April 22, 2013

Horse 1469 - Vettel Dominates, Rosberg Deflates, Massa's Tyre Disintegrates (Rd.4)

When Nico Rosberg put his Mercedes on pole on Saturday, it was the first time since the Italian GP in September 1955 that Mercedes had scored back to back pole positions. His brief stay at the front of the race, lasted all of three laps when his car as indeed team mate Lewis Hamilton's, started wiggling its rear end around in a way which would make a Top 40 diva proud. The two Mercedes showed brief bursts of speed but after about four laps on any given set of tyres they cooked them.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari was also excellent for two laps, right up to the point when his DRS flap failed to close. Two trips to the pits later, Alonso had to run the rest of the race with his rear wing permanently closed which meant that he was a sitting duck in the DRS zones and couldn't fight back if he was close enough to make a pass. Alonso could only salvage a rather measly eighth, which meant that he fell to fourth in the championship standings.

The two McLarens of Perez and Button had their own little fight during the race which several drivers became entangled in either moving forwards through them or falling backwards through them. Button would accuse Perez of "dangerous driving" after the race but really this was a no holds barred fight with no quarter given or asked.

As this was going on, pole sitter Rosberg sailed backwards en route to oblivion. He was tangled up in the Perez-Button argument for a while but eventually Perez and Button both sailed past him, as did Alonso and Rosberg's pole was converted into a ninth.
In contrast, Romain Grosjean who started 11th and didn't even make Q3, pushed forwards through them to meet Raikkonen on the podium, whilst Felipe Massa's rear tyre decided that the responsibility of being a tyre was too great and so ripped itself to shreds. Paul Di Resta had a disappointing afternoon by finishing fourth, after being unable to hold up Grosjean; although fourth is equal to Di Resta's best finishing position, to lose third is still painful.

Apart from the two black Lotii who are showing remarkable consistency, only Vettel's Red Bull showed any real lasting speed. After Alonso and Rosberg fell away in front of him, Vettel drove a fairly dull yet fast race, often knocking over fastest lap times for want of something to do. Not surprisingly, he's leapt forward into the lead with Raikkonen who admitted that the Lotus simply didn't have the car speed in Bahrain, second in the overall standings.

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