Another decent race despite qualifying gloom

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix Rate the Race result

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The future of F1’s unpopular new qualifying format is being discussed again by teams today. But while Saturday was short on action again most of you enjoyed the Bahrain Grand Prix.

This was despite an anti-climactic start to proceedings in Bahrain when Sebastian Vettel – the closest threat to Mercedes on the grid – pulled over halfway around the formation lap.

But when the lights went out the Bahrain Grand Prix served up more surprises. Lewis Hamilton tangled with a Williams and Kimi Raikkonen dropped back into the pack. While those two climbed their way back to the podium Nico Rosberg cruised to the chequered. Meanwhile the action in the midfield came thick and fast.

F1 Fanatic readers gave the rating an average score of 7.38 out of ten – almost exactly the same as the race received 12 months ago. Here’s a sample of your verdicts on the race:

Did tyre rules ‘improve the show’…

Bahrain was our first real chance to see how F1’s new tyre rules shaped a race without the interruption of a Safety Car or red flag.

I have to say, the new tyre rules have helped the racing immense. Even just having the increased number of options increases the intrigue, even if the top three basically had the same strategy by the end.

The new tyres open up so much potential for actual wheel to wheel racing, the best new rule in many years.

The good: Seeing the new tyre rules working – lots of different strategies today. Decent on-track battles and FOM managed to catch some live.

Grosjean and Haas doing a great job. Vandoorne doing a great job first time out.

The Bad: Vettel’s engine going on the parade lap – he probably could’ve taken it to Rosberg. Empty grandstands.

…or was this more ‘fake racing’?

Plenty of passes, but some felt this was quantity over quality
Some people felt the amount of pit stops and tyres were hard to follow. Should we need to have a tablet on hand to follow a race? More on-screen graphics? Or just simpler rules?

So many pit stops made the race thoroughly confusing. Ended up not knowing whether positions were earned by merit or strategy, same with most of the overtakes.

It was a decent endurance race – but tyre management central of course.

This has to stop – we need on-the-limit racing for most of the race – if you have voted more highly, you’re bound to have discovered F1 quite recently and/or don’t realise that the sport is largely contrived now. Far too much aero – totally the wrong tyre for the exercise. The World Endurance Championship is more exciting.

The first ten laps or so were good but the race after that completely showed everything that is wrong with modern F1 racing.

Too many pit stops made it difficult to follow what was happening most of the time, and pretty much every overtake was down to a big pace difference almost exclusively caused by one driver being on tyres of much lower use and/or a much quicker compound, with DRS just making it a formality.

This is not exciting, it is ‘false’ racing. The Formula E race from Long Beach the night before and the Moto GP, Moto 2 and Moto 3 races from Argentina were much, much better quality, proper racing, even with the annoying but necessary pit stops in the Formula E and Moto GP races.

Quiet at the sharp end

How good a race can it be if the leader is unchallenged throughout?

A solid score, lots of action but not so much at the front.

Plenty of action, a dramatic start, sparks flying everywhere. It felt like F1 again today. It’s maybe something to do with this generation of cars, but Bahrain is emerging to be a pretty good track after all. The race needed a better challenge for the lead to be honest, but the extra tyre option seemed to shake things up a little today.

I really enjoyed that. OK the fight for the lead/win wasn’t there but there was tons of great racing through the field for most of the race which made it thoroughly enjoyable.

Vettel’s retirement and Hamilton’s start incident ruined a decent fight for the win.

Young blood

With world champions Alonso, Vettel and Button out of the race and Hamilton compromised, many of you appreciated this opportunity for the young future stars to shine.

Really good race for some drivers. Vandoorne obviously doing excellently in the McLaren, Magnussen looking racy in the Renault and Wehrlein showing why people say he’s good. I’d even say Ericsson was doing particularly well.

This race to a large extent was saved by young bloods such as Vandoorne, Magnussen, Wehrlein and Verstappen. Shouldn’t that be an argument to have them participate more?

Bahrain Grand Prix Rate the Race results

Race Average score
2014 Bahrain Grand Prix 9.095
2013 Bahrain Grand Prix 7.826
2016 Bahrain Grand Prix 7.382
2015 Bahrain Grand Prix 7.366
2012 Bahrain Grand Prix 6.904
2009 Bahrain Grand Prix 6.420
2008 Bahrain Grand Prix 5.364
2010 Bahrain Grand Prix 4.587

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

Browse all 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix articles

17 comments on “Another decent race despite qualifying gloom”

  1. hmm I have a feeling that if that Bahrain GP deserved a higher rating than 7.3, 7.6 or 7.8 would have been more accurate IMO, I wonder if we have become a little bit harsher than we were in 2012 when rating races, because it was better than the 2013 Bahrain GP

    1. and it was far better than the 2015 one which scored the same, like what the hell?

      1. Yeah due to politics in F1, people give racing harsher grades… when infact racing is better than what we have seen surtenly since 2014…

        1. I don’t, the whole qualifying thing has absolutely no influence on how I experience the race.

          Honestly the qualifying is not that much worse than the previous one, I like it how they at least try to spice things up, that it failed does not mean we have to revert to the 2015 one without trying to improve it first. I think the teams are in the wrong here, all should get their heads together and start working on a solution.

    2. knoxploration
      7th April 2016, 16:28

      No, we have become far too lax in our ratings. Compared to the true classics of days gone by which would truly merit a 10/10 rating, this race was dull as dishwater. I struggle to see why anybody would give it above a six, honestly. The racing wasn’t close; there wasn’t remotely a challenge for the lead; the standard of driving on display was poor; what passing there was came down predominantly to DRS push-to-pass rather than driver skill as usual. But sadly, in the modern era too many fans have grown to label anything where Mercedes has the slightest problem as a good race.

    This! It indicates that the F1 teams are going to put their collective foot down over qualifying. Hooray!

  3. Whenever there was a one-stopper race, everybody would criticize it for lack of emotion and for having cars basically following each other without any battles. Now when there are mixed strategies and teams have a chance to try something different and gain an advantage on potentially faster cars, like Haas did, the races are also boring cause the moves are “fake”. It really is funny.
    To me the fake moves are welcome because if we give the cars exactly the same conditions to race, except for reliability woes or driver errors, the race will became a parade and the results will always be the same since this is not a spec formula, with faster teams doing 1-2 and the othet teams following with two cars.

  4. It’s genuinely not a bad circuit. To have half of the races rated over 7/10 is not bad. And don’t forget the only race below 5 was on the endurance layout. Hopefully people can stop criticising this one!

    1. @Strontium and also the 2012 race only has a low score because a lot rated it low due to political issues that were more of an issue in 2012 seemingly than now

  5. I’ll be honest, even though it had a lot of ingredients for a really great race, it felt like something was lacking, hard to put my finger on but I stand by the 7/10 rating I gave. I can’t think of a good reason why, but it just didn’t feel like an 8 or 9 out of 10 race.

  6. ColdFly F1 (@)
    7th April 2016, 15:24

    F1 fanatics; a hard crowd to please!
    7.3 is decent, but many quoted reasons are the exact opposite from previous comments.

  7. About right for me. I’ve deliberated whether to give it a 7 or 8 and in the end gave a 7. Good race, but not great

    Some comments though leave me baffled. at least 90% of the journos and maybe more than that fans seem certain Vettel would’ve taken the fight to Rosberg. I don’t believe their certainty is founded for the following reasons:

    1) 2016 seemed to follow 2015 in terms of Ferrari intra-team rivalry in Bahrain. Namely Vettel faster than Raikkonen on qualy and qualy sim(barely) while KR faster than SV on long run pace. Last year Vettel made so many mistakes in the race trying to keep up with Kimi that he even ended up behind Bottas. I’ve not seen any evidence this weekend that race pace balance in Bahrain GP has shifted from Kimi to Seb. SV maybe the fatser driver than Kimi overall but in Bahrain he isn’t
    2) Who can guarantee than Vettel would not have botched his start too? Afterall, both Ferraris had good starts in Aus, so who’s to say they would not have had both rubbish starts in Bah?
    3) After his bad pitstop Rosberg in order to escape from Kimi who was only 3 sec behind him, had immediately done a 1.34.4 lap which ended up the fastest lap of the race by quite some margin, suggesting he always had enough in hand. Even if he was pressed more than he was somehow by SV, the evidence suggest it wouldn’t have been much of a fight

    All in all, this “SV coulda woulda” myth is one of those things impossible to prove, therefore everyone can talk about it. But the truth is, Merc is just faster in Bahrain as it was in 2015 too. Remember, KR could only threaten them then because they ran into braking problems

  8. Duncan Snowden
    7th April 2016, 16:44

    We definitely need better on-screen graphics. The FIA website’s live timing was missing the gaps between the cars on Sunday (which I hope was just a glitch rather than yet another de-featuring, since the column header was still there), which made it very hard to follow the race. Of course, for FTA highlights races, we don’t have it at all. Certainly they show the gaps on-screen, but not always the one you want, when you want it.

    I’m not a big fan of bikes, but I caught the Moto GP highlights the other week. That’s how you do it: a permanent list on the side of the screen, with gaps, and an animated indication of overtaking. In F1, we’d need the tyres and number of stops too, but I don’t think it would be overcrowded if designed properly.

    I still miss the ’90s graphics, actually. Not as much information, to be sure, but impeccably clear and a whole lot easier to follow.

    But on the subject of the racing itself, I’m not as opposed to DRS and deliberately high-deg tyres as some, but they’re answers to a problem that needn’t exist in the first place (plus I think the way DRS is implemented makes it appear more artificial than necessary: let drivers use it whenever they like except when they’re less than a second in front of the car behind; in other words, make it a performance tool that can’t be used to maintain position, rather than an overtaking tool). Simpler rules that give the designers more leeway, but less emphasis on over-body aero and more on mechanical grip, and we’d see better racing without any “artificial” assistance.

    I’m not holding my breath, though. As far as I recall, people have been calling for changes along those lines for about 20 years.

    1. I’m pretty sure the poor onscreen graphics are a way to get you to buy the live timing app.

  9. I have to say, I disagree with @nickfrog I’ve been watching F1 for 11 years now, and I gave the race a solid 9/10. From 2005-2008 (in my time of watching) the races weren’t half as interesting as they are now in my opinion. If you gave them rock solid tyres as many want, then you’ll get Mercedes winning every race by 15-20 seconds to Ferrari, and it will be impossible for the guy behind to overtake as there is no undercut/better tyres/different strategy. Then Ferrari will finish a minute ahead of Ricciardo and then there’ll be a small battle from 6-8 and then about 12-15 and that’ll be about it. No thanks.

    1. I agree. How can a race with >80 on-track overtakes be bad? It was a bit chaotic but at least the race was entertaining until the last lap, thanks to the different tire strategies.

  10. It’s not much of a race when the winning team is decided on the formation lap and the race result is decided by the first corner.

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