This is what the teams think after GP Bahrain | ‘I’m happy that I scored points today’

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This is what the teams think after GP Bahrain |  'I'm happy that I scored points today'

In ‘This is what the teams think…’ F1Maximaal takes a look at the experience of the smaller teams in Formula 1: Aston Martin, Stake F1, Haas, Williams and Alpine. Below you can read what the drivers of these smaller racing stables have to report to after the race in Bahrain.

Aston Martin (Alonso P9, Stroll P10)

The Aston Martin team was a bit invisible during the main race in Bahrain, but Fernando Alonso is in any case very happy that he was still able to score valuable points for his team. “I’m happy that I scored points today and it was probably where we expected to finish,” the Spaniard is realistic about his race, which he rode mostly in no man’s land. ‘It ended up being a bit of an easy race for us with a gap in front and behind us. We thought we would stay out longer during both stints and hoped that we would benefit from a safety car, but that was not to be the case.’

Teammate Lance Stroll is also happy with his point, especially because the Canadian had to come from far away during the race. During the opening chaos, Stroll was hit from behind by Nico Hülkenberg, dropping him to the back of the field. “It feels good to score a point after I was last last after the first lap of the race,” Stroll is satisfied. ‘I got away well at the start, but was then tackled by Nico and fell to the back of the field. I knew it would be a long race from there, but I concentrated on managing the tires and made a few overtakes.”

Stake F1 (Bottas P19, Zhou P11)

For Valtteri Bottas, the Bahrain Grand Prix was one to quickly forget. Not only was the Finn involved in the collision between Hülkenberg and Stroll, but he was also unlucky during a pit stop that went completely wrong. Bottas therefore did not get higher than nineteenth place. “Unfortunately today was not my day,” Bottas reflects. ‘I had a good start, but then I was involved in the incident in the first corner between Nico and Lance, which left me with front wing damage and lost some ground. In addition, we had a problem with the wheel nut during my second pit stop, which caused us to lose even more time. Luck wasn’t on our side today, but hopefully that’s all bad luck for this season.’

Bahrain Valtteri Bottas Stake Pit Stop
The disastrous pit stop at Stake F1 ensured that Bottas could not get further than P19 (Photo: Pirelli)

Teammate Zhou Guanyu drove a slightly better race than Bottas, but narrowly missed the top ten. “Today we pulled out all the stops and I’m happy that we were able to fight so hard for the points,” said the Chinese driver. ‘We had a decent race with a good start where I was able to make up some positions, but it was quite a challenge to keep the Aston Martins behind us without jeopardizing our tyres. Fortunately I was able to keep Kevin (Magnussen, ed.) and the rest of the field behind me.’

Haas (Hülkenberg P16, Magnussen P12)

The opening race didn’t start too well for Hülkenberg, and a bad start saw him hit Stroll in turn one. The German was unable to make up for the lost time during the rest of the race, and had to settle for P16. “It’s very frustrating and disappointing, and it was a very similar scenario to last year when we went into Turn 4 at the start,” Hulkenberg said. Yet the German also saw some positive points. “On the positive side, our race pace and tire wear looked reasonable compared to the other drivers in the midfield and I think we are fighting against Williams, Sauber and RB, so we see that as a positive.”

Kevin Magnussen also saw some positive aspects during the first race weekend of the year. “I’m quite happy, not over the moon, because we didn’t score any points, but it looks like this year we have a car that is a little bit better on the tires, not necessarily faster than last year, but certainly better on the tires, and I think we showed that today,” said Magnussen, although the Dane remains realistic. “Nevertheless, it is only one circuit, one piece of asphalt and one set of conditions, so we still have to show that elsewhere.”

Williams (Albon P15, Sargeant P20)

Although Alexander Albon started the race thirteenth, the British Thai dropped two places during the race. The driver indicates that problems with the Williams car in particular had a negative impact on his race. ‘The car itself was fine, but we are far behind. We had problems throughout the race with things that we could have avoided if we had tested more,” is Albon’s harsh assessment. “We suffered from overheating and less power throughout the race, so hopefully we can look at the data and perform better in Jeddah. Our pace compared to the others is close, so the battle in midfield will be tough.’

This is what the teams think after GP Bahrain |  'It wasn't our day'
“We are still far behind,” is Albon’s assessment after the Bahrain GP (Photo: Pirelli)

Logan Sargeant had the dubious honor of finishing last during the first race of the season, which the American said was partly due to a recurring problem with his Williams car. “It was frustrating because yesterday in qualifying we had a problem with the steering wheel electronics and it came back today,” the Florida man explained. ‘So the most important thing is that we understand the cause and solve the problem. We had a really good first lap and a great opening stint and had some good overtakes and it felt like it was coming to me before we had the problem. We had some problems with the PU temperature, which meant I couldn’t stay close to the cars in front, so it was a bit of a disappointing evening.’

Alpine (Ocon P17, Gasly P18)

It was also a weekend to forget for Alpine, although the poor results were in line with expectations, after the French team was labeled the worst in the field during the test days. During qualifying, both drivers did not get further than P19 and P20, and Alpine also did not play a significant role in the race. “Today was a continuation of what we saw in qualifying yesterday and overall it was not the weekend we wanted,” said a disappointed Esteban Ocon. ‘The most important thing is that we drove a clean race and collected valuable data that we can take with us to the race next week in Jeddah. We will delve into this during the short break between races and see where we can improve.’

Teammate Pierre Gasly also agrees that the poor result was not unexpected. ‘It wasn’t our day, but in the end it was probably what we expected. “I had a great start from the line, passing a few cars, but then I was surprised by chaos in Turn 1 with spinning cars in front of me, which made me fall back,” the Frenchman said, analyzing the chaos at the start of the race. ‘That wasn’t ideal, but after that we did what we could with what we had today. There are still many areas where we can improve and I know there will continue to be hard work behind the scenes.”

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