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Bahrain analysis - Vettel makes it four from four 23 Apr 2012

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates with Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 celebrates third place with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03 overtakes Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 21 April 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 The McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 of Jenson Button (GBR) on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01 ahead of Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112 makes a pit stop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 21 April 2012

Can the 2012 season get any more competitive? Four rounds in and we’ve had four winning drivers and four winning teams. That hasn't happened since 1983! Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull added their names to the list in Bahrain on Sunday, proving that you should never write off the reigning champions. Not only that, Lotus made good on their recent promise, with Kimi Raikkonen pushing Vettel all the way, despite an 11th place start, suggesting their first 2012 victory is only a matter of time. We look back team by team on an enthralling 2012 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P4

Red Bull got right back on form in Bahrain, thanks to massive work by their mechanics and endless fettling with both new and old parts. Vettel led from the start, and was only challenged once when he had to rebuff Raikkonen in Turn One on lap 36. Webber’s KERS went awol momentarily at the start, but he fought back to take his fourth fourth place of the season. The win, their first of the year, puts Vettel on top of the drivers’ points and Red Bull on top of the constructors’.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, P2
Romain Grosjean, P3

Lotus really showed their potential in Bahrain. First Grosjean, then Raikkonen, forced their way towards the front. The Finn passed the Frenchman on the 24th lap, and was able to challenge Vettel for the lead on the 36th. He was rebuffed, and thereafter couldn’t quite summon the extra urge to try it again even though he had more new tyres than Vettel could muster. Grosjean drove superbly to score his first F1 podium on an excellent day for the team.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, P5
Michael Schumacher, P10

Good strategy got Rosberg up into contention for fifth place after a poor start and he grabbed the place from Di Resta with seven laps to go. But he didn’t earn any thanks from either Hamilton or Alonso who felt the German’s defensive moves had pushed them both off track. The stewards disagreed. Schumacher quickly jumped to 16th from 22nd on the grid (his lowly starting position the result of a gearbox change and ensuing penalty), got bogged down a bit, then leapfrogged the Saubers for the final point.

Force India
Paul di Resta, P6
Nico Hulkenberg, P12

Di Resta drove a brilliant race on a two-stop strategy that demanded a lot of finesse, and actually led the race for a lap. He couldn’t hold off Rosberg in the closing stages, but richly deserved sixth place. Hulkenberg’s race fell apart with clutch problems and then the anti-stall kicking in at the start, condemning him to a long haul back for the rest of the race.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P7
Felipe Massa, P9

The Ferraris lacked straight-line speed and struggled, just as Alonso had expected. But the Spaniard battled hard for seventh place, right behind Di Resta and just ahead of Hamilton. Massa chased him hard for a long time and had his best race of the year as he picked up his first two 2012 world championship points.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P8
Jenson Button, Retired lap 55, differential

What a total disaster Bahrain was for McLaren! It was obvious early on that they lacked race pace by up to a second compared with Red Bull and Renault, and two bodged pit stops cost Hamilton dear as there were problems with the left-rear wheel and its securing nut. Button fared a little better and was in the fight for fifth when first an exhaust broke, followed two laps later by a left-rear puncture and another two laps later by retirement with a differential problem. They came to Bahrain leading both championships, but left having fallen behind Vettel and Red Bull.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, P11
Kamui Kobayashi, P13

Neither Perez nor Kobayashi thought their cars were fast enough, even though the team split their strategies so that the Japanese made three stops and the Mexican two.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, P14
Daniel Ricciardo, P15

It all turned horribly wrong for Toro Rosso at the start when Ricciardo went backwards, and then had to pit for a new nose on lap seven after damage sustained in the opening lap traffic. Vergne said that his car had better race pace than it had in qualifying, but it still wasn’t enough for better than 14th and 15th places.

Caterham
Vitaly Petrov, P16
Heikki Kovalainen, P17

Kovalainen was unlucky on the opening lap when somebody slashed his left rear tyre, but he chased energetically in a car which he and Petrov agreed had made some good progress this week with the new floor that was taken to China but which didn’t get properly sorted there.

Marussia
Timo Glock, P19
Charles Pic, Retired lap 25, pneumatics

Glock struggled throughout with an ill balanced car, while Pic’s race came to an early end when his Cosworth engine’s pneumatic valve actuation malfunctioned.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, P20
Narain Karthikeyan, P21

No real problems for HRT other than the usual ones of tyre degradation, and two more finishes proved the F112’s inherent reliability.

Williams
Bruno Senna, Retired lap 54, vibration
Pastor Maldonado, Retired lap 26, puncture/spin

Everything went wrong for Williams. Senna ran strongly in the midfield to begin with as Maldonado fought his way up from his lowly grid position. But then the Venezuelan picked up a puncture and spun after Turn One, and later after a spin of his own Senna retired with a serious vibration.

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