Ferrari - Second win from three starts
The second win of the season from three starts for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, with victory in Bahrain, for a second year in succession going to Felipe Massa. Not just a win, but a one-two finish, as standing next to Felipe, while the Brazilian National Anthem echoed around the desert, was his team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen.
A race win always gives the team a good feeling, but in all honesty, this was not the most exciting contest on track. After the grid was cleared of personnel and VIPs, which included Ferrari enthusiast and legendary guitarist, Eric Clapton, Felipe was the author of his own destiny as, once the lights went out, he immediately shot off the front row to dive into the lead ahead of the pole man, Robert Kubica in the Sauber-BMW. On lap 3, Kimi also got past the Polish driver and from then on, the two F2008 cars were able to exploit their full potential and control the situation all the way through the fifty seven laps to the chequered flag.
The first lap saw one threat to the Scuderia relegated to the bottom of the pack as Lewis Hamilton had to pit his McLaren-Mercedes for a new nose, after colliding with the Renault of Piquet. Sebastian Vettel was already out for Toro Rosso after two collisions on the opening lap, Jenson Button pitted his Honda for a new nose also and on lap 3, David Coulthard's afternoon in the Red Bull got complicated as he made a stop because of a puncture.
On lap 4, the best battle was the one for sixth place between the Toyota of Jarno Trulli and the Toyota-powered Williams of Nico Rosberg. Next time round, out in front, Massa led his team-mate by 3.7s but Kubica was still hanging onto the Finn's tail.
The pit stops - everyone was on a two stop strategy - were initiated by third placed Kubica on lap 17. On lap 18, Button tangled with Coulthard forcing the Honda driver to come in for an unscheduled stop and he later retired. On lap 20, Raikkonen was the first Ferrari to stop, remaining stationery for 9.6 seconds. Massa was in next time round for a slightly shorter 8.5 seconds.
This left the yet to pit Heidfeld and Kovalainen out in front, but only temporarily. On lap 23, the gap between the two red cars was 5.4s and Timo Glock was third in the Toyota, but only because he was about the only driver not to have refuelled yet.
On lap 33, the Ferrari duo led Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Trulli, Webber and Rosberg. Then on lap 38, Kimi stopped in the pits for 8.1 seconds, taking on enough fuel to get to the flag. He was slightly delayed as he came out behind the Super Aguris, but it was not enough to threaten his second place and next time round, the race leader came in. From then, the two Ferrari men concentrated on bringing their cars home, allowing Kubica to close to 1.6s by the end of the race.
With Kubica and Heidfeld taking the next two places ahead of Kovalainen, it seems that the theory that BMW-Sauber could play a significant role in the outcome of the championship might prove to be true. Today, they favoured us by fighting off the one McLaren fighting for top positions, but in the future, it could also go the other way. For race fans, it's an interesting proposition, but for the Scuderia it probably means more work!
In fact, at the moment, it is Sauber-BMW that heads the Constructors' table on 30 points, one ahead of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro with McLaren-Mercedes trailing by a further point. In the Drivers' Championship, Raikkonen leads on 19, followed by Heidfeld on 16, with Kubica, Kovalainen and Hamilton all on 14. Massa has finally got his name on the points table, next on 10.