Bahrain rated best race of the year so far

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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F1’s annual visit to Bahrain remains a bone of contention. In the race itself Sebastian Vettel hit the front early on and although he was never really threatened there was plenty going on behind him.

Fernando Alonso had problems with his DRS, the McLaren pair scrapped furiously and Paul Di Resta narrowly missed out on a maiden podium.

But there was also a degree of the familiar about the Bahrain Grand Prix: Heikki Kovalainen returned for Caterham in first practice, Esteban Guitierrez was knocked out of qualifying in Q1 for the third time in four races and – most unusually – the podium was exactly the same as last year.

F1 Fanatic readers gave the race the highest average rating of the year so far with

There was some great racing and good strategy but I think this has ‘a what might have been’ feel.. If Raikkonen had qualified where he should have done, and Alonso hadn’t had his problem then I think it would have been pretty epic with those three fighting for the victory.

Lots of things to commend though, and much more enjoyable than the farce with the tyres last week, but DRS was still too easy, and Raikkonen really needs to sort out his qualifying.

Easily the best race of the year.

Pros: Incredible pass from Vettel on Alonso on the opening laps; Really exiting battles between multiple drivers for the entire race; DRS could have been a bit shorter along the pit straight, but other than that it was spot on perfect; Pirelli made the right choice of scrapping the soft tyre in favour of the medium. Provided drivers the ability to push and fight; Good to see Sergio ??getting his elbows out??, and being largely quicker than Button throughout the race; Amazing fight back from Alonso after the DRS failure; Lewis coming out of seemingly nowhere to take fifth on the last lap; Good too see Grosjean getting a podium; Vettel’s helmet was just awesome; Great defensive driving by Rosberg despite having a rather handicapped car in terms of pace.

Cons: Alonso’s DRS failure ruined his chances; No competition for Vettel, but that’s hardly his fault; Rosberg’s pace (or lack of); Would have liked to see Massa get into the sharp end of the points, unfortunately the tyres just failed on him twice; DRS on the pit straight could have been maybe 50m shorter, but really not too bad; Felt so bad for Paul Di Resta – he really deserved a podium, but through no fault of his own, just didn’t happen. I’ve been critical of Di Resta, but can’t fault him today.

All in all, a great race, really enjoyed it. I sure hope that these setbacks for Alonso don’t come back and bite him in the end.
Chris (@Tophercheese21)

Although the race lacked a fight for the lead there were plenty of other battles for points, including Alonso and the McLaren drivers:

Great race overall. The only disappointment was the one-sided fight for the top spot but other than that everything else was very close with some great drives and great battles throughout the field.

Also Perez and Grosjean finally showed their true potential which was a huge positive and Raikkonen really look like the real deal this season which is just great for the championship.

Vettel wins tend to be quite boring. If there had been a real battle for the lead it would’ve been way more interesting. However, watching Grosjean hunt down the field was very interesting, and i must give a lot of credit to Alonso, finishing in seventh despite two early pit stops and not using DRS is a fantastic performance.

A good race, lots of hard, aggressive and mostly fair wheel-to-wheel action all the way through the field. Great to see both Lotus cars on the podium, Hamilton with a hugely impressive performance, the brawling McLarens but bitterly disappointing to see Alonso suffer a failure and lose so many points today. The deficit is up to 30 points now.

However the main source of criticism for races this year remained a concern for several readers:

DRS was too strong, tyres were too weak, and a race-winning contender was taken out of the running my a mechanical fault pertaining to a stupid piece of wing regulation.

The DRS proved to be overpowered and the tyres didn’t survived to the conditions ultimately hindering the race. There was no fight for the lead, Red Bull and Vettel showed how good they are at Bahrain and that’s all fair but drama had a part on it. Ferrari had a glitch but they were looking at 2nd realistically. In the end a bit of a downer after qualifying.

And it’s caused at least one reader to scrap their race plans for this year:

Sad to say that I’m done with F1 after 37 years.

I no longer enjoy the racing, I loathe DRS to the point where I turned off last week and tuned out today.

The tyres are dumb. Listening to drivers been told not to race and to run only to a predetermined lap time isn’t racing and isn’t what I enjoy watching.

I had planned a trip to Spa but have now called off that trip. All this artificial stuff and gimmicks have seen F1 lose a long-time fan who’s brought tons of merchandise and attended a dozen races.

Previous rate the race results

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

51 comments on “Bahrain rated best race of the year so far”

  1. That’s really surprising actually, Malaysia topped it for me!

    1. Also, for me!

    2. @electrolite me also but too many people voted low scores out of a spite for Vettel’s ignoring of team orders, which tainted the results.

      As nobody really stopped to hear the whole situation, the results were really affected by it.

      1. @vettel1

        If someone doesn’t enjoy a race, because of an incident, shouldn’t that be reflected in a “rate the race” poll?

        1. @mike, yes, if they knew what the incident was. I liken it to a court case: the jury shouldn’t cast their vote out of spite for the driver or without first having heard the evidence.

          @nick-uk very true with regards to the baseline average, although there has been a good counter-claim raised against that in that it is a personal choice to watch the race, so naturally you would enjoy it. With that in mind I take the baseline average as a 6 because I tend to like all F1 races as a norm, otherwise I wouldn’t watch it!

          1. @vettel1

            And what if some jurors don’t agree?

            Not commenting on what side is right, But wondering what the point of looking at a pole is if you’re not interested in what others think?

        2. @mike if the jurors disagree after hearing the for and against I’m entirely okay with them giving the guilty verdict, but not before they’ve heard the defence case.

          I feel that is exactly what happened with that poll though, which is why I proposed the idea of a re-poll for that race: a retrial, sticking with the court theme.

      2. +1 well said

      3. Nick.UK (@)
        4th May 2013, 15:05

        @vettel1 I think all the rate the races polls are more tainted by the fact everyone seems to think 7 is the baseline average race. If 2010 Bahrain still scored 4.5 I have no idea what people need to witness to vote 1.

        1. 1 would be watching a cricket game.

        2. 2005 US?

    3. And for me…

    4. That’s even more surprising to me that you would choose both Malaysia and Bahrain to the fore, I only say this because in both races some of the contenders had bad races. I still think that the australian round was a masterpiece of racing, I love when cars have in-race jitters like in changeable condition races, but without the natural aid from the weather, unlike Silverstone 2011.

  2. To Kiki, o to see some GP2 action packed race then.

    1. @jeff1s the tyres aren’t exactly the pinnacle of what’s possible in terms if grip levels and durability either. I like that, but I doubt Kiki will.

      1. @vettel1 you’re right.

        Tyres do harm the sport when there is too much talking around it.

        As for car rules regulations, I’d like a tyre regulation.

  3. I think overall the Bahrain Grand Prix was quite a good race, it just lacked that battle for the lead. However, I strongly disliked one particular instance in the race, where Romain Grosjean simply breezed by, unhindered, Paul Di Resta. DRS has killed the art of defensive driving and we saw from Fernando Alonso and even Sebastsian Vettel that it’s not necessary at all to provide good racing when we have these tyres especially.

    1. Di Resta was lapping much slower at the time, this is entirely to do with the strategy the drivers where on.

      1. @mike I know, but he wasn’t exactly helped along with DRS. If Grosjean had got it fair and square I’d have no complaints.

  4. Listening to drivers been told not to race and to run only to a predetermined lap time isn’t racing and isn’t what I enjoy watching.

    As opposed to … the years before Pirelli started supplying tyres, where drivers were told not to race and to run only to a predetermined lap time so that they could leap-frog other drivers in the pits because of their fuelling strategy?

    That’s not racing.

    1. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey)
      4th May 2013, 19:26

      And it wasn’t exciting to watch in the slightest, either.

      1. The season after the refueling ban, and before Pirelli tyres was beautiful. 2010 was pretty perfect. (No DRS either and it was great!)

        1. soundscape (@)
          5th May 2013, 3:50

          As I recall, the 2010 season was plagued with a lack of passing across many of the tracks. There were plenty of complaints at the time.

          1. 2010 was a beautiful season, looking at it as a season… But race for race it was generally quite dull with the few exceptions of course.

            I personally would go for DRS over the tyres. Drivers (generally) being able to push whenever they wanted and a little help from DRS to get close. DRS is only usually over effective when differences in tyres come into it, or there is an obvious speed differential between the cars.

    2. The years before Pirelli started supplying tyres, where drivers were told not to race and to run only to a predetermined lap time so that they could leap-frog other drivers in the pits because of their fuelling strategy

      @prisoner-monkeys You’re right, there’s nothing new about this at all. Formula One has for decades involved, at times, drivers having to run less than flat out to preserve engines, conserve fuel, meet a particular race strategy etc.

      What has changed is that we now get to listen to excerpts from team radio and hear instructions of this kind, which many fans were blissfully unaware of in the past. This leads to the perception that teams have suddenly abandoned some mythical era when every car raced at 100% for the entire race.

      People who have a bug bear about the tyres leap on these messages as proof that the current Pirellis have ruined Formula One. They will focus on say the team interchange between Jenson Button and McLaren at China when he’s trying to do one stop less than the others and obviously has to drive in a different manner to his competitors to achieve that.

      Racing is a strategic sport and sometimes strategy requires something less than driving at maximum pace for the entire race. The sport is no less interesting for that.

  5. Well this was not what I had in mind. I thought it would be around 6.8 or 6.9 but definitely not 7.8. So that means most people this year have actually voted with the race in mind and not the political situation. This confirms what I have feared for a long time: It has become accepted as a normality

    1. @force-maikel there has been a general upward trajectory in the ratings. That of course will be partially down to the quality of racing, but I think the politics are still firmly prominent.

      I think a bigger issue does need to be made of it though, to put the government under serious pressure.

    2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      5th May 2013, 8:15


      So that means most people this year have actually voted with the race in mind and not the political situation.

      Last time is checked it was called: “Rate the race.”
      Not “Rate the political situation”. Lol

  6. Strange to see the Mayalsian GP so below. I thought it was fantastic with the battle for the lead.

    1. A lot of people voted negatively on that one because they felt that Vettel had stolen Victory from Mark. Now I might have partially agreed with that I still gave it an 8 or a 7 I can’t quite remember.

      1. I think people just jumped to conclusions without actually having seen the whole story unfold @force-maikel. I personally though liked the fact he stuck his index finger up to team orders in general, not just his team, and gave us a fantastic piece of racing in the process! It was definitely the highlight of the race for me Vettel and Webber’s battle!

        1. It wasn’t a battle. It was an ambush.

          1. F1fanNL (@)
            6th May 2013, 12:50


            I absolutely agree.
            Pitting Vettel too early then telling him to stay behind Webber promising him he would be allowed to challenge Webber later on in the race and telling him to hold position when that moment came was nothing short of distasteful.

            If I was Vettel I would have been furious.

  7. @vettel1 Totally agree but I have a feeling we haven’t heard the full story just yet. Mark Webber’s memories should shed some light on it all :P

    1. @force-maikel if his face on the podium is anything to go by, I think I might know how he feels already about the whole issue! That was the most depressed-looking person on the podium I think I’ve ever seen!

  8. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    4th May 2013, 14:35

    What, better than Australia? There are some very weird people on this site.

    1. +1 so far Melbourne was the most entertaining in my opinion.

    2. @william-brierty I thought Australia was rather dull actually, perhaps that is just because I wasn’t in the greatest of moods having gotten up so early though!

      1. I, being the unbiased jury that I am, say China was the best race of the season. :)

  9. I understand Kiki. But I hope all this is just a temporary thing which will go away.
    I’ve long wondered how to try to change it. Mail the teams? FOM? FIA? Online petitions?

    Sad how a bad temporary solution became permanent.

    1. David not Coulthard (@)
      4th May 2013, 15:24

      Perhaps when spectators boo as if they are in Austria in the year 2002 AD with 2 Byrne-penned cars crossing the finish line?

  10. Just goes to show how meh the other races were.

  11. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    4th May 2013, 16:00

    Nice race, but the DRS problem with Alonso and the DRS passes in general made it a little low in my opinion. However, I liked Perez’s battles and Hamilton’s chase to Webber!

  12. I´m a bit surprised how well this race placed. It wasn´t the best but it wasn´t boring either. I guess the only thing that made it up to me was the fact that Alonso was able to really race without DRS! Just goes to show how much that is needed!
    I was gutted though that he had a mechanical failure with it but it also goes to show you can never leave him out of an equation!

  13. The tyre situation this year is getting ridiculous, the fact that drivers can no longer push themselves and their opponents to the limit is becoming a joke. I’m beginning to doubt that passing without DRS isn’t even feasible with the current compounds, all the strain you’d put on them by running in the dirty air trying to out brake someone into a corner would destroy the tryes and ruin the rest of your stint.

    In the future if the FIA still sees a need for DRS maybe they could only use for lapped traffic, that way front runners could still defend their positions and battle without being hung up on back markers.

  14. I’m with Kiki shame about Spa ,for me the greatest current circuit. I am afraid I shouldn’t rate any of these races because I have not been able to stand watching any of them till the end . I must admit the period when M.S. dominated was frustrating but I did manage to watch the entire races.This DRS -Tyre fiasco leaves me cold.First race attended 1965 BGP.

  15. And a lot of people on this site said that F1 was boring and messed up after Bahrain… Excluding Malaysia, which was skewed due to team orders, each of the races so far have had a rating of at least 7.4, which hardly sounds like boring to me.

    1. @craig-o the counter arguements were though that the baseline is always taken as a 7, which maybe skews the results.

      My return argument to that though is that we all watch F1 because we enjoy doing so, so really it takes a lot to make the general population of F1 fans to dislike a race. We may have gripes with it (I certainly do) but that’s faulting a perfect product in my eyes, so if anything I’d rate it as every race is perfect before it begins, then pick out the elements that weren’t up to as I hoped it to be.

      That is why I’d rate the 2012 Brazilian GP as an 11: I could never have dreamed of such an exciting race!

  16. Bahrain was a little bit better than it normally is,awful circuit,they should dump it from the calendar but I understand they’ve signed a new deal,oh well!!!

    It was a great shame that Fernando’s DRS packed up as it could have been a good race ,still he drove through the field to finish 6th,shows what a great driver he is.I love F1 but Moto GP is so much more about racing and is very exciting.

  17. I’ve missed this one and the previous one, I just couldn’t fin a place that had F1 in Peru, so kind of a bummer to see it rated so high :(

    But, hopefully spain will throw up a few surprises , as I can see that one again :)

  18. Voted best race because Vettel had a nice easy win… Yeah right….I’ll give Vettel more respect when beats his team mate Raikkonen consistently next year as of now he’s below Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen, hulkenburg, Rosberg, Kovalinen & Bianchi. He’s always had the best car! End of story. The whole pit lane thinks so including the drivers….

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