#F1 PRACTICE REVIEW: #FP2 #BahrainGP 2015 – Crunch Time in the Desert

Brought to you by Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

PracticeReview

After the relaxed pace that was demonstrated earlier a more serious hour and a half of running was expected, with this being the only practice session in the same conditions as the race, making it of paramount importance.  Felipe Massa made an early trip out onto the circuit as the last of the light faded over the 5.4km track.  The mixture of floodlights and sparks meant some spectacular images for those watching in high definition.

Raikkonen went fastest on the medium tyre to begin with, ahead of both the Williams cars even with locking up the rear tyres at the end of his lap.  Rosberg ran wide into turn 11 on his first lap and caused a plume of sand to fly up behind him.  An extreme problem for the drivers, as the sticky Pirellis will prove nigh on impossible to clean without a large load going, which causes degradation, into the tyres.  Vettel went fastest, but was immediately better by Lewis Hamilton who set a 1:36.795, 0.293 quicker than the German.

Despite the two support series competing prior to FP2 (GP2 and Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East), the track was still proving challenging in its dirty condition.  Rear tyres were struggling to cool with the high braking zones and still high ambient temperatures.  Jenson Button was the first casualty of the session as his MP4-30 pulled up on the side of the track just short of 20 minutes in.  A big loss for the Briton in such a crucial session, although a cause for positivity is the impending updates due for the Woking team.

It was a surprise to see the Ferrari of Raikkonen move onto the soft (option) tyre so soon, going 1.283 seconds quicker, setting a 1:35.512. But for a wobble in the final turn, his teammate Vettel would have gone much faster, but in the end slotted in one tenth down on the Finn.  The tyres, as predicted, struggled to set a second lap, as Vettel went 0.301 slower than Raikkonen’s fastest on his second flyer.

Lewis Hamilton made a mistake on his flying lap, which according to Allan McNish of BBCF1 cost him three tenths, ended 0.115 down on Rosberg’s timed lap – a 1:34.647.  That was it for the headline laps as almost everyone switched to the medium tyre, although Bottas and the Lotus pair were yet to do so.  Maldonado reaffirmed the potential of the Enstone challenger as he went fifth quickest, soon replaced by Valtteri Bottas, though the Finn’s lap was not without traffic.

Learning from their previous mistakes Mercedes elected to split their strategies of data capture, with Hamilton going for a long run on the mediums and Rosberg rejoining on the softs. Hamilton’s first lap a 1:40.724 as he enjoyed some clear running on the still very warm tarmac. Rosberg ran in the low 1:40s, consistently half a second faster than the medium.

Max Verstappen provided a comical radio message for the FOM broadcast by asking, “why is it so easy to spin the rear tyres in F1?

Continual adjustment required for the Force India of Hulkenberg as he looked to bounce back from a DNF last time out.  The Silverstone team’s cars continued to languish at the back of the field, intertwined with the Toro Rossos cars and two seconds ahead of the Marussias.

More encouraging news for fans of McLaren as their long run pace was strong, with minimal drop off on the medium tyre.  Conversely, the Lotus of Maldonado gave a poor showing on the long run, although this was set on the soft tyre.  The medium (prime) looks to be over 2 seconds slower than the soft (option) tyre, but far better for use in race simulations.

With just 17 minutes of the session left, the obligatory flash of Carmen Jorda on our screens came as she gazed longingly out to the track from the Lotus garage.  As the cars looked to be cruising around the Sakhir circuit everything looked to be running smoothly until the cameras suddenly cut to a limping Ferrari.  Sebastian Vettel had been exiting the pits when he suffered a brake failure going into turn 1.

Sergio Perez failed to leave him enough space, although it was understandable in a three into one situation, as Felipe Nasr was lapping around the outside.  Debris on the track at turn 1 meant a red flag with little under ten minutes remaining.  Immediately an investigation after the session was reported which will mean a trip to the stewards for all involved.

Five and a half minutes remaining and we were GO GO GO again.  Nico Rosberg rejoined the track straight away on the medium tyre. No sooner had he completed a couple of laps was he instructed to return to the pits after the team saw “something they didn’t like” on the telemetry.  Nevertheless, 15 cars remained out to sign off the session.  Kimi Raikkonen continued to push even on his in lap.

The Ferraris showed a far stronger long run pace than the Mercedes pair, although the fuel loads were the great unknown, so don’t read too much into the initial readings.  Another strong showing from Felipe Nasr as he outshone his teammate once again.  3 separate races emerging clearly here in the desert, with the Red and the Silver cars far ahead of the trailing pack.

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 01:34.647 31
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 01:34.762 0.115 33
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 01:35.174 0.527 30
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 01:35.277 0.630 26
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 01:35.28 0.633 36
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 01:35.449 0.802 27
7 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 01:35.474 0.827 34
8 Felipe Nasr Sauber 01:35.793 1.146 27
9 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 01:35.883 1.236 23
10 Felipe Massa Williams 01:35.884 1.237 35
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 01:36.148 1.501 34
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 01:36.191 1.544 22
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus 01:36.334 1.687 31
14 Carlos Sainz Torro Rosso 01:36.471 1.824 32
15 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 01:36.805 2.158 30
16 Max Verstappen Torro Rosso 01:36.917 2.270 26
17 Sergio Perez Force India 01:37.062 2.415 33
18 Will Stevens Manor 01:39.131 4.484 21
19 Jenson Button McLaren 01:39.209 4.562 15
20 Roberto Merhi Manor 01:40.592 5.945 26
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23 responses to “#F1 PRACTICE REVIEW: #FP2 #BahrainGP 2015 – Crunch Time in the Desert

  1. I’m optimistic of a good weekend for Ferrari here, as Bahrain has a lot of straights. Ferrari are consistently good in the speed traps this year, and on a track where aero isn’t as important, such as China for instance, I think they could be up there in the race. You heard it here first!!

  2. So if Seb’s reporting he had a brake failure, why is he blaming Checo for the collision?

      • He didn’t have to brakes Adam, so he couldn’t stop. Checo was on the racing line whilst Seb was exiting the pits

        • Doesn’t matter if he was on the racing line. If it were a race he would have the responsibility to not drive into a car alongside him

  3. Kimi and Lewis being investigated for leaving the pitlane incorrectly. I gather they used the inside lane to go around some cars that were either stationary or going slow.

    Grosjean got a 2-place grid drop for that in China, right? But that was during the actual qualifying session, IIRC.

  4. Giving verstappen a Belgian flag, I see. That’s a bold move. Want to piss of the Dutch? 😂

    • Evidence surfaced recently to suggest he is actually Belgian…or at least according to his mother

      • Yes I know. Born in Belgium and lives(llived) in Belgium. Has a Belgian passport, but a Dutch racing license.

        • Might depend on where the car he was conceived in was in relation to the border….:-)

        • I would bet a horse that young Maximilian is Flemish. And Flanders is—to me—nothing more than a historic offshoot of the Netherlands. And Flemish people—again, to me—are at heart Dutch and mostly share a single language, history and identity. You would not believe how fundamentally divided Belgium is between the Flemish and the French-speaking parts…

          • Bullshit. We “hate” the Dutch and they “hate” us. and the same language is relative. Not many Dutch understand Belgian dialects. We do however understand all the Dutch dialects (except for the one of Friesland but that’s just jibber jabber) and that crap about not liking the french part is just by those dumb ass nationalistic sons of Bitches. True Belgians don’t hate them. We have more in common with them as we do with the dutch. What you say is the same as saying that America is The same country as England. Wich it’s not. Yet they do share the same language and are part of each others history. At one time everything was part of some thing else. We where once pruisia, but you don’t say Belgium is Germany, we where once part of the Roman empire yet you don’t say we are Italian and so we where part of the Netherlands but since 1830 we are not anymore.

          • I’m under moderation because I used the BS word. here is what I said with a little bit moderation :Bs. We “hate” the Dutch and they “hate” us. and the same language is relative. Not many Dutch understand Belgian dialects. We do however understand all the Dutch dialects (except for the one of Friesland but that’s just jibber jabber) and that crap about not liking the french part is just by those dumb ass nationalistic sons of Bitches. True Belgians don’t hate them. We have more in common with them as we do with the dutch. What you say is the same as saying that America is The same country as England. Wich it’s not. Yet they do share the same language and are part of each others history. At one time everything was part of some thing else. We where once pruisia, but you don’t say Belgium is Germany, we where once part of the Roman empire yet you don’t say we are Italian and so we where part of the Netherlands but since 1830 we are not anymore.

          • “We “hate” the Dutch and they “hate” us. ”

            That’s certainly not what I felt when in Dutchland a couple years back. Dutch people with no doubt despise the French-speaking Belgium (or Wallonia), with tunes of “it’s a 3rd world country”. Towards the Flemish-speaking Belgium (or Flanders), at the best of times I felt indifference from the Dutch.

            “We have more in common with them as we do with the dutch.”

            That’s not *my* understanding of Belgium. (And if you disagree — please do so politely.) Belgium has deep-seated communitarian divisions, which are largely following geographic and linguistic lines. This doesn’t help Belgium, and *I* for one would not be surprised for one single second if tomorrow Belgium split in two, mostly with no hard feelings from the two main communities.

            http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2013/04/language-policy
            “Belgium’s constitution, for example, divides the country into four linguistic regions: the Dutch-speaking north (Flanders, or the Flemish Region), the French-speaking south (Wallonia), the small German-speaking regions in the east, and the bilingual (Dutch-French) capital, Brussels. But with the country divided roughly in half between Flanders and Wallonia, laws and policies become proxies for deeper cultural tensions. The standoff between the Dutch- and French-speaking communities was particularly tense after the 2010 elections, when it took over 500 days to form a government.

            In part because of this longstanding division, some Flemish and Wallonian laws are fiercely protective of Dutch and French.”

          • I know all that. And except for the BS word I was polite… and the situation you give is there. But that’s everything trough a magnefing glass on a political level. As said before only the extreme right people think this way. Belgium won’t be split in anyway soon. Just because 2 parties out of the many want this to happen doesn’t mean it will. They just do that to get votes from the people who think the same. And believe me they who think this way are the kind of white trash people mostly. They think that flanders pays everything for wallonia, but they forget (or don’t know) about the great period when flanders depended on wallonian money. but non of those people wants to be considered dutch. No way.

          • “Belgium won’t be split in anyway soon. ”

            I guess it’s a matter of wait and see. For me this rings true whenever I hear of Walloon/Flemish or Catalan/Spanish squabbles:
            http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2009/11/_normal_0_false_false_4
            “what better way to solve Flemish-Walloon squabbling than to dissolve nation states slowly into a European superstate, with day to day management left to powerful regions?”

            Predicting revolutions is a risky business, and the beauty of revolutions is that they tend to pop out of the blue and unannounced. The EU clearly provides troublesome regions in EU countries a framework for breaking away quietly and nicely. I wouldn’t bet against it happening in a not so faraway future…
            http://www.economist.com/node/2208851
            “Europe’s nation-states are being challenged from above, by the growing powers of the supranational European Union, but also from below, by increasingly assertive regions.” [..] “Across Europe, governments and regions still squabble over how power should be distributed.”

            At which point will national governments (e.g. Belgium) become redundant in between local autonomy (e.g. Walloon or Flemish decision-making on local matters) and Europe-wide standards as well as foreign policy (e.g. the EU rule-making)?

          • Now that is something completely different. Becoming one united Europe is something that could happen, but neither one of the Belgian regions can function on its own. Like the extreme right parties want us to believe. But if all the countries become Europe that would be a different story… flanders and wallonia forming a state but being governed by Europe is something that might work. It does work in the USA…

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