Bahrain 2005 - Ferrari's failed promise 08 Mar 2006
A look back at last year's Sakhir race, then round three
After losing to Renault in Australia and Malaysia, Ferrari knew they had to do something and do it fast, hence the appearance of the new F2005 in Bahrain, two races earlier than originally planned. But would the gamble pay off? Ultimately the answer was no, though the car did appear to show plenty of potential, Michael Schumacher beating Jarno Trullis Toyota to give the team their first front-row grid slot of the year, alongside the dominant Renault of Fernando Alonso. Rubens Barrichello, however, would start from the back after gearbox woes ruined his qualifying.
Ferraris promise did not last long. Schumacher kept his second place at the start and was pushing Alonso hard until lap 13 when a hydraulics problem sent him spinning into retirement. From there the Renault star went unchallenged, with Trulli driving a lonely race to second place, proving that his identical result in Malaysia had been no fluke. Behind them, though, there was action aplenty.
McLaren had their best weekend of the season to date, despite Juan Pablo Montoya pulling out with a fractured shoulder. His replacement, Pedro de la Rosa, out-qualified Kimi Raikkonen and then put in a thrilling, if somewhat erratic, race drive to fifth, pulling off some spectacular passing moves on the way. And while the Spaniard bathed in the spotlight, Raikkonen coolly converted his ninth-place grid spot to a podium position in third. Between the McLarens was the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher, the Germans fourth place ensuring the Japanese team of their best ever result.
Mark Webber brought his Williams home sixth, after losing an enthralling tussle with de la Rosa. It followed team mate Nick Heidfelds early retirement with engine failure - his V10 had already endured the heat of Sepang and similar conditions in Bahrain proved too much. It wasnt all good news for Renault either, Giancarlo Fisichella suffering a similar fate on only lap four, despite a fresher engine. Felipe Massa took seventh place for Sauber in their 200th Grand Prix, while David Coulthard kept up Red Bulls 100 percent scoring record in eighth. It followed bitter disappointment for team mate Christian Klien, who, having qualified an excellent seventh, saw his race end before it had begun thanks to an electrical glitch.
So what of Barrichello? A spectacular opening first stint saw the Brazilian go as high as fifth at one point. However, the toll on his tyres was too high, leaving the F2005 all but undriveable by the end of the race and he was forced to surrender eighth place in the dying stages. Coulthard was the beneficiary, but only after he had punted the unfortunate Jacques Villeneuves Sauber out of the way.
So, a good race for Renault, Toyota and McLaren; a promising, though pointless one for Ferrari; and another nightmare one for BAR, who for the third race in succession saw both cars retire, this time with brake and clutch problems, leaving them as the only team yet to finish a Grand Prix in 2005.
Links: Results / Live Timing Archive, Photos, TV images.