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. the IT let me down big way and I missed out on most of the LiveBlog action :-( at least I had the big screen to watch on :-)

    One has to give it to Massa. Whatever Ferrari has been saying for past 2 weeks, there is no doubt Massa was under pressure even if the team supported him. He handled it pretty well and he outpaced Kimi by big margin on Saturday. As the race has shown, he was not fueled lighter than Kimi. Kimi was not happy about the car set up but still managed a solid 2nd.

    I think the pity for this race was that Kubica lost out early on. If he stayed ahead of Massa or at least managed to split Ferraris after start, we could have had interesting race. Once the Ferraris got away, the race was over.

    I was very surprised to see McLarens being outpaced by BMWs … Kovalainen did manage the fastest lap, but that was in situation when neither of the top 4 had any need to push their cars to limit.

    It does look though we will have 3 way battle for podiums this season …

  2. Ghost2912 said on 7th April 2008, 7:43

    I’m not impressed with Massa’s race – we know that Kimi had major setup problems, and yet he kept Massa in his sights – even started closing the gap at one point. </br></br>Sure, he passed Kubica at the start, but Kubica himself admitted he didnt have the best of starts, so for Massa it was as good as starting from pole. He isn’t someone who can charge up the field (like Mika, Schumi, Kimi, or Alonso), and he isn’t someone who can race wheel-to-wheel either.</br>
    IMHO, he will NEVER be remembered for any epic on-track battles or brilliant racecraft — he’s simply a mediocre driver fortunate to be in one of the best cars on the grid.

  3. Sri said on 7th April 2008, 9:34

    Nico Savidge  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.
    Hush, hush. I read this somewhere. Apparently some teams are using mny engine mappings for various stages of the race. One apparently has to hit the engine mapping for start, it stays on for about 1 minute(approx.), so drivers try to hit it as late as possible. Now, some cylinders of an engine work and some are dormant at the start. So power is controlled and thus the wheelspin, without TC. Guess somebody forgot to hit that button on time. :P My 2 cents…

  4. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr said on 7th April 2008, 11:00

    Someone mentioned that hamilton is becoming like tim henman, i wouldnt go that far but certainly the last 2 races havent been very good for him. I hope tho that the british press dont get on his back now. To be fair the mclaren isnt faster than the ferrari at the moment so its going to be hard for hamilton to beat them in a straight fight and i dont think the incident with alonso was really his fault. What id like to see him try and do is go lighter in qualifying try and snatch pole and then maybe if he gets a good start he can keep the ferraris behind, i dont see how else he will beat them while theyr still on the track.

    Good performance from massa never really looked like anyone else would win this one, would have liked to have seen kubica make a good start and them massa would have to try and get passed him and we could have seen how he handled the pressure this time. Raikkonen wasnt anywhere near him this weekend but he still bagged 8 points which is good for his championship points.

    About BMW i think theyr pretty close to maclaren definitley, what theyr doing tho is putting 1 driver on a lighter fuel load to get themselves into a better grid slot than what their race pace might allow for and just trying to minimize how far back they go and its working 2 second  places and a third prove that.

  5. Michael K said on 7th April 2008, 15:22

    Yes, Massa won and he did it in style, but as already mentioned before, this is about the only thing he can do, drive fast while he’s in the lead. He can’t fight for places when the chips are down.

  6. Number 38 said on 7th April 2008, 21:33

    Massa’s secret is up……..examine the photo above, he’s got a road map of the circuit in his car!

  7. Sri said on 8th April 2008, 2:56

    MIchael K: "Yes, Massa won and he did it in style, but as already mentioned before, this is about the only thing he can do, drive fast while he’s in the lead. He can’t fight for places when the chips are down."

    Well, but that is all he should ensure then. If he wins enough races and finishes others scoring enough points, who knows, he may become a champion.

  8. Phil said on 8th April 2008, 13:28

    Anyone care to guess what might have been if Massa had been penalised for overtaking and setting 2nd fastest time under yellow flags in the early quali sessions? Looks like having red paint on the car blinded the stewards again, otherwise he’d have had a grid penalty which would have at least made the race more interesting.

  9. Ghost2912 said on 8th April 2008, 18:05

    Number38, you’re right!! The guy does have a map of the circuit ion the car!!! LOL!!!

  10. Mark said on 8th April 2008, 23:01

    Drivers all typically have a circuit map with official corner numbers somewhere in their cockpit, for the reason that they can talk to their engineers about corners and know they are both referring to the same one.

    I must admit, I had a good laugh the first time I saw them, imagining a driver thundering down the main straight and checking a map to see where the had to turn!

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