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Nobody Can Do Anything About Hamilton

2015 Bahrain Lewis 3

Round 4 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship came from the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain, which saw Lewis Hamilton continue his impressive start to the season by winning the race ahead of a reinvigorated Kimi Räikkönen and his team mate Nico Rosberg.

Again, it was a flawless performance from Hamilton as he eased into his 3rd victory of the season. The reigning World Champion looked so comfortable all afternoon and didn't seem as though he was going to be troubled at any point during the race. Ferrari tried splitting their strategies to see if they could exploit any weaknesses in the Mercedes team which won them a second place; but not the victory that they wanted. Kimi Räikkönen looked like the Kimi of old with his battling attitude and brilliant tyre management, meaning he was able to beat Rosberg to second and finished only 4.5 seconds behind Hamilton. He would have got my vote for driver of the day for sure! He managed to leap frog Rosberg for 3rd at the 1st corner and then chose to go for the medium tyre for his second stint, whereas Sebastian Vettel and the two Mercedes opted for another stint on the soft tyres.

With Kimi's tyre management being fantastic and even matching Hamilton's times whilst on the medium compound was truly impressive. Unfortunately for Kimi, the Mercedes are still that little too strong for the Ferrari, but at least there is a challenge from them this season. Had Rosberg not had his brake issue on the second last lap, Kimi may have only finished 3rd. That is not taking anything away from Räikkönen's drive, but I believe that Rosberg could have kept the Ferrari at bay for another lap had the brakes lasted on his car.

Hamilton's closest title challenger, Sebastian Vettel, kept Hamilton honest again in his Ferrari before what seemed like driver error caused front wing damage after he ran wide at the final corner after his second pit stop. This meant a new front wing and another podium thrown away for Vettel. It would definitely have been a tasty encounter had the two Ferraris been right there at the end to put pressure on both Mercedes, but I am sure this will come sooner rather than later. The question going in to the first European race of the season is: what can anybody do about Lewis Hamilton taking a 3rd World Championship this season?

2015 Bahrain Lewis 1

 

Rosberg Shows Bite and Talent

Nico Rosberg has had a lot of criticism aimed at him in the close season and in the early part of this season; some of it justified and some of it not. The justifiable criticism is that Rosberg doesn't seem to have the same bite on track as Hamilton. This was seen on many occasions last season, none more so than the Bahrain GP where Nico had many opportunities to take the win from Hamilton but just didn't seem to have that little bit extra that Hamilton has. This cost him on a few occasions last season especially in Italy and Russia. It also seems to have been missing in the first three rounds this season as he has not really had an answer for Hamilton's pace and hasn't been in any kind of rhythm.

All of this changed in Bahrain as that bite was clear to see in the overtaking manoeuvres he produced on both Ferraris, and the pressure that he put on Hamilton. Had this same bite been here since round one in Australia and in other rounds last season, Rosberg would be a different animal all together. I think that this is where the two drivers differ massively. Hamilton always has this bite when he is racing whereas Rosberg is hit and miss, and this proves to be the difference.

As I mentioned, there has been criticism of Rosberg that is totally unjustified in my opinion, and that is that he isn't on the same level as Lewis Hamilton.
I start this argument with the fact that you don't win at Monaco twice by accident like Rosberg has done. Rosberg is a fantastic driver and over many years has proven this time and time again. He would constantly out perform his Williams cars during his time there and how many people can say that they dominated Michael Schumacher in the same team? I know Schumacher wasn't the Schumacher of old when he was Rosberg's team mate, but this doesn't take anything away from Rosberg.

So now he isn't as close to Hamilton as he would want to be. So he hasn't won as many Grand Prix or world championships. The fact of the matter is for me, is that he can be just as good as Hamilton and he has shown that many times. If he was to constantly perform the way he did in Bahrain and showed that talent and bite race in race out he would be giving Hamilton a proper run for his money, this much I promise you.

Bottas Shows Worth

2015 Bottas

It wouldn't be a race post without mention of one of F1's future stars or World Champions. Whilst watching the race I was noticing that none of the previous race’s stars stood out for me. Okay, the Toro Rossos were nowhere all race, even after impressive qualifying from Carlos Sainz, which was a letdown. Felipe Nasr seemed to have a solid, if not spectacular, race and finished back in 12th. Step forward Valtteri Bottas.

The Williams team seem to have consolidated their position as best of the rest behind the leading two teams, but nothing more. It was again another solid performance but the car seems to be missing a little something, a problem I am sure the team will be addressing. Despite this, Bottas' performance against Sebastian Vettel was flawless. Granted, he wouldn't have been in a position to fight Vettel had Sebastian not had that front wing change, but this should take nothing away from Bottas. He kept the Ferrari at bay during the closing stages of the race with some brilliant driving.

Many other young drivers may have been intimidated into making a mistake and allow Vettel through, but not Bottas. He is so calm at the wheel of an F1 car and is exciting to watch as well. I say this a lot, but we are blessed to have such a brilliant crop of young drivers in the field and a lot of potential World Champions, Bottas being near the top of that list in my opinion.

Report Courtesy of Simon Gray

Read more on Simon's blog here

 
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