Bahrain Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

By on Monday, April 7, 2014

We rate the drivers for their performance during a scintillating Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir.

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

1 | Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull-Renault | 6th | 7/10

Vettel arrived in Bahrain as the defending winner of the race but he never reached the heights of 2012 or 2013 and struggled across the weekend. He was knocked out of Q2 but raced admirably, albeit losing out to team-mate Ricciardo during the closing stages.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull-Renault | 4th | 9/10

The honey badger has bounced back! Fresh from the kick in the teeth of a 10 place grid penalty, Ricciardo took advantage of Red Bull’s short-gearing and superior downforce to pass several rivals in unconventional places and had the measure of team-mate Vettel throughout the weekend.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | 1st | 10/10

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

This was vintage Hamilton. He wasn’t on par with Rosberg across the latter half of the weekend yet he kept his foot flat to the floor at the start and claimed the lead. From there he defended masterfully and executed a vital move on Rosberg as they approached the Esses before the first round of stops. Late on, he defended a position that should not have been his. Bravo.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | 2nd | 7/10

But for every winner in a battle, there must be a loser. Rosberg claimed a fine pole position but was muscled out of the way at the start and from thereon while he fought with Hamilton, he was unable to press home his advantage. A week ago he could settle for being second best, but in Bahrain he should have been first.

14 | Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | 9th | 8/10

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Alonso had hoped to be fighting for a third world title in 2014 but on the evidence of the Bahrain Grand Prix it appears as if Ferrari has produced its least competitive car in years. Alonso fought valiantly but it was a losing battle. His sarcastic celebration at the finish was a peek at his growing discontent. It was probably not the best race for president Luca di Montezemolo to attend...

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | 10th | 7/10

Like Alonso, Räikkönen was hobbled by a car that was slow in a straight line and hardly brilliant around the corners. He made a poor start and was squeezed down to the lower end of the top 10, wrecking any hope of hanging on to the Mercedes runners. Slight contact didn’t harm his race, but this is looking unlikely to be the glorious comeback for which many had hoped.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus-Renault | 12th | 6/10

Lotus F1 Team

Lotus F1 Team

Grosjean narrowly made it through to Q2 and in the race the Lotus was in a similar position. They were clear of the back three teams but nowhere near close enough to challenge those ahead. Grosjean did an admirable job in the circumstances but there is a long road ahead for the team.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus-Renault | 14th | 3/10

“Esteban seemed to be off his line coming into turn one - maybe he missed his braking point, I don't know – and by then I was in the corner with nowhere to go. For sure it's difficult to understand and I was coming out from the pits and with cold tyres.” To the watching world, it wasn’t so difficult to understand…

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren-Mercedes | 17th | 8/10

McLaren-Mercedes

McLaren-Mercedes

Bahrain provided to be a step forwards for McLaren on the occasion of Button’s 250th race in Formula 1. His qualifying result was promising and following the safety car period, he could have perhaps challenged the Force India drivers. But then the gears started going funny…

20 | Kevin Magnussen | McLaren-Mercedes | Ret | 6/10

This was Magnussen’s least competitive showing of his Formula 1 career so far as he was frequently the slowest of the Mercedes runners throughout the weekend. Magnussen was on the fringes of the points when the clutch on his MP4-29 failed behind the safety car. A disappointing weekend.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India-Mercedes | 5th | 8/10

Sahara Force India

Sahara Force India

Hülkenberg had demonstrated good pace throughout practice but a minor error in Q2 left him outside of the top 10 for the first time in 2014. In the race he made rapid progress and jumped team-mate Pérez through the pit stop phase, but a small error allowed the Mexican back through. From there, he defended in exemplary fashion against Ricciardo for a few laps, allowing Pérez to escape for third.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India-Mercedes | 3rd | 10/10

After a difficult start to 2014 the Mexican excelled in qualifying to line up on the second row of the grid as he equalled his best ever qualifying result in the sport. In the race he survived a wild lock-up at the start and picked off Massa with ease to run in third place. He then kept calm after the pit stop phase and retained his position during the final stint of the race to claim a well-deserved podium finish

99 | Adrian Sutil | Sauber-Ferrari | Ret | 5/10

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber F1 Team

Sutil’s woeful season took another negative turn on Saturday after an unnecessary spat with Grosjean left him at the back of the grid with his super license endorsed with two points. His race was therefore a battle with the Marussia and Caterham drivers until he was involved in a collision with Marussia’s Jules Bianchi. Another one to forget.

21 | Esteban Gutiérrez | Sauber-Ferrari | Ret | 6/10

Gutiérrez did a good job to make it through to Q2 in the recalcitrant Sauber but points were always a difficult proposition for the Mexican, and they proved impossible when Maldonado arrived on the scene. Gutiérrez thus flipped a Formula 1 car for the first time since Mark Webber’s somersault in Valencia four years ago. Fortunately, Gutiérrez was uninjured.

25 | Jean-Éric Vergne | Toro Rosso-Renault | Ret | 5/10

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

An example of Formula 1’s absurd weight restrictions was Vergne’s admission that he spent time in hospital between Australia and Malaysia. Forget double points or noise complaints, this is the real issue that needs resolving. In the race he made contact with one of the Lotus drivers – referring to him as mental – and had to retire due to damage sustained.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Toro Rosso-Renault | 11th | 7/10

Bahrain proved to be another good race for the Russian rookie as for the first time he got the better of team-mate Vergne in qualifying and then stayed out of trouble on Sunday. He finished just outside of the top 10, which was probably the limitation of the STR9.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams-Mercedes | 7th | 7/10

Williams F1 Team

Williams F1 Team

Massa was few tenths down on Bottas in qualifying but he made amends at the start of the race as he rocketed up to third and made his rivals look silly. From there the worse tyre wear of the Williams meant he was fighting a losing battle, but seventh was still a good result.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams-Mercedes | 8th | 6/10

Qualifying went well but the race less so. He made a poor getaway and dropped a couple of positions while he was caught out by the Ferrari of Räikkönen down into turn one and had to take evasive action. His attacking style left him struggling with the tyres and he had to pit early, thus hindering his strategy. Eighth place was okay, but lower than the potential of the FW36.

17 | Jules Bianchi | Marussia-Ferrari | 16th | 5/10

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia F1 Team

Bianchi registered his first classified result of 2014 but not before he’d had an argy-bargy with Sutil. It was positive to see a Marussia racing a non-Caterham rival on merit, but it was a clumsy move for which the stewards penalised Bianchi, perhaps a little harshly.

4 | Max Chilton | Marussia-Ferrari | 13th | 7/10

Marussia has received criticism for retaining Chilton. Sure, he’s not the fastest racing driver in the world but he has an important attribute for a team at the back – the ability to finish a race. By staying out of trouble and not trashing his car, he secured 13th for the team and that swings the battle for 10th back in Marussia’s favour.

10 | Kamui Kobayashi | Caterham-Renault | 15th | 6/10

Caterham F1 Team

Caterham F1 Team

Kobayashi was duking it out with rivals at the back and faring well, but he had to save fuel during the final stint of the race and dropped out of contention. Nonetheless, Caterham made small gains across the weekend in Bahrain and the team will be encouraged by their progress.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Caterham-Renault | Ret | 6/10

Ericsson made a good start but his high level of tyre degradation meant he pitted early and was consequently on the back foot. Then later in the race an oil pressure problem reared its head and Ericsson had to pull off the track for the second time in three races.


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On this day
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