10 Things We Learned From Saturday
Saturday 05-April-2014 18:04
Lewis may have got the clean sweep of practice sessions, but lost out when it really mattered
Daniel Ricciardo was the Star of Qualifying, putting a Renault-engined car up into P3 on the grid was the major performance of the day. Certainly it didn't help Sebastian Vettel's cause spinning off in FP3, but Dan was 0.4 quicker than Seb in Q2 today. The Red Bull RB10 isn't supposed to be good at Bahrain with its long straights, but it was hard to guess that from Ricciardo's Q3 time.
Adrian Sutil said he was going to forego his 1.5kg drinks bottle in the race to save weight in the car. The Sauber is already 20kg over the 692kg weight limit, so the amount saved would be tiny. Opinion in the PF1 office is that he's unable to match the much lighter Esteban Gutierrez for pace and this helps focus the media's attention on Sutil's weight disadvantage.
Lewis Hamilton was ahead in all three practice sessions, but when it mattered most he came up short. His mistake at Turn 1 on his final lap of Qualifying, handed the pole over to Rosberg - and some more tyre life.
Both Williams and Force India showed that the pace they displayed in the last four days of Bahrain testing was not illusory. What's more, Sergio Perez's long-run pace from Friday looked impressive, second only to Mercedes. And he's won at Sakhir in GP2. Starting from P4 in the grid should mean that he doesn't get involved in the skirmishes he got crtiticised for last year.
Kimi Raikkonen outqualified Fernando Alonso for the first time this year and by over 0.6 of a second. But there are still rumours that the Ferrari F14T is a thirsty car and teams are expected to be on the fuel limit for the race if there's no helpful Safety Car.
After the kerbing at the exit of Turn 4 was removed - following Pastor Maldonado performing a 'wheelie' there in his Lotus E22 - drivers started taking advantage by running wide. So Race Director Charlie has sent a letter to the teams telling them that the circuit limits will be rigidly enforced at this spot.
Adrian Sutil and Romain Grosjean will be seeing the stewards after some wheel-banging in Q1. Grosjean looked to be the innocent party as he just about made it into Q2, edging out team-mate Pastor Maldonado. Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish thought: "That looks like the last lap of a karting race, not the first session of qualifying."
Sebastian Vettel is notorious for changing his helmet from race to race. In Bahrain he swapped helmets from FP3 to Qualifying.
Although Mercedes were in a class of their own, there was only 0.3 seconds between P3 and P10 in Q2.
Nico Hulkenberg was the only Mercedes-engined runner not to make it into Q3. Given their strong race pace, he should still be worth watching on Sunday (and he's saved himself a set of options tyres), but he'll start the race in a Red Bull sandwich thanks to Daniel Ricciardo's 10-place grid penalty.