without falling down on ranks. Glock needs to learn and improve his consistency and then he can give Trulli a needed run for the money.
     On the other side Williams keeps on disappoiting…
    Midfield Rank so far: Toyota, Red Bull, Williams, Renault, Honda, Toro Rosso and if you wish Force India/Fisichella 

    Meanwhile i leave a question to be answered next race: BMW is overtaking Mclaren?
    @ade: Actually Massa passed Kubica on the start. It can be considered an overtaking. It’s Massa first victory outside pole?

  4. Oliver said on 6th April 2008, 18:15

    I’m happy for Massa that finally he has opened his account. I also think this is his first win not starting from pole. However, the races are becoming very boring.

  5. Phil B said on 6th April 2008, 18:52

    All credit to Massa, he countered my prediction  and didn’t put a foot wrong.  I’ll still need more than one race to believe he’s mastered the 2008 F1 car, but still, it was a job well done.  As for Hamilton, he didn’t seem to be there all weekend really, did he?  Maybe that’s a result of seemingly having an inferior car or maybe his crash on Friday affected him more than he let on, I don’t know, but he’ll have to do better to win the championship.

  6. frecon said on 6th April 2008, 19:00

    I guessed correctly the prediction of the other day. have i won something? ;)

    I think the race was pretty boring, and the only surprise was BMW. They did 3rd and 4th, and today it looked like if Mclaren and BMW had changed their roles.

  7. Daniel said on 6th April 2008, 19:42

    Oliver: Yes, his first win not from pole, and that’s very important in terms of self-esteem, even if, in fact, he was already leading before the first corner…

    Massa seems to completely dominate certain circuits (Turkey, Brazil, Bahrain), like no other driver of this generation does, even though I know it’s to early to say that…

    If he had the same pace every race, he would be a genius…

  8. Good race all in all, some nice overtaking throughout, loved seeing the field alot closer, will make for some gr8 racing this year.

  9. Green Flag said on 6th April 2008, 21:07

    The Italian anthem is the perfect ending to a Grand Prix, so it’s good that it will be played often this year. Forza!

  10. Gman said on 6th April 2008, 22:02

    Daniel, you are on the money about Toyota. While they are not climbing to the top like BMW, Trulli is showing consistency and has continued to be solid each week. Many teams have overshadowed them in the news, but any team improving is good news for me.

    Also, Williams is disappointing quite a bit, especialy for those of us who viewed them as the best of the rest behind the frontrunners at the end of preseason testing.

    And many of you have made a good point about some parts of the races being boring. I saw some good overtaking in the opener- on a track that many say is not good for passing- and since then i’ve noticed little exitement. I love seeing BMW making progress, but hopefully that will include some more overtaking along the way.

  11. Nico Savidge said on 6th April 2008, 23:09

    Does anybody know why Hamilton was off to such a slow start? It didn’t look like wheelspin, and the engine sounded odd when they went to the onboard.

    And RE the Italian anthem – I love it. As a Ferrari fan, I can think of nothing better to hear on a Sunday!

  12. If only I could see Schumi moving his fingers while the Italian anthem starts to play… :)

  13. Toncho said on 6th April 2008, 23:46

    Now I am sure who is the best team but not so sure that MCL is the second best. BMW’s performance is surprisingly good and they may  score their first victory soon if the other top teams have a difficult weekend. Also Toyota is the good surprise of the year. On the other hand Renault is probably the 8th team out of 11 so a great disappointment on that side.

  14. Haggis said on 7th April 2008, 0:08

    I saw a comment on the live blog during the Malaysian GP which compared Lewis to Tim Henman.

    I’ve thought about it a lot since, and I have to wonder – for all the talk being of him being the Tiger Woods of F1, could he instead be the Tim Henman of F1?

    Plenty talent, but when the chips are down it just won’t happen for him. He made two crucial errors. Selecting the wrong engine map is pretty much inexcusable. Driving into Alonso wasn’t his greatest moment either.

    I have nothing against Lewis, I’m as neutral as you can get in F1, and I really do hope that he can come good in the coming races, but I think he’s now got to be under as much pressure as Massa was before this weekend.

  15. Nice to see with all the focus on the youngsters that the like of Trulli, Fisichella and Barrichello are quietly plugging away, getting the most of their cars that’s reasonably possible. Shame DC’s not been too!

    I though Massa would win – I couldn’t believe he’d have three bad races in a row. He’s no Fangio, but he ain’t *that* bad!

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