Hamilton won the Bahrain GP with Merit, Pole Position and victory achieved thanks to his consistent performance and the Champion is now well established aboard the fastest car in the current F1 formula. But he is still not immune from some minor snagging going slightly down in a curve, which happened to many today. The fact stretches the world with due credit, at least from what we have seen until now, but the ending is worthy of the best films of Hitchcock. With tensions rising dramatically when the final lap, and also the second slowest in actuality, he begins to make a zig zag with the car, now you think I’m running out of gas, but he is airing a conversation where they spoke about a brake problem. Team-radio, however, it was lap number 56 and not the last, when he had already improved his time by 1 second compared to the previous lap. In fact, he proceed in that way makes you think you’re trying to catch the bottom of the tank (running on fumes)  and not a problem with the brakes, but the end result was the same, supposedly there remained the amount of fuel required to make the withdrawal from the Commissioners. Here I really doubt, why with 3 laps including the re-entry, he was able to deploy the necessary amount would not have been easy, but we’ll never know the truth. Even if it was the brake system driving up the lap times of Hamilton there are a number of factors that are coming to light, and I want to stress:

 

 Ferrari has reached the Mercedes although it has not yet reached Hamilton

 The Germans yesterday and in China have really pushed to the limit, both problems with brakes that would not have had if they had done a walk

 Raikkonen could collect maybe more points

 Rossberg has shown the will and tenacity but the team has at least 2/10 in his favor

 Vettel was politically correct to say that he was wrong, but the brakes have betrayed him

 Ferrari albeit with almost zero updates is catching up to Mercedes who instead is updating everything that can

 The Mercedes is no longer attacking but making the Ferrari race on defending and marking when it can, especially Vettel
In itself the race was exciting and with many reminiscent duels, Rossberg was passed at the Pit-Stop, and then returned the favor on the track several times surpassing Vettel. Raikkonen was the protagonist at the start and in the second part of the race with the high level of performance (which is remarkable), behind the first so many battles that have left the field a series of ‘victims’. In short, a fun race, a show that was needed for the revival of the F1.

 

KIMI

About ICEMAN I want to clarify a few things right away.

He could not anticipate the first pit stop, because his time in laps 12-16 were constant and making a pit stop would ruin his strategy during the middle stint when from around 36 to 39 he began to lose performance, thus forcing his soft tires at the end of the race to go 23 laps. In practice to anticipate the first stop, he would have forced the team to anticipate the other also hurting all the strategy but that allowed him to be 2nd. Although Bahrain showed the cars from Maranello performing very well with the medium tires, but this does not mean that we couldn’t do more…

 Let’s take a look at the performance of the Finn who built his second stint in 2:03, his strategy was different both with respect to Hamilton, Rossberg and Vettel, while the latter have opted for this sequence SOFT-SOFT- MEDIUM, the Ferrari has instead used the tires in that order SOFT-MEDIUM-SOFT here is the graph of the middle stint compared to Hamilton.

BAHRAIN_grafico1

The Briton changed the tires on lap 15 and Kimi on lap 17 continuing until the 40th lap, while Hamilton stopped again on lap 33, to note some factors; the first is that in these laps the two have roughly the same time but on a very different compounds; the second is that the Mercedes driver soon back on track with soft tires on lap 17, immediately realized a great 1: 38,145. But then its time you get up taking an average of around 1:39 (and very cautious in Mercedes) exactly as Raikkonen who, however, is kept on track maybe 2 to 3 laps in too long of a stint because when the Mercedes returned to the track after the 2nd tire change, they realizes these times

MERCEDES HAMILTON FERRARI KIMI

Lap 35 1: 38 217 1: 39,632

Lap 36 1: 38 242 1: 39 884

Lap 37 1: 37 906 1: 39 591

Lap 38 1: 37 857 1: 39 665

Lap 39 1: 39 009 1: 40 684

Lap 40 1: 39 291 PIT STOP

In practice, Raikkonen in three laps (37-38-39) loses about 4.8 seconds, an eternity, especially if we think that in the first stint made ​​with soft tires and a full load of gasoline had covered 17 laps and when around lap 40 to mount Soft and attack with just 17 ​​laps to go, we wonder if the car could take any more downforce, without damaging the tires too much. Within at least 19 laps, in this way, he would have contained the GAP from Hamilton to the extent of 2.2 sec. If he had been able to make those 20 laps, 4.8 seconds were all in his favor, and he saw how things were made ​​for the Briton. Kimi could also grab the victory in this regard we take a look at the recovery that was the Red enacted.

BAHRAIN_grafico2

The gaps (Raikkonen) that rise around after lap 52 are basically doubled.

Of course this is all speculation because you think when the games are closed, but maybe something more could you dare. However the strategy is designed to surpass all of Rossberg or at least one Mercedes. Incidentally demonstrating the slow reflexes Ferrari is the fact that in those last laps Kimi was even attacked by Alonso at his disposal in a car that certainly cannot be said to be performing. PaulHembery (Pirelli Motorsport Director) was interviewed after the first pit stop confirmed that maybe he could point to the victory. However conservative or not Ferrari takes away another podium which consolidates the excellent performance of the Red Army.

 Vettel

Contrary to what he said, I believe that yesterday’s problems were due to the brakes, which then consisted of new materials capable of handling the heat better, it is in fact a version seen by Vettel in 2014. The trajectories were always very wide, with very little feeling from the brakes, but that is his ace in the hole. The inability to find the exact point of the rope because of the composure with which slowed the car. Then with a stop due to a damaged front wing he lost all those seconds ahead of Williams, and then the ordeal of German was not able to overtake Bottas who very fast in a straight line. The two were marking times, but being behind so much hurt the SF15-T, perhaps more than other cars, which is affected aerodynamics due to different vortex ‘drain’ in the front. However, with good behavior, the ‘business’ of Sebastian who takes all the blame and neither accuses the car nor the team, something very different compared to Alonso, who yesterday, after the race, was certainly controversial, as is his character.

However with a 5th place with all the problems that the German had, and given the overall behavior of the car, we are looking for great things to come in Spain in 3 weeks …

 

Marco Asfalto

Translation by  Christopher M. Uhl 

 

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