• Bahrain Grand Prix

Driver by driver run-down

ESPNF1 Staff
April 22, 2012
The run down to turn one defined the race for many drivers © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel - 1st
Just when it looked like he might be struggling with this year's Red Bull, Vettel put in a faultless performance for victory. In the style of his 2011 dominance, he made a fantastic start and then managed his race to perfection up until the chequered flag. He barely put a wheel off line all afternoon, and when he did come under pressure he defended his position well. After the first four races he leads the championship by four points. Crisis? What crisis?

Kimi Raikkonen - 2nd
Proof, if it was needed, that Raikkonen has lost none of his ability during his two year sabbatical. It was as performance reminiscent of his McLaren days as he stormed from 11th to second in the first two stints and then lined up a move on Vettel for the lead. He had the advantage of fresh tyres in every stint, but it's the way he managed them that was so impressive. In just his fourth race on the tricky Pirelli rubber - which was his main concern ahead of the start of the season - he was the fastest man on the track in the opening three stints.

Romain Grosjean - 3rd
Although he was slightly overshadowed by his team-mate, Grosjean produced a very mature drive to secure his first podium in F1. Unlike Raikkonen, he didn't have the advantage of fresh rubber in the opening two stints and that helps to explain why he was caught and passed. His pace in the final two stints (on fresh tyres) was in the same ballpark as Raikkonen, if a little less consistent.

Mark Webber - 4th
He's been the most consistent driver this season, with four fourth-placed finishes, but again lacked the sparkle to challenge for a podium. He simply wasn't able to match Vettel's pace and had to pit two laps earlier in the first stint, which is perhaps the biggest concern. His finishing position suggests he has lost none of his form from the previous three races, it's just that Vettel has suddenly found his.

Nico Rosberg - 5th
After everything clicked into place in China, his performance in Bahrain was a little bit muddled. The team's fears that the car would struggle in the heat appeared to be verified, although he was very competitive in free practice. A poor start didn't help (Rosberg dropped to ninth), but his incidents with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso proved he was pushing hard to make amends. In the end it was a decent result with a car that wasn't a match for the front four.

Paul di Resta - 6th
An incredibly mature performance in difficult conditions, as he two-stopped his way to eight points and Force India's best result of the year. After saving tyres in qualifying he was able to start each of his three stints on a fresh set and the relatively low track temperatures (around 35C) certainly helped. But it still took a measured performance from inside the cockpit and the fact that nobody else attempted a two-stop strategy is testimony his driving style.

Fernando Alonso - 7th
More expert damage limitation from the master of race management. Ferrari struggled with rear degradation throughout the weekend, but Alonso held his tyres together on race day and probably would have passed di Resta if the race had been a lap longer. He was livid with Rosberg for running him off the track earlier in the race and, on learning Rosberg would not be penalised, he tweeted: "You can defend position as you want and you can overtake outside the track! Enjoy!" Keep an eye on him in Barcelona!

Lewis Hamilton - 8th
After priding himself on his consistency at the first three races, Hamilton was let down by his team in Bahrain. Problems changing his left-rear tyre lost him three places at his first stop and five places at his second. Combined with McLaren's general lack of race pace, Hamilton did well to finish where he did.

Felipe Massa - 9th
He will be very relived to score his first points of the season, but perhaps the biggest accomplishment is that he finished just 7.1s behind his team-mate and registered a quicker fastest lap. Another positive to take from the race was his fighting spirit as he battled for position with Raikkonen in the opening stint.

Michael Schumacher - 10th
It was a solid performance after he started from 22nd on the grid, but he will be disappointed to have scored just two points from the opening four races. On the plus side his race pace was similar to team-mate Rosberg once he cleared the cars at the back of the field, which should mean a better result will come over the next few races.

Sergio Perez - 11th
This year's Sauber is proving to be much tougher on its tyres than last year's and that hurt Perez in Bahrain. Despite qualifying eighth, he could do nothing about his lack of grip and race pace and eventually finished 1.3s shy of the points.

Nico Hulkenberg - 12th
His anti-stall system kicked in as he left the line and that dropped him back to 19th at the start. He found himself in a battle with Petrov's Caterham and the Toro Rosso which meant he was unable to exploit the pace of his car until the second half of the race.

There was wheel-to-wheel action throughout the field as DRS worked effectively © Sutton Images

Jean-Eric Vergne - 13th
Continues to be undone by a lack of pace in qualifying. It's not that Vergne lacks one-lap speed, but he's not been able to perform on a Saturday so far and has dropped out in Q1 three times in a row. His race pace was OK, but this lowly starting position ensured he finished 20 seconds from the points.

Kamui Kobayashi - 14th
Two-stopping is becoming a hit and miss strategy for Sauber, and today with Kobayashi it missed. The only man to start on medium tyres, he didn't run long enough in the first stint to give himself a chance and despite seeming in the mix for points he was forced to pit for a third time late on.

Daniel Ricciardo - 15th
Such a disappointing result after his great qualifying performance, but all his work was undone courtesy of a nightmare start. Ended the first lap in 16th place and soon had to pit for a new front wing which ruined any chances of a positive result.

Vitaly Petrov - 16th
A solid drive which displayed the improvements made by Caterham. Fought in the midfield in the first stint and enjoyed a race-long battle with Ricciardo before eventually finishing 14 seconds behind the Toro Rosso.

Heikki Kovalainen - 17th
The optimism gained from reaching Q2 yesterday soon evaporated after Kobayashi gave him a left rear puncture on the opening lap. From there he managed to close within 11 seconds of Petrov, which just hinted at what he could have achieved.

Jenson Button - 18th
A miserable day as he struggled with oversteer and then picked up a puncture late on. It was caused by an exhaust failure, and in turn led to a differential failure that forced his retirement, meaning he's only picked up points in two of the opening four races.

Timo Glock - 19th
Really struggled with tyre degradation in an unfortunate step back for Marussia. Admitted that the setup was wrong, but was also affected by the same engine issue that caused Pic's retirement.

Pedro de la Rosa - 20th
Set a faster race lap than Glock but finished half a minute behind. Cited the main reason for his inability to challenge the Marussias as a lack of rhythm, but constantly having to move off the racing line to be lapped will not have helped tyre usage.

Narain Karthikeyan - 21st
Admitted he pushed too hard in the opening stint behind de la Rosa, but didn't confirm whether that forced him in to a four-stop strategy or if it was by choice. Either way, delivered a good performance to finish 0.5s behind his team-mate despite the extra stop.

Bruno Senna - 22nd
Looked in good shape after a strong start left him in tenth place, but an aggressive setup made it difficult to look after his tyres and slipped back before a brake issue caused him to retire on safety grounds.

Pastor Maldonado - 23rd Similar to Senna he had made a good start and was making progress from his lowly grid slot. A puncture at turn one caused a high-speed spin exiting turn three and the resulting damage limping back to the pits forced him out of the race.

Charles Pic - 24th
Was having a solid first half to his race until a problem with the air valve system meant he had to retire. A disappointing early end, but the fact that it's Marussia's first DNF of the season after no pre-season testing with the car is impressive.