Rosberg surprises against Schumacher (Bahrain Grand Prix team mate battles)

Rosberg headed Schumacher all weekend long

Rosberg headed Schumacher all weekend long

Michael Schumacher was overshadowed by team mate Nico Rosberg on his return to F1.

Elsewhere Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton drew first blood as they began a new season alongside highly competitive team mates.

Yesterday we got our first glimpse of how many of the intriguing team mate battles will play out in 2010. Take a look at each team and drivers’ performances below.

In this first in a new series of articles we compare the performances of the drivers in each team. You can get a more detailed breakdown of their qualifying and race statistics including a graph of their lap times by following the ‘Compare…’ links below.

McLaren

Jenson Button, McLaren, Bahrain, 2010

Despite their much-vaunted and controversial F-duct, which helped them enjoy higher straight line speeds than their rivals, McLaren never looked at home on the Bahrain circuit – especially over the bumpy new section.

Jenson Button

The weekend seemed to be going Button’s way after final practice, where he completed his programme while Hamilton lost time with a brake duct problem. But Hamilton out-qualified him to the tune of 0.4 seconds.

Starting eighth, Button was consigned to a race stuck in traffic, and losing a place to Mark Webber who drove around the outside of him at turn nine on the first lap didn’t help. His team gained him the place back in the pits.

Compare Jenson Button’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lewis Hamilton

The cameras didn’t catch exactly what happened between Hamilton and Felipe Massa at turn four on the first lap. But we know they went in side-by-side with Hamilton only slightly on the track, and came out with Massa ahead and Hamilton trying to fend off Nico Rosberg, so we can make an educated guess.

Hamilton spent 15 laps tucked up behind Rosberg which cost him in the region of ten to 12 seconds. Without that he would have at least been closer to the Ferraris, though probably not quick enough to pass them.

Compare Lewis Hamilton’s form against his team mate in 2010

Mercedes

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2010

Hands up how many people expected Nico Rosberg to be consistently ahead of Michael Schumacher this weekend? I certainly didn’t, but Rosberg consistently headed the returning seven-times champion at Bahrain.

Michael Schumacher

Right from the off Schumacher trailled Rosberg by a couple of seconds and that picture didn’t change much until Sunday.

In the race Schumacher’s fastest lap was a couple of hundredths quicker than Rosberg’s. But the damage had already been done and he finished the Grand Prix in his team mate’s wheel tracks.

Schumacher pronounced himself satisfied with his weekend’s work. Is he putting a brave face on it – or has he figured out where he was losing time to Rosberg?

Compare Michael Schumacher’s form against his team mate in 2010

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg revived his 2009 tradition by being quickest in practice on Friday afternoon. He out-qualified Schumacher but said he was struggling to keep his tyres from overheating.

He kept Hamilton behind him in the early stages but the McLaren driver passed him at the first round of pit stops. With a couple of laps to go Rosberg caught Vettel’s ailing Red Bull but, according to Mercedes, “was unable to pass in the turbulent air.”

Compare Nico Rosberg’s form against his team mate in 2010

Red Bull

Bahrain Grand Prix start

After a difficult day on Friday Red Bull came on strong in qualifying with Sebastian Vettel taking pole position.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel went quickest in Q2 and used just a single lap in Q3 to set pole position. He led the race up until the moment a faulty spark plug in his Renault engine slowed him down. Despite that he still finished fourth and ahead of his team mate.

Compare Sebastian Vettel’s form against his team mate in 2010

Mark Webber

The size of the gap to his team mate in qualifying – 1.1s – must have hurt Webber, who admitted:

[I] did my worst lap at the most important time. It was going well until Turn 16, but it wasn?t so good from there on.
Mark Webber

He put a smart pass on Button on the first lap of the race but slipped back to eighth in the pit stops, where he finished.

Compare Mark Webber’s form against his team mate in 2010

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Bahrain, 2010

The F10s looked quick all weekend and it was a surprise to see them lose pole to Vettel. Concerns over their engines lead them to change the units in both cars before the race.

Felipe Massa

The Ferrari drivers did two laps each in Q3 and Alonso was the quicker of them at first. But Massa turned the tables to claim second on the grid for the race.

Less-than-robust defending from Massa at turn one let Alonso by into second – unsurprisingly he did a much more thorough job against Hamilton three corners later. Towards the end of the race the team urged him to reduce his pace to save engine life.

Compare Felipe Massa’s form against his team mate in 2010

Fernando Alonso

Having worked his way past Massa at the start Alonso inherited the lead from Vettel later on.

He then let rip with a series of fastest laps, finishing up a full second faster than anyone else. This was a fascinating moment because Alonso had no need to show his hand by pushing that hard.

His team must have known Massa was having to conserve his car and there was no pressure from behind. So why give away so much about what the F10 is capable of?

Was this his way of saying to his team mate ‘look what I can do’? Or was he just enjoying not having to stare at Vettel’s rear wing for the first time in the race?

Compare Fernando Alonso’s form against his team mate in 2010

Williams

Nico H???lkenberg, Williams, Bahrain, 2010

Williams expected to reach Q3 but neither of their drivers made it.

Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello missed the cut for Q3 by less than 0.2s, being bumped out by Jenson Button in the dying moments of Q2.

Despite picking up some damage during the race Barrichello set the sixth fastest lap, suggesting there’s more to come from the FW32.

Compare Rubens Barrichello’s form against his team mate in 2010

Nico H???lkenberg

Rookie H???lkenberg was quicker than his team mate in practice but Barrichello delivered when it mattered – out-qualifying the GP2 champion by half a second.

H???lkenberg spun his car at turn two on lap six, and made an early pit stop immediately afterwards to switch to medium tyres. He opted not to try to complete the remaining 47 laps without another stop, making a second on lap 25.

Compare Nico H???lkenberg’s form against his team mate in 2010

Renault

Robert Kubica, Renault, Bahrain, 2010

Bad luck and unreliability cost Renault a shot at the points.

Robert Kubica

Kubica declared himself happy with reaching the top ten in qualifying but believed he’d have been 0.4s faster but for a mistake at the hairpin. That would have put him ahead of Schumacher’s Mercedes and Button’s McLaren.

His collision with Sutil on the first lap destroyed his tyres and his race – without it he felt a points finish was on the cards.

Compare Robert Kubica’s form against his team mate in 2010

Vitaly Petrov

A mistake at turn nine spoiled Petrov’s first qualifying effort in F1 and left him 17th in Q2, a painful 1.6s slower than his team mate.

But he made up a lot of places on the first lap and was running 11th when he suffered a suspension failure which ended his race. Renault said Kubica only avoided suffering the same problem because he chose to run a different ride height.

Compare Vitaly Petrov’s form against his team mate in 2010

Force India

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, Bahrain, 2010

An encouraging first run for the VJM023 saw the team break into Q3 and score points.

Adrian Sutil

An excellent lap by Sutil in Q2, beating his team mate by over 0.6s, earned him a place in the top ten.

Sutil was blameless for the his first-lap collision with Robert Kubica which was triggered by the eruption of smoke from Mark Webber’s Red Bull. He fought back through the field, setting second fastest lap on the way.

Compare Adrian Sutil’s form against his team mate in 2010

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Liuzzi was happy with the balance of his car in Saturday morning practice but after qualifying he was complaining about poor traction in the VJM03.

In the race he profitted from the incident which delayed his team mate and came home ninth and leading runner outside of the ‘big four’. It looked like Sutil had better pace, though.

Compare Vitantonio Liuzzi’s form against his team mate in 2010

Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Bahrain, 2010

Their one-lap pace in pre-season testing didn’t look bad but after problems in practice the Toro Rosso drivers were well down the grid.

Sebastien Buemi

Buemi said he felt he could have gone two-tenths faster on his qualifying lap but still made it through to Q2, beating his team mate. An impressive showing given the time he lost on Friday due to technical problems.

Too much wheel-spin at the start meant he lost two places, though he recovered them over the next two laps. Buemi felt he took his pit stop too late, costing him further places. His car came to a halt three laps from the chequered flag with an electrical problem while running 14th behind Alguersuari.

Compare Sebastien Buemi’s form against his team mate in 2010

Jaime Alguersuari

With the bottom six places in qualifying likely to be occupied by the six new cars for most of the early races at least, only one driver from the established teams is likely to be eliminated in Q1. This time it was Jaime Alguersuari and it could prove an easy and dangerous way to call attention to himself if he makes a habit of it.

He blamed a mistake during his flying lap on super-soft tyres for his elimination. He made a good start and raced in front of his team mate in the midfield.

Compare Jaime Alguersuari’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lotus

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Bahrain, 2010

Lost out to Virgin in the fight to be quickest of the new teams in qualifying, but had the last laugh in the race by having both cars classified while neither of the black-and-red cars finished.

Jarno Trulli

Always a strong driver in qualifying, Trulli beat his team mate by the comfortable margin of over half a second on Saturday. But his race was spoiled by understeer and, later, hydraulic problems.

Compare Jarno Trulli’s form against his team mate in 2010

Heikki Kovalainen

Kovalainen enjoyed a trouble-free first race for the T127 and finished as best of the runners in new cars.

Compare Heikki Kovalainen’s form against his team mate in 2010

HRT

Karun Chandhok, HRT, Bahrain, 2010

Trying to compare HRT’s drivers at this stage is a waste of time given how little running they got. Chandhok only appeared on track for the first time in qualifying. Both cars started the race from the pit lane.

Karun Chandhok

After making his F1 debut in qualifying Chandhok’s race ended on the second lap when he hit an unfamiliar bump and swiped the barriers.

Compare Karun Chandhok’s form against his team mate in 2010

Bruno Senna

Senna retired 18 laps into his F1 debut after suffering a mechanical failure.

Compare Bruno Senna’s form against his team mate in 2010

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Bahrain, 2010

Some people had been talking up Sauber’s potential before the race but their lack of pace in Bahrain led some to wonder whether their car had been running light in testing.

But the feedback from the drivers was that the car was performing poorly on the new sequence at Bahrain and designer Willy Rampf said they had targetted a slot in Q2, so let’s not write them off just yet.

Pedro de la Rosa

De la Rosa said the C29 was ill-suited to the bumpy infield and felt he lost several tenths of a second through it on his fastest qualifying lap.

He was crowded out at the start and dropped down the order but pulled of the race’s few passes on his team mate to move up to 12th. Both eventually retired.

Compare Pedro de la Rosa’s form against his team mate in 2010

Kamui Kobayashi

Started the race on medium tyres and said afterwards the super-softs would have been the best way to go. Like his team mate he retired with an hydraulic failure.

Compare Kamui Kobayashi’s form against his team mate in 2010

Virgin

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Bahrain, 2010

More reliability woes for the VR-01 with limited running in practice.

Timo Glock

Timo Glock was at least able to get his practice programme done on Saturday morning despite a wheel gun problem causing one of his wheels to come off, fortunately not at high speed.

Glock was the fastest of the drivers for the new teams despite using the medium compound tyre in qualifying instead of the super softs. He passed Kovalainen to lead the newbies’ race but retired with a broken gearbox a few laps later.

Compare Timo Glock’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lucas di Grassi

More reliability problems with the VR-01 meant di Grassi did very little running. Given that, qualifying within a second of his more experienced team mate on his debut was a respectable effort.

He pulled off on the second lap of the race with an hydraulic failure.

Compare Lucas di Grassi’s form against his team mate in 2010

Qualifying

Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Rround
McLaren Jenson Button 1’55.672 +0.455 1’55.217 Lewis Hamilton Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’55.524 +0.283 1’55.241 Nico Rosberg Q3
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’54.101 -1.183 1’55.284 Mark Webber Q3
Ferrari Felipe Massa 1’54.242 -0.366 1’54.608 Fernando Alonso Q3
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’55.330 -0.527 1’55.857 Nico H???lkenberg Q2
Renault Robert Kubica 1’54.963 -1.656 1’56.619 Vitaly Petrov Q2
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’54.996 -0.657 1’55.653 Vitantonio Liuzzi Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’56.189 -0.882 1’57.071 Jaime Alguersuari Q1
Lotus Jarno Trulli 1’59.852 -0.461 2’00.313 Heikki Kovalainen Q1
HRT Karun Chandhok 2’04.904 +1.664 2’03.240 Bruno Senna Q1
Sauber Pedro de la Rosa 1’56.237 -0.033 1’56.270 Kamui Kobyashi Q2
Virgin Timo Glock 1’59.728 -0.859 2’00.587 Lucas di Grassi Q1

This table compares the best lap times achieved by each teams’ drivers in the latest stage of qualifying both their drivers reached.

Race – fastest laps

Team Driver Fastest lap Gap Fastest lap Driver
McLaren Jenson Button 1’59.970 +0.410 1’59.560 Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 2’00.204 -0.032 2’00.236 Nico Rosberg
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 2’00.218 +0.731 1’59.487 Mark Webber
Ferrari Felipe Massa 1’59.732 +1.445 1’58.287 Fernando Alonso
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’59.833 -1.568 2’01.401 Nico H???lkenberg
Renault Robert Kubica 2’00.474 -3.833 2’04.307 Vitaly Petrov
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’59.393 -0.513 1’59.906 Vitantonio Liuzzi
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 2’00.080 +0.116 1’59.964 Jaime Alguersuari
Lotus Jarno Trulli 2’02.930 +0.229 2’02.701 Heikki Kovalainen
HRT Karun Chandhok 2’34.479 +25.352 2’09.127 Bruno Senna
Sauber Pedro de la Rosa 2’01.650 -3.394 2’05.044 Kamui Kobyashi
Virgin Timo Glock 2’07.062 -2.299 2’09.361 Lucas di Grassi

NB. Drivers in italics were not classified finishers (did not complete 90% of the race distance or more)

Race – average laps

Team Driver Average lap Gap Average lap Driver
McLaren Jenson Button 2’02.565 +0.451 2’02.114 Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 2’02.542 +0.081 2’02.461 Nico Rosberg
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 2’02.433 -0.154 2’02.587 Mark Webber
Ferrari Felipe Massa 2’01.969 +0.329 2’01.641 Fernando Alonso
Williams Rubens Barrichello 2’02.916 -2.892 2’05.808 Nico H???lkenberg
Renault Robert Kubica 2’03.051 -2.791 2’05.842 Vitaly Petrov
Force India Adrian Sutil 2’03.334 +0.611 2’02.723 Vitantonio Liuzzi
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 2’03.726 +0.194 2’03.532 Jaime Alguersuari
Lotus Jarno Trulli 2’09.373 +2.158 2’07.215 Heikki Kovalainen
HRT Karun Chandhok 2’34.479 +19.907 2’14.572 Bruno Senna
Sauber Pedro de la Rosa 2’05.114 -1.245 2’06.359 Kamui Kobyashi
Virgin Timo Glock 2’10.233 -4.005 2’14.238 Lucas di Grassi

NB. Drivers in italics were not classified finishers (did not complete 90% of the race distance or more)

Analysing the drivers

This is the first in a new series of articles after each race comparing how the drivers have done. Please give your feedback on what you would like to see from these articles in future and how they can be improved.

Images (C) Ferrari spa, Renault/LAT, Williams/LAT, Bridgestone, www.mclaren.com, Getty Images/Red Bull, Force India F1 Team, Lotus F1, Virgin Racing, BMW Sauber F1 Team, Motioncompany

Advert | Go Ad-free

108 comments on Rosberg surprises against Schumacher (Bahrain Grand Prix team mate battles)

  1. Green Flag said on 16th March 2010, 22:06

    Schumacher will methodically ease his way back to form. Within 3 or 4 races he will be fighting for the lead with Alonso and Hamilton while Rosberg will be trying to keep up with Button and Webber.

  2. Sulman said on 17th March 2010, 12:39

    Good job by Nico, but then again, he’s no slouch. The problem Rosberg faces is this: Schumacher knows why he is slow. Does Rosberg know why he is fast? Schumacher – like Senna – has a talent to be at a consistently high level nearly all the time. He only needs to just beat Nico, and he’ll stay there.

    We know from Schumacher what the problem was, that he was unhappy with the balance and behaviour of the front tyres, that this did not suit him and that he needs to do more work.

    Schumacher’s discipline and work ethic are second-to-none. His consistency – as highlighted above – is freakish, and he has alway been the kind of driver to eke out the tenths here and there. Ross Brawn is an engineer that works the same way.

    As for the teammate relationship, I think Nico is a hard-headed, independent guy. I doubt – politically – that Schumacher will be able to pull any strings in terms of team influence. Plus, he cannot test as much as he likes. More likely he will turn to his natural leadership ability and cause the team to gravitate around him.

  3. sulzerpower said on 17th March 2010, 22:16

    I’ve never been a Schumacher fan, but as with others I’m glad to see him back for comparison purposes with the current bunch, and so we don’t remember him as an occasional cheater as his reviews following his retirement continually highlighted.
    His return showed good consistency at least, and the man himself seems far more relaxed – a bloody good thing too considering all the ‘well your over 40 now, eyesight going?’ etc nonsense he’s had to put up with from the media. And that was the excellent Ted Kravitz who blundered in with that one!

  4. Chaz said on 22nd March 2010, 17:43

    Rosberg seems to have found a second wind for now. Come on lad, nows your chance to prove yourself and bring more rivalry spice to the grid…

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.