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GP Week : Issue 43
>>F1BAHRAIN nd Prix, Manama After the highs of China and yet more points for rookie sensation Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso fell back down to earth with a thud in Bahrain. Plum last in first practice, the two Sebs improved throughout the sessions, but in qualifying they both failed to make it out of the first leg. Buemi again was the better of the two, lining up 16th after Sutil’s penalty while Bourdais sat last on A game of two halves if ever there was one, the Red Bull drivers’weekend in Bahrain could not have been more different. After out-pacing Sebastian Vettel in first practice, Mark Webber never headed him again as the Chinese Grand Prix winner again showed the kind of pace we’re starting to expect from the youngster at every event. Traffic, mainly in the form of Adrian New aero parts for Williams were only available on Rosberg’s car in Bahrain, and the German flew to fourth in first practice and first in the second session. Nakajima might not have been quite that high up, but 11th and 10th showed consistency and pace in the older spec car. Come qualifying, Nakajima took 12th and Rosberg ninth and there was hope After so nearly taking a point in China, Force India showed up in Bahrain with a new diffuser and front wing – proof evident that the team means business in 2009 despite its limited budget. Adrian Sutil ran as high as seventh in practice and was confident for the weekend. Unfortunately for him and team-mate Fisichella, the pace is so tight in current F1 that both drivers went out in Q1, with For one of the first times in 2009, BrawnGP did not look to be the fastest team in Bahrain. After suffering defeat in China to the Red Bulls it was race winner Vettel and the two Toyotas that posed the greatest threat to Brawn’s intentions on securing another race win. But what the team lacked in one-lap speed during qualifying (lining up fourth and sixth), they more than made up for in the grid. In the race the competitive angle was switched as Buemi struggled with a bad start and slipped down to 17th position above only the two BMWs. Bourdais had a “really good day” which, considering he finished 13th, shows just how low his expectations for 2009 have sunk for the Frenchman after a tricky start to the season. Sutil, nerfed any chance Webber had of making it out of Q1, and although Sutil was punished for blocking it didn’t help the Aussie’s cause. Vettel lined up third. Webber had an exciting race battling in the midfield and eventually finished 11th, while Vettel rose to the challenge tremendously to take second position after a brilliant race of hard driving and intelligent strategy. that a points finish might be possible. As it was, Nakajima ended the race as the sole retirement with oil pressure issues. Rosberg, meanwhile, found his car not to be quick enough and battled through to ninth position having been unable to compete with the KERS cars. A surprise given the German’s fondness for the Sakhir circuit ... Sutil later being handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Webber. Starting in 17th (Fisi) and 19th (Sutil), it was always going to be an uphill struggle but the Italian rose two places to 15th while Sutil made up three positions to finish 16th. With more upgrades to come in Europe, Force India is moving in the right direction. race pace. Button drove the perfect Grand Prix to overhaul his rivals and secure his third win of the season. Barrichello, meanwhile, on a three stop strategy, spent too long gesticulating at Piquet rather than making a move on him and the lost time compromised his race. He eventually finished fifth, although will be annoyed not to have come home higher. 33