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Sunday in Bahrain - team by team

03 Apr 2016

A round-up of all the action at the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir...

Force India

Both Force India drivers were involved in early collisions which put paid to any hopes of points today. Trailing home towards the back of the pack with damaged cars, this was a race to forget. 

Nico Hulkenberg, 15th

“A difficult and disappointing race where not much went to plan. I made a poor start away from the line and was on the back foot going into turn one. Then suddenly three or four cars backed up on the apex and I nudged the back of somebody, which damaged my front wing and forced me to pit on lap one. From there onwards we tried to recover and pull off a two-stop strategy to get back in the race, but it proved very difficult. I was always in traffic and involved in lots of fights so my tyre degradation was very high. I don’t think we’ve seen our true pace today because the first lap destroyed my race and we were out of synch with everybody and always playing catch up.”

Sergio Perez, 16th

“Not the best of weekends for me: I knew I had to get a good start after yesterday’s qualifying result and I managed to pull off a great one, making up a lot of ground. Unfortunately, on lap two I made contact with [Carlos] Sainz, which ended up destroying my race. I was in his tow and when I went onto the marbles on the inside I just couldn’t stop the car enough. It was a real shame as the pace was there to score a good amount of points. During the rest of the race we had a lot of tyre degradation, but it’s too early to draw conclusions about what happened today: we need to go back to HQ and look at the data to make sure we come back strongly in China. We haven’t been very lucky in the first two races, even though our pace has been good, so I’m sure things will turn in our favour soon.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“Things just didn’t go our way tonight with both Nico and Sergio heavily compromised right from the start with car damage. Nico suffered a broken front wing making his way through turn one and had to pit for a front wing change. It was a similar situation with Sergio who lost his front wing on the second lap. When you are in that situation, nearly a lap behind the rest of the pack and with a damaged car, the race is an uphill struggle. We tried our best to recover with strategy, but with no safety car or anything else to shake up the order we always knew points would be a long shot. We will need to regroup, take the positives from the weekend, such as the pace we showed in qualifying, and bounce back in China to score the points we deserve.”

Red Bull

Ricciardo lost part of his front wing on a frantic opening lap but managed to maintain terrific pace to finish a brilliant fourth. Kvyat, on a different strategy, worked his way up through the field before a strong late flurry lifted him into the points.

Daniel Ricciardo, 4th

“The race start was interesting. I didn’t get off the line very well and I could see it was getting a bit chaotic into Turn 1. I tried to capitalize on it but ended up with damage on the front wing when Bottas and I came together. There was a moment that I thought I would have to pit for a new wing as the chunk that came off looked pretty substantial but we were able to hang in there for a few laps, racing with the Williams. The damage didn’t affect me too much and we had a good race, although a little lonely towards the end, with some decent points scored.”

Daniil Kvyat, 7th

“I am very pleased with today. It was quite difficult in the beginning but I would say the race went very well considering where we started from. We had good pace and a good result which I am very happy with. The strategy worked well and the team managed to avoid traffic on the track, when we saw an opportunity we went for it and it made the race good fun. We found a nice rhythm during the race. It was also good to see we were challenging the front runners, at the right tracks I think this will be interesting. We need to work on our qualifying and not repeat the disaster of yesterday, for China I will sit down with my side of the garage and analyse qualifying to improve that. It was a really good wheel to wheel race which I think is good for TV and I’m really happy to have been involved in that action. I leave here with the glass half full.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“A great performance from both drivers today. They both sustained damage in the first lap on an identical part of the car losing their front wing end plates which wasn’t ideal. But the strategy from the team and with the pace of the cars, we were able to finish in a respectable fourth and seventh place. Dany made a great recovery from his difficult qualifying yesterday to put some decent points on the board. Daniel got absolutely everything out of the car he could to deliver another excellent race. All in all, it was a decent weekend for us with some valuable points in the bank.”

Toro Rosso

A day of mixed fortunes for Toro Rosso. Verstappen was his usual feisty self, working his way up to sixth with a host of customary overtaking manoeuvres, but Sainz had a race to forget. An early collision with Perez landed him with a rear puncture, and after limping to the pits he ran last for much of the evening until he retired with floor damage.

Max Verstappen, 6th

“I’m very happy with today’s result! I think we bounced back very strongly from the first weekend and the whole team did a fantastic job – a great strategy, good pit-stops… It all worked out perfectly, including our tyre management. The car was just doing what it had to do and felt good, we had great pace! It was an action-packed race and I really enjoyed it out there. To finish P6 is a fantastic way to finish the weekend and I’d like to thank the whole team for their excellent work. Also, this is the first time ever that the team scores points here in Bahrain, so I’m very happy to have changed this statistic – as I said before coming here, that was one of my objectives!”

Carlos Sainz, DNF

“What a shame to have had to retire. It was looking like a race where we could’ve certainly scored points, and it all just ended in a first-lap accident. We had a very good start to the race – obviously everyone in front of us was on the Super Soft tyre while we started on Softs, but we still managed to gain a few places, so that was good. We were fighting and I was defending from a McLaren and Checo Perez, who suddenly arrived from behind and hit me, causing a puncture. From that point onwards my race was completely lost, as I was a lap down after my first pit-stop. Now we just need to put this behind us and look forward to the next race in China in two weeks’ time, where we will come back stronger - we know that we have a good car and we can be fast.”

Franz Tost, Team Principal

“Taking into consideration that we started today’s race from P10 and P11, to finish with a car in P6 is, on one side, a really good result but, on the other, it’s a pity we had to retire the other car. I’d like to congratulate Max and the team, because both parties did a really good and professional job, both regarding strategy and pit-stops. Unfortunately, Carlos had a collision with Perez, which caused a puncture on the right-rear tyre at the beginning of his lap. As a result of this, while driving back to the pits, the floor also got damaged… We therefore ended up deciding to call him in, even though originally we made him stay out just in case there was a Safety Car period. This never happened so we ended his race prematurely as the car was very unstable in the rear because of the amount of downforce we had lost. On a more positive note, this is the first time we score points here in Bahrain, so we can be happy with this, and we now look forward to China, where we expect to be quite competitive.”

Sauber

Another tough event for Sauber, with Ericsson and Nasr spending much of the race battling with each other in the lower order. Ericsson did well to hold off a charging Wehrlein towards the end, but Nasr complained about the performance of the car all race. 

Marcus Ericsson, 12th

“The race was fun with a lot of fights. The start was a bit unfortunate. I had a lack of power during the first lap, so I dropped down some positions.Therefore, I was then stuck behind some competitors. Once I got by them, I had quite a strong race. Unfortunately, during the last stint, when I was running in the points, we had to save fuel. It was really difficult to defend my position. Overall, it’s been a decent weekend on which we maximised our current package. Now we need to push hard to get our car more competitive.”

Felipe Nasr, 14th

“Starting from the back of the field, it is positive that I was able to move up some positions. I did the best I could, but this result was the maximum today as I struggled again with the car. We have to analyse every detail in order to improve for the upcoming race.”

McLaren

A disappointing early exit for Button was balanced out by a hugely impressive drive on debut from Vandoorne who grabbed the last championship point on offer in tenth. It capped an encouraging weekend for McLaren, who showed far more pace than in Australia. 

Stoffel Vandoorne, 10th

“This result was more or less what I expected – I maximised the opportunity and I’m quite satisfied.

“The start was a little bit difficult. There was debris left and right – it was pretty hectic in fact – and there was a lot of fighting throughout that opening lap.

“Since the beginning of the weekend, I’ve felt very confident in the car, and pretty comfortable that I could do a good job. I’m pleased that I didn’t make any mistakes operationally – I was really focusing on that side of things – and I came away with a point, which was a nice bonus.

“This weekend was a big opportunity for me: I made the most of it, I showed what I’m capable of, and now I just need to wait and see what happens next. That’s not for me to decide – so let’s see what the future brings.”

Jenson Button, DNF

“We made some real progress with the car this weekend.

“Qualifying didn’t go fully to plan, but the pace was there – it’s just been a tough weekend because I think we could have scored a good amount of points. Still, I think we can take away some positives in terms of our outright pace.

“In the race I had a loss of power and then the car stopped. We don’t know yet exactly what the problem was – the car just cut out. I initially felt it out of Turn Two, and I eventually stopped at Turn 10.

“It’s a pity; I got a really good start, and made up lots of places, overtaking three cars at Turn 10 under braking, so I was pretty chuffed with that. So it’s a real shame, as I say: before I stopped, I was saving a lot of fuel, my tyres were in good condition, and I was just cruising behind the cars in front.

“We were going to try something a little bit different with the strategy; the cars we were sat behind finished fifth and sixth, and I felt like we could have had a good fight with them.

“Stoffel has done a solid job this weekend, getting our first point of the year. We were both helped out by the incidents on track, but, all said, he’s done a good job as I say.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda Racing Director

“This evening, under floodlights here in the Bahraini desert, over the twists and turns of the superb Bahrain International Circuit, Stoffel did that remarkable and noteworthy thing: he scored a world championship point on his Formula 1 debut.

“In so doing, he capped a very fine weekend, which began with a late call-up and a lengthy two-leg flight from Japan, and ended with what can only be described as a flawlessly mature performance.

“After a troubled qualifying yesterday, Jenson made an excellent start today, and was driving hard and well when his run was ended through no fault of his own. He was understandably disappointed, as we all were, but it’s fair to say that both he and Stoffel showed a decent turn of speed this evening, and for that reason we have reason to look ahead to the next grand prix, in Shanghai, with a degree of optimism.

“But, here in Bahrain, we scored our first world championship point of the year – and, although on its own that’s nothing to write home about, the fact that it was scored by a grand prix debutant is surely cause to uncork the Chandon! Well done, Stoff!”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

“I am very happy for Stoffel to score a championship point in his first ever Formula 1 race. On the other hand, the disappointment over Jenson’s power unit issue and his early retirement is also great.

“We have been working hard on improving our reliability since last year, and will continue to do so.

“The overall performance of the package was very solid, and I think that is definitely a positive result we can take away from this weekend. Once the car returns, we will investigate the power unit and prepare it for the next race.”

Williams

Bottas was rightly penalised for the first lap collision with Hamilton, earning himself a drive through penalty, but afterwards the Finn drove well to recover to finish in the points. Massa meanwhile was left to rue what might have been - ahead of Raikkonen and Hamilton after the start, he was unable to keep pace after electing to two-stop rather than the preferred three for the majority of the field.

Felipe Massa, 8th

"I had such a great start, going from seventh to second, but unfortunately the two-stop strategy didn’t work as expected and our pace on the medium tyre was not very good. This allowed others on softer tyres to get ahead and stay there. We started the weekend expecting more so it’s been a disappointing result, but hopefully we can learn from this weekend and have a better result in China."

Valtteri Bottas, 9th

"I was expecting more from today and finishing ninth is a bit disappointing. I had a mega start, but unfortunately collided with Lewis in turn one which was a shame as it cost us both positions. The drive-through penalty then compromised our strategy a bit so it was always going to be difficult after that. I also damaged my front wing in that collision with a big piece missing which didn’t help our pace. The first two races of the season haven’t been great for us but we’re keeping upbeat and head to the next race hoping to make up for it."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"It was a very tough day. It was disappointing as it’s not even close to where we should be. We’ve got a great deal of work ahead of us and we need to face that challenge head on. Compared to our qualifying pace which was reasonable, our race pace just wasn’t there. Valtteri picked up some damage in the first lap in what the incident with Hamilton which obviously affected his race pace. He then got a drive-through penalty. Felipe’s race pace in the second stint on the medium tyres wasn’t great, so we need to understand what has happened there as well. Overall, this was quite a difficult day for us, and one we need to recover from to come back stronger. We’ve got China in two weeks, so there’s a great deal of work ahead for all of us at Williams."

Mercedes

A faultless drive from Rosberg, who led from the start and never looked troubled. Hamilton's race meanwhile was a case of damage limitation once more. Disrupted first by a poor getaway and then by a collision with Bottas, it was all the world champion could do to make it back to the podium after sustaining floor damage and dropping to ninth on the first lap.  

Nico Rosberg, 1st

"Wow, what a weekend! I am so happy with how everything is working out at the moment. The start was definitely the key to my win – and that was a really great moment, as it was an area that we put a lot effort into before the race. Leading into Turn One was a relief, to be honest, as I could see in my mirrors that it was very busy behind me. But from then on I was able to control the pace and take the win. Strategy-wise we had to play it safe. It maybe wasn’t the quickest option – but we had to cover the risk of a safety car. It was an almost perfect weekend for me – only qualifying could have been a fraction better. What a great start to the season – a big thank you to the guys and girls at the factories for this amazing car! Now I look forward to China, where I won my first ever Grand Prix, so I have plenty of positive energy heading there."

Lewis Hamilton, 3rd

"I didn’t get a good start today – but it actually wasn’t as bad as the last one. They were completely different incidents – both painful, but this one probably more so! In Melbourne I had loads of wheel spin but this time I just didn’t get away as well as I needed to and that was down to me. If you start on pole and go backwards it quickly becomes a domino effect. It’s so easy to get clipped from there and unfortunately that’s what happened at Turn One. Nonetheless, I managed to climb back up there and at least get some points, so again it was good damage limitation. I could easily have not finished the race, so I’m glad it wasn’t more points dropped in the end. I had so much damage on the car that I couldn’t keep up with Kimi. I was fighting hard and did what I could with it – but it wasn’t quite enough to catch him, so in the end I had to just save the tyres in case of a safety car. A big thank you to all the fans who came out this weekend. I’ve got some incredible support here. I’ve been so well taken care of, so I look forward to coming back next year. Now I’ve got to wait until China for the next battle – but it’s a track that has been good to me for many years, so hopefully things will turn around a bit for me there."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"Congratulations to Nico first of all. He’s on a roll right now, with five race wins in a row, and he didn’t put a foot wrong today – a clean start, clean turn one and then the race was his to control. He was quick when he needed to be, without taking any unnecessary risks, and deserved another great win. On Lewis’ side, like in Melbourne he found himself P7 on the first lap – and, again, he used the fighting spirit we all know to get back to the podium. He got a poor getaway again – and we saw up and down the field that the new rules are causing much more variability in the starts, which was the intention. After that, he got hit by Bottas at the first corner in a pretty over-optimistic move, which damaged the car pretty badly on the front wing and the floor – it cost a good chunk of overall performance. From then on, it was about damage limitation and trying to get back through the field, even with a damaged car; Lewis did a great job at that. But it was clear in the middle of the race that he didn’t have the pace to challenge Raikkonen, so then we just played it safe and brought everything home. We’re just two rounds into a season of 21 races, so there are no trends to find in the results right now; as a team, we’re pleased to have made this strong start to the year, and that we are taking our opportunities when they come. But it’s clear that we would have seen a different race today if Sebastian had not been forced to retire before the start. So we will keep our feet on the ground and keep pushing for the next race in China."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

"An eventful start to the race, with Sebastian dropping out and then the first corner incident for Lewis. There was a lot of damage to the car – particularly to the floor but also to the front wing – so we were very relieved to see that it still had enough performance to allow Lewis to start fighting back through the pack. We debated changing the front wing at the first stop but eventually decided that there was not sufficient damage to warrant the time loss in the box. Meanwhile, Nico made a strong start and had a good buffer after Kimi also lost out at Turn One, so it was a fairly straightforward race for him with no issues to report. For Lewis, he battled his way up to Kimi and we decided to try something different to get him past by taking the medium tyre and targeting a two stop strategy. Initially this looked promising, as he was gaining on Kimi despite running a slower compound after the first stops. However, it soon became apparent that the medium was degrading as badly as the soft, so that strategy unfortunately began to unwind quite quickly. We therefore converted him back to a three stop – but of course Ferrari shadowed and we then had to cover that in turn with Nico. At that point, with all three cars on the same tyres, we had to just hold position to the end. It was great for Nico to get the win and great damage limitation on Lewis’ side to recover good points – if a big shame for him that he couldn’t convert his amazing pole position into a win, through no fault of his own."

Renault

Palmer never managed to take the start after pulling into the pits at the end of the formation lap with a hydraulic issue. But team mate Magnussen drove a battling race from the pit lane, just missing out on the points. 

Kevin Magnussen, 11th

“Starting from the pit lane meant that it was always going to be a strategic race but I still had some fun fights out on track and we extracted all we had in the car today. We were so close to scoring points; it’s frustrating to think what could have been had we not incurred a penalty. In any case, the team did a good job this weekend, we’re working very well altogether and the car’s performance was encouraging. There are signs of good things to come for the team, including fantastic support from Renault; we have reason to smile. As long as we work really hard now, we will reap the benefits later.”

Jolyon Palmer, DNS

“Having got one Grand Prix under my belt, I was looking forward to racing today so I’m disappointed at not making it past the formation lap! I think we could have had a chance to move up the grid, especially after our strong performance in Melbourne. Everything was okay with the car until the last corner of the lap, but then I had to go straight into the pits. It looks like it was related to hydraulics and we’ll be looking into it with the team to understand what happened. These things can happen in racing, and I certainly want to move to the next race in China as quickly as possible.”

Fred Vasseur, Racing Director

“It was a challenging weekend for the team here in Bahrain and we were on the cusp of scoring our first point once more today! Kevin did a very good job to start from the pit lane and get to the chequered flag in eleventh. We were so close to scoring a point and it was teasing us right until the end of the race. On the other hand, it was a real shame for Jolyon; he had to come back to the pits at the end of the formation lap and could not take the start of the race. This was particularly frustrating and we’re investigating what went wrong.”

Ferrari

The much anticipated Ferrari-Mercedes battle failed to materialise, as Vettel pulled over on the formation lap with a suspected engine failure and Raikkonen, despite some tenacious overtaking following a poor start, was unable to overcome the Silver Arrows pace advantage. 

Kimi Raikkonen, 2nd

"The start was not ideal, but luckily we did not lose too many places in the first lap. After that I tried to recover, and was able to overtake some cars and make the best out of it. We managed to do good pit-stops with the right tyre choices and the speed was quite good, too. In the end we were catching up a bit on the Mercedes in front, but I never got close enough to try and pass Nico. Considering what happened in the first lap it's a pretty ok result, it's not what we want but we keep working and improving things. We are going in the right direction, but obviously it's not ideal for the team to have only one car finishing the race. In this sport we always push to the limits and sometimes things can go wrong, this is not what we want but it's part of racing. We know that the car is pretty good but we have certain things to improve and still some work to be done."

Sebastian Vettel, DNS

"It was a very short race today, I didn't even break a drop of sweat... We had a failure, I saw a lot of smoke from behind and I lost power so we decided to stop the car. For sure it is frustrating, because in the end I am here to race. The problem came as a surprise, both for me and the whole team, as I was approaching Turn Eleven. Now we need to understand exactly the problem and learn from it. It is not ideal and we can't be proud of it. But we had a good preparation over the winter, we are pushing very hard and we know that we can still improve. We still have a lot of races ahead of us, this is going to be a long year so even if today it was not good because I couldn't score any point, we'll make sure that the next race goes a lot better... Congratulations to Kimi. It was important that during the race we supported him on both sides of the garage."

Manor

Wehrlein matched his strong qualifying performance with an impressive drive, even running in the points in the middle part of the race before a enjoyable squabble with Ericsson over 12th. Haryanto meanwhile had a quiet race at the tail of the field as he struggled with tyre degradation. 

Pascal Wehrlein, 13th

“It was a great race for me. I can’t even compare it to the one in Melbourne because it felt like a completely different race. The car was better, the way we could manage the tyres was better - everything was just a big improvement. It was quite chaotic to begin with but that happens in the midfield so I’m not going to complain. My start was good and I managed to avoid any contact, then the rest of the first stint was really good fun. It was nice to be so competitive. I was 7th at one point and I really enjoyed getting past the Force Indias. It would have been good to take the second Sauber at the end but I had started to lose the tyres by then. We still experienced some tyre degradation, which is why we switched to a three-stop strategy, but it was much better than the last race and another good sign for us. I want to thank the whole team for today. I had a great car and it’s exciting to see how much more potential we have. I can’t wait for China now.”

Rio Haryanto, 17th

“It was great to see the chequered flag today. It feels good to have a race distance under my belt, which is vital experience for me and the team as it gives us more data to analyse and develop the car further. The start was good and we were in the mix with the Saubers and Renaults but I think we did a different strategy to those around us. We also suffered with tyre degradation, which really hampered our progress. Shanghai is a track I know well so I’m looking forward to making another step forward there.”

Dave Ryan, Racing Director

“Congratulations to the whole team on a really impressive job today in a race that showed how far we’ve come even since Melbourne. Both drivers performed impeccably, keeping us on the edge of our seats from start to finish and demonstrating real maturity for two young rookies. Obviously Pascal had a dream race for where we are right now and did an incredible job getting past both Force Indias. I am however going to temper our excitement because with the package we have we’re still only on the first rung on a fairly tall ladder. There’s some way to go and some very obvious potential that we have yet to tap into. Having said that, it’s rewarding to see the hard work starting to pay off and the team beginning to grow in stature. We’re a much stronger unit operationally and in particular I’d like to acknowledge the contribution of our support team back at base in Banbury, who have been with us every step of the weekend. On to China now where I hope we will see further signs of our continued improvement.”

Haas

For the second successive race, Grosjean finished in the points for Haas, who got their strategy spot on with three stints on the supersoft tyre and a final run on the softs. It wasn’t all good news though - after running strongly in the top ten, Gutierrez had to retire with technical issues.

Romain Grosjean, 5th

“This is the American dream. It is unbelievable. I said we had to manage our expectations after we finished sixth in Australia, but here we finished fifth. There’s still a lot of things we can do better, from pit stops to the setup of the car and so on but, for now, this one is for the guys. I looked at their faces last night and they were all very tired because of the amount of work we’re doing. This is a massive reward. Really, just unbelievable. In the race, I had a good feeling in the car. It was an aggressive strategy, but managing tires has always been my strength in the past. Knowing we had a softer compound for this racetrack was something I liked. The car was set up well for the supersoft tires and I had a fantastic race. The car has a very good baseline. Everything is working well. I don’t think I’ve ever been as high as fifth in the driver standings. This is the first time in my career, I can’t believe it.

Esteban Gutierrez, DNF

“We have done a fantastic job. After a great start, where I gained a lot of positions, I was feeling very confident. I was very happy with how the car was feeling, and I was managing my tires and fuel well. Unfortunately, we had an issue with the front brake and we felt we couldn’t continue, so I had to retire. I’m now looking ahead to China. The team is performing really well. The speed is there and we have a great car. So, I will keep fighting for the next race.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“A fantastic day for the team. Romain did a great job. The whole team did a great job. The only downside is that Esteban didn’t complete the race. We had a problem with the left-front brake, which we’re going to investigate further. Our aim now for China is to get two cars to the finish and to finish in the points. We’ve done a few pit stops, which gives us a lot of confidence. We can’t wait to go to the next race and to try and keep this form going.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“We’re only in the second race of the 2016 tyre regulations but already we’re seeing a massive variety of strategies throughout the field, as we particularly expected to be the case this weekend. Tyre strategy started already in qualifying, as we saw from Romain Grosjean who made the most of his starting position to score more points. Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen finished just 10 seconds apart at the finish, using exactly the same strategy as each other. As well as the performance of the softer compounds, the adaptability of the product was demonstrated by Felipe Massa, who completed the race with just two pit stops despite the high wear and degradation traditionally associated with the Sakhir track.”