The 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix (officially VII Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix) was race number 1 of the 2010 Formula One Season. It took place at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 14 2010. The race was won by Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso with Felipe Massa for Scuderia Ferrari in second and Lewis Hamilton of McLaren-Mercedes in third.
Going into the first race of the 2010 season saw the debut of new teams, HRT and Virgin and saw the return of the Lotus F1 team which withdrew from F1 at the end of 1994. Team Sauber also returned as Team Principal Peter Sauber had bought back the team from BMW Sauber who withdrew from F1 at the end of 2009, however he chose to race as BMW Sauber due, for otherwise the team would not receive their share of TV money.
New drivers making their début in Bahrain were Lucas Di Grassi for Virgin, Vitaly Petrov (first ever Russian F1 Driver) for Renault, Nico Hülkenberg for Williams, while Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna (nephew of the late three time World Champion, Ayrton Senna) both made their débuts for HRT.
Seven time World Champion, Michael Schumacher made his F1 return with Mercedes GP after retiring at the end of 2006 with Ferrari. Pedro de la Rosa made his first F1 appearance with BMW Sauber also since 2006 when he filled in at McLaren for half a season when Juan Pablo Montoya quit the sport however he had not been a full fledged race driver since 2002 with Jaguar.
Felipe Massa returned to F1 with Ferrari after being critically injured at the Qualifying of the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. Timo Glock also returned to F1 with Virgin after sustaining injuries at the qualifying of the 2009 Japanese Grand Prix.
All the past time winners of the Bahrain Grand Prix made a reappearance here in 2010, Michael Schumacher (2004), Fernando Alonso (2005 and 2006), Felipe Massa (2007 and 2008) and Jenson Button (2009).
Refuelling was banned during a race for the first time since 1993 in F1 and a new points system took place and also increases to the top 10 drivers (previously top 8). The steward board was also now being represented by one former F1 driver as well. The first former driver to hold this place was four time World Champion, Alain Prost who started the role at the Bahrain GP.
This was the only time that the race was run on the extended circuit at Bahrain. Deviating from the old circuit just after turn four, the extension added nine corners in about 2/3 of a kilometer. Universal criticism of the new section led to the old configuration being restored in 2012.
The full entry list for the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix is shown below:
At the start of the early morning Friday practice it was the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button that lapped the quickest around the Sakhir circuit however once the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa came out of the pits, the two then quickly passed the McLarens fastest lap times and stayed there for most of the morning. However to much of the paddocks surprise the Force India of Adrian Sutil took the fastest lap time late in the session with teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi ending up seventth fastest, it showed that Force India had promise. Michael Schumacher struggled in the session with understeer and was the only driver to run off track, he finished 10th fastest two places behind Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. Robert Kubica was a surprise third in the Renault behind Alonso and Sutil. The Virgin of Lucas Di Grassi only managed to complete two laps until hydraulic issues forced him out of the session. HRT who would be running their car for the very first time in Bahrain were mainly assembling the two cars throughout the session which had only arrived on Thursday night however at the end of the session Bruno Senna managed to get three laps under his belt much to the delight of the HRT team. However Karun Chandhok had major hydraulic issues that would keep him out for the rest of the day.
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