Bahrain Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

Lewis Hamilton claimed his third win of the year while Kimi Raikkonen ended his long podium drought under the lights at Sakhir. F1Zone.net rates the drivers after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 1st | R: 1st | 10/10

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Last year Hamilton fought tooth and nail to take victory in Bahrain but this year his progress was more serene – even if he did emerge from his first stop only just ahead of his battling rivals. A late brake by wire problem caused him to back off but he nonetheless managed to extend his title advantage to 27 points.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 3rd | R: 3rd | 9/10

Rosberg lost out at the start as he was baulked by one Ferrari and passed by the other. He didn’t take it lying down as he fought back aggressively to pass his rivals – Sebastian Vettel three times thanks to the undercut – while his late brake problem was a cruel blow. By far his best performance of the year.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull | G: 7th | R: 6th | 8/10

It was another race which emphasised Red Bull’s placing in the pecking order – not quick enough to challenge Williams but comfortably faster than Lotus. Ricciardo did a good job to claim the maximum result possible but his spectacular engine failure at the end means he’ll need a fourth engine in Spain.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Red Bull | G: 17th | R: 9th | 7/10

Kvyat’s qualifying result was disappointing, even if he was hindered slightly by energy store problems. In the race he made a stirring recovery to take two points for ninth place, but he’ll need to start getting closer to team-mate Ricciardo across the European season.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams | G: Pits | R: 10th | 7/10

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing

It was set to be another close dice between the Williams drivers but a sensor issue on the grid meant that Massa’s car could not be fired up. A pit lane start beckoned and while he made progress, being hit by Pastor Maldonado – who else – led to floor damage and stymied his advancement.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams | G: 5th | R: 4th | 9/10

Bottas looked set for another lonely race in the Williams but Sebastian Vettel’s errors meant he emerged from the pits behind the Finn. Bottas could have rolled over but he put up a robust but fair defence to ensure that he collected a strong result for the team.

5 | Sebastian Vettel | Ferrari | G: 3rd | R: 5th | 5/10

This was an unusually scruffy race from Vettel as he cost himself a shot at a podium. He went wide at the first corner – allowing Rosberg to close up and ultimately pass – while twice more went wide, the latter necessitating a front wing change. From there he was unable to get by on Bottas and almost rear-ended the Finn towards the end.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 4th | R: 2nd | 9/10

Ferrari adopted an alternate strategy with Räikkönen, putting him on Prime tyres in the middle stint and fitting the Options at the end. The result was that he kept up a strong, consistent pace on the Primes to enable him to close the gap to Rosberg towards the end. He may well have passed his Mercedes rival on merit but the brake problem made his life easier.

14 | Fernando Alonso | McLaren | G: 14th | R: 11th | 8/10

McLaren Honda

McLaren Honda

In the McLaren which decided not to repeatedly break down, Alonso put in the team’s most promising performance of the season. He made it into Q2 and then fought with several rival teams and only missed out on the points by one position.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren | G: N/A | R: DNS | N/A

This probably wasn’t quite the worst race of Jenson Button’s lengthy career but it can’t have been far off. An engine fault triggered a spin in the first session while he stopped on track in the second and did so once again on his out lap in qualifying. McLaren then discovered more electrical gremlins, preventing him from starting the race.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India | G: 8th | R: 13th | 6/10

Hülkenberg started strongly, aided by his decent qualifying effort, but as the race wore on he struggled with tyres, a situation exacerbated by battling with rivals. He required a third stop for new Prime tyres and that dropped him out of contention.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India | G: 11th | R: 8th | 8/10

Bahrain? Requirement to preserve tyres? Just as Pérez put in a feisty performance in 2013 and claimed a podium last year, he once again put in a fine drive at Sakhir to collect a handful of points in the undeveloped Force India. The key to his drive was his ability to manage the two stop strategy.

33 | Max Verstappen | Toro Rosso | G: 15th | R: Ret | 6/10

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Verstappen had a quiet weekend as he battled a few issues across practice and qualifying before cutting a fairly anonymous figure in race trim. More problems – this time electrical – forced him out for a third time in four races.

55 | Carlos Sainz | Toro Rosso | G: 9th | R: Ret | 7/10

Sainz Jr put in a starring performance in qualifying to take ninth place but in the race Toro Rosso slipped back at a circuit where the team traditionally struggles. A suspected loose wheel after his stop led to his first retirement in the sport.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus | G: 10th | R: 7th | 8/10

Grosjean admitted he was slightly disappointed only to qualify in 10th position but quickly made amends at the start. The Lotus driver hung on to the back of Ricciardo but the Red Bull was too rapid for the Frenchman.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus | G: 16th | R: 15th | 5/10

Another race and another messy showing from Maldonado. He lined up incorrectly on the grid – earning himself a time penalty – while he shot off track twice on the opening lap due as he started on the less-grippy Primes. Engine woes as he entered the pit lane cost him further time.

28 | Will Stevens | Manor Marussia | G: 18th | R: 16th | 6/10

Manor Marussia

Manor Marussia

Stevens was compromised by Maldonado being out of position at the start and that left him behind team-mate Roberto Merhi for the opening few laps. He managed to get past the Spaniard, after which he pulled away comfortably.

98 | Roberto Merhi | Manor Marussia | G: 19th | R: 17th | 5/10

Merhi was off the pace of Stevens for much of the weekend but was handed an opportunity at the start. However, Stevens got through and Merhi had overused his tyres, thus rendering him to a race at the back of the pack.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Sauber | G: 13th | R: 14th | 6/10

Ericsson put in one of his best performances as he made a strong start and was among the group battling in the lower reaches of the top 10. Unfortunately a problem during his pit stop slowed his progress and dropped him out of contention for points.

12 | Felipe Nasr | Sauber | G: 12th | R: 12th | 6/10

Nasr didn’t quite enjoy a start as strong as team-mate Ericsson but was nonetheless in the mix. However, intermittent loss of power – engineers estimate it cost him 12 seconds – meant he was fighting with one arm behind his back.


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