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... and a bad race for Ferrari and BAR 03 Apr 2005

The Ferrari F2005 afte rit broke down after its qualifying lap.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 3 April 2005

When Michael Schumacher managed to put the all-new F2005 onto the front row of the grid in Bahrain many thought that the team had managed to turn around its disastrous start to the season.

Any such optimism disappeared on lap 13, when the World Champion coasted into the pit lane to retire after a mechanical failure. His pace had looked promising during the opening laps of the race and in the post race press conference eventual winner Fernando Alonso actually said that he thought the Ferrari was faster than his Renault - but the breakdown will have hit Ferrari’s confidence hard. It’s the first time that Schumacher has retired from a race for mechanical reasons since 2001.

Rubens Barrichello also suffered from an eventful race. An engine and gearbox change after second qualifying forced him to start from the back row of the grid, from here he made a searing start - running in 10th place within a couple of laps, and running as high as fifth during the first wave of pitstops. But as the race went on his F2005 began to suffer and his pace fell off dramatically - he eventually lost eighth place, and the chance to salvage a single World Championship point – on the very last lap as David Coulthard passed him in the Red Bull.

For a team that was mourning the death of Pope John Paul II, the F2005’s racing with black nosecones, it was another disappointing weekend, although Schumacher’s early pace does offer some promise later in the season.

The BAR team also suffered from another frustrating afternoon, a far cry from Jenson Button’s third-place here at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Sato had a strong early race, blazing his way from 13th on the grid up to a brief run as high as fourth during the first round of pitstops, but retired on lap 28 with what seemed to be braking problems brought on by the intense heat.

Jenson Button had no more success in the second BAR, qualifying down in 11th place and then, after some hard-fought battles in the mid-field, retiring on lap 45 after the car stalled repeatedly during his second pit stop.