Top ten pictures from the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

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A selection of the ten best pictures from F1’s controversial weekend in Bahrain.

Bahrain International Circuit, Thursday

F1’s presence in Bahrain was the subject of intense debate. Following the cancellation of last year’s Grand Prix due to the situation in the country, the organisers promoted the 2012 race under the politically provocative slogan “UniF1ed: One Nation in Celebration”.

Michael Schumacher, Friday practice

Lock-ups were a frequent sight in practice as drivers grappled with tyre degradation on the hot track.

After the race Michael Schumacher was critical of Pirelli’s tyres, telling reporters: “I’m not happy about the situation, let’s see what happens in future.

“If it was a one-off car issue, you could say it’s up to us to deal with it. But basically it is everybody, with maybe one or two exceptions, and if it is 80% of the field that has this problem, then maybe the tyre supplier should think about that.”

McLaren, Friday practice

A close-up of the cooling vents on McLaren’s MP4-27 – a vital feature given the high ambient temperatures in Bahrain.

The team had their worst race to date this season, bringing home just four points. They lost the lead in the constructors’ championship and Lewis Hamilton fell behind in the drivers’ title race.

Daniel Ricciardo, qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo starred in qualifying, taking a career-best sixth on the grid. But he made a poor start and by lap two had fallen to 17th place.

Bahrain Grand Prix

Not the sort of burning rubber you usually associate with motor racing – tyres were set ablaze by protesters, sending plumes of smoke into the sky during the race.

Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain Grand Prix

Romain Grosjean made a superb start and passed Hamilton for second place on lap seven.

He went on to lead in his 11th F1 race and scored his first podium finish.

Nico Hulkenberg, Bahrain Grand Prix

A TV helicopter hovers behind Nico Hulkenberg’s car during the race. The disturbed air from his rear wing distorts the view of its tail.

But the cameras had seemed to overlook the two Force Indias during qualifying.

On Friday the team did not run during second practice. They did so in order to return home during daylight, after several team members were caught up in a petrol bomb attack while travelling from the circuit earlier in the week.

This prompted speculation that they were deliberately overlooked during Saturday’s coverage for breaking ranks with the other teams. Counter-claims that the FOM director had avoided showing the cars because of their alcohol sponsors were undermined when the VJM05s reappeared on TV screens during the race.

“Nobody cares if someone is ninth or eleventh,” said Bernie Ecclestone, when asked why the Force Indias had not been shown.

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, Bahrain Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel certainly did care about the person who started eleventh – because he appeared on his tail halfway through the race.

He came under serious pressure for the lead from Kimi Raikkonen. But the Red Bull driver held him off to win by 3.3 seconds.

Paul di Resta and Fernando Alonso, Bahrain Grand Prix

Paul di Resta saved a squirt of KERS to beat Fernando Alonso to the line and equal his best-ever F1 finish of sixth place.

Red Bull, Bahrain Grand Prix

Red Bull celebrate their first win of the year but Mark Webber (extreme left) doesn’t look too overjoyed.

“I couldn’t stay with those guys – the two Lotuses and Seb – so I had to consolidate from there,” he said afterwards.

“I am pleased the weekend is over,” he added. “There should be no real celebrations today. We can leave. We saw the size of the crowd today.”

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2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

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    Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Daimler/Hoch Zwei, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty images, Red Bull/Getty images, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Force India F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images, Force India F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images

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    Keith Collantine
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    34 comments on “Top ten pictures from the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend”

    1. Kudos to Webber, showing how to act correctly in the situation.

      1. As with last year, he’s the only driver who comes out of this showing a shred of dignity.

      2. Makes me proud to be Australian.

      3. So because he’s scowling, he disapproves of the race? Even though there is an entire internet following of his unusual and unflattering facial expressions? And his documented dislike of the way his team manages its drivers?

        If Webber really was “showing how to act correctly”, he would have said or done something before the race, not in a single photo after the fact where his position relative to everyone else makes it likely he was completely unaware his picture was being taken.

        I think you’re all reading far too much into this picture of the sake of reinforcing your own moral stances by convincing yourselves that a driver agrees with you.

        1. Yellow Eric
          25th April 2012, 8:11

          Here Here PrisonerMonkeys. Exactly. I remember watching this point on Sky F1 – Seb was walking into the middle and Mark quickly joined him. This photo is catching Mark walk out from the back to come beside Seb. And so the pic has caught him pulling a facial expression – have you never had your photo taken where your face is captured in a funny way!?

          I don’t think you’ll find a fairer, mannered racer on the track than Mark and JB.

          Certainly not at finger-boy-cucumber standards.

    2. Didn’t see the burning-tyre smoke on TV. Unsurprising of course, given FOM’s apparent political agenda this week.

      1. Neither did I. With all the talk of smoke, I just thought they meant the tire lock ups.

      2. @adrianmorse Well to be fair, whatever the circumstances, they’re holding going to show it!

    3. Did Bernie really say that??
      If so, then this sport is a prime example of the interest and passion from the fans that far outweighs the power of this man to ruin it..

      I just thought, maybe it’s a good thing this guy is completely out of touch with modern F1. If he understood it more then maybe he’d do a better job of destroying it.

      1. The fans cared at Malaysia last year. Button, Hamilton, Webber and Vettel were all in with a shot at pole. It was incredibly tight between them, but we never saw any of it. Instead, we followed Alonso around for a full lap. It was obvious that he wasn’t going to fight for pole, because he had already used up all of his tyres to get to Q3. In the end, Alonso finished fifth, half a second slower than Button in fourth and a full second behind Vettel. Nevertheless, the cameras stayed with Alonso. It was only when he crossed the line that FOM cut to the next car on the track – Button, who has just clear the penultimate corner. And we followed him until he crossed the line, before cutting to Webber … also on the back straight. And the same thin happened with Hamilton and Vettel. It was a very hard-fought session, and we didn’t see a thing of it because the cameras stayed with Alonso. I still remember the reactions from everyone in the aftermath, and I like to think that the guy who decided to follow Alonso is no longer the director.

        So Bernie is right when he says that the people don’t want to see someone who is going to come tenth. We want to see the people who are going to be the movers and the shakers. Paul di Resta might have edged his way into Q3 with his final lap, but so did half a dozen other drivers, who were all running closely together on the circuit at the time. What would you rather see: one guy making his way around the circuit on a quick lap … or six drivers (seven if you count Senna, but he made a mistake) fighting over the last four places in Q3?

        1. “Paul di Resta might have edged his way into Q3 with his final lap, but so did half a dozen other drivers, who were all running closely together on the circuit at the time.”

          Did you watch Q2 ?

          As Di Resta set his time, the director stayed with a Torro Rosso on its warm-up lap – and continued to stay with the same Torro Rosso throughout the entirety of the following timed lap.

          1. Nevertheless, it was not the first time this year that a flying lap was not shown. Nor was it the first time Force India was overlooked. I don’t recall seeing them in Australia qulaifying, for one.

            And for all we know, Force India agreed not to be shown in qualifying when they made the decision to skip FP2.

            1. “And for all we know, Force India agreed not to be shown in qualifying when they made the decision to skip FP2”

              That’s a possible explanation of course, but if so, it’s very odd that Ecclestone should instead make something up that shows a fair degree of contempt for the teams outside of the top four, and their fans and sponsors.

              I guess he was also pronouncing judgement on something he hadn’t watched.

            2. Regardless of what the reason was, for a man that can potentially make or break F1 at the shake of a chequebook to say these things about any team not only is extremely unprofessional but can seriously damage relations. The issue surrounding why we didn’t see the FIs is irrelevant if Bernie Ecclestone is going to provide such a stupid answer like that.

              PM, I’m stunned that you agree with Bernie’s response??

      2. The sooner Bernies ‘goes away’, the better.

        1. Really? Who takes power could be even worse!

    4. Am I the only one that thinks this “UniF1ed” slogan should be slightly altered and used as a tagline for the rest of the F1 season?

      Instead of “UniF1ed: One Nation in Celebration” it could be “UniF1ed: One World, One Sport” or something like that. It could be seen in kind of two lights, as a shot at Soccer/Football which is the most popular single sport in the world, and then also as if saying “Motorsports (in general) is really the Worlds most popular sport (overall)”.

      Just kinda thinking out loud though, I may be the only one that thinks that’s a good idea.. l0l

      1. Surely one thing Bahrain has show us is that F1 is not about one world, one sport. It has changed since the 1970s when Ken Tyrrell built a championship winning car in a shed, to one where if you have £40m then the governing body will overlook any atrocities you carry out against your people. I love F1 but it is far from being one world, one sport.

        1. F1 overlooking Human Rights violations of countries (South Africa during Apartheid starting in 1960, did F1 ever race in Communist/Nazi Germany not sure which side the tracks were located in, etc) now is no different then the series overlooking it’s own Human Rights Violations (if ya really break it down that’s what those lack of driver safety concern was) right from the series start up through well it wasn’t really til Senna died that safety finally started to change. (note though F1 was far from the only Racing Series guilty of waiting til it’s too late to listen to take the appropriate safety precautions.)

          1. FlyingLobster27
            24th April 2012, 19:07

            The F1 championship started in 1950, however its pre-war predecessor, the AIACR European Grand Prix Championship, raced in Nazi Germany, and German cars, Auto Unions and Mercedes-Benzes, as well as German cars, were the stars. Politics were supposedly involved when war broke out, the Nazi Motor Corps declaring Hermann Lang champion, whereas in theory the title should have gone to Hermann Paul Müller (German too ironically). The governing body never officially awarded the title though.

            Not sure about “One World, One Sport” though. “One World, One Dream” was the motto of the Beijing Games, another highly politically exploited event…

      2. dysthanasiac (@)
        25th April 2012, 0:18


        I like that one better.

    5. Most beautiful: Schumacher.
      Telling the whole story: the smoke.
      Telling the story of the race: Vettel et Kimi.
      Telling the story of Red Bull: Mark Webber’s face.

      1. I’m impressed how this well-chosen series of pictures (with the comments) tell the story of the weekend in a minimalistic yet enjoyable way.

        1. agreed, a good set of pictures, especially showing the elements we didnt see on tv.

      2. “Most beautiful: Schumacher.”
        If so, only because it mostly hides the car’s unsightly front end.

        Anyone else note how ugly the noses look from the driver cams during the race? The Mclaren is the exception and looks like an F1 car.

    6. I think Webber was talking about his own pathetic performance. He finished 38 seconds behind Vettel. Even Massa was closer to Alonso!!
      Of course, he is pleased that the weekend is over.

      1. Or maybe he was talking about the pathetic RB8 he had to drag round for 57 laps; with a damaged floor and intermittent KERS?

        So I assume all the F1 tv reports who saw nothing wrong all weekend didn’t notice the plumes of smoke from burning tyres?

      2. Massa was actually on it this weekend though. I’m struggling not to say he was impressive (seeing as he was still flattened by Alonso).

    7. Force India with TV helicopter is my favorite picture from this race!
      I’ll probably save this one and the one with smoke columns…

    8. Not going to lie.. First time I saw the “UniF1ed” slogans I actually though it was a slogan made by the demonstrators and was supposed to read “Un-F1″…

      Seems more fitting I think, given the sport shouldn’t have been there and it was unsupportive to the nation’s voice as a whole. Very un-F1.

    9. Just read the team principals’ comments on the media coverage of the race, criticizing them for “politicizing” the even. I’m so disgusted I won’t comment any further!

      1. So, what you mean to say is “They disagree with me, so nothing they say has any value”. Heaven forbid that they might have some actual knowledge about the situation that you do not. After all, they were there.

        The teams’ view – and the drivers’ view, for that matter – has always been that they are there for the racing. They didn’t concern themselves with the politics of the situation, because they felt it was inappropriate to comment. Some of them repeatedly said that they didn’t know enough about the causes and issues in Bahrain to feel comfortable saying something.

        And they do have a point when they criticise the media for over-politicising things. They made their stance pretty clear very early on, and they repeatedly refused to be drawn into debate over the matter – yet the media continually dogged them about it. They obviously didn’t want to answer questions about local politics, because they weren’t there to make a political statement. They trusted that the FIA would make the right decision. If you want to be angry at someone, be angry at the FIA. You should respect the teams for holding fast in their convictions, rather than criticise them for it.

    10. Esteban (@)
      25th April 2012, 5:28

      On the helicopter one I’m guessing it’s not “distorted air” but hot air due to pressure (not friction).

      1. @esteban Probably a bit of both.

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