The Bahrain Grand Prix marks the end of the long fly-away stint in the 2007 Formula One calendar, and the month off allows drivers to head home and regroup with families and teams. The break will provide Renault and Red Bull valuable time to improve their cars, but be rest assured the title leaders McLaren and Ferrari will be pushing for the extra tenth as well. But while the teams pack everything away and head for the airports, some drivers have allowed the pressure to get to them, particularly the outspoken Mark Webber who is enraged with his car’s reliability. Conversely, Lewis Hamilton is delighted at setting a new record and after his first three races in F1, cannot believe he is jointly leading the title on points.
Of course, should the title end today, Fernando Alonso would be declared the winner as he has claimed the highest number of highest poisitions in the season, but that didn’t stop Lewis grinning to every person who would look. When asked to describe his feelings on becoming the first driver to claim three consecutive podiums in their first three races, Lewis had this to say.
Sweet. I’m well happy with it. Lewis Hamilton.
This weekend we have definitely closed the gap towards Ferrari and to have another second in only my third race, I couldn’t ask for more. And there is only one more step from there and we will be pushing and making sure in Barcelona we will be just as quick. Lewis Hamilton.
The final sentence there from Lewis indicating that the only way to improve from second is to win, which surely is on the cards for the young man this year.
As mentioned previously, Mark Webber wasn’t sharing Lewis jovial outlook in Bahrain, having been forced to retire his much improved Red Bull from a points paying seventh place during the race. Mark spent much of his tour of Sakhir with the fuel flap open. This small device fitted to the side of the engine cover is meant to only open when the driver presses the speed-limiter button on the steering which, which is only used when travelling down the pitlane. However, with the flap opening at speeds of 200mph, the Australian’s car suffered as the air flow over the rear wing was disturbed. Mark is justly annoyed as this issue plagued him during his home race in Australia, and the team really should have managed to fix it by now.
We had the flap up in the second stint – the same thing we had in Melbourne, and the same thing I’ve had with this car since day one. It’s frustrating to say the least, and it’s not good enough. Then we get ourselves back in position again and I don’t know what failed, it could be one of many things. Mark Webber.
Harping back to his days at Williams, Mark commented that he had been in this situation too many times in the past.
Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner made the following comments following the disastrous Bahrain Grand Prix that saw not just Webber retire from a points position, but also team mate David Coulthard after the Scot blitzed the track and moved from the back to almost the front before the drive shaft gave way.
We need to get on top of these reliability issues very quickly, as obviously they’re unacceptable.Christian Horner.
Typically from the back you’d go for one stop and running long, but as we saw in Malaysia going one stop didn’t give me a chance to overtake. I felt that my racing ability would maybe give us more of an advantage, so that’s why we went for the shorter strategy. David Coulthard.
Undoubtedly, Red Bull will be working hard over the following weeks with Adrian Newey to sort out their issues, and I’m sure sister team Toro Rosso wouldn’t mind receiving a few fixes as well as both Rosso’s retiring made it a Bahrain Grand Prix to forget.