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Disappointment in the desert

Highlights

  • Daniel exits the race with an electric problem on lap 1
  • Max starts P15 but quickly rises to P11
  • Max collides with Hamilton and sustains a puncture
  • Max makes it to the pits for new tyres but the damage is too great and he stops on lap 3

Bahrain proved to be a bust for the Bulls as the Team suffered it’s first double DNF in more than four years, with electric failure for Daniel and collision damage for Max ending the team’s Bahrain Grand Prix hopes early in the race.

The race started positively for Max and Daniel. As pole sitter Sebastian Vettel held his advantage through the first corner and Valtteri Bottas passed Kimi Raikkonen to steal second, Daniel was briefly passed by a hard-charging Pierre Gasly. The Honey Badger wasn’t having any of that, however, and within a couple of corners he had moved back to fourth place.

The race ended there for Daniel, however, as entering Turn 8, his dashboard lights flickered and then shut down completely, as an electrical failure left him without power. All the Aussie could do was steer the car off track and out of the race.

Behind him Max had made a good start and quickly began to carve his way through the pack, rising to P11 at the end of the first lap, where he came across 10th-placed Lewis Hamilton. Max wasted no time in attacking the Mercedes man. However, as they started the second lap they were side by side into Turn 1. Hamilton was forced wide as Max took a strong racing line and with little space on offer the pair collided.

Max sustained a punctured rear-left tyre in the incident and was forced to begin a long slow crawl back to the pits.

There he took on a set of supersoft tyres and rejoined the race in P19. The Dutchman’s race was over a few corners later, however, as he quickly realised that the damage sustained in the collision with Hamilton was too much. Like his team-mate he was forced to pull over at the side of the track and retire from the race as the team experienced it’s first double DNF since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix. Neither car was classified at the 2014 Australian GP but Daniel finished the race and was later disqualified for a technical issue.

The remainder of the race turned into a tense strategic battle between Ferrari and Mercedes. Race leader Vettel pitted for the first time on lap 18 and took on soft tyres. Mercedes reacted, pitting both its drivers for medium tyres and targeting a one-stop race to counter Ferrari’s planned two-stop race.

MORE: Bahrain GP Race Reaction

With Bottas just seven seconds behind Vettel in the closing stages, Ferrari gambled on the German’s ability to nurse his fading soft tyres until the flag, and Vettel didn’t disappoint. Despite a late charge by Bottas, Vettel held firm to take his 49th career win ahead of Bottas. Hamilton finished third after Kimi Raikkonen exited the race following a troubled second stop that saw the Finn unsafely released when the rear left wheel would not detach. In the confused stop the Finn also collided with a Ferrari mechanic who was taken to the medical centre for checks.

Behind the top three, Pierre Gasly delivered a superb drive to hand Toro Rosso fourth place in only the second race of its partnership with Honda. The Frenchman finished ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson and Force India’s Esteban Ocon who took the last point on offer.

OUR RACE IN NUMBERS:

8 – years since the team’s last double DNF, at the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.

4 – the team drops to fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship

7 – days until the next race, the Chinese Grand Prix. Can’t come soon enough!