Great racing today in Bahrain. :) Thanks to Pedro De La Rosa, entire event was very fun and exciting to watch. Spaniard, driving a very stable and fast McLaren, continually tried to overtake, made errors and recovered from them and eventually finished 5th. Particularly fun was his fight with Mark Webber in Williams, as Mark’s car had no problems and Williams outscored McLaren in previous two races.
As several commentators said (I watched the race at home, combining three different channels) this race track is the track where car strength and speed are fully shown. Lots of straights put a lot of pressure on the engine - over half the race is at full speed. Sharp corners are killing the brakes - BAR had most troubles today with it. And combination of full speed straights and hard braking demolish the tires, as could be seen from the look of Alonso’s tires at the end of the race.
What I sensed two weeks ago that will happen, it sure did. Rushed-in Ferrari F2005 failed to deliver. It sure seems quick; Schumacher followed Alonso closely but it can’t be tell for sure. Maybe he was lighter with less fuel so the F2005 verdict will have to wait for the next race. Imola is Ferrari’s home ground and they will be under huge pressure to deliver something in front of their own fans. They must deliver good result and they will gamble even more than in this race. Last year, when they were demolishing everyone else, Ross Brawn said that “would gamble very much if I was in competitor’s shoes”. Here’s a chance.
Renault continues to shine - 3/3 wins is amazing result, something few teams managed to do. Toyota is fantastic this year - consistently near to Renault but just back enough not to pose a serious challenge to them. The only threat to Renault could come from McLaren (once the bad luck that follows them gets its share) and probably Ferrari (once they stabilize the car).
Predicting F1 results is very ungrateful, but I would dare to say that Schumacher might actually win next race. He will have fresh engine while every last bit of competition out there will drive engine from this race - engine that ran entire race on 42 degrees Celsius. Next would be…Giancarlo. He had two terrible races he must make up for. He would also start with fresh engine and will be driving in his country. Good deal of pressure on him, but that is the situation where drivers either do or fade away. Next in line would be Alonso of course - the consistently quick and lucky driver.
Without unexpected car problems, those are three drivers that will be closest competitors in Imola. And then of course McLaren, Toyota and Williams.