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Bahrain race analysis - the joy, the relief, the frustration 27 Apr 2009

Race winner Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix celebrates with Andy Shovlin (GBR) Brawn GP Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 26 April 2009 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2009.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 26 April 2009 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates 2nd place with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 26 April 2009 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1 talks with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 26 April 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 26 April 2009

The sheer heat in Bahrain is always enough to strain emotions and there was a real mix of them on display on Sunday after 57 sweltering laps at Sakhir. At the front of the field, a jubilant Jenson Button felt he’d driven the race of his life to clinch his and Brawn’s third win of the season. At Ferrari there was a combination of disappointment and relief after Kimi Raikkonen’s sixth place secured their first points of the year. And at BMW Sauber the mood was one of frustration as Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld trailed home at the bottom of the order. We take a team-by-team look at the race…

Brawn
Jenson Button, P1
Rubens Barrichello, P5

Button made the most of the opening lap to move from fifth to third, and took control of the race once the Toyotas stopped. Thereafter he only lost the lead during his own refuelling stops, and his main concern was babying the engine temperatures in the closing laps. And an electrical box in the cockpit that overheated and burned his left leg. Otherwise, he described his race as his finest ever, after extending his championship lead. Barrichello had an adventurous afternoon running a three-stop strategy, and was a little disappointed to take only fifth.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel P2
Mark Webber, P11

Vettel got tucked up in the first corner by Hamilton on his right and Button on his left, and that lost him what should have been a good chance of the win because he ran longest of the main runners in that opening stint. Stuck behind Hamilton, his tyres degraded quickly and he lost further ground, but grabbed second back when Trulli lost pace during his middle stint on prime rubber. Webber initially charged up the field from his P19 grid slot, but got stuck behind Piquet’s KERS-equipped Renault and eventually had to settle for 11th.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, P3
Timo Glock, P7

Glock led from the start with his lighter fuel load, but pitted on lap 11 and dropped to 10th on the prime tyres, Trulli then led for a lap before pitting, dropped to sixth also on primes, and lost so much time on them that he dropped behind Vettel by the time he went back to super softs for his last stint. After the two TF109s wrapped up the front row in qualifying, third was a disappointment.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P4
Heikki Kovalainen, P12

Hamilton made a blinding start to snatch second briefly from Trulli before running wide and dropping back to third. Button then passed him before the end of the opening lap, but thereafter he ran to a consistent fourth place. Kovalainen was fuelled heavy and ran the prime tyres from the start, which left him to a tough race stuck in the midfield.

Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, P6
Felipe Massa, P14

Massa lost out on the opening lap as he and Raikkonen got sandwiched with Barrichello. The Brazilian lost his F60’s front wing and was thereafter doomed to an unhappy race. Raikkonen ran a long opening stint and actually led laps 20 and 21, but could do no better than sixth. At least he scored Ferrari’s first three points of the season.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, P8
Nelson Piquet, P10

Alonso said that he had the eighth fastest car and finished in eighth place, which said it all. Piquet upset Barrichello by holding him back, the elder Brazilian mistakenly thinking he was being lapped, and finished a consistent 10th.

Williams
Nico Rosberg, P9
Kazuki Nakajima, Retired lap 49, oil pressure

Rosberg felt he got everything out of his Williams that it had to offer in race trim, but was disappointed not to get a point. Nakajima hit Sutil on the opening lap, needed a new nose, later collided with Kubica, and ran in the lower midfield until retiring after 48 laps when his Toyota engine’s oil pressure began spiking.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, P15
Adrian Sutil, P16

Sutil got clobbered by Nakajima on the opening lap, but otherwise felt that new upgrades this weekend had put Force India firmly back into the midfield. Fisichella was troubled by his seat rubbing his right hip by the closing stages, and ended up badly bruised. He had a strong dice with Piquet and Kovalainen before that, but later collided with Massa and then held up Button as he was being lapped.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Bourdais, P13
Sebastien Buemi, P17

Neither Bourdais nor Buemi had much to report. The STR4 simply lacked grip and was not quick enough.

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, P18
Nick Heidfeld, P19

If BMW Sauber thought China was bad, Bahrain was a disaster. Both KERS-equipped cars were given heavy fuel loads and prime tyres for the start. Kubica and Heidfeld clashed in the first corner and required stops for new front wings, and thereafter they simply struggled for any semblance of grip.