BMW s Robert Kubica starts from pole during today s Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, a first for both Driver and Constructor. Yesterday s qualifying result at the Sakhir based track means that this is the first race in twenty-one starts where neither a McLaren nor Ferrari start from the top grid spot.
This is the fifth Grand Prix to be held at the 5.411 km long (3.37 miles) Bahrain International Circuit since its inauguration in 2004, after being designed by Hermann Tilke and built at a cost of $150 Million.
Massa will start alongside the Pole, despite coming to the grid late due to issues with his ear piece. Hamilton and Raikkonen complete the second row, with Kovalainen and Heidfeld completing the top six. Raikkonen and Heidfeld may be carrying more fuel than the front runners, which could see them come into play later in the race.
On the formation lap, all cars got away from their grid positions, but Piquet complained that he was unable to engage second gear. Rosberg was the only driver to opt for the harder compound, the prime, for the start of the race of the top ten.
Lap 1 – Kovalainen drives around Hamilton who is slow off the line. Massa passes Kubica into Turn One. Kovalainen moves up to third, but Raikkonen takes back the place later in the lap. Hamilton drops behind Alonso in tenth following his bad start. The Toro Rosso of Vettel parks up after a collision in Turn Four.
Lap 2 – Hamilton clips Alonso and removes his front wing. It appeared that Alonso may have had an issue, as he appeared to brake or miss a gearâ€¦ Piquet spins on oil between turns five and eight.
Lap 3 Raikkonen passes Kubica into Turn One. Coulthard pits due to a right rear puncture, and Hamilton comes in for a new front wing. Heidfeld passes Kovalainen.
Lap 4 The three Brits of Hamilton, Coulthard and Button, lie in eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth positions. Hamilton has clear air ahead of him though, and looks to have switched to a one stop strategy. He s currently lapping 1.5 seconds slower, 49.7 seconds behind the leader.
Lap 6 Raikkonen sets the fastest lap, only for Massa to respond the very next lap with a new fastest lap of 1:34.643 the Brazilian now leading by a whole four seconds.
Lap 8 Raikkonen falls back into Kubica s grasp, possibly heavy on fuel.
Lap 9 – Rosberg continues his scrap with Trulli this weekend, currently running a second behind the Italian.
Lap 10 – Alonso reports vibration after his impact with Hamilton the Spaniard has a tyre mark on the rear wing.
Lap 15 – Lewis is definitely nursing a wounded car. Meanwhile Raikkonen sets fastest lap so far 1:34.281. Coulthard and Button are separated by just 0.3 seconds as they battle over nineteenth.
Lap 18 Kubica pits for the soft compound tyre (option) and fuel. Rosberg also pits. On his out lap, Kubica runs wide on Turn Eleven and locks inside front left.
Lap 19 Button and Coulthard come together, with Button losing at least his front wing. Both rejoin.
Lap 20 Ferrari look ready for a stop, and Raikkonen pits. Further down the pitlane, Honda clear a space in the garage for Button.
Lap 21 Massa and Heidfeld pit
Lap 27 Hamilton starts to find some pace on lower fuel levels. He is closing in on Fisichella in fourteenth.
Lap 31 Raikkonen sets the fastest lap on 1:34.068, Hamilton pits for hard tyres and fuel.
Lap 33 Nakajima makes his first, and probably only stop. Massa responds to Raikkonen and the gap stabalises to around 4 seconds.
Lap 34 Hamilton moves over to allow Raikkonen past. Massa sets a new fastest lap.
Lap 35 Trulli closes on Kovalainen in fifth, 2.7 seconds up the road. Raikkonen sets a new fastest lap, taking half a second out of race leader Massa.
Lap 37 Piquet suffers a car failure in Sector Two and limps back to the pits, it is likely to be gearbox related.
Lap 38 Massa sets a new fastest lap 1:33.6, Raikkonen pits.
Lap 39 Massa pits.
Lap 41 Kubica pits.
Lap 43 Heidfeld and Kubica both set green and purple sectors. Heidfeld hopes to jump Kubica in the pits.
Lap 44 Heidfeld goes through again, despite the mechanics standing by in the pits. The gap between the two is currently 21.3 seconds.
Lap 45 Heidfeld pits and rejoins in fifth behind Kubica. Current order is Massa, Raikkonen, Kovalainen who has yet to stop, Kubica and Heidfeld.
Lap 47 Kovalainen pits. Team-mate Hamilton is back in fourteenth place following his problems today.
Lap 48 Barrichello closes in on the battle-scared rear wing of Alonso in eleventh. Heidfeld and Kubica continue to battle for third. Heidfeld sets a new fastest lap. Their pace sees Kubica close to within three seconds of the second Ferrari of Raikkonen.
Lap 49 Kovalainen, on the harder compound, sets the fastest lap of the race on a 1:33.193. The fastest lap of the circuit was set in 2004, with Michael Schumacher covering the track in just 1:30.252.
Lap 53 Hamilton passes Nakajima for thirteenth into Turn One.
Lap 57 Massa secures his second consecutive victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix. With Raikkonen four seconds behind in second, just ahead of the BMWs of Kubica and Heidfeld. Kovalainen, Trulli, Webber and Rosberg complete the top eight.
This gives Ferrari their first one-two of the season, moves Raikkonen into the lead of the Drivers World Championship, with BMW now leading the Constructors .