Bahrain Grand Prix gets second-highest rating in a decade

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix Rate the Race result

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Last week’s Bahrain Grand Prix was given an average rating of 7.96 out of ten by F1 Fanatic readers as Sebastian Vettel held onto win ahead of a charging Lewis Hamilton.

It’s the second-highest score this race has had since we began Rate the Race in 2008. Is it another sign the 2017 season could be more action-packed than we expected?

Here’s what you had to say about round three of the championship:

The first part of the race was awesome, with five cars nose-to-tail for the lead.

Then it all hell broke lose with accidents, ensuing tyre changes and restart battles. However after halfway it calmed down and Hamilton’s position was the only question mark. Overtaking is not as bad as critics say and the championship is looking very close.
Michal (@Michal2009b)

Battles throughout the field, from the Mercedes fighting the Ferraris, with the Red Bull of Ricciardo joining in at times, to the great tight battle between the four midfield teams – Force India, Williams, Toro Rosso and Haas with Renault, Sauber and McLaren being an interesting scrap.

I feel like we’ve come back to the eighties, with one of the best rule changes in F1 and a high attrition rate. Surprisingly for me, I didn’t find the extreme dearth of close racing that was feared. Loving this season so far.
Trayambak Chakravarty (@Major-dev)

F1 has really taken back the initiative.

Forgot there was a World Endurance Championship race today with only two teams in the top class, same liveries and over ten seconds a lap slower. To think some thought LMP1 was on it’s way to out F1 as the top motorsport series a few years back.

All the races in F1 have been decent this year and tiny things in the races going either way could of meant Ferrari or Mercedes winning all the of the opening races.

While many of you are warming to 2017-style racing, the quality of the television broadcasts remains a concern for some.

The coverage has been appalling this year by FOM. Odd camera angles and random replays and cuts all over the place this year. And worst of all they have got rid of the time tracker from the bottom.

On the race, was very interesting. Felt sorry for Bottas being relegated to a number two driver already.
Yes (@Come-On-Kubica)

The team orders point came up a few times in your responses:

The race started decently, but the Safety Car and the repeated team orders ruined it for me.

Better than Australia, but I still miss overtaking among the top guys. Another race decided by pit strategy, which is good, but not enough for me.

It’s a pity Verstappen was out so early, although it seems to me Red Bull didn’t have the pace to follow Ferrari and Mercedes.
Ed (@Eanton32)

The first race of the season provoked concerns about how difficult overtaking would be this year. The quality of racing in Bahrain provoked mixed responses.

Clearly overtaking is still a big problem, if Vettel, who was at least one second faster then Bottas can’t do it here with long straights and DRS this season is going to be decided in the pit and not on the track.

I think overtaking is in the best state it’s been in since I’ve started watching F1 (1999 season). The overtakes are all hard-fought and well deserved, yet we still actually get overtakes.

The last few years of just cars whizzing by each other constantly whenever they are behind somebody is a lot less interesting to me. Over the past few years there have hardly been any memorable overtaking manoeuvres as they’ve either been easily done by DRS or easily done due to massive differences in tyres. That seemed like an improvement when compared to the previous few years of it being almost impossible to overtake but it really wasn’t great.

I don’t really understand what people want with regards to overtaking if this isn’t it?

Bahrain Grand Prix reaction from Twitter

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Bahrain Grand Prix gets second-highest rating in a decade”

  1. I wonder if this year will end up like 2010, were the race in Bahrain was one of the lowest ratings but then the next round in Australia it was one of the highest ones, not that Australia ’17 was as boring as Bahrain that year…

  2. The type of racing seen so far this year is clearly polarising viewers. Some say it’s boring, some say it’s better than perhaps ever before.

    One reason for this could be the reduction in overtakes. Casual viewers will enjoy DRS style passes more. Hardcore fans will happily wait 10 laps for a fantastic non-DRS overtake. Is F1 catering to the proper F1 fans instead of the masses this year?

    We need the masses onboard to make the sport take off, but those of us frequently posting on websites like this are more than likely not the typical F1 fan.

    1. I never thought of it like this. But in fairness, you do raise a good point

    2. @chrischrill i think casual fans can quickly spot how hard-earned an overtake is. the building of suspense is key to this. if hakkinen cruises up behind schumacher at spa in 2000 and sails past using DRS then any casual fan will say ‘meh’. but if he has to slowly but surely winch himself into position, get rebuffed at 200mph and then make a cracking pass on the next lap, i defy anyone not to be even a little bit excited by that.

      the test is if you can sit with a non-fan and explain the drama of what is going on – i would find it hard in scenario 1, but i would be on my feet shouting in scenario 2 (in fact, i was actually at that race, the last one i attended!)

    3. Casual viewers will enjoy DRS style passes more

      That’s a bit of a bold assumption, not sure I agree with that. Actually, does anyone enjoy DRS style passes?

      1. @john-h Apologies, I meant “more than hardcore fans”. I don’t mean to say casual viewers prefer DRS style passes over non-DRS passes.

        I do believe a casual viewer will be more likely than a hardcore fan to enjoy a race with multitple DRS overtakes, because it creates an illusion of things “happening” all over the race track. Meanwhile, I can be perfectly excited with nothing happening for 10 laps if I can tell that something is building up to happen. 10 laps from now, someone will have to pit and should emerge about 5 seconds behind some other guy. These things won’t excite the casual viewer because it’s too abstract.

        1. One of the key differences between casual fans and hardcore fans is the knowledge of all the drivers and teams by the hardcore fans – this means when say if Alonso is defending from a Red Bull hardcore fans will be excited as they understand the talent of Alonso but the difficulty he will face in keeping a Red Bull behind and so even if we see no overtake here but a frustrated Riccarido/Verstappen trying to overtake for a few laps it would be exciting. Now view it from a casual fans perspective – its a red bull trying to overtake a mclaren – both good teams, probably the mclaren is better (isn’t that the team that button/Hamilton won in?), and yet the red bull can’t get past for ages…i.e. nothing is happening except for the off attempt by the red bull which doesn’t work.
          This is why I think @chrischrill is correct in that casual fans would in this scenario prefer to see an easy DRS overtake as its all about the immediate action for them, whereas for the hardcore fan this would just rob us of Alonso’s talent in attempting to defend from a Red bull.

          1. I’m not convinced that a casual fan is so removed from a fanatic that he or she is fooled by DRS vs non-DRS passes. If a casual fan is indeed watching some races and hearing commentary during the race and catching some of the pre and post-race stuff then they’ll learn pretty quickly the difference even if they’re not seeking info outside of the actual race airing.

            I also think that F1 is not ‘catering’ to anyone specific right now, as they themselves didn’t quite know what they had on their hands with the new technical regs until they actually raced in anger.

            My advice to F1 would be to keep aiming for an enthralling product on the track that does not need DRS as a bandage to too much aero influence, and then the product will be even better and ALL fans will be thrilled.

          2. My Mother can be called a ‘casual fan’ whatever that is, she watches part of the race while doing something else usually. Never enthralled by any of action.

            She is a fan of Alonso and wants him to do well. For the bahrain GP she asked who is driving the second Mercedes car and had no idea who he was. When I tried to explain what DRS was, she was uniterested. She only understood what it was used for when I told her that Alonso got stuck behind Petrov and could not win because of it. However I doubt she will know what kind of overtake it was without the commentator explicitly saying so.

  3. I’ve never seen a bad F1 race. Tech, tactics, development efforts no matter the outcome, failures, lows and highs all keep me interested. I’m also a Kimi fan.

    1. Fukobayashi (@)
      20th April 2017, 13:29

      Baku 2016 has to be a contender surely.

      1. The castle, buildings and the unknown were more than enough to entertain my simple mind.

        1. For 90 minutes?

          1. Same can be said about anyone watching the Olympic marathon, Boston and NY marathons and the TDF over three weeks for hours at a stretch. It’s not about instant gratification it’s the preceeding race dynamics playing into the current race and the unknown of the next lap. So much plays out beyond the direct image we view.

    2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      20th April 2017, 21:00

      @blik US GP 2005. Try to defend that.

      1. US 2005 was ok as a 1 off just like watching testing. I could watch 1 car on its own lap all day.

      2. Easy……….you remember it and easily recall it to make a point. You watched it and I bet you could tell a story around it to someone that doesn’t follow F1. In hindsight you could say the race was a farce but the drama around the practice, tyres, manufacturers and greater consequences that made it a farce was great, it all added to F1 and you and I watched it.

        1. @blik @come-on-kubica Especially if it stays a rare enough occurrence (which it seems set to – I hope I didn’t just jinx anything)

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is annoyed FOM don’t have the “interval ticker” along the bottom of the screen anymore.

    I often watch races after they are broadcast and don’t check the news until after I have watched the race, so not having access to the gaps is a massive hindrance to following what is going on all through the field.

    1. Yes, that is a good point. I usually do watch the race after it is over, so you can’t even run the Live Timing in the background to see what is happening, but even if you do happen to watch it live you only need to pause the race (I watch via the internet) so you can get a cup of coffee and then the Live Timing is running ahead of the race.

    2. @geemac The ‘ticker’ is permanently at the side now where you can see all positions rather than having to wait for it to scroll through.

      I actually prefer this to what was there before as you can see everything at a glance rather than waiting for the scroll. It’s also something that FOM have gotten a lot of feedback on the past few years as been something fans wanted, Hence why they made the change.

      1. @gt-racer Yeah, they do put times up on the “tree” at the side, but on occasion they do take the times off of that so there are times in the race where you have no timing info at all. As @drycrust mentions, you don’t really have the option to use the Live Timing App when watching the race later if you don’t want the result spoiled.

        1. I usually see the race afterwords and I have the F1-app, and in the app I can see the live timing without spoilers. There is a setting in live timing calles “no spoilers” you can trun on/off. So when I see the race after it have been, I open the app, click on Races, and the on the “R” and it’s downloaded and I can follow it, pause and fastforward along as i watch the race. It works really good.

          My problem is to try avoid Instagram, twitter, online sports-pages and so ond and don’t get it spoiled that way…

  5. Completely agree with Come on Kubica’s point about the FOM coverage. It really seems to be all over the place this year with regards to the graphics, the tyre graphic changing all the time, the timing loop thing coming and going between races. At least they finally got the tree up on the left which makes it a lot easier to follow qualifying.

    Also, Keith, do we really need to see 112 tweets on the bottom of this article? I respect the opinions of my fellow Fanatics, but not those of the twitter masses

    1. It’s great to see a wider opinion, but the ability to click to show / hide the tweets would be ideal if possible. There are a few too many to scroll through :)

    2. Can I just check, just should see the Tweets within a horizontal scrolling box rather than just one on top of the other – is it displaying correctly for you? It would look a bit much otherwise!

      1. Showing horizontal here… (chrome, mac)

      2. vertical for me…. long scroll. I am on Desktop Chrome (57) also

        1. @tom-2 @strontium OK that’s not right, something mustn’t have cleared in the cache for you guys. I’ll look into it. In the meantime you can probably fix it with a hard refresh (Ctrl-F5/Cmd-F5).

      3. Vertical, iPhone

      4. Horizontal (PC, IE11).

      5. Horizontal (PC, Edge).

      6. And just for variety…

        Not displaying at all (PC, Firefox 52)

  6. I feel we need more tweets in order to properly judge it.

  7. Hmm, funny, I thought it was a good race, but nowhere near a ‘cracker’. Although what’s clear for me is that drivers can once again push, rather than conserve, and that is only a good and great thing.

    +what’s with people complaining about the tweets under the article? just don’t read’em if you don’t like’em…

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      20th April 2017, 19:20

      @maciek some people are being shown the tweets vertically, so I guess it’s too much scrolling down.

  8. Duncan Snowden
    20th April 2017, 16:18

    Oh, second-best Bahrain. Okay. Seems about fair. I’m not sure I’d agree 100%, but I’ll go with it. It was a solid enough race.

    When I saw the headline, I was about to come on and rant about how there’s no way it was the second-best race of the last decade. :)

  9. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    20th April 2017, 17:44

    I hoped for something exciting right after the safety car came in to the pits. The race wasn’t that great as I expected, but still it was fine.

  10. I disagree with the comment about FOM’s coverage been worse as I think the changes they have made have all been for the better.

    They have gone back to using lower angles, To holding those low angles longer & using slower zooms/panning in order to bring out the speed of the cars. This is something fans have been asking them to do for a number of years now, To go back to the F1 digital+ style of covering things.

    The only problem with the coverage has been that some of the new systems haven’t worked as well as they did when they were been tested. The mini sectors been incorporated into the timing graphics for example is something that was tested & worked flawlessly pre-season but is something that over the 1st race weekend caused other systems to crash with getting to the bottom of that proving difficult since it all works fine up until the point cars get on track.
    There is also some new stuff planned that hasn’t been seen yet as the problems they have suffered has prevented them using all the new toys they have in store.

    It goes back to what I said a few months ago. The reason you were seeing wide shots, Slow panning & a focus on ad’s the past few years is because Bernie/CVC were asking them to cover it that way. Liberty have gone back to letting the TV team do things the way they want to do it & the improvements are only going to get even better as the year goes on.

  11. Surprisingly low rating nevertheless. I agree that the race was perfect up until the SC, and it lost a lot with Max retiring with brake failure, other dnf’s made the field look scarce and finally fom not only keeps trying to plug their new app but also don’t like to film some drivers and battles.

  12. I think the race got so good reviews because be have a mix up and that makes it exciting. I’m not sure I actually like the racing better yet , and I think there is still plenty of room left for the actual racing to get more exciting,

  13. So much for hating the tyre tyre tyre performance formula. Good on F1 for not revealing those messages.

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