The Bahrain Grand Prix – the second race of the 2016 Formula One racing season – is in the books and so are the the newest driver rankings from AutoSportsNation. This year, the Bahrain race was expectedly devoid of Fernando Alonso and unexpectedly devoid of Sebastian Vettel – two omissions that would prove to be crucial to the rankings and categories. Alonso was sitting out the race after race officials deemed he was not fully medically recovered to be racing after his crash at last month’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne – and McLaren replaced him with Stoffel Vandoorne, their reserve driver who has been a dominant force on the GP2 circuit and should have had an F1 ride long before now except for the teensy weensy fact that he is not a pay driver.
Before the race even began, Sebastian Vettel was eliminated from contention when the engine on his Ferrari decided that the warm-up lap was about as far as it was going to go that day, issuing a billowing smoke white flag before he could even reach his position on the starting grid.
With both Alonso and Vettel out, that opened up two spots in the Top 10 and potentially some points in ASN’s rankings for the race. Significantly for Mercedes, it meant they didn’t have to worry about Vettel beating them out at the start again and set them up for a seeming 1-2 finish. However, the race began ominously for defending champion Lewis Hamilton who was t-boned by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas on the very first corner and the hard hit [which Bottas was subsequently penalized for] affected Hamilton’s car for the rest of the race and prevented him from overtaking either his teammate, Nico Rosberg nor runner-up Kimi Raikkonen.
Rosberg took full advantage of the situation and ran away with the race from the start while Raikkonen did his best to maintain a reasonable double digit-second gap behind him and Hamilton trailed even further in third. There wasn’t much effort to Rosberg’s win but he didn’t do anything to muck it up either and he gets top points for the race followed by Raikkonen for also not mucking up his good fortune [and Hamilton’s misfortune]. ASN awards the final point for the race to Vandoorne who got as high as seventh place in a McLaren car that he was driving for the first time in his first-ever F1 race. As good as he has been at the GP2 level, that was a feat that was nothing short of remarkable.
The coveted Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award must, of course, go to Bottas after he absolutely clobbered Hamilton in a move that was so Maldonado-like that you had to check to see if the livery didn’t suddenly morph into the Lotus colors for a few seconds.
The Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing!” Award goes to the race winner Rosberg who had the race well in hand but still found time to admonish his pit crew when they gave him constant updates on the whereabouts of Raikkonen in second place. Finally, Rosberg had had enough and issued his command from on high – “Don’t tell me [the gap] every lap. Tell me every four laps.”
The Lewis Hamilton Doofus Moment Award, once again, goes to its namesake after he defied F1 Chief Crusty Barnacle-in-Charge, Bernie Ecclestone, by continuing the post images of himself in the ultra-secretive paddock area on Snapchat even though Ecclestone had supposedly “banned” him from doing it. What Bernie failed to realize, of course, is that Hamilton likes himself even more than Bernie likes himself.
The 2016 ASN Formula One Driver Standings [after the Bahrain Grand Prix]
1] Nico Rosberg – Six points
2] Sebastian Vettel – two points
2] Kimi Raikkonen – two points
4] Romain Grosjean – one point
4] Stoffel Vandoorne – one point.
The 2016 Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award Standings [after the Bahrain Grand Prix]
1] Fernando Alonso – One point
1] Valtteri Bottas – one point
The 2016 Kimi Raikkonen Leave Me Alone I Know What I’m Doing Award Standings [after the Bahrain Grand Prix]
1] Kimi Raikkonen – One point
1] Nico Rosberg – one point
The 2016 Lewis Hamilton Doofus Moment Award [after the Bahrain Grand Prix]
1] Hamilton – two points