F1 Race Review: Bahrain GP 2009

Phantasmagorical, that’s the closest word that I could find to describe Button’s season! Three races from four coming from a team that didn’t know its future a few months ago! For all the money that Honda poured through its two wind tunnels last year, Ross Brawn is present at the right place and time to reap the benefits. Will this winning spree go on till they win both titles? Won’t the bigger teams catch up? The questions linger…

Starting at P5, Button moved to third at start. After the lightly fuelled Toyotas pitted early, the race was firmly in Button’s hands, except for a minor electrical issue that gave him a burn on his left leg. Having won his first race under the safety car and the second red flagged, this was a fine win under racing conditions, that too not from pole. Vettel too drove a long first stint and battled degrading tyres to get to bag a second for Red Bull.

The Toyotas started high but finished with Trulli on third and Glock at seventh behind Kimi. With an improving car and driving prowess to complement it, Lewis made an impressive start and finally came in fourth. Barrichello didn’t have his best race, had to stop thrice and had to be happy with fifth. While Massa floundered, the best that Kimi could do was a sixth, the 3 points saving the Scuderia from having its worst ever run.

Force India had a far better race this time with Fisichella and Sutil finishing P15 & P16. They can take solace in the fact that they finished higher than both big budget BMWs. The aero upgrades seemed to have somewhat worked for them and they battled well in the mid-field. Despite the searing late-April temperatures, nineteen cars finished; the one that didn’t was Nakajima whose Williams gave up on lap 49 with an oil pressure issue.

Three wins & a podium give a Button a lead with 31 points. Barrichello and Vettel follow with 19 & 18; both Toyota drivers are into double digits. Champs Lewis, Alonso & Kimi are languishing with just 9, 5 & 3. Big names Kubica & Massa are yet to score. For the teams, Brawn has the early lead reaching 50 from just four races with Red Bull at 27.5 Toyota a point further behind. Dear Ferrari is down at ninth & Force India is still at zero!

After the four eventful flyaway races that have toppled the Formula1 pecking order, the teams now move to the more traditional European races. With teams playing catch-up after the double-decker diffuser ruling last week, the Spanish race two weeks hence should reflect the true pace of most cars. While the old warhorses aim to regain lost glory, Brawn & Red Bull should now think of saving theirs. So long until Spain!