F1 Power Rankings: Bahrain Grand Prix

It’s time for the first back-to-back Grands Prix of the season as the teams make the trip from Shanghai to Bahrain for the Bahrain Grand Prix. It’s interesting to see that the opinion is mixed heading into this race. Despite this being a night race, many expect the heat and tarmac to have a big effect on tyre degradation. That would seemingly play into the hands of Ferrari but who would count out the Silver Arrows.

f1-lewis-hamilton-helmet-2015#1 Lewis Hamilton (Last Race #1)
Lewis is trying really hard to say the right things now that he’s on course to dominate this season again: ” I was really buzzing after the result in China and I have to say a big thank you to the team for the amazing job they did all weekend. As always, though, my thoughts have been completely focused on the next race from the moment we left the circuit on Sunday. It’s been a great start – but for me last season showed that you can never feel too comfortable and that’s even more the case this time around with Ferrari right there with us.”

f1-nico-rosberg-helmet-2015#2 Nico Rosberg (LR #2)
Keke’s kid is looking within for improvements in his performance: “China was a frustrating weekend for me and I’m glad we have another race right away to get straight back to work. The team has made a great start to the season and, with this incredible car they have built, I know I just need to find a little bit more in myself to get back to the top step.”

f1-sebastian-vettel-helmet-2015#3 Sebastian Vettel (LR #3)
Pirelli Motorsport boss Paul Hembery takes us through the tyre choice for this race: “We have the same tyre choice as we did in China for Bahrain, although there will obviously be a bit more temperature involved. However, with the race taking place in the evening, conditions won’t be as aggressive as they were in Malaysia – or even Bahrain two years ago, when the race was still run during the day.”

#4 Kimi Raikkonen (LR #4)

f1-felipe-massa-helmet-2015#5 Felipe Massa (LR #5)
Old Phil wants to be Three-Time Phil and add another win at Bahrain: “Bahrain is the first night race of the season and is a spectacular place to watch a race. I always have fond memories of tracks where I have won before and I have managed to step onto the top step of the podium twice in Bahrain. I hope our car can show its true pace and utilise its straight line speed on the long straights.”

f1-valtteri-bottas-helmet-2015#6 Valtteri Bottas (LR #6)
#BO77AS is looking for the track surface to level the cars on tyre performance to put them in with a shot of the win: “The circuit offers the opportunity to overtake but it doesn’t make it easy so the drivers fight for every position. The track surface is quite rough which has a huge effect on the tyres, so looking after them becomes a priority. This can lead to quicker cars being bunched up and we have to take every chance that is on offer to overtake.”

f1-felipe-nasr-helmet-2015#7 Felipe Nasr (LR #10)
New Phil says that track temps will still make tyre management tricky despite the sun being down: “In Bahrain there are three facts which are important for a good lap time: Braking stability, traction, as well as a good balance for the car in the high-speed coners in sector two. I also expect we need to work on good tyre management, because that can be very tricky in those warm conditions. Although it is a race that starts in the evening, the surface stays quite warm.”

f1-romain-grosjean-helmet-2015#8 Romain Grosjean (LR #9)
Fred talks about the effects of night racing in Bahrain: ” It means a later start, and the later schedule means a larger window for sleep which is always welcome! In terms of at the track, the daytime hot temperatures with a lot of sun made tyre degradation quite high. Temperatures are clearly lower at night which has an influence on tyre grip and degradation.”

#9 Max Verstappen (LR #8)

#10 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #7)

f1-marcus-ericsson-helmet-2015#11 Marcus Ericsson (LR #14)
For a second, this quote was under New Phil’s name but it is actually ME’s quote: “Bahrain is a track I know very well from previous racing series, and I have been there quite often. The track has some long straights, slow-speed corners with hard braking zones, as well as high-speed corners with fast changes of direction. Overall the circuit is technical and drivingwise not an easy one. Another aspect which comes into play is the sand blowing onto the track. We need to keep an eye on that, as the circuit is usually quite dusty for the first sessions and then picks up more grip during the weekend.”

#12 Carlos Sainz (LR #11)

f1-pastor-maldonado-helmet-2015#13 Pastor Maldonado (LR #12)
Sometimes finding quotes worth running is a pain in the arse: “Bahrain is a good circuit. I would say it is a ‘complete’ circuit because it has a mix of high, medium and low speed turns, plus good sequences of corners. It’s challenging over a lap and makes for an enjoyable race.”

#14 Daniil Kvyat (LR #13)

#15 Nico Hulkenberg (LR #15)
The Hulk takes us through the track: “The track is quite tricky to master, especially as the sand blowing on the track can make it really dusty, so grip doesn’t always improve throughout the weekend. There are a few very nice corners, especially the double left-hander before the back straight: it’s difficult to get it right and it is very easy to lock the inside front wheel. It’s a very technical track with a few good overtaking opportunities, and at the same time it’s a challenge from a mechanical point-of-view as well, taking a lot from your rear tyres and from your brakes.”

f1-fernando-alonso-helmet-2015#16 Fernando Alonso (LR #17)
Fernando says it’s all about developing for Spain. Conveniently, an engine update is expected for the Spanish GP: “This will be a challenging track for our car, for sure, but our first aim is to finish the race and take away as much data as possible to prepare ourselves for Barcelona onwards. We are certainly seeing progress all the time and the car feels great to drive, so we have a good base to keep developing.”

#17 Sergio Perez (LR #16)
Checo thinks his car is getting better. I think his car isn’t improving nearly as fast as the rest of them, including the Manors: “The last race in China was interesting for us, as we were able to be much more involved in battles against the other teams. As we keep learning about our car and its set-up, we are closing the gap to our rivals, which is really encouraging.”

f1-jenson-button-helmet-2015#18 Jenson Button (LR #18)
JB has some positives from the last race despite getting two demerit points: “The incident with Maldonado towards the end of the race in China was unfortunate and a simple misjudgement on my part as we braked into the corner. Nevertheless, until that point our battle was a lot of fun and it was very encouraging that we were able to take the fight to the Lotus in the corners, even though on the straights it was much more challenging.”

#19 Will Stevens (LR #20)

#20 Roberto Merhi (LR #19)


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