Michael Schumacher continued his domination of the F1 season by claiming a virtually unchallenged victory on Sunday. However, there was plenty of midfield action in the Bahrain GP.
Michael Schumacher continued his domination of the F1 season by claiming a virtually unchallenged victory at Sakhir on Sunday. However, there was plenty of midfield action in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Schumacher’s Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello finished second, ahead of Jenson Button (BAR Honda), Jarno Trulli (Renault), Takuma Sato (BAR Honda) and Fernando Alonso (Renault).
Ferrari’s chief title rivals Williams-BMW and McLaren-Mercedes floundered. Kimi Raikkonen was the first driver to retire from the race when his McLaren-Mercedes suffered what appeared to be an engine failure. His team-mate David Coulthard stopped with seven laps to go.
Williams-BMW secured a meager two constructors’ championship points by virtue of Ralf Schumacher’s seventh-place finish. Australian Mark Webber clinched eighth place when Juan-Pablo Montoya’s Williams-BMW dropped from third to 13th in the closing stages of the race.
Patrick Head, Williams-BMW’s technical director, said Montoya was suffering from "a gearbox problem, and then he had a throttle problem, which meant he lost the throttle, so at the end he was walking wounded".
The Ferraris were nevertheless in a race of their own at the front. Both men made perfect starts to fend off the expected challenge of Montoya and drove away for the rest of the afternoon.
Michael Schumacher said: "It was hard work because the brakes were marginal and we had to keep an eye on the tyres. Both tyre companies were fighting with blisters so you had to tread a fine line."
Montoya looked equally comfortable in third place until the final 10 laps when he dropped way off the pace.
That allowed first Button and Trulli, then Sato and Alonso, to pass, and he lost a further five places on the final lap as he limped home to 13th place.
Button dropped back a couple of places at the start, but fought his way up the field. He passed team-mate Sato when the Japanese ran wide and damaged his front wing on lap 18, and then closed in on Trulli, whom he passed in the course of the final pit stops.
"It's fantastic. This one was a little more difficult ," Button said. "Starting sixth wasn't the best position for me. But it was good to fight through the field and the car seemed very good throughout the race."
Sato recovered well from his early incident, and in the closing laps held off Alonso, who drove a brilliant race in the Renault. The young Spaniard started 17th after braking problems ruined his qualifying lap on Saturday and during the race, he dropped further back at the end of the first lap when he pitted for a new front wing.
But he fought back superbly, including winning a feisty battle with Webber, to make it into the points.
Ralf Schumacher ruined his race when battling with Sato on lap seven. The German appeared not to leave the BAR enough room as Sato put his car alongside the Williams-BMW on the inside going into the second corner.
The resulting collision knocked Ralf’s Williams-BMW into a spin, and he dropped down the field after coming in at the end of the lap to have the car inspected for suspension damage.
The incident will be investigated by the race stewards and both drivers could be punished for their role in the incident.
Head described Ralf's race as "a bloody mess".
"He had that bump with Sato, and drove round to the pits very slowly," Head said. "We put on new tyres and he was fine after that."
With the ten points he earned for Sunday's victory, Schumacher (who already has the wins at the Malaysian and Australian Grands Prix under his belt) leads the driver's world championship with 30 points. His nearest competitor is Barrichello, who has 21 points.
Ferrari is a whopping 29 points ahead of Renault in the race for the constructor's title race.
Original article from Car