Bahrain Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

By on Monday, April 22, 2013

Red Bull/Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull Racing | 1st | 10/10

The whole ‘Vettel can’t overtake’ myth was again debunked by his assertive moves firstly on Fernando Alonso and then on Nico Rosberg. Once the reigning champion assumed the lead, he controlled the race and was never under threat.

Mark Webber | Red Bull Racing | 7th | 7/10

His weekend was slightly compromised by his three place penalty but he put up a gallant fight towards the end. The strategy didn’t work out effectively and he doggedly hung on to fifth place but ultimately slipped back on the final lap.

Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | 8th | 8/10

Alonso was best placed to challenge Vettel when his DRS became stuck open. What was baffling was Ferrari’s decision not to immediately instruct their driver to avoid DRS, as it once more became stuck open, forcing a second stop. He nonetheless fought back well to grab a handful of points.

Felipe Massa | Ferrari | 15th | 5/10

It was a dismal race for Massa as his alternative strategy never looked like working out. He made unnecessary contact at Turn 4 but worse was to come. He was unfortunate to sustain two punctures but he rarely looked like mounting a recovery.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Jenson Button | McLaren | 10th | 6/10

Button’s critical post-race comments directed at Perez were a little perplexing. The Mexican was a little aggressive, but Jenson was the one who forced his team-mate off of the circuit. His unnecessarily aggressive defending wrecked his tyres and forced him to make a costly fourth stop.

Sergio Perez | McLaren | 6th | 8/10

Martin Whitmarsh’s desire for a more aggressive Perez was certainly in evidence in Bahrain. The Mexican was assertive but he was simply responding to Button. Nudging his team-mate was silly but it was by far his best race this season.

Kimi Raikkonen | Lotus | 2nd | 9/10

Raikkonen suffered an allergic reaction (to what, we don’t know) prior to the race but he simply drove his own race and ended up finishing in second place. It was an unspectacular drive yet he worked it to perfection.

Romain Grosjean | Lotus | 3rd | 8/10

This is more like it. Grosjean was disappointed to miss out on Q3 but he reminded everyone what happened in 2012. He duly delivered on his promise and climbed onto the podium for the first time this season.

Scuderia Ferrari

Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | 9th | 6/10

He stunned by setting not just one, but two laps quick enough for pole position. Race pace was not strong but he put up a resolute fight early on, albeit one that consequently compromised his strategy and necessitated a fourth stop.

Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | 5th | 8/10

Hamilton’s pace disappeared throughout the opening stint as he slipped out of the top 10. But mid-race the pace suddenly and inexplicably returned, thrusting the Brit into contention for the top five. He battled with Webber, making the move stick on the final lap.

Nico Hulkenberg | Sauber | 12th | 6/10

The Sauber C32 was dire all the way through the weekend and getting into the top 10 was always going to be an ambitious target. He briefly flirted with the lower end of the points but he dropped to twelfth at the finish.

Esteban Gutierrez | Sauber | 18th | 3/10

There were concerns that Gutierrez was thrown into F1 prematurely and it was a second messy race for the Mexican. His post-China penalty left him plum last on the grid and he exacerbated matters by going for an ever decreasing gap when passing the Caterhams.

Sauber F1 Team

Paul di Resta | Force India | 4th | 9/10

The Force India VJM06 demonstrated front running pace all weekend and di Resta grabbed his opportunity with both hands. We’ll never know where they’d be had he run a conventional two stopper, but fourth place is a fantastic result for him and the team.

Adrian Sutil | Force India | 13th | 7/10

Sutil couldn’t match his team-mate but his pace during the race was strong. Sadly the German was involved in another first lap scrap and he sustained a puncture that stranded him near the back. He fought back, but could manage only thirteenth.

Pastor Maldonado | Williams | 11th | 7/10

Williams’s dreadful start to 2013 took a positive turn in Bahrain as the team inched closer to their first point of the season. Maldonado stayed away from trouble during a challenging race to record eleventh place. Securing back to back Spanish victories next time out, however, is unlikely.

Valtteri Bottas | Williams | 14th | 5/10

A sign of Bottas’s speed was the fact that he matched Maldonado to the nearest thousandth of a second in qualifying, meaning that he progressed to Q2 at the expense of his team-mate. His race wasn’t as impressive, but four consecutive finishes is a positive start.

Sahara Force India

Jean-Eric Vergne | Toro Rosso | Ret | 4/10

Vergne’s season hasn’t started on the right foot as he became the only driver to retire from the race. A contretemps with Bottas into Turn 4 left him sliding across the track and he was struck by Van der Garde. The damage was too extensive to continue.

Daniel Ricciardo | Toro Rosso | 16th | 6/10

After the heroics of Shanghai, he was brought down with a bump in Sakhir. The circuit didn’t play to the strengths of the STR7, although to his credit he managed to finish the race, which was better than his team-mate.

Charles Pic | Caterham | 17th | 8/10

Pic was the only recipient of Caterham’s upgrades and he duly utilised them to great effect. He escaped the opening lap contact and raced with verve to finish comfortably ahead of the Marussias. After a difficult few races, it could be looking a little brighter.

Giedo van der Garde | Caterham | 21st | 5/10

It was a woeful race for the Dutchman but it wasn’t exactly his fault. He tried to avoid the stranded Vergne but it was a case of wrong place, wrong time for Van der Garde. That forced him into an early stop and a delaminated tyre later on simply worsened matters.

Red Bull/Getty Images

Jules Bianchi | Marussia | 19th | 7/10

The Marussia MR02 wasn’t on the pace of the upgraded Caterham CT03 this weekend but Bianchi was still ahead of team-mate Chilton. Bianchi tried a three stop strategy but high tyre wear forced him to put for a fourth time.

Max Chilton | Marussia | 20th | 6/10

It was probably Chilton’s best showing of the year so far relative to his team-mate, although he will be slightly disappointed to lose out to Bianchi, despite the Frenchman sitting out FP1.

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