Standings: Vettel 3, Webber 1
A flawless drive from Vettel saw him come home clear victor ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Oddly enough, the top-three on the podium were exactly the same this time last season. Webber was consistently half-a-second slower than his team-mate in qualifying and failed to make inroads during the race. Fighting with Hamilton and Perez for fifth (and eventually finishing seventh) won’t have done the Australian’s confidence any good. Vettel is now ten points clear of Raikkonen and will be the favourite to hold that lead throughout the European leg of the championship.
Standings: Alonso 3, Massa 1
Alonso was crippled early in the race with a DRS failure that took Sky race commentary two laps to pick up on, but still came through to finish a solid seventh after two emergency pit-stops. Massa’s strategy of starting on the hards looked as though he was holding a strong hand early in the race, but the Brazilian fell by the wayside with each lap that passed. It was a terror race for the Italian team, whose hopes of closing the gap to Red Bull were dashed when Vettel was able to overtake Alonso in the opening laps. Alonso did well to recover to eighth and less than three tenths behind the struggling Webber, but will be disappointed to have lost 19 points to Sebastian Vettel.
Standings: Button 3, Perez 1
Sergio Perez was born again in Bahrain, delivering a stunning drive that was a stark contrast to his performances in the three events before this weekend. Both he and Button drove maturely in fighting for position and Jenson will be quite embarrassed to have finished so far behind his team-mate after having requested the team to calm him down during the event. If Sergio can deliver results like these more often, McLaren won’t look so silly having signed him so quickly after Lewis Hamilton’s departure. Perez is a special case and if McLaren can find his perfect balance, they’ll have a very strong driver on their hands. If they can’t, expect more results like in the first three rounds.
Standings: Raikkonen 3, Grosjean 1
Kimi once again delivered the results when they were needed and has a 17-point lead over third-placed driver Hamilton. The ever-quiet Finn came home with his team-mate to secure an important double-podium result, again overtaking Ferrari in the standings and putting them back into second place. Grosjean’s race was quite easily his strongest of 2013 and will have bolstered his confidence ahead of the three week break. Romain is losing ten points to Raikkonen per race and will need to turn that around very quickly if he has any hope of beating his team-mate in 2013. Bahrain was a strong result but the Frenchman will need to go even faster to out-perform the 2007 Formula One World Champion.
Standings: Rosberg 0, Hamilton 4
After a quiet first half of the race, Hamilton’s late-stage surge placed him fifth at the chequered flag. His team-mate, who secured pole the day before, came home with only two points.
Nico will be disappointed to have lost out to Hamilton after the advantage he held after Saturday’s qualifying and is surely starting to feel the heat. He’s 36 points behind after four events – a ratio only slightly better than Grosjean’s against Raikkonen – and will be praying Lewis inherits some of his bad luck later in the season. Hamilton is a tough competitor and will be very happy with the gap between his team-mate and unless Rosberg can start achieving the results he needs, the Briton is threatening to make Nico look like another Heikki.
Standings: Hulkenberg 4, Gutierrez 0
The Hulkenberg Show continued in Bahrain, with the German completely out-pacing his team-mate for the fourth race in succession. Gutierrez, who was only three tenths behind Nico in Q1, was relegated to the back of the grid after his Chinese Grand Prix penalty was enforced. From there the Mexican looked unlikely to make any progress up the field and, expectedly, finished an anonymous 18th. The C31 didn’t enjoy the hot Bahraini climate and barely featured all weekend, Hulkenberg’s best performance giving the team 12th place after 57 laps. The team has half the points that it did at this stage last year and will need some strong updates in the coming races if they hope to take the fight to Force India at any point in the season.
Standings: di Resta 3, Sutil 1
Sutil qualified a mere 0.011 behind di Resta in seventh on Saturday, but a disappointing race left him 13th. To make matters worse, his team-mate came home an impressive fourth position, equaling his career best. The Scottish driver has had the legs on Sutil for the past three races and is starting to look the clear top-dog in the Force India motor-home. Force India’s start to the season has been impressive, di Resta’s Bahrain result holding them ahead of McLaren for another race. The VJM06 still looks stronger than their Woking rival’s MP4-28, but di Resta and Sutil will need to consistently deliver results in the next few rounds if they have any hope of maintaining supremacy over a rival with a much larger budget. McLaren’s steps in Bahrain suggested it’s only a matter of time until Force India are left behind.
Standings: Maldonado 2, Bottas 2
Though the two set identical times on Saturday, it was Bottas who went forward and put himself two places ahead of his Venezuelan team-mate. Unfortunately for Valtteri, the extra set he consumed setting that time put him on the back foot on Sunday and he finished well behind his 28-year-old team-mate. It was Williams’s best performance of the season so-far and could be a sign of things to come in Europe. It’s exactly a year since Maldonado won his first Grand Prix in Spain and he’ll be disappointed if the team isn’t able to help him to at least a point in three weeks time. For Bottas, the harsh reality that out-qualifying your team-mate doesn’t always put you on the front foot for the race hit home quickly. It’s anybodies guess who will score Williams’s first points of the season.
Standings: Ricciardo 3, Vergne 1
Ricciardo edged out his team-mate in qualifying once again and was well out of the way when Jean-Eric was involved in an incident with van der Garde on the opening lap. The STR8 didn’t look as solid as it did in China this weekend and the small team will need all the updates they can get for the Spanish Grand Prix. Sauber behind could steal points at any moment and Vergne and Ricciardo will need a buffer over their closest rivals before that time comes. Vergne and Ricciardo’s fastest laps were the two slowest of the race and the gap to McLaren and Force India is considerable already. It looks as if the team’s hope of fighting for sixth in the standings might have been too optimistic.
Standings: Pic 4, van der Garde 0
Pic came home strongly in the Bahraini heat while van der Garde was involved in a clumsy incident with Vergne in the opening stages of the race. Charles finished in front of the two Marussias and Gutierrez on his way to finish 17th, while Giedo trundled home to be classified last of the finishers. Bahrain was a step forward for the struggling Caterham team, but they’ll need to do a lot better in the next few races if they wish to put up a fight against Marussia. Kovalainen was none too impressed at the CT03 when he tested it on Friday; the team have a lot of work to do.
Standings: Bianchi 4, Chilton 0
Bianchi out-qualified his team-mate by three tenths and his fastest lap time was half a second better than that of Chilton’s. None the less it was an important race for Chilton, who looked much stronger here than he has all year. There’s still a mountain to climb, but Europe will provide tracks the Brit is familiar with and his deficit may close even further in the coming rounds. It’ll be an important boost for Max if he can manage it, as he’s been looking decidedly second-rate until this point. For Bianchi, if he can maintain this advantage for the next few rounds, he’ll have secured the mental advantage over Chilton.