Bahrain GP round-up: Raikkonen, Grosjean and more have their say
In this weekend's round-up, Kimi Raikkonen rues missed victory chance, Romain Grosjean delights in first podium and Mark Webber laments another KERS failure.
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen achieved his best result since returning to the sport this season by finishing second but the Finn was more disappointed not to have won.
"I think we gave ourselves a chance but I'm disappointed I didn't manage to win it," said the 2007 world champion.
Bahrain GP facts
- Track temperature: 29C
- Air temperature: 27C
- Ave wind speed: 3.3 metres per second
- Humidity: 32%
- Fastest lap: Sebastian Vettel (lap 41): 1 min 36.379 secs
- Fastest Speeds:
- Sector 1: Nico Hulkenburg 237kph (147mph)
- Sector 2 : Jenson Button 264kph (164mph)
- Sector 3 : Fernando Alonso 290kph (180mph)
- Speed Trap: Nico Hulkenburg 318kph (198mph)
"In the end we were not fast enough to win. I got one chance to get past Sebastian but I chose the wrong side. That was the only chance really.
"In the last race [when the Finn dropped from second to 14th after his tyres 'fell off the cliff' in terms of grip] we failed and probably people thought we were a bit stupid. At least we got on the podium with both cars.
His Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean scored his first podium in 11 starts - he completed half a season with his current team when they raced as Renault in 2009 - with third place.
It was also Lotus's first double podium in their current guise while Grosjean became the first Frenchman to stand on the podium since Jean Alesi in the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix.
"It was great," said a delighted Grosjean. "I'm very proud of the team. We knew we had a good car, we were little bit surprised at how quick we were.
"We tried a different strategy to Kimi and it turned out to be not too bad. I think our car is very competitive.
"It has been a tight season and every small detail makes a big different. I'm very happy to get my first podium. The next target is victory."
While Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel took the spoils up front, Mark Webber had a lonely race to fourth - the position he has finished in every race so far this season.
"I didn't have Kers for the first lap, so it was difficult to put pressure on Lewis, but then I got it back.
"In the first two stints, I couldn't stay with those guys - the two Lotus' and Seb - so I had to consolidate from there."
Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo went from having the best day of his career to arguably one of his worst. The Australian qualified a career-best sixth but went backwards in the race and ended up 15th.
"That was not what I was hoping for," he said. "The opening lap changed my whole race. My initial launch off the line wasn't great and after that I seemed to go backwards, which made for a very frustrating afternoon.
"Losing all those places at the start cost me dear. I need to be hard on myself now and find out what I did wrong to make sure I don't do it again."
Did you know?
Vettel's victory means four different drivers have won the opening four races of a season for the first time since 2003.
Chinese Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg failed to repeat his Shanghai heroics in Bahrain, but the German was still pleased with his fifth place finish in the desert.
"I had a pretty bad first lap today, but after that I was able to recover and get the most of our race," he said.
"We had a good strategy and the pace of the car was pretty strong compared to the start of the season, although it was difficult to make progress as there were a lot of cars fighting for the same positions.
"Overall I'm happy with our weekend as fifth place gives me a few more points and I can see that we are making progress."
Ferrari had another "damage limitation" race with Fernando Alonso finishing seventh and Felipe Massa getting his first points of the season in ninth, but the result was overshadowed by some sad news from the factory.
Last five Bahrain GP winners
- 2012 - Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
- 2011 - Cancelled
- 2010 - Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
- 2009 - Jenson Button, Brawn
- 2008 - Felipe Massa, Ferrari
- 2007 - Felipe Massa, Ferrari
"We are very sad to learn of the death of Matteo Vignali, a young man who worked in the Gearbox department, who suffered a heart attack," said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.
"He lost his life at just 32, something that leaves us in a state of dismay. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."
Massa added: "It was definitely not a very easy race, but in the end, we managed to do a good job and for the first time this year, finish in the points.
"It's a nice result at this time, but we are well aware that it is not Ferrari's style to be happy with a ninth place.
"In Barcelona, everyone will bring major updates and we will have had to do have done a better job than the others because we have to make up the ground lost at the start of this championship."