Formula One heads to China for Round 3 of the 2018 Season. After a very tense and nail-biting Bahrain GP, in which Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel hanged onto victory but everyone is eager to see who will come out on top on Sunday in Shanghai.
Here’s a run-down of all the news after the Bahrain GP and pre-race gossip heading into China.
Ferrari fined after pit-stop mistake
Sebastian Vettel may have taken the win for Ferrari but not everyone was partying hard as the German crossed the line. During his team-mate’s, Kimi Raikkonen, second pit-stop of the race, the Finnish driver was released too early, hitting a mechanic on his way out of the pit-box.
Raikkonen hit and ran over Ferrari mechanic, Francesco Cigarin’s left leg as he pulled away. Cigarini, suffered a broken shinbone and fibula but has undergone successful surgery. Ferrari were fined €50,000 for the unsafe release and are investigating why their system had failed.
Alonso irons out McLaren’s problem
Two time World Champion, Fernando Alonso, has pointed out that McLaren need to improve on Saturday’s in order to get the best results on Sunday. After the Bahrain GP, in where both McLaren’s were out-qualified by both Honda powered Toro Rosso cars, Alonso revealed that McLaren’s qualifying struggles were worse than expected.
Both McLaren’s of Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne failed to make it through to Q3 in Australia and Bahrain but both were able to finish in the points in both of these occasions. Alonso stated “We need to understand what’s the gap to those in front and improve, because for sure we had a difficult weekend, more than expected.”
Drivers Standings – After 2 Rounds
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 50pts
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 33pts
- Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 22pts
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 16pts
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 15pts
Constructors Championship – After Round 2
- Ferrari, 66pts
- Mercedes, 55pts
- McLaren, 22pts
- Red Bull, 20pts
- Renault, 15pts
For the third race of the season, Pirelli have chosen the Medium, Soft and Ultrasoft tyre for the teams and drivers to chose from.
Mercedes has favoured a cautious approach, with both drivers taking only six sets of the softest tyre compound available – the Ultrasoft tyre. Lewis Hamilton will have 6 soft tyre sets to chose from – more than any other driver.
Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will have 3 sets of the Soft tyre and 8 sets of the Ultrasoft while the Red Bull drivers of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will have 4 sets of the Soft and 7 sets of the Ultrasoft.
Bahrain GP Facts
- Lap record: 1:32:236, Michael Schumacher, 2004
- Laps: 56
- Circuit length: 5.451km
- Race distance: 305.066km
- Corners: 16
- First held: 2004
- Past Winners: Nico Rosberg (2016), Lewis Hamilton (2015 & 2017)
- Past Pole-sitters: Nico Rosberg (2016), Lewis Hamilton (2015 & 2017)
Pole Position will go to Lewis Hamilton. His qualifying lap in Australia was superb but his overall pace in Bahrain wasn’t up to scratch as he struggled.
The race, I think, will be Hamilton’s as well. The Brit is the most successful driver on the grid round this circuit and should have a slight edge on Sunday. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has not had as much success as Hamilton round here but expect a tight fight in the race.
My ones to look out for this weekend are Red Bull. Red Bull suffered a horrible start in Bahrain with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen retiring within the first 3 laps of the race. Verstappen started from 16th on the grid last to to finish 3rd and I reckon he’ll be on the podium on Sunday.