I arrived to Bahrain on Tuesday and noticed almost no differences with normal peaceful life. Situation remained quiet during whole week-end – even control on circuit entrance was usual and not enforced. There were police cars along the road to racetrack – but it was the same in 2010. The only thing – by safety reasons we changed team’s uniform to neutral white T-Shirts on the way back to the city.
Bahrain is well-known as a very hot race. But our car didn’t overheat at all and we didn’t have any issues. The only thing – after cool weather in Shanghai it was crucial to understand tyres’ behavior. Free Practices ran well, we found right setup quickly, went on good pace and started to move in right direction.
Saturday morning began well, but I decided to attack a bit harder at one corner and damaged car’s floor. We lost a lot of time to repair it – and couldn’t extract good performance from Soft tyres. On prime compound my car felt much better and sometimes even faster, that on options! That’s why I lost so much time to Heikki in qualifying - and Q1 results became the major disappointment of the week-end.
On Sunday we started from the grid almost evenly with my team-mate. I tried to overtake him by outer trajectory at first turn and was close to success. But there is only one line there – and I was forced to lift off. There were faster cars behind me – Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes, so I preferred not to have much risk on first laps. On one hand, I didn’t want to let them by without a fight, on the other – it was important to save tyres.
First stint was action-packed – with contacts, overtakes and pieces of carbon flying all around. On second stint I was catching up Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, passed him and even made some gap. Maybe, we did our pit-stop one lap later that we should do. It cost us around 2 seconds. I suppose he would ultimately overtook me on final stint anyway, but with right call I could hold him longer. Nevertheless, the race brought me positive feelings – we continued to move forward.
Now I need to have some rest after two back to back Grand Prix and then test session in Mugello will start. At the moment my program includes one day in cockpit.