Daily Archives: April 20, 2012

Bahrain crown prince and Ecclestone: Race will go ahead as planned

Ecclestone has insisted there is no danger of F1 returning to Bahrain

Ecclestone has insisted there is no danger of F1 returning to Bahrain

Both Bahrain’s Crown prince and Formula 1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone have reiterated that the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend will go ahead as planned, despite several incidents involving protestors and the teams.

Force India pulled out of second practice to avoid a repeat of Wednesday evening, when their team bus was caught up in a petrol bomb attack. Sauber team personnel reported seeing protests and fires on their way back to the hotel.

Despite this, crown prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has said that cancelling the race would simply “empower extremists”:

"I think cancelling the race just empowers extremists. For those of us trying to 
navigate a way out of this political problem, having the race allows us to build 
bridges across communities, to get people working together. It allows us to 
celebrate our nation. It is an idea that is positive, not one that is divisive."

Meanwhile, Ecclestone claimed that responsibility of the race had nothing to do with him:

"I can’t call this race off. Nothing to do with us. We’ve an agreement to be here, 
and we’re here. The national sporting authority in this country can call the race 
off. You can ask the FIA if they can."

Hacking group Anonymous threatened to take down the official F1 website in retaliation for the race going ahead. The site was down for several hours in the afternoon, but as of now it is back up and running. Other F1 websites have also been defaced in protest.

Rosberg heads Bahrain practice 2 while Force India pack up early

Rosberg was comfortably ahead of the Red Bulls

Rosberg was comfortably ahead of the Red Bulls

Nico Rosberg led second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the main story of the day was Force India packing up early for safety reasons.

After a team bus was caught up in a petrol bomb attack on Wednesday evening, the team has decided to leave the paddock early, in order to avoid the planned protests later on in the evening. It is expected that they will return for qualifying tomorrow, however.

Rosberg’s time of 1:32.816 was 4 tenths faster than Mark Webber, with Sebastian Vettel another 3 tenths back. Michael Schumacher had a near miss with Vettel near the end of the session at turn 10, but both cars emerged unscathed, with the Mercedes going 5th.

Despite leading proceedings, Rosberg warned that Mercedes’ tyre overheating issues were worse than ever:

"We have to analyse things. In general, conditions are probably the worst they
have been here with the tyres overheating.

We learned a lot and we are looking much better than maybe we would have thought. 
But we need to see where we are. We are having to make changes because out there 
it's very unusual - conditions are very tough."

Times from FP2:

 1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:32.816            35 
 2. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:33.262  +0.446   26 
 3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:33.525  +0.709   28 
 4. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:33.747  +0.931   26 
 5. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:33.862  +1.046   31 
 6. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:34.246  +1.430   28 
 7. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:34.411  +1.595   34 
 8. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:34.449  +1.633   31 
 9. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:34.615  +1.799   32 
10. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:34.893  +2.077   34 
11. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:34.895  +2.079   29 
12. Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:34.941  +2.125   29 
13. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:35.183  +2.367   33 
14. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:35.229  +2.413   26 
15. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:35.459  +2.643   38 
16. Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:35.913  +3.097   32 
17. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:35.968  +3.152   35 
18. Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:36.169  +3.353   30 
19. Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:36.587  +3.771   32 
20. Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:37.803  +4.987   33 
21. Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:37.812  +4.996   28 
22. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:39.649  +6.833   27
23. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  N/A                 0
24. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  N/A                 0

Hamilton leads Bahrain first practice

Hamilton only set 11 laps

Hamilton only set 11 laps

After all of the debate during the last few days, the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend had a quiet start, with Lewis Hamilton leading an uneventful first practice.

Lewis only set 11 laps in the 90-minute session, setting a 1:33.572 regardless. Sebastian Vettel had reverted to the newer-spec Red Bull car, and was 0.3 seconds off the McLaren.

Paul di Resta was 3rd, on the softer tyre. Chinese GP race winner Nico Rosberg was 4th, with Jenson Button 5th, who said he was not expecting to be fast this weekend:

"At the moment I'm not a guy to watch out for but at the moment the Red Bulls and 
the Mercedes look very quick. The Red Bull is surprisingly [quick] but hopefully 
we will know a bit more tomorrow.

There is a lot of work needed in our garage to improve what we have. I'm not happy 
today, we have tried lots of different things and none of them really worked so we 
will work late tonight and hopefully find something that will work tomorrow.

At the moment I can't make either [tyre] work."

Fernando Alonso was almost two seconds off the pace in 13th place, with teammate Massa a further two places back.

Timo Glock’s spin at turn 1 near the end of the session was the only noteworthy event.

Times from FP1:

 1. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:33.572          11
 2. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:33.877  +0.305  21
 3. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:34.150  +0.578  26
 4. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:34.249  +0.677  23
 5. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:34.277  +0.705  14
 6. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1:34.344  +0.772  26
 7. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:34.483  +0.911  17
 8. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:34.552  +0.980  22
 9. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1:34.609  +1.037  17
10. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1:34.847  +1.275  20
11. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:35.024  +1.452  22
12. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1:35.268  +1.696  24
13. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:35.436  +1.864  21
14. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault       1:35.497  +1.925  24
15. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:35.719  +2.147  19
16. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:35.929  +2.357  24
17. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:36.195  +2.623  20
18. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1:36.330  +2.758  11
19. Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1:36.484  +2.912  18
20. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:36.591  +3.019  20
21. Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1:37.467  +3.895  17
22. Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1:38.006  +4.434  18
23. Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1:38.877  +5.305  19
24. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1:39.996  +6.424  23
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