The Situation With Bahrain

I genuinely hope the positive reports emanating from the F1 crowd of a quiet Bahrain are true, and not because the population has been suppressed by local or Saudi or Pakistani security forces. Sadly that is not the picture emerging from at least some sections of the small country.

We’re being told via Twitter that teams and journos alike are seeing little action on the run from Manama to Sakhir and back save for the odd small fire (and obviously that Force India team incident the other day). However you can expect that road to be heavily protected by the authorities, indeed some journalists counted at least 70 police vehicles along the route.

The reports I’ve seen suggest they are mostly in out-of-the-way villages, journalists had to go and find them, which doesn’t make them any less important but it disproves the theory the country is in chaos. That they are taking place at all disproves the alternative theory that everything is just fine and dandy and nothing is going on. Some protests in the last couple of days have got a bit closer and there’s always a danger there will be a concerted effort to reach the track on race day. The flashpoint was always going to come when the cars took to the track, either on the now-traditional Friday ‘Day of Rage’ or on Sunday’s race day, or both. Thankfully Friday didn’t seem as bad as I feared it might’ve been, even with the sad fatality of a protestor (for whatever reason). I honestly expected worse than that.

Not knowing the specifics of the locality, although I’ve been trying to read up on it a lot in the past week (and indeed 12 months ago), I don’t know if these protests show a sample of a much broader picture. The protesters say the vast majority of the populace supports them. The government says the vast majority of the populace supports the race going ahead, though they have yet to claim the majority supports the government.  I tend to believe the protestors, I can easily believe more people support them than are willing to says so when the government is tear gassing them and firing rubber bullets, this being the same government which a year ago fired live rounds into a crowd armed only with flags, the same government which attacked a hospital.

If the dispute stays within these factions it would remain an internal matter, a desperately sad one with terrible acts committed by individuals on each side of the divide – the official forces have done some horrific things but the protestors are not as innocent as they may like to portray themselves either, the injuries to police show that. If it is self-defence against unprovoked attacks from forces then fine, I agree, do what you can to defend yourselves. But if not? Unacceptable. Regardless, it is a scenario which others shouldn’t be walking into.

It isn’t the fullscale rioting some media outlets are portraying, but neither is it safe, especially when you have a trigger-happy police and army force around. People who beat people to a pulp just because they’ve been arrested.

As a racing fan, my primary concern is the safety and security of the ‘travelling circus’ of F1, GP2 and Supercup teams, drivers and sports media personnel. Quite honestly, if I were a team owner and any single member of my staff were injured as a result of protest action or government response, no matter how indirectly, whether they were the intended target or not, I would take the FIA, FOM, Todt, Ecclestone and whomever else to the courts. There is no way any of them should be in the country right now.

As a private individual, I genuinely hope the Bahrainis work through their problems and in a peaceful manner. Further discussions should be held to progress reform.

After Tianenman Square China went through a long healing process and a period of opening up to the world, there are still huge problems but they are making progress and I am convinced the Olympics played a big part in that. There is the chance the Grand Prix could do something similar for Bahrain and the government seems to be banking on that – but this is much too early. Bahrain has not had that healing period. Another 12 months should pass before a Grand Prix should be held. Sadly it is too late for that now, this race is going to go ahead. I fear for potential lives lost tomorrow.

Positive Thinking

The protest movement is already doing well out of this. The government looks weak, foolish and stupid. Sadly, so does F1 and more specifically Bernie Eccelstone, Jean Todt and the FIA. The teams can (just about) get away with saying they are contracted to be there and would lose millions, potentially their entry to the Championship and thus their jobs, they have no choice.

They protestors now have the eyes of the world upon them. Everyone knows their cause. They have been silenced in the world media by Syria and before it Libya. Now they are front and centre on the world stage – this would not have happened without Formula 1. For better, for worse. They will continue to make the rulers of Bahrain look foolish and careless. This despite the best efforts of Bahrain Government to stop independent news reporters visiting the country.

I am glad some of the F1 contingent remembered they are journalists first and foremost and not press release recyclers, and went out to look for the protests themselves. It was a dangerous move. It paid off.

Will I watch the race? Probably. My feeling is if some protest happens during the race I will be more informed if I watch it rather than if I read about it later. I will better be able to form my own opinions and conclusions. I don’t feel comfortable though and I am fully expecting to switch off – or not switch on at all.

I don’t know that I’ll be paying very close attention to tyre strategies and positions through the field. I may be too busy looking at the corners of TV pictures to see if the cameraman/director is trying to crop something out, the way they do at quiet events when they try to avoid showing empty grandstands.

If I do watch I may elect to withold my usual Twitter interaction and opinion unless a protest does take place, or I may make it exclusively about the situation rather than anything in sporting terms. In terms of racing and sport I am honestly more interested in the London Marathon than I am the result of this Bahrain GP. Even if it does take place in the most exciting F1 season we’ve seen in years.

 

Catch-Up: GP2 Asia – 5&6 – Bahrain

GP2 Asia Series
Rnd 5, Bahrain Feature
Held 23 Jan / Watched 31 Aug

This is GP2 Asia’s first of two visits for the 2008/’09 winter series, the second visit will come as the support to the F1 race in April. As always, first up we have the feature race which today is for 34 laps. These are my ‘short notes’ – I want to cover lots more racing and I’m still working out the best way to do it, either short-form versions of the notes posts or more general impressions like the recent A1GP post.

I’ve got the Eurosport commentary team of Martin Haven and Gareth Rees. Haven is the 2nd tier / junior series extraordinaire, he seems to do commentary on literally *everything* outside of F1 in Europe. Rees is an experienced driver at this level having competed in F3000 for a while before running out of money.

Gridded. Long hold on the start..
Hulkenberg leads into turn one. Kobayashi 2nd. At least 3 stallers.

Stallers are clear as leaders complete lap one, either got fired on the grid or were pulled into pitlane for refiring..

Lots of action back in the pack. GP2 cars, particularly in the Asia Series, are not easily identifiable and less so the drivers. No standout colour schemes. The cameras being so far from the race track don’t help, they aren’t zooming in enough.

Top 5 after 2 laps: Hulkenberg, Kobayashi, Mortara, d’Ambrosio, Rodriguez

Haven on Hulkenberg: “Willi Weber will try and talk him into being the next Schumacher, whether that’s Michael or Ralf remains to be seen.” Ha!

Dive-bomb into turn 1! Cars left, right, everywhere as they try and lap a backmarker who was delayed when he stalled at the start. Backmarker should have eased off and let the leaders through, he just got in the way.. d’Ambrosio ahead of Mortara in the melee.

After 8 laps, Hulkenberg and Kobayashi have checked out on the rest of the field. Kamui is pushing hard and is only 0.37sec behind Nico, trying to pressure the F3 Euroseries champ into a mistake. Commentary guys earlier made the point that Nico won’t be used to the race lengths and the higher g-forces of these cars compared to F3, and that’ll come into play in the second stint.

We’re not really seeing what’s going on with the rest of the field, which is a shame. This earlier generation car is more entertaining than the current European series car, we’re bound to be missing something good back there.

Eventually we see it.. just a long line of cars. I’m disappointed.

Kobayashi passes Hulkenberg into turn 1! Very late on the brakes, nice move.

Pitstops, 14 laps done 20 to go.
Wheels bang, Perez and Villa touch!
Top six are running longer on their stops.

Problem for Hulkenberg’s tyre changer, long stop on the right rear. Cost him a position to Mortara.

Hulkenberg is faster than Mortara, he’s trying it on Mortara with Rodriguez & co closing in.

Valsecchi passes van der Garde, caught him completely unawares, good move.
Ricci got tagged into a spin.. put himself on the apex and someone clouted him. Not sure of his position in the order..

Kobayashi leads d’Ambrosio by about 8sec, with Mortara and Hulkenberg 6sec further back.

Pretty poor driving standards in this field, particularly Razia weaving all around, looking like ramming his opponents off the track.. I know the Asia Series attracts new drivers rather than series returnees but this is silly.

Valsecchi has passed Rodriguez, working his way up the field from 10th, doing a good job. Rodriguez could have a problem because van der Garde is catching fast as well, or is he just slow.. commentary is saying he was an early stopper, could he have worn his tyres out?

Kobayashi wins!! – despite there being no flag until the 2nd place man crosses the line… oops.

Points go to D’Ambrosio, Mortara, Hulkenberg, Valsecchi, Rodriguez, van der Garde, and the reverse grid pole to Perez.

Pretty boring race after the stops, seems to be a theme for these Asia Series races, action early on then gets dull quickly. The two DAMS cars hammered the field here, good job from them. Kobayashi is still at racing speed on what is meant to be the cooldown lap… he didn’t see a flag so he’s carrying on! Eventually he gets the message and heads to parc ferme.

Truly awful standards on the last lap when someone tried to run Yamamoto off the track, could have been Razia again! Let’s hope things are better for the Sprint, and also for the F1 visit later in the year. Keep scrolling for the next one..

****
GP2 Asia Series
R6, Bahrain Sprint
Held Jan 24 / Watched Aug 31

23 lap sprint race, no stops, reverse top 8 on the grid, points only to 6th in this race.

Good start from Perez, has a healthy lead through turn 1. Cars 3-wide after turn 1! Another stalled car on the grid.
Van der Garde pitted at the end of the formation lap but seems to be running now.
Nunes comes out of the pits after missing the start, he may have been the staller left behind this time.

Replay of a great start from Villa, up from row 5 to brake ultra-late into turn one and is now 4th. Courageous! Of course had he got it wrong he’d looks stupid..

D’Ambrosio passes his teammate Kobayashi.
Ooh, lots of action all down the field!
Petrov and Yamamoto going at it, Petrov coming off better.

Wow, 4-wide, nearly 5-wide for a short while! I think this is the same group, Yamamoto, Petrov, Gonzalez, Bonanomi and a couple of others – people keep catching this group which is being held up by Gonzalez.

Perez leads, Valsecchi, Hulkenberg, Valles are the top 4.

Al-Fardan proves he’s completely out of his depth as he wanders all over the road, then fails to brake for the corner, hits Razia and loses his front wing – has to pit for a repair. Razia wasn’t at fault at all, perhaps unusually.

D’Ambrosio has passed Villa for 4th – switchback move, good stuff!

Valsecchi is catching Perez who may be struggling for grip. d’Ambrosio passes Hulkenberg with less than a lap to go!

Perez wins by 0.7 seconds!

Perez, Valsecchi, D’Ambrosio, Hulkenberg, Villa, Kobayashi (who seemed a little off-pace).
D’Ambrosio started 7th, good job to get a podium. Bamber finishes 7th, Mortara 8th but no points for those in the sprint race.

Good entertaining stuff this one.

Points:
1. Kobayashi 34
2. Valsecchi 24
3. Rodriguez 22
4. D’Ambrosio 17
5. Villa 12
6. Perez 10
7. Hulkenberg 10
8. Bamber 8

Next up is Losail, Qatar – which is GP2’s first night race – and then a visit to Malaysia to hook up with F1 before the finale which is back here in Bahrain.

Race Notes: Bahrain Grand Prix 2009

2009 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
Circuit: Bahrain International Circuit
Location: Sakhir, Bahrain
Coverage: BBC One
Distance: 57 laps

Anchor: Jake Humphrey
Analysts in the paddock: David Coulthard (DC) and Eddie Jordan (EJ)
Race commentary: Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle
Pit and paddock reports: Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie

We’re using Supersoft and Medium tyres this week.

** Disclaimer – These are notes taken during the race. They may or may not make any sense and I have only edited them for brevity, punctuation and grammar. **

BBC coverage is a GO at 12.10pm UK time. 50 minutes to race start.
EJ: Two clashing pairs of pink shirts, why didn’t you tell me I had to wear pink?

Qualifying report with Ted:
– In Q1 Sutil blocked Webber on the final corner of the lap. Webber was on a hot lap.
– Sutil gets 3-place penalty.
– BMW are 1sec/lap off the pace.
– Kovalainen wasn’t happy with 11th after an electrical problem in practice.
– Raikkonen used all his new tyres in Q1 and Q2 so had none left for Q3, result: 10th.
– RBR has race-winning pace with Vettel.
– Toyota on front row, Trulli says it is time to get the first Toyota win.

START ORDER
Trulli (pole), Glock
Vettel, Button
Hamilton, Rubens
Alonso, Massa
Rosberg, Kimi
Heikki, Nakajima
Kubica, Heidfeld
Piquet, Buemi
Fisichella, Webber
Sutil (pen), Bourdais

Ferrari report, basically saying “Ferrari’s current form isn’t great is it.” Features classic F1 clips!!
Jean Alesi is in Bahrain for Speedcar: One driver is world champion, Kimi, the other nearly won it at the last second. They are missing something technically, they are not quick enough.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari: We need to look forward and solve the issues we have. We could have been faster but even with that we should have scored points in the first three races.

LeeMcK: For now the Prancing Horse is injured.

BBC Trio of Jake, David and Eddie are outside the Ferrari garage chatting about them. Nothing interesting to report here..

35 mins to go and a short 10-15 second ‘local culture’ video montage, excellent!

Jake leaves the other guys at Ferrari and walks to McLaren to introduce a recorded interview with Lewis Hamilton.
Summary: He’s here to have fun and race and win. It was hard to have his integrity questioned. He’s committed to McLaren.
Jakes asks if he’s willing to up with “the bad stuff” in order to stay in F1, Lewis says “absolutely!”.

12:30 PITLANE OPEN
Hamilton leaves the pits followed by a BMW.

Martin’s track guide:
3.4 miles, hot, sandy. DC is with him.
DC: The apex for turn 1 determines the line for turn 2. I had an accident at 200mph when a brake disc exploded, no worries about safety here.
Nice comparison between Hamilton and Button’s lines – Jenson was faster and you could see it.
DC: No chance of rain but a reasonable chance of a sandstorm bringing sand on to the track. (not necessarily during the race, it could be deposited there any time)

We’re live again.
EJ: Glock is lighter. Trulli did this before in Monaco, he had pole and he won it.

12:37 Martin’s live gridwalk:
Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin is also on the grid but doesn’t want to be interviewed on TV – Brundle not happy about that and will doorstop him privately later! Eric Clapton is ready and willing, he’s here now:
EC: I love Ferrari, I love Grands Prix and this is a great venue. Ferrari will be alright, couple more races!
As Eric turns away we see Peter Windsor dive straight in to talk to him!!
The left side of the grid is in the shade which will help them.

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Bahrain:
HRH: The heat is one of the challenges of the Middle East. I’m careful not to make predictions so I hope we have a successful race.
I like HRH, he’s very relaxed and not ‘up himself’. This is the 6th Bahrain GP!
Martin can’t find any drivers. Maybe keeping cool in the aircon of the garage?
John Button, Jenson’s dad: He’s so totally relaxed it’s unbelievable.
Rubens: It’s gonna be crazy for everyone for water temperatures in the engine. We have to be in free air.
Pat Symonds, Renault: The temp is 6deg higher than predicted and the predicted headwind hasn’t appeared. It’s gonna be hot.
Massa accepts a chat: I wanna finish and I hope with good points. In a hot race like that anything can happen.

Excellent grid walking! Ultra-extended edition.

Bahraini National Anthem. Backing track only, no singing..

Ted’s analysis of qual:
Actual:
Trulli, Glock, Vettel, Button, Hamilton
Fuel-adjusted:
Trulli, Vettel, Button, Glock, Hamilton.
Glock and Trulli should stop first.

EJ picks Trulli to lead from the front.

12:55 FOM INTRO
We join Jonathan and Martin in the comm box.
JL’s first line: At least its not raining!
Live timing has reset.

Engines fired and mechanics clear the grid.

GREEN LIGHT
JL says they are all on the Super Soft.

Rob Smedley on Massa’s radio: The Brawns have cut out the back of their bodywork for cooling.

Trulli is taking his time leading them around. Is this the Ultimate Trulli Train?

Grid forming.

RED LIGHTS 1.2.3.4.5.. GO!

Hamilton up to 3rd straight away. Racing a Toyota now.
Contact at the rear.
Webber is passing cars all over the place! Glock took Trulli on the start.

Lap 1 complete
We’re on L2 – Button takes Hamilton into turn 1.
Webber is still passing, he’s 13th or so. There are cars absolutely everywhere!!

L3 Glock leads.
Glock, Trulli, Button, Hamilton, Vettel, Rubens, Kimi.
Kubica and Nakajima both pit for nosecones.

Start replays.
Replay of Button’s nice move on Hamilton.
L4 Massa pits for new nose and tyres. Ted speculates they may also have a KERS problem.

L5 Cars are spreading out now. Toyotas trading fastest laps.
Webber is up to 11th! Hell of a drive. Helped by 3 cars pitting but that’s impressive from where he started, and for Fisichella one place behind him.

L6 Martin says Vettel needs a faster pace than this, he’s following behind Hamilton at the moment.

L8 Toyotas and Button are really pulling away from the field.
Ted: Button has now been told to ‘turn his engine down’ to keep it cool.
This early??

Nosecam! Camera close to the ground with no bodywork in vision, very cool.

Rubens radio: You will have to use the overtake button to get past him.
He’s behind Vettel.

L10 Martin thinks Glock is going to pit soon (already).
Vettel radio: Target plus 2. Save your tyres.
Martin: Target plus two seconds I’d imagine.

L12 Glock pits from the lead. 9.3? He’s out alongside Rosberg, Nico beats him so he’s 9th.
Hamilton team radio: Prime is slower, Prime is slower recommend Option for next stint.
Hamilton: I agree, I agree.

L13 Trulli pits from the lead. 8.9. He’s out alongside Alonso and beats him! Trulli 6th and has changed to the medium tyres.
Martin says the paddock expected the supersofts to be the things to have and they’ve been taken by surprise.

L14 Heikki pits according to timing, we haven’t seen it on TV yet. Alonso alongside Trulli, he takes him!

L15 Barrichello pits and takes the supersofts. He’s out and beats Fisichella for 10th.

L16 Button and Hamilton pit. Both take supersofts.
Martin wonders if he’s misunderstood the Prime/Option discussion earlier. They don’t call them supersofts and mediums and he assumed prime meant soft, it actually means medium. Are you confused yet?

L17 Alonso pits. Supersofts. Button has passed both Toyotas during the stops and Trulli is ahead of Glock.
We don’t see where Alonso emerges because we’re watching Rubens fight with Nelsinho.
Rubens raises his arm! Does he think Nelson is blocking him? He is being held up but it is for position, can’t expect blue flags. On the straight Piquet has the KERS and Barrichello does not, Barrichello is a lot faster through the corners.
Rubens gets alongside at the tight left but Piquet jumps on KERS and just drives away from him!

L18 Bourdais pits. Replay: Rubens passes Piquet on turn one, nice move.
L19 Vettel pits from the lead. Raikkonen now leads but is yet to stop. Vettel on the medium tyres and he’s out behind Trulli and ahead of Rosberg, so he’s 4th.

L20 Vettel radio: The car in front is Trulli. Rosberg behind will stop in two laps.
Replay: Rubens passes Glock for 7th. Made it look easy, does Glock have a problem? Is it the medium tyres?

Kimi, Button, Trulli, Vettel, Rosberg, Hamilton, Rubens, Glock, Piquet, Alonso, Sutil, Buemi, Fisi, Webber, Massa, Kova, Bourdais, Kubica, Nakajima, Heidfeld.
L22 Kimi pits from the lead. Supersofts. Rosberg is in too. Kimi is out behind Piquet for 9th. Piquet has not stopped.
Buemi pits from 12th.

L24 Massa radio: The KERS is not working very well?
Massa: Yes the KERS.
L25 Hamilton radio: Trulli is on prime, he’s stopping at a similar time to you, we’re trying to out run him.
Button leads Trulli by 9 seconds. Trulli has Vettel and Hamilton close behind with Barrichello catching quickly.
Glock is next and 2 seconds per lap slower.

L27 Barrichello pits from 5th. Comes in just as he catches the slower cars ahead of him, nice timing. Supersofts. Beats Rosberg to the first corner for 8th. Hasn’t he run supersofts all the way? That means he has top stop again to run the mediums.

L30 Pretty stable at the moment. Things should happen in the final stint when the Brawns and Hamilton are on mediums and Toyotas and run the faster supersofts.
Hamilton radio: We believe you are 2 laps longer than Trulli. Vettel is even longer but you are racing Trulli for a podium.
Martin: So McLaren think Button is going to win it!

We’re a couple of laps over halfway and the first car has only just been lapped! Such a hot pace from everybody. No retirements, just delays to some cars for repairs. Another car is lapped as Nakajima exits the pits.

L32 Button is now 13.9 seconds ahead of Trulli. Not sure why Hamilton’s KERS isn’t getting him past Vettel – we saw the difference between Piquet and Barrichello earlier.

Ted has been running between garages for a straw poll: The consensus among the engineers is that Jenson is on a 2-stop, possibly switched from a 3-stop and that option is still available.

L34 Glock pits from 7th. Supersofts. He’s used both compounds and now can choose the preferred tyre. Now 10th.
L35 Trulli radio: Try to open a gap to Vettel, he’s longer than us but he’s on the prime tyre for the lasta steent.

Shot of John Button in a pink shirt.
Martin: Pink shirts, everyone is in pink shirts. Jake, DC, Daddy Button.
Jonathan: Tempted?
Martin: Not yet.

Kubica pits but he’s a lap down. BMW having a nightmare. 18th and 19th. Massa is about to be lapped by Button but Massa has stopped once more than most of the field.

L37 Bourdais pits from 14th.
L38 Button pits and takes mediums. 2-stopper then. Trulli and Hamilton also pit. Lewis has medium and Jarno has supersoft.
Barrichello passes Hamilton in the stops.
Fisichella, Kovalainen and Webber pit – they were running close together. McLaren was wrong about Trulli stopping later.

L39 Barrichello makes a move on Trulli but overshoots.
Ted says Jenson has been complaining of traffic.
We haven’t seen it.
Hamilton radio: Barrichello has to stop in ten laps.

L40 Vettel leads by 11.5 from Button but needs to stop. He pits now. Long train of cars coming down the road and he beats all except Kimi, he beats Trulli!

L43 Nakajima has jumped the two BMWs which now run dead last.
Martin: Trulli is on supersofts, if he can get past Vettel on the mediums he could get a run on Button who is also on mediums.

L44 Ted: Lots of people at BMW looking miserable. Both cars have sustained aero damage and both were converted to one-stops so their tyres are completely destroyed as well.
I never understood why teams switch to one-stoppers.

L45 Raikkonen pits from a long second stint. He’s out alongside Glock and isn’t able to maintain the place, so he’s 8th. Kimi wakes up and hits KERS, he’s past Glock straight away!

L46 Rosberg pits.
Replay: Kubica takes a look at passing Nakijima but hits him and spins!
L47 Massa pits. He’s well down the order, out of the points.
L48 Barrichello is in from 4th on his 3-stopper and takes his mediums. He just beats Raikkonen and Glock, it was a very short stop.

Button is 12.9 up on Vettel, then 1.1 to Trulli, Hamilton, Rubens, Kimi, Glock, Alonso, Rosbeg, Piquet, Webber, Kova, Bourdais, Fisi, Massa, Sutil, Buemi, Naka, Kubica, Heidfeld.

French Seb is kicking Swiss Seb’s ass today – he needed that to save his career.

L50 Nakajima pits for some reason. Late stop? No we cut to him and he’s pulled into the garage to retire. Only one retiree with 7 to go, that’s impressive in the heat here.

L51 Massa and Fisichella touch as Massa takes the position – all of 14th. Button is up behind them to lap them, Fisi seems to be blocking him!
It cost Button 1.5 seconds on that lap. He’s now 11.1 ahead of Vettel, still a big gap for the laps remaining.

L55 All very stable now, nothing much going on. Vettel and Trulli are catching Button rapidly but he’s clearly turned his settings down.

Grandstands don’t look too bad, the main one has a lot of people. Can’t see into the others dotted around.

L56 FINAL LAP
JL: What have we learnt? This is the first dry race. (err, what was Australia then, JL?)
Martin: The Brawn is the best car, the gap isn’t great to Red Bull. Ross Brawn’s sabbatical, he hasn’t lost his strategic ablility.

Jenson Button WINS!
Vettel 2nd
Trulli 3rd

Button radio! Congrats from the team, congrats from Button. He’s happy with the big points lead they’ve built up going into the European season. I think he feels very good to finally take a chequered flag at racing speeds in a Brawn!

Cars heading back to Parc Ferme. I never realised how slowly they did it. Now we’re on the BBC we are watching it happen, ITV always went to commercials here.

Button get on to his car and throws his arm in the air!
Martin says the BBC Forum is going to be at Brawn, that’ll be interesting!

Drivers to the podum, with Ron Meadows the team manager of Brawn. Nice to send him instead of Ross Brawn. Jarno Trulli doesn’t look happy.

British national anthem for Button and Brawn.

Trophies. Legard needs to stop talking about football.

Champaa… no, not champage. Muslim country so we have a local rose water drink instead. We don’t even get Bob Constanduros shouting “rose waaaaateeerrrrrr”.

We’re back with Jake, Eddie and David, seated this time.

Lee with Hamilton: Delighted with 4th, it was so hard to keep up with the guys, they were fast in the corners. It can be hot in this heat.

It is hot in the heat. Yep. Often is.

Press conference with Peter Windsor:
Button: Tough race. We haven’t had the pace we had at the first few races, I guess these guys have caught up. We knew Sebastian was longer but we made it work.
Vettel: The start was okay then all of a sudden Lewis was there, when I looked in my mirror he was not there but I guess he pressed his special button. (he talks about tyre degradation)
Trulli: I am a bit disappointed because I wanted the first win for Toyota. We had a long stint on hard tyres, it was hard fighting a lot of cars. At the end I was quicker (than Sebastian) but could not overtake so that’s how the race was. I want to thank the team.

Drivers of the day?
DC: Jenson and Lewis.
EJ: Vettel, we saw him dominate in the wet and this was his chance to show what he can do in the dry, I’d add him to the two DC gave.

3pm and we’re out of here. BBC closes the show with “I can see clearly now, the rain has gone”. Very good. 🙂

Race Result

1. Button 57 laps [10]
2. Vettel + 7.1 sec [8]
3. Trulli + 9.1 (to Button) [6]
4. Hamilton + 22.0 [5]
5. Barrichello + 37.7 [4]
6. Raikkonen + 42.0 [3]
7. Glock + 42.8 [2]
8. Alonso + 52.7 [1]
9. Rosberg + 65.1
10. Piquet + 67.6
11. Webber 67.6
12. Kovalainen + 77.8
13. Bourdais + 78.8
14. Massa + 1 lap
15. Fisichella + 1 lap
16. Sutil + 1 lap
17. Buemi + 1 lap
18. Kubica + 1 lap
19. Heidfeld + 1 lap
DNF Nakajima + 9 laps

FL Jarno Trulli 1:34.556 on lap 10

Drivers Championship

1. Button 21+10 = 31
2. Barrichello 15+4 = 19
3. Vettel 10+8 = 18
4. Trulli 8.5+6 = 14.5
5. Glock 10+2 = 12
6. Webber 9.5
7. Hamilton 4+5 = 9
8. Alonso 4+1 = 5
9. Heidfeld 4
10. Kovalainen 4
11. Rosberg 3.5
12. Raikkonen 0+3 = 3
13. Buemi 3
14. Bourdais 1

Button extends his lead. Vettel gains on Rubens. Trulli is up two places and Hamilton jumps from 10th to 7th. Raikkonen scores some points!

Constructors Championship

1. Brawn Mercedes 36+14 = 50
2. RBR Renault 19.5+8 = 27.5
3. Toyota 18.5+8 = 26.5
4. McLaren Mercedes 8+5 = 13
5. BMW Sauber 4
6. Renault 4+1 = 5
7. STR Ferrari 4
8. Williams Toyota 3.5
9. Ferrari 3
10. Force India Mercedes 0

Look at that points leads after just four races. Can they be beaten? McLaren have awoken yet are still falling behind the front three. A real shake up in the order this year.

The next race is the Spanish Grand Prix of May 10th, a tighter circuit which is usually one of the more boring races of the year – this will be a good test of the new regulations. Meanwhile the entire F1 paddock will enjoy the break in the knowledge we have no more back-to-back races for the whole year. For the forseeable future we’re back to the fortnightly races around Europe at 1pm, and I for one cannot wait!

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I’m going to be very busy with college work again this week, I hope I’ll get a chance to catch up on the two IndyCar races I’ve not seen yet and post notes about them, otherwise I’ll try to post at least a little something between now and the Previews at the end of the week.