From a mix and match grid at the first three grand Prix of the 2012 season, we see Vettel back on the front row – and on pole – with Hamilton alongside and Webber and Button behind in Bahrain.
So it’s reasonable to expect a return to the sort of result in Bahrain we’re used to in F1. Except that didn’t happen. Well, not for McLaren, anyway.
Vettel recovered his previous imperious form at Bahrain and was off an away from the start, staying in front right to the end and the first Red Bull win of the year.
But it was Lotus – not McLaren – which posed the biggest threat, with returning champion Raikkonen catching up behind Vettel by mid-race and coming very close to taking the Red Bull in the closing stages.
Close behind was Raikkonen’s team mate Romain Grosjean to put both Lotus on the podium with Red Bull’s Webber in fourth and Mercedes Rosberg in fifth.
Rosberg – fresh from a win in China – managed to turf both Alonso and Hamilton off the track in the process of taking fifth place, but that was almost the least of Hamilton’s problems.
Seeming to lack real pace much of the time, Hamilton finished eight after poor pit stops and a recalcitrant rear wheel nut thwarted his attempts to make a real challenge whilst Button, Hamilton’s team mate, also struggled with pace and tyres, had a puncture close to the end and finally gave up on the penultimate lap after his McLaren packed up.
Ferrari fared better as a team with Alonso managing seventh place and Massa coming close behind in ninth. Schumacher managed tenth place, up from 22nd on the grid after a five place penalty for a gearbox change.
The other major success in Bahrain came for Paul di Resta who, briefly, lead the race and managed a sixth place in the Force India, narrowly missing fifth after Rosberg got past him.
Off to Europe now with a wide-open field after the mixed results of the first four races of the 2012 F1 season.
Bahrain Grand Prix 2012 Results
- Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull
- Kimmi Raikkonen | Lotus
- Romain Grosjean | Lotus
- Mark Webber | Red Bull
- Nico Rosberg | Mercedes
- Paul di Resta | Force India
- Fernando Alonso | Ferrari
- Lewis Hamilton | McLaren
- Felipe Massa | Ferrari
- Michael Schumacher | Mercedes