The second race of the season at Bahrain’s International Circuit last Sunday was full of thrilling drama and incidents throughout but ultimately would’ve left Ferrari with mixed emotions. Sebastien Vettel started on pole and claimed his second consecutive victory, but his teammate was involved in horrendous scenes.
Ferrari fractured in the pits
Kimi Raikkonen’s second pit-stop on lap 35 resulted in a severe injury to one of Ferrari’s pit-crew mechanics. Francesco Cigorini was still holding the rear left tyre when Raikkonen was given a green signal to leave the pit. The car collided with the mechanic who suffered a tibia and fibula fracture to his left leg.
The Finn then had no choice but to return because the rules prohibit cars on the track having tyres of different compounds – with one old soft tyre and three new super-softs fitted. Ferrari were issued with a £43,500 fine after race stewards reviewed footage of the incident.
The FIA released a statement saying: “The team released the car in a manner endangering team personnel and causing injury.”
Raikkonen claimed he had no idea the mechanic was still changing the tyre.
He said: “I go when the light is green. I don’t see what happens behind and unfortunately he got hurt. My job is to go when the light is green.”
This opened the door for Lewis Hamilton who had started back at 9th on the grid due to a five-place penalty for a gearbox change. A major moment in the race was when Hamilton, who started on soft tyres, overtook four cars in one corner to take fifth place. After passing Pierre Gasly in the Toro Rosso and the retired Raikkonen, he was able to finish on the podium in third behind Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas.
What did we learn from the race?
The second race of the season addressed some of the points raised by fans after Melbourne.
Haas arrived in Bahrain eager to show that their impressive testing and the first 20 laps in Australia were not flukes. Kevin Magnussen did that with a superb drive to fifth place behind Gasly.
Max Verstappen has been increasing his fanbase with his exciting brand of driving. However, Verstappen demonstrated his lack of patience again in Bahrain. After crashing in qualifying, an early lunge up the inside of Hamilton’s car brought the Dutchman’s weekend to a close after he suffered a puncture and car damage.
Vettel has laid down a marker to which the other drivers must respond. It was the 49th Formula 1 victory of his career and his fourth win in Bahrain.
The Chinese Grand Prix takes place between 13-15 April in Shanghai. Can the German make it three out of three?