Driver Performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix

WELCOME to my fourth driver performance scoring chart of the 2012 Formula One season which covers how I thought every driver did in the 2012 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir:

NICO ROSBERG

Buoyant by his Shanghai weekend, Nico Rosberg had a feisty weekend in Bahrain.  He looked very strong in Friday practice before a tiny error on his Q3 lap left him back in fifth.  A poor start left him fighting it out for ninth on the first circuit and what followed was some robust and dangerous defensive driving against the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.  Got the most out of the Mercedes and fifth at the end might have been an even better result but fortunate to escape penalty for these manoeuvres.  6/10

KIMI RAIKKONEN

Complacency from both Raikkonen and Lotus in qualifying left him high and dry and out in Q2.  Starting from 11th, the Finn had more choice in tyres for raceday and his pace left him a contender to win.  Only a missed gear that cost him an early position to Felipe Massa and some reluctance in attacking Sebastian Vettel when he had his chance meant he lost out to the world champion.  He looked rueful on the podium but he shouldn’t be like that, second shows he means business for the remainder of the season.  9/10

SEBASTIAN VETTEL

Some were beginning to doubt the world champion?  Those who did, flush your heads down a toilet seat!  Red Bull seemed to understand their new chassis in Bahrain and Sebastian was back to his flawless best.  Strong on Friday, he produced a metronomic pole position lap to deny Lewis Hamilton and then produced a great first lap to put himself out of danger from the DRS zone early on.  When Raikkonen reeled him in, brilliant defensive work kept Sebastian infront and then controlled the final stint to take a deserving and brilliant win, his first success since India last October.  10/10

JENSON BUTTON

McLaren had a very difficult weekend in Bahrain and Button looked off-colour throughout.  Fourth on the grid, he bogged down at the start and lost places to both Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean.  Had to battle with oversteer throughout but drove consistently and fifth place was a possibility.  Unfortunately a puncture blew the chance of a run at Paul di Resta and then an exhaust problem forced him to park the car in the garage shortly before the end.  6/10

LEWIS HAMILTON

Hamilton had a luckless afternoon and wound up back in eighth position through little, if any fault of his own.  He produced the maximum in qualifying to line up on the front row on a weekend where McLaren were not the fastest car for the first time this season.  Had no chance against Grosjean and two blunders at stops involving the right rear wheel cost him time.  Lucky to stay in the race following Rosberg’s dangerous chop and did well to keep his head, where last year’s version probably won’t have.  Fifth was likely had it not been for the pitstop problems.  7/10 

FERNANDO ALONSO

Another typical Alonso charging start had him upto fifth from ninth on the grid.  It would be the highlight of his afternoon.  The F2012 is lacking straightline speed and grip into the corners, leaving him a sitting target against the likes of Raikkonen and Button.  Had a close call with Nico Rosberg and his anger at this exchange was evident from both reaction on the team radio and through Twitter.  Another solid weekend and he can’t complain being just ten points behind the championship leader after four events, considering the car he has underneath him.  8/10

MARK WEBBER

Four races in and four fourth places in a row, Mark Webber is turning into Mr. Consistency in 2012.  He was a couple of tenths shy of Vettel’s pace in qualifying and some issues with aerodynamic floor meant his pace in the race was limited. Did well to finish as high as he did, considering the damage he had.  7/10

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER

Michael Schumacher had a lot of work to do from the back of the grid after a qualifying nightmare.  The conserative approach from Mercedes saw him knocked out in Q1.  His race was bogged down in traffic and tenth place wasn’t a bad result in the circumstances.  No contact too will have helped his reputation in battle, although his post-race comments about Pirelli were uncalled for.  A frustrating weekend.  6/10

BRUNO SENNA

The potential of the Williams was restricted in Bahrain, as they fell away from Lotus and Sauber and into the clutches of Force India, who they had comprehensively outpaced in the first three events of the season.  Senna’s qualifying left him in 15th but unlike Malaysia and China, his race performance wasn’t spectacular.  Running near the back of the midfield when an issue with his brake forced a late DNF.  5/10

ROMAIN GROSJEAN

Romain Grosjean finally put it altogether in Bahrain and charged his way to a stunning podium finish, the first for a French driver since Jean Alesi back in 1998.  Qualified seventh and had a cracking start to move upto fourth.  Passed Webber and Hamilton easily using DRS and ran a comfortable second to a distancing Vettel.  Asked by the team to let Raikkonen through, perhaps a lap later than what is should have been but then ran untroubled to record his maiden podium effort.  It won’t be the last either in 2012 if this race is anything to go by.  9/10

SERGIO PEREZ

The Sauber’s handling looked dodgy all weekend but Perez achieved more than expected to make Q3 again and lined up in eigth.  Fought well against a losing cause but just lost out to Schumacher towards the end in the fight for the final point.  Since his Malaysia heroics, it has a been a tough baptism of returning to reality of midfield scraps for Perez.  6/10

PASTOR MALDONADO

Reliability problems destroyed Pastor Maldonado’s weekend in Bahrain and he chalked up his third retirement from four races.  Luck doesn’t seem to be shining on the Veneuzuelan so far in 2012.  A five place grid penalty for changing his gearbox left him languishing in 21st on the grid.  This followed a KERS problem that forced him not to run in Q2.  Ran with the likes of Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez until a puncture forced a spectacular spin out of turn three, wrecked his suspension and ended his hopes of minor points.  6/10

KAMUI KOBAYASHI

Narrowly missed out on Q3 and spent his race as part of a bunched up midfield involving his team-mate, Maldonado and Hulkenberg amongst others.  Tried an ambitious two stopper but the Sauber was heavier on its tyres than Force India were and this is largely why Kobayashi ended 13th, seven places shy of di Resta’s similar strategy attempt.  6/10

FELIPE MASSA

A much better and consistent job from Felipe Massa all weekend and his first points of 2012 will be a massive boost to his shattered confidence.  Qualifying didn’t go his way, with traffic on his best lap restricting him to 14th but matched Alonso’s race pace and set a quicker race lap overall.  A magnificent start to reach as high as seventh set the tone for a strong afternoon, despite having to drop back towards the end due to fuel consumption issues.  A long way to go but a step in the right direction.  7/10

PAUL DI RESTA

Absolutely stunning effort from the Scot who produced a remarkable effort to make Q3.  He ran out of soft tyres and settled for tenth on the grid.  Tried a risky two stop strategy which at times didn’t look like it was going to work.  His smooth driving style helped him nurse the tyres when at their most critical and did well to keep Alonso and Hamilton back towards the finish to record a fine sixth place, equalling his best ever career result.  9/10

NICO HULKENBERG

Matched Paul di Resta throughout practice and qualifying but couldn’t quite hook it together when it mattered in the battle to make Q3.  13th place became 20th when a dragging clutch cost him time at the start.  Force India’s strong Sunday race pace helped him back to 12th but its the third time in four races where he has lost a bundle of time and positions.  Another case of losing the race on the first lap in an attempt to make positions up.  7/10

JEAN-ERIC VERGNE

Vergne’s lack of qualifying pace must surely be a worry to the Toro Rosso team as he was eliminated again in Q1 and finished behind Kovalainen too.  Missing the weighbridge just added to the gloom but incredibly, the Frenchman avoided penalty for this misdemeanour.  Settled down in the race to finish ahead of Ricciardo in 14th place, racing Kobayashi in the closing stages.  Yet to string together a polished weekend so far in his short career.  6/10

DANIEL RICCIARDO

If Vettel wasn’t the star of qualifying on Saturday afternoon, Daniel Ricciardo certainly was.  The second Australian in the field ended up a magnificient sixth on the grid, easily his best ever and a country mile ahead of team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.  His start was pathetic and left him consigned into the midfield.  A touch with Heikki Kovalainen left him with front wing damage for the first stint and was beaten by Vergne in the race.  A dismal Sunday took the gloss off a special Saturday.  7/10

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN

Heikki Kovalainen achieved the maximum and even more in qualifying and to knock Michael Schumacher out was one of the best achievement the Caterham team have achieved since making their debut here in 2010.  Sadly a first lap collision with Daniel Ricciardo left him with a puncture, a lengthy stop to replace it and a lost cause in the race.  Finished ten seconds behind his team-mate but qualifying effort was one of the best of the season so far.  8/10

VITALY PETROV

Still struggling to match Heikki Kovalainen in qualifying and the Russian couldn’t seem to decide what tyre was his preferred option until raceday.  Raced well again and kept the Toro Rosso cars honest.  It won’t be long before he beats them on merit soon if he keeps up his satisfying Sunday form up.  6/10

TIMO GLOCK

Timo had one of those weekends where he simply didn’t look very interested.  Trounced by rookie team-mate Pic all weekend, something both Lucas di Grassi and Jerome d’Ambrosio did in the past on an occasional basis.  Brake problems ruined his race but at least did beat both the Hispania cars to the finish.  4/10

CHARLES PIC

For the first time in his career, Charles Pic outqualified Timo Glock, although de la Rosa qualifying just 0.2secs behind suggested either a mega effort from the Spaniard or an unseen error on the Frenchman’s best lap.  Ran infront of Glock in the race until engine failure on lap 24 ended his afternoon prematurely.  7/10

PEDRO DE LA ROSA

To start 20th in an HRT chassis for a race is some achievement.  Penalties to Michael Schumacher and Pastor Maldonado did help with this but Pedro de la Rosa beat Timo Glock in qualifying on merit and ran solidly in the race, lapping just slightly slower than the Marussia team.  De La Rosa is getting the most out of his time with the Spanish team so far this season.  8/10

NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN 

Half a second behind Pedro de la Rosa in qualifying, Karthikeyan’s aim is just to beat the 107 per cent cut-off on a Saturday afternoon.  Made the decision to go with a radical strategy and a four stopper left him just shy of his team-mate at the chequered flag.  More mileage for the HRT team and his strongest race since the early Jordan days in 2005. 7/10

Total scores after 4 events: Fernando Alonso 33, Lewis Hamilton 32, Sebastian Vettel 32, Jenson Button 31, Romain Grosjean 31, Mark Webber 30, Kimi Raikkonen 30, Sergio Perez 28, Pastor Maldonado 28, Nico Rosberg 28, Paul di Resta 28, Michael Schumacher 27, Bruno Senna 26, Vitaly Petrov 25, Daniel Ricciardo 25, Kamui Kobayashi 24, Charles Pic 24, Heikki Kovalainen 24, Timo Glock 23, Nico Hulkenberg 23, Jean-Eric Vergne 22, Felipe Massa 19, Pedro de la Rosa 18, Narain Karthikeyan 16

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About Simon Wright

Hello, I am Simon, 29 and currently work as a Picture Researcher & Product Editor for Topps Europe Ltd. In my spare time, I run the Premier League at 25 Website. I graduated from the University of Northampton in 2012 with a 2:1 degree in BA Hons Journalism.

Posted on April 25, 2012, in Features. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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