Verstappen out early in GP Bahrain: "Could have scored a lot of points here"

Published on 08 April 2018 by Raymond Snip

Max Verstappen did not manage to make the catch-up race that many hoped for in the Grand Prix of Bahrain. The Dutchman suffered a puncture in the second lap while passing Lewis Hamilton. The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver was able to return to the pits for a new set of tires but in the fifth lap Verstappen was forced to park his RB14 alongside the track with damage to the differential. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo also retired early due to an electrical issue, completing the drama for the team from Milton Keynes.

Verstappen explanation of what happened during the overtake: "I had a good tow on the strait and so I went for the move, then we got a bit squeezed with the McLaren. From the middle to the exit of the corner I was ahead and suddenly I felt a touch on my rear tire."

A new set of tires, however, could not prevent the Dutchman from retiring: "Due to the contact, the car jumped up and sideways and damaged the differential. I immediately indicated that something was wrong, because the car was sliding a lot. After my pit stop it did not feel right and I had to stop the car. When I got out, I saw that there was a big hole in the floor. Even without the issue with the differential, it still would have been very difficult."

However, there were opportunities for a good result: "It's just a shame, we could have scored a lot of points here, because I think the car was very good."

It’s a little after six o'clock in Bahrain when the lights go out for the second Grand Prix of the season. Max Verstappen makes a good start and is already in eleventh spot after the first lap. Valtteri Bottas takes over second place from Raikkonen. The field manages to get through the first corner unscathed, although a bit later it goes sour for Sergio Pérez, who is knocked around by Brendon Hartley. The Mexican, however, is able to continue. Hartley would later get a ten-second time penalty.

At the end of the first lap, Max Verstappen is right behind Lewis Hamilton. At the entrance of turn one, the Dutchman puts his RB14 alongside the Mercedes. The overtake seems successful at first, as Verstappen is in front of Hamilton. However, there is contact between the two. This results in a puncture for Max, which forces the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver to return to the pits. Unfortunately, the differential of the RB14 is damaged to such an extent that in lap five the team tells him to stop the car.

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo also retires because of an electrical problem, so the team can pack up early. Because Ricciardo's car is in a bad location, a short-term virtual safety car is in effect.

In the period thereafter, Hamilton is making good progress. The Brit passes, Hülkenberg, Gasly and others, taking him to fourth place in lap eight.

In lap eighteen Sebastian Vettel comes in for his first pit stop and switches from ultrasofts to a new set of softs. Valtteri Bottas, two laps later, switches to the mediums. This would be the only stop for both of them. Lewis Hamilton makes a long run and finally comes in during lap 27 for a new set of mediums.

Behind the leaders there is some good racing. Pierre Gasly is in fifth place, with Nico Hülkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen following. Also, Alfa Romeo Sauber is looking good with a tenth position for Marcus Ericcson.

When Kimi Raikkonen makes his second pit stop in lap 35, things go terribly wrong for the Italian team. The Finn is released too early, one of the mechanics gets caught by his rear tire resulting in a leg injury. He is being transported to the hospital by stretcher shortly after. This also ends Raikkonen's race.

The final stage of the race gets more exciting as Bottas is closing in on race leader Vettel, who is driving on older softs. Lap by lap, the gap gets smaller, but the Mercedes driver eventually ends up short. Vettel wins the race, Bottas and Hamilton complete the podium. Gasly, with a fourth place, achieved an excellent result for Toro Rosso. McLaren can look back on a great race with a seventh and eighth place. Marcus Ericsson scores Alfa Romeo Sauber’s first points of the season by finishing ninth.



Results Grand Prix Bahrain:

1Sebastian VettelVETFerrari571:32:01.94025
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes57+0.699s18
3Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes57+6.512s15
4Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda57+62.234s12
5Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari57+75.046s10
6Nico HulkenbergHULRenault57+99.024s8
7Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault56+1 lap6
8Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault56+1 lap4
9Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari56+1 lap2
10Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes56+1 lap1
11Carlos SainzSAIRenault56+1 lap0
12Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes56+1 lap0
13Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda56+1 lap0
14Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari56+1 lap0
15Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari56+1 lap0
16Lance StrollSTRWilliams Mercedes56+1 lap0
17Sergey SirotkinSIRWilliams Mercedes56+1 lap0
0Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari35DNF0
0Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer3DNF0
0Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1DNF0