There were inspired performances up and down the field during the Bahrain Grand Prix, but just how well did each driver do? Here are Richland F1’s driver ratings from under the lights in Sakhir.
Lewis Hamilton – 10/10
The reigning champion took his fourth pole position on the bounce and in the race cruised to an easy win – even if his late brake-by-wire failure betrayed the fact he had led comfortably throughout. Hamilton must be content with three wins from four races and a 27 point lead at the head of the standings. He has barely put a foot wrong so far in 2015.
Nico Rosberg – 9/10
Rosberg set the pace on Friday, but then went missing when it mattered in qualifying, lining up just third on the grid. He dropped to fourth off the start, but fought back with a gutsy drive, passing Vettel three times during the race thanks to Ferrari’s superior use of the undercut. Lost out to a late attack by Kimi Raikkonen as his brakes faded, but it was Rosberg’s most impressive race of the campaign by some margin.
Daniel Ricciardo – 8/10
Sixth at the flag, ahead of Felipe Massa after the Brazilian’s early problems is about all Ricciardo can have hoped for from the race, given Red Bull’s current form. His spectacular engine failure as he crossed the line means he is onto his fourth power unit of the season already – penalties will undoubtedly follow.
Daniil Kvyat – 6/10
Dropping out in Q1 was a tough hit, but the Russian drove well in the race to come from 17th to finish ninth, collecting two points. It is hardly a headline grabbing drive, but a solid result given his tough start to life with Red Bull Racing. Kyat must deliver once the European season kicks off if he is not to become a forgotten man.
Felipe Massa – 7/10
A sensor problem on the way to the grid meant he was forced to start from the pitlane and his task was not made any easier after he was tagged by Pastor Maldonado in the early stages – damaging the floor of the Williams. Despite the early setback, Massa made steady progress on an aggressive strategy, but ultimately struggled to make the medium tyres last on a mammoth final stint, dropping to tenth by the chequered flag.
Valtteri Bottas – 9/10
As had been the case in China, Bottas seemed set for another lonely race, only for Sebastian Vettel to re-join behind him after his unscheduled stop for a new nose. The Finn defended beautifully in the closing stages to see off the challenge of the faster Ferrari racer, and score his best finish of the campaign so far.
Sebastian Vettel – 4/10
Did well to split the two Mercedes cars on the grid, but Vettel’s run to a potential fourth podium on the bounce was spoilt by a series of uncharacteristic mistakes. He was passed by Rosberg three times, and run wide at the final corner, breaking his front-wing which dropped him behind Bottas. His failed attempt to pass the Finn in the closing stages, which nearly ended with him rear-ending the Williams summed up a race to forget.
Kimi Raikkonen – 9/10
Starting fourth, the Finn took the fight to Mercedes with an aggressive strategy, running the hard tyres during the middle stint before switching to the soft rubber for the run to the flag. His pace on the harder Pirellis kept him in the hunt, and he flew in the closing stages after switching to the faster compound, reeling in Rosberg, who gifted him second after running straight on at Turn 1. Could have won with a few more laps.
Fernando Alonso – 8/10
While Jenson Button spent the best part of the weekend cursing his luck, Alonso delivered McLaren’s best relative performance of the year. He hauled the MP4-30 into Q2 for the first time in 2015 and narrowly missed out on the team’s first points of the campaign by three seconds in 11th.
Jenson Button – N/A
Button’s weekend was blighted by setbacks, with an engine cutout causing a spin in the opening minutes of running on Friday, while he was later forced to stop on track in the evening session. He hit more of the same problems in qualifying, with the MP4-30 grinding to a halt in Q1, leaving him last on the grid. McLaren encountered another technical issue on race day and he failed to take the start.
Nico Hulkenberg – 6/10
Starred on route to eighth on the grid in the still underdeveloped Force India, but he struggled to make the tyres work during the race, forcing a third stop which saw him tumble out of the points to 13th.
Sergio Perez – 8/10
He was unable to replicate his team-mates fine showing in qualifying, but the Mexican made up for it during the race as he perfected a two stop strategy – which his team said would not work – to climb into the points. Four points was a just reward after a fine drive to eighth.
Max Verstappen – 5/10
The star of the Chinese Grand Prix, Bahrain was an altogether tougher weekend for the Dutch rookie. Appalling understeer in qualifying left him just 15th on the grid, and he was all-but anonymous on Sunday before an electrical issue forced him out for the third time in four races.
Carlos Sainz Jr. – 7/10
Pulled out a fine lap to haul the Toro Rosso to ninth in qualifying, but like team-mate Verstappen he failed to finish the race after he was forced to stop with a loose wheel after his opening stop.
Romain Grosjean – 8/10
Continued his 100 per cent record of progressing to Q3 this year, even if he was disappointed with ‘just tenth’. The Frenchman jumped Hulkenberg and Sainz on the opening lap but could not keep in touch with Ricciardo, and eventually came home a lonely seventh to repeat his finish of a week ago in China.
Pastor Maldonado – 6/10
Maldonado looked the faster of the two Lotus cars during practice, only to tumble out in Q1 with another brake problem. He managed to line up in the wrong slot on the grid – earning a five-second time penalty – but made decent progress on the soft tyres before an engine problem caused a lengthy final stop, costing him a shot at points.
Will Stevens – 8/10
Given his equipment, it was another decent performance from Stevens, who despite being compromised by Maldonado’s grid mix-up comfortably went on to beat his Manor team-mate Roberto Merhi by 44 seconds.
Roberto Merhi – 5/10
Merhi was unable to match his team-mate throughout the weekend and was a second adrift of Stevens in qualifying. He got the drop on the Englishman off the start but ruined his own tyres in a futile attempt to keep Stevens at bay.
Marcus Ericsson – 6/10
The Swede started well to run inside the points but a problem with his front-left tyre in the pits dropped him well out of contention.
Felipe Nasr – 8/10
The Brazilian was sluggish away off the start, dropping behind his team-mate in the opening stages. He fought valiantly in the midfield, clocking up a tonne of TV time, but dropped back after encountering a power unit problem that saw him lagging behind on the straights.
This feature first appeared on Richland F1 – Images courtesy of of Daimler, Red Bull Content Pool, Scuderia Ferrari, Sahara Force India, Lotus F1 Team, Sauber Motorsports AG