Red Bull and Lotus were the big winners in Bahrain, McLaren and Rule 10.4 were the big losers...
Star of the Race
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, 2nd
It's only taken Kimi four races to achieve what Michael Schumacher is yet to achieve on his comeback. But is he happy? No, he was typically a bit mardy about it all, disappointed that he couldn't get the win, but that's fine, an emotional and gushing Kimi would be a bit hard to handle. Already in the race we had to cope with an emotional outburst from Paul di Resta that was the most animated we've ever heard him. On the radio complaining about Maldonado weaving all over the place in front of him, Paul actually sounded angry. Yes, angry.
Raikkonen's early race progress was a joy to behold from the onboard camera, especially his pass on Felipe Massa in Turns 5, 6 and 7. You weren't sure if it was going to end happily. Having made great strides through the field and having caught and passed Grosjean you thought his tyres would give out, but no.
Overtaking Move of the Race
Paul Di Resta (Force India) on Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado
There were two very brave moves in the race through Turns 5, 6 and 7 - Raikkonen on Massa and Button on Alonso. But you can't beat overtaking two cars in one corner, especially when you look like you're doing it on rails. Perez and Maldonado (who's so wide that he probably counts as two cars) were keeping each other busy through Turn 4 when Paul di Resta approached at speed. On a different strategy from them the Scot needed to get past in a hurry to make it work. Di Resta slowed his entry, nipped right across the apex as the cars in front ran wide and made a quick exit. At the end of the race the time he saved getting past them both at once was the difference between finishing 6th and 7th.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1st
A typical Vettel qualifying performance, gradually building up his speed until the last brilliant lap of Q3. A great getaway and a blinding first lap to set up a 2.2 second gap. After that if we had continued the 2011 model it would have been gap building to the 10-second lead mark, then some gap management looking back through what DC likes to call the "murr-urrs". He didn't have that luxury today with a dogged pursuit from Kimi Raikkonen. Before the end of the season he will catch him for the lead of the race.
Romain Grosjean. Lotus, 3rd
The first Frenchman on the podium since Maurice Chevalier won at Rheims in 1954 - or something like that. Romain wasn't gifted a podium he put in some assured overtaking moves and finished a long way ahead of Mark Webber, a distant 4th. Luckily for him he was a long way clear of nemesis Pastor Maldonado at the start.
Mark Webber, Red Bull, 4th
Mark got his best start of the season but he still couldn't shake off his predestined finishing position of 4th. But it was good and bad. The bad was that unlike the previous three races Vettel was significantly faster than him in the race.
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 5th
The great news for Rosberg and Mercedes is that not only do the tyres last in cool China, they last in warm and rough Bahrain. Rosberg chanced his arm with the stewards a couple of times, but the gods smiled on him. Article 10.4 of the F1 sporting rules reads: "Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted."
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 7th
He thought that sixth place might be possible today, but imagined at least one of the cars ahead of him would be a McLaren. It wasn't too strong a race for the Scuderia given that without serial McLaren mistakes and reliability issues he would have been 9th. It would have been interesting to find out what he was thinking when he started to follow Kobayashi into the pitlane. After the race he rewarded interviewers with not one, but two references to damage limitation. "We limited the damage again....I think in the first four races we did a good damage limitation."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 9th
It must have been a great feeling for Felipe to have his team-mate just in front of him during the race and almost holding him up. Sergio who...?
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, 10th
Michael was unusually gloomy at the end of the race. Whereas before he's put a positive spin on a worse result, today he suggested that it was no fun driving an entire race worrying about the tyres and that Pirelli should do something. Given the racing we've had so far this season he might find it difficult to find too many people agreeing with him. "The main thing I feel unhappy about is that everyone has to drive well below a driver's, and in particular, the car limits to maintain the tyres," he said. "But basically it is everybody with maybe one or two exceptions. And if it is 80/90 per cent of the field that has this problem, then maybe the tyre supplier should think about that."
McLaren Right Rear Tyre Guy
...got his nuts on. So he's not going to have an uncomfortable time in the debrief. The same can't be said for Left Rear Tyre Guy.Losers
Jenson Button, McLaren, 18th
Not a great qualifying performance, not a great start, not a great job keeping his tyres together, not great luck with a puncture and not great reliability. Let's hope he caught his flight on time.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 8th
Lewis was only ever fast enough to take P5, so P8 isn't an unmitigated disaster. He managed to avoid getting clobbered by Rosberg, but the pit-stops must have been very depressing.
Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 15th
To go from 6th to16th on the opening lap is not the mark of a driver who's going to step into a Red Bull next season. Qualifying 6th was Luckily for Daniel he's got quite a few races to show that he can convert a great qualifying position into a race result - last year Jaime waited till Spa to grab 6th in Qualy and by then Helmut was having doubts.
Who was the driver steward this race - Keke Rosberg? If the rules were changed between 2011 and 2012 to compel drivers to leave a car width between themselves and the edge of the track when blocking, then Nico Rosberg should have picked up a penalty. If they're not going to be enforced - and to be honest you couldn't have a more extreme example of it than we got at Bahrain, because when Rosberg went to block Alonso even HE went off track - then you should just ditch them. Hamilton didn't suffer as a result of his summary barge but Alonso did and Fernando was right to be irate.
And why did they need to investigate after the race - this isn't the Leverson Inquiry, it's a 'live' sporting event. I fully expected Big Ears to get 25 seconds added to his time.
Also, what do you have to do in pit-stops these days to be done for Unsafe Release other than fail to secure the wheel properly?
Labour Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper
Many people think that Yvette Cooper could be the next Labour leader when the public (but more likely his own party) get fed up with Rubik's Cube Boy, but she's really put her foot in it now. Speaking on the BBC's Question Time programme she called for the British drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button to withdraw from the Bahrain Grand Prix. How dare she say something so utterly provocative. What about Paul di Resta? Does he count so little that he doesn't need to be withdrawn from the grand prix? Is it because Force India is such a small team that they're not worthy of mention, or is it because he's Scottish? More likely some dandruff encrusted beardy postgraduate researcher with an eye for some quick political points scoring did a fleeting check and didn't realise that di Resta was a Brit. It's such an obviously Scottish name too - the Di Resta clan are allied to the clan Franchitti and the clan Macari.
Ed Milliband's call to have the Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled once everyone had got there was also unwelcome political opportunism. F1's a good target for politicians and it was sad to see how eager people were to give it a good kicking. They say a week is a long time in politics, but a week ago expressing that kind of sentiment might have helped, as Ross Brawn articulated: "I find it very frustrating that politicians in the UK were saying that we should withdraw once we got here," said Brawn. "Why didn't they say that beforehand?
Ross called for some quiet reflection in the months ahead but even just a few hours after the event you can predict one outcome. The FIA cannot run this grand prix again until there has been a proper resolution of grievances in Bahrain. The teams won't want to put themselves through the mill like they did this weekend without a number of assurances being firmly put in place.
BBC Local News
So desperate were the BBC London News to be "right on" and get in on the Bahrain act that they gave front page coverage on the BBC website to a story about a protest outside the offices of Formula One Management in Knightsbridge.
"At 12:45 BST about 20 people had gathered in Knightsbridge at the offices of promoter, Formula One Management," it read
"About 20 people"? Was that a protest or the queue for Starbucks? If there were "about 20 people" standing still with placards outside the front of FOM, surely they could be counted? Were the protestors so frenzied in their movement that a BBC reporter couldn't actually count them or was it because reporting that 12 people were actually there sounds a bit pathetic...?"
Jenson Button: "It's the better of the two Bahrain circuits - it doesn't have the jumps."
Jean Todt: "I hope nothing will happen in the race, but I am not a magician."
James Allen (from Saturday): "I think Vergne could be sitting on the naughty step tonight."
David Coulthard: "I think Raikkonen drifted back into rally mode there."
Martin Brundle: "Fernando. Felipe is faster than you."
After a typically BBC-like introduction, apologising for the fact that they were actually showing the Bahrain GP amidst all the trouble and strife you could see David Coulthard get a bit hacked off: "I haven't seen any armoured personnel carriers... personally," bridled DC.