F1 2018: Bahrain GP Weekend Awards
After a thrilling Grand Prix under the lights in Sakhir, RealSport provide a lighter take on who did and didn’t impress in Bahrain.
(Photo credit: Willtron)
Driver of the weekend
There were fantastic performances throughout the field this weekend, from Marcus Ericsson’s first points finish since 2015 to Sebastian Vettel’s impressive second stint to win the race. However, this award can only go to one man, Pierre Gasly. Toro Rosso were expected to struggle with their new Honda power units this season, and around a power circuit like Bahrain, points would’ve been a good result. But Gasly had other ideas, producing the “lap of his life” in qualifying to line-up P5 after Lewis Hamilton’s penalty was applied.
It’s one thing to drive an incredible lap in qualifying, but to complete 57 at racing speed while holding off the likes of Haas, McLaren and Renault would surely be too much? Not for the Frenchman. He sensationally finished best of the rest, crossing the line in fourth place following the Red Bulls’ and Kimi Raikkonen’s retirements. For a man who had never finished in the top ten before, this was a complete surprise – perhaps Toro Rosso can challenge the midfield this season.
Disappointment of the weekend
Red Bull came into the race optimistic that, despite a lacklustre qualifying, they could challenge for the win. Their pace during practice was only a tenth or two behind Mercedes and Ferrari so with a little luck and good strategy Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen could’ve fought at the front. Things looked good in the first lap, Ricciardo holding fourth place, Verstappen storming through from 15th to occupy Hamilton’s slipstream. The Dutchman lunged at the world champion into Turn One, but ran wide, forcing Lewis off the track. As the Brit rejoined the track, there was contact causing terminal tyre and differential damage to Verstappen’s car.
Moments later, disaster also struck for Ricciardo, a mechanical issue sending the Aussie out before his race had hardly begun. A huge blow to The Milton Keynes outfit, but China’s long corners should offer them a chance for redemption next week.
Overtake of the weekend
I’m not even going to beat around the bush, Lewis Hamilton won this one hands down. After a below-par qualifying, the four-time world champion started ninth due to a gearbox penalty. His start didn’t go to plan either, being passed by Fernando Alonso before being challenged by Verstappen for tenth – although we know what happened there. A combination of a limping Verstappen and a marooned Ricciardo meant that the Virtual Safety Car was called out.
When the drivers were unleashed once more, Hamilton wasted no time recovering lost ground. With DRS and a good exit from the final corner he surged past Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg all in one manouevre. Yes, he has the most powerful engine and arguably the fastest car on the grid but it was a brave move so early in the race and set him up for a podium finish.
Egg on face award
This dishonourable award doesn’t go to a driver but to a team. Eight of Formula One’s ten teams scored points in Bahrain. The two constructors to miss out were Red Bull, whose cars didn’t make it past Lap Five and Williams, who are looking increasingly poor. From finishing third in the Constructors’ Championship in 2015, they’ve slowly lost ground on the surrounding teams and have had a disastrous start to 2018.
As mentioned before, The Bahrain International Circuit is a power track and Williams have the most powerful engine in Grand Prix racing in the back of their car. But through a lack of pace and hindered strategy (Lance Stroll had to pit for a front wing change) the two drivers brought up the rear in 16th and 17th. They are now the only team not to have scored a point in this season’s F1 championship. And with two inexperienced pay drivers in their ranks, they’ll do well to not prop up the constructor’s championship come November.
Agree with our choices? Who do you think deserves an award this weekend? Comment below and let us know!