Ferrari Wins Desert Campaign: Bahrain Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel drove a smooth, thoughtful race to win the Bahrain Grand Prix, and the team made some good strategic calls from the sidelines, which brought him to the front and kept him there. Congrats too, to the pit crew, as the in and outs were faultless. Moving from third on the grid, Vettel was soon in front and was an equal match for the Mercedes. Late in the race, Lewis Hamilton was closing in at a second per lap, but there was not enough time to overtake Vettel, Hamilton being six seconds behind at the end. He had endured a five second penalty in the race, so the question was: Could he have caught Vettel with only a one second difference. Probably not. The cars were evenly matched and it was no doubt likely Vettel could have speeded up if needed. The lesson of this race? Ferrari was fast and made no mistakes. After the first three rounds, Ferrari leads the Drivers’ Championship with 61 points, and the Constructors with 102 points.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “Today’s victory was an important one, achieved thanks to the great efforts of all the guys at the track and back in Maranello. For the whole weekend, the team demonstrated courage, determination and a little bit of madness. This is all part of our DNA, characteristics which 70 years ago saw the birth of Ferrari. Courage and determination were needed to tackle a weekend like this, in which we expected to encounter a few difficulties in qualifying, which is why, based on good long run data on Friday, we prepared as well as possible for the race. In order to do this you also need to use some madness… Sebastian drove a really great race, demonstrating once again all his class. Kimi was caught up in traffic at the start and then he certainly wasn’t helped by the arrival of the Safety Car. The SF70H proved itself to be strong also in these conditions, at a track which requires above all power and good traction. The tyres worked very well, which allowed us to fully exploit our very good strategy. And now it’s time to concentrate on the next round of the World Championship, the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.”
Mattia Binotto: “It wasn’t an easy weekend, because, as qualifying showed, Mercedes still has the upper hand on Saturdays and definitely more so here than in the previous two races. That means we must go through a lot of data and perhaps this will help us become stronger in the future. We are very happy about the race result: we definitely showed that today we had more speed than the Mercedes, especially on the Qualifying tyres. This can be seen by the fact that we have less tyre wear than our main competitors.”
Sebastian Vettel: “A great result thanks to all the team! At the start, it was important for me to get second place, and I managed. Also, we got everything right with the strategy. We decided to pit early and this tactics proved to be working. Towards, the end, I tried to manage the gap I had over Lewis. I expected him to charge through, of course I was concerned, with all the traffic ahead of me. But it the end it was all OK. The car was like a dream to drive today. I felt right from the beginning that we had the speed to win today. I had a good feeling yesterday already, and it was just confirmed today. The lap back to pits was so sweet, with all the fireworks around, and I really savored it. Tonight we enjoy the moment, but tomorrow we’ll be back at work. I haven’t changed my mind: to become world champion, you must first beat the Mercedes We’ll take it race after race.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “In a way, a lot of good things happened this weekend, but the end result is still disappointing. The car was working pretty nicely and to be honest I expected that. Today I had a bad start and because of that, the first two corners were really bad; obviously after that I was catching up, I got past Massa reasonably quickly. Then I did my pit stop, but I was unlucky with the Safety Car. The overall feeling was good, I was fast but obviously the time lost at the start did not help: we put ourselves in a difficult position. I feel that we are absolutely doing the right things, and in the big picture we are pretty much where we want to be, but we still need to fine-tune a few things; it’s all about putting the lap together. We need to start more at the front and then our races will be a lot easier. I am happy for Seb and for all the team.”
Ferrari President Mr. Sergio Marchionne: “It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium with Seb. More importantly, however, we are now completely confident that our victory in Melbourne wasn’t just a one-off and that we will be at the forefront of this World Championship until the last. We finally have a competitive car to count on and it is important to recognize the speed with which we implemented the developments demanded for each new race. All this is the fruit of superb work at the track and in Maranello, so my compliments not just to Seb for his achievements in Bahrain, but also to the whole team. Congratulations to Kimi too on a good race. That said, we are well aware we have a long road ahead and know that if we want to get to the most important finish-line of all, we cannot stint on our commitment and focus for a second.”
Quotes and images from Media Ferrari.