Bahrein - a fifth Flying Finn?

Bahrein - a fifth Flying Finn?

Postby meteorite » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:46 pm

Grand Prix has had nine drivers from Finland so far, Keke Rosberg (Nico's father, though Nico drove as a German), Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen winning champiships while Heikki Kovalanien one just a single race during his competition career. All were noted for a strong and daring approach that got each tagged as "The Flying Finn" during his career. The signs this weekend are we will have a fifth "Flying Finn" race winner very soon.

The new Formula One specification for this year has already gone some distance to leveling the playing field. Mercedes has split the first two race wins with Ferrari who are obviously coming on strong. There is some suspicion in the pits that while Mercedes still has the qualifying advantage, Ferrari may actually be faster over the course of a race.

Certainly qualification here bears this out. Hamilton made his customary pole run, hotly pursued by Vettel. But towards the end of the pole session Bottas, who had been swapping in and out of P1 position throughout qualifying, made a glorious last-seconds run that carried him past his teammate for the pole. Vettel held third with the hot breath of Daniel Riccardo on his back, fast enough to elbow Raikkonen back to fifth. Look at the results and especially notice he tiny time gaps and the way down; the field is leveling fast. (Don't go away; this could develop into quite a season.)

The soubriquet "Flying Finn" tends to be applied to a Finnish driver once he has won a race. So far four drivers have gained the tag. Could we have a fifth by flag-fall tomorrow evening? Look at the qualifying results below and guess.


2017 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING

14 16 Apr 2017 Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir

Pos No Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.041 1:29.555 1:28.769 12
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.814 1:29.535 1:28.792 13
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.037 1:29.596 1:29.247 12
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:31.667 1:30.497 1:29.545 12
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:30.988 1:29.843 1:29.567 16
6 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:30.904 1:30.307 1:29.687 12
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:31.057 1:30.169 1:29.842 15
8 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:31.373 1:30.677 1:30.074 12
9 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:31.691 1:30.857 1:30.763 16
10 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:31.458 1:30.899 1:31.074 15
11 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:31.531 1:30.923 12
12 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:31.748 1:31.168 12
13 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:31.995 1:31.414 15
14 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:31.774 1:31.684 12
15 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:32.054 DNF 8
16 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:32.118 5
17 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:32.313 8
18 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:32.318 7
19 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:32.543 9
20 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:32.900 8

Q1 107% time - 1:37.170
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Re: Bahrein - a fifth Flying Finn?

Postby meteorite » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:15 pm

The promise was there, but this time it was not to be fulfilled. As is so often the case in top-end, ultimate level racing, it was a technical glitch that decided the results. As we found in the controversy last year, teams adjust tire pressures on the grid just before the start of the reconnaissance lap. The unit for Bottas' car malfunctioned and left his rear tire pressures too high. Thus although Valterri got a fine start and held an immediate lead, as soon as the cornering and braking forces (and heat' Mercedes brakes can hit 1000 degrees) expanded the air within his tires they overheated above best working pressures. This in turn meant they did not work as designed and the car did not handle properly, oversteering in every turn. Bottas was fighting to stay ahead and could not pull away, and had to wear out the tires too quickly especially when the drag reduction systems were enabled and Vettel had that immense speed advantage whenever he could close within one second at the start of either main straight. But he could not quite get by so opted for an early pit stop.

Just after Vettel came out again and lapped up to speed, Max Verstappen lost his brakes and on the next curve went head-on into the wall.On the next lap Carlos Sainz, exiting pit lane after a tire stop for his Red Bull, misjudged badly and smashed broadside into the sidepod of Lance Stroll's Williams, strewing the track with debris and bringing out the safety car. Mercedes immediately called both drivers into the pits for fresh tires, but Hamilton was too close behind Bottas. He tried to correct by slowing excessively in the pit lane but this balked Riccardo's following Red Bull, incurring a five-second penalty for Hamilton. Meanwhile a wheel wench malfunctioned briefly at Bottas' car, meaning he had to be held to avoid a dangerous release into Riccardo's path, meaning Hamilton could not move up to get his tires changed properly - another malfunction - and he fell behind Riccardo as he came out.

This takes a long time to read, but Mercedes' par time fo a pit stop is three seconds or less. Three seconds to change tire wrenches - and they are big heavy hand tools - double that time, in this case not just for Bottas but also for his partner waiting behind. The delayed pullout when Riccardo passed added a couple more seconds. The result: neither Mercedes made it out of pit lane (and hence the lead of the race) until the pace car passed and they emerged to file into line in second and fourth places, leaving Vettel in a lead he held to the 33rd lap, when he pitted for his planned second tire change.

Hamilton got past Riccardo in good time but neither he nor Bottas, whose car was still mis-handling, could challenge Vettel who pulled steadily away, even though Bottas was soon asked to let Hamilton by as the speed he was turning gave him a better shot. Vettel's stop dropped him behind Hamilton again but his speed advantage on fresh tires, gaining 2 to 3 seconds each lap, forced Hamilton to make an unplanned stop on lap 41, losing the lead but hoping he could use the new rubber advantage to rergain the lead. But even though poor Valterri once again was asked to let Hamilton pass, Lewis could not quite make up the distance and Vettel won.

This could give the impression that the race was otherwise dull, but not so. There was a continuing battle between Rainnonen, Riccarrdo and Massa for fourth place, while the two Force India cars made it into the points despite attempts by both Renaults, both Haas entries, and Daniel Kyvat's surviving Red Bull to thwart them. Stollen Vandoorne didn't even get to start when his McLaren died on the formation lap, but Alonso despite a pathetic power deficit had enough driver and handling to keep everyone honest. The Saubers were looking significantly more competitive with Verlaine looking well recovered with hisx showing. There were so many battles up and down the track the television director was having to make hard chices almost every minute.

And so the hard-fought result came down to this:

2017 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX - RACE RESULT

14 16 Apr 2017 Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 57 1:33:53.374 25
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 57 +6.660s 18
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 57 +20.397s 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 57 +22.475s 12
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 57 +39.346s 10
6 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 57 +54.326s 8
7 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 57 +62.606s 6
8 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 57 +74.865s 4
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 57 +80.188s 2
10 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 57 +95.711s 1
11 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 56 +1 lap 0
12 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 56 +1 lap 0
13 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 56 +1 lap 0
14 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 54 DNF 0
NC 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 50 DNF 0
NC 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 12 DNF 0
NC 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 12 DNF 0
NC 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 11 DNF 0
NC 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 8 DNF 0
NC 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 0 DNS
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