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GP Week : Issue 73
30 Team-By-Team: Bahrain Gran McLaren arrived in Bahrain with a car completely unsuited to the bumps of the new layout. Having qualified sixth and eighth, they were chuffed to get a podium. Lewis locked up on the first lap and fell behind Rosberg, unable to pass during the first stint. He moved a head thanks to a quick stop. If it hadn't been for that lock up, he might have had Massa. Jenson should have gone longer on the first stint. The team didn't realize he was looking after his tyres so well. Had he stayed out a few laps longer, he could have finished ahead of Schumacher. The RB6 is a very quick car, as proven by Vettel's scorching pole and his 34 laps leading. Cruel luck struck with a sudden loss of power when a spark plug failed. He had to work very hard to hold onto his fourth place finish -- an exercise in damage limitation. Afterv an error in qualifying cost him a possible front row start, Mark Webber had a frustrating race, compromised at the start when his overfilled oil was sucked into the engine. He was then stuck behind the slower cars of Schumacher and Button, unable to pass. He finished behind them in eighth. Not the result the team expected. Kubica recovered from his first lap contact with Sutil strongly, and came so close to the points. If the start had been different, he could have got a great result. Petrov made a superb start, jumping from P17 to P11 on the opening lap. He was catching Barrichello when he ran wide over a kerb and damaged the right-front suspension. It forced him into retirement on lap 13. Still, the team can take heart that the car -- which looked a bit of a barge in testing -- is actually strong on race pace. A strong weekend for Nico Rosberg, who generally had the measure -- just -- of the returning ace througout practice and qualifying. Good starts by both drivers saw them move up one place each on the first lap. After his one stop, though, Rosberg was re- passed by Hamilton. Towards the end of the race he pushed hard to pass Vettel, but turbulent air wouldn't allow it and he settled for fifth. Schumacher said he was satisfied with sixth, but Mercedes' was unable to get as much out of their tyres as the teams ahead of them. They were stronger in practice than in the race. Williams has a quick car, but left Bahrain with a solitary point. Barrichello started on the prime tyre, which was a mistake. He brought it home in 10th. Hulkenberg did a good job in qualifying to start 13th on his debut, but lost places at the start trying to avoid Sutil and Kubica. Then, a few laps later, he spun off before rejoining. Having ripped across the kerbs, the car became difficult to drive. He finished a lonely 14th. Long run pace suggests if they get their strategy right next time, they could do okay. A perfect score for the Scuderia -- 43 -- suggests the team was correct to quit development on last year's car and concentrate on this one. Looked strong throughout practice and delivered when it mattered, in qualifying. But what of the rumoured fuel economy problem? What problem! Alonso mimicked Raikkonen and Mansell by winning on his Ferrari debut. On hard tyres, he closed the gap to Vettel in the second stint and may have passed him even without the German's engine gremlins. Massa lost out at the start, but held onto Alonso in the first quarter. However, the temp gauge went red, and he had to go rich, backing off to achieve the necessary fuel economy.