Infiniti Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel ruled the day at the 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix last Sunday. Starting second on the grid, Vettel won the race by over 9 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus who took second spot. Romain Grosjean, Raikkonen’s team mate, finished third, while Paul di Resta of Force India came in fourth.
Renault engined vehicles proved their mettle at these races and this was for the second year in a row that Renault RS27 V8 engines have made their mark by taking podium finishes. It is also the first time this year that an engine manufacturer has seen top three wins in a single race. This resulted in a 154th win for Renault engine in F1, besides being the 36th win for Red Bull Racing and Renault alliance.
The top 10 winners at the Bahrain GP were Vettel, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Di Resta, Hamilton, Perez, Webber, Alonso, Rosberg and Button. In the constructors’ championship Infiniti Red Bull and Lotus F1 Team are at 109 and 93 points respectively, while Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen now have 77 and 67 points respectively.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations said, “A great result for all at Renault Sport F1, with a clean sweep of the podium for the second consecutive year in Bahrain. It’s also the first time in a year that an engine manufacturer has done this so we can be really proud of the result. Coming at a tough track like Bahrain, where the heat, lack of humidity and general ambient conditions put lots of pressure on the engine internals, it’s an even more satisfying result. While Sebastian’s win and the two Lotuses on the podium is the highlight of the day for us, there are a number of other positive areas. The performance of the two Williams was stronger and Pastor was not too far away from scoring the first points of the season. Equally the Caterhams have made a big step forward here and now seem to be back in front of the Marussias. Having this depth of performance across all our partners is obviously what we want to do – and having two fighting for the championship is really an ideal way to be in the championship. We’ve got a number of areas to focus on now in the break before the start of the European season, not least with the teams bringing new upgrade packages, so we’ll celebrate this one and then get back to the hard work to try and repeat it in Spain!”
Sebastian Vettel started the race at Q2 and finished on top of the podium. He said, “It was good fun at the beginning with some very tight wheel to wheel racing. At the start you don’t know if you will be quick or not, as everyone is a bit all over the place, including yourself! It’s important to get to the front; we saw at the last race that if you get stuck behind someone then it does have an impact on tyre wear and today it was important to make use of the tyres we had saved from qualifying yesterday. I love to be in clean air, so I was pushing hard to get into the lead and, with the speed we had mid-race, it was quite comfortable today. Well done to the whole team, to everyone here, to the factory in the background and especially to those who were working on the strategy today; it worked just as we expected, so we obviously got the numbers right.”
Mark Webber bega the race in 7th place and ended at the same place. He said, “The beginning wasn’t too bad, but we lost quite a bit of time in the second stint trying to clear people. We went aggressive on the first few out laps, which meant we jumped people, but the tyres didn’t like it. That meant the second stint was a disaster really in terms of pace at the end and that loaded the other two stints up. In the middle of the race I thought I could get on the podium, but then it was about pace management and it’s a fine line between racing and saving tyres. Others pitted a bit before me at the end, but it wasn’t enough for me to get home. If you race people hard then you run out of tyres, but if you don’t then they come through. In the end it was a pretty good battle with Lewis for both of us; neither of us had any tyres left, but we were trying to race as best we could.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal said, “An absolutely impeccable drive from Sebastian today. He executed two brilliant overtakes, one on Fernando and the other on Nico Rosberg. After that he dominated the race until the finish and managed his tyres brilliantly. The strategy worked perfectly with the tyres that we conserved in qualifying, which ended with a dominant win on a three-stop strategy. For Mark, after racing very well in the first stint and making progress through the first round of pit stops, in the second stint he pushed very hard on the first few laps which effectively elevated him into second position. Unfortunately he couldn’t achieve the longevity in that stint, which put him under pressure for the final two. His last stop put him in the range of those on two-stops, and then it was a matter of making it to the end. Despite fighting fantastically well and racing very hard with Lewis, he ran out of rear tyres before the end of the race, but still got some valuable points.”
Thierry Salvi, Renault said, “Today Seb and the team called a perfect race. All the same it wasn’t easy; racing here is tough, with a lack of grip, high temperatures and the humidity was more than expected. Delivering the right engine settings for these conditions and fuel consumption rate while maintaining stability is a careful balance but everything seemed to work well today, although it was a shame Mark lost a couple of positions on the last lap. It’s the 36th win for the Red Bull Racing-Renault partnership, and the 154th for a Renault engine, plus a clean sweep of the podium for the RS27, so there is a lot to be happy about today.
Kimi Raikkonen said, “You’re never really happy if you don’t win, but I suppose second place is as close as you can get. We could maybe have been a few places higher in in qualifying which would have made things easier, but I drove to the maximum and luckily we found the pace in the car that was missing yesterday. We didn’t have the speed to challenge Sebastian [Vettel] today, but we did have the pace to get both cars on the podium so I’m happy for the team.” He added, “For sure it’s an ok start and we’re in a better position that this time last year, but there’s a long season ahead and it’s too early to say if we can fight for the Championship right to the end. It’s going to be hard to catch Sebastian [Vettel] if he keeps taking good results so we need to start taking more points from him, but you never know what can happen. We’ll keep pushing to improve the car and see where we end up.”
Romain Grosjean said, “I saw P4 on the board and Paul [Di Resta] was not too far ahead, so I thought “come on, this is the podium, let’s go!” I knew I had fresher tyres but it wasn’t easy as I had to push but at the same time look after them, which is hard for a driver when you have another car in your sights. Luckily we managed to get past near the end, pull out a small gap and maintain it until the flag!” He added, “We’ve had consistency already, finishing every race in the points, but now it’s the big results we’re chasing and this is a very good start to that challenge. If we keep working the way we have been so far this season as a team I’m sure we can achieve great things.”