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Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Bahrain GP as it happened


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By Mark Orlovac

1427: So then, that's me done for today. Great start for Ferrari, a little bit different to last year when they did not score a point until the fourth race. There should also be a little mention for Lotus, who will be delighted that they got both drivers home. Thanks very much for your company and your messages this weekend. See you in the same place for the Australia Grand Prix starting in the early hours of 26 March. Take care. Bye bye.

Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Great result for the whole team. Fantastic job by both drivers."

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who was third: "I am very happy. It's a strong result for me and the team. I think it's more than we expected from this weekend but we really need to work hard to keep up with these guys."

Lotus team boss Tony Fernandes on Twitter: "What an amazing day. Lotus is back. Two cars finishing. To end it all I was given Colin Chapman's cap by his dad."

BBC pundit David Coulthard on the Red Button: "This is a new season with no refuelling but we need to give this formula time to settle down."

Get involved on 606
TallBlondJohn on 606: "A big 'told you so' to all those who said refuelling meant drivers didn't try to overtake. They can't overtake, period. Its the aero rules - something radical needs to be done."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel: "It's a pity but what can you do. All in all it's been positive all weekend apart from the failure. Everything was running smoothly, but I lost power with about 20 laps to go, we are not sure what it was yet, but it wasn't good. Luckily I could continue and finish fourth but we should have won really."

1411: Telly coverage has come to an end on BBC ONE, but stick with the streaming to get the F1 forum. It is also available on the Red Button.

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, who came home in sixth: "It is as good as it could have been. Overtaking here is impossible and that is the action we are going to have with this environment of race strategy. It was good fun. We have to work forward to catch up with what is in front of us."

1406: What a result for Massa too, who was making his F1 comeback following his serious accident in Hungary last year. Here's what he had to say: "It's just fantastic to be here. Thanks to God that I am fine and thanks to everybody that supported me both at home and in every country. I got so many letters, so thank you. It was a strange race. I didn't have a good start and I lost position to Fernando but then after that it was great. When we changed tyres I was so quick and I caught Fernando right away. But I was saving fuel for the last 30 laps. It was not an easy race but a fantastic result for the team, we have pushed very hard for the last year. It is my best start to a season so I am delighted."

McLaren's Jenson Button, who finished seventh: "The first stint I didn't know about the tyres. I was a bit sad when we pitted because I thought I had looked after the tyres. Really good pit stops by the guys, both Lewis and I managed to jump people in them so that's really good. I started pushing with 20 laps to go and I caught up with Michael but I couldn't do anything I didn't have the pace in the middle section to challenge. Set-up wise the car was OK but there are a few things I need to look at to make it more my style but I am reasonably happy with that as a first race."

Race winner Fernando Alonso: "It is a very special day for me. Coming back to the top of the podium is special but it is even more special with Ferrari, with all the history behind the team and the expectation the driver has. There is no better way to start the relationship. I'm at the best team in the world. First and second is the result that all the guys deserve."

Force India on Twitter: "Unfortunate day for Adrian but a great day for the team. Great to be among the points in the first race of the season. Objective was to get points in the first race of the season. Would have been nice if both our drivers made it to the top 10 though. Just to reiterate, our goal is P5 in the constructors championship for the 2010 season."

1355: Party time on the podium as the drivers celebrate, although not with champagne - it's non-alcoholic fizzy stuff in Bahrain.

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Logos on 606: "So... the new rules didn't exactly make it more exciting then."

1351: Alonso, Massa and Hamilton make their way onto the podium. Anthem time. Cue much jaunty humming here at the office.

1348: Alonso jumps onto the front of the car and beats his chest in delight. I reckon he's quite happy. What a way to make your Ferrari debut. That's his first win since Japan in October 2008. Here's some more of the finishers: Rosberg was fifth, with Schumacher, Button, Webber, Liuzzi and Barrichello making up the top 10.

1345: Alonso drives around one-handed as one clenched fist is held aloft, even at the far end of the circuit where there is no crowd to see him. We'll let him off this time. Team-mate Felipe Massa is second, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton third. Vettel kept fourth place.


Lap 48: Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso grinds to a halt. Vettel pulls away a bit, I think he might stay in fourth. Alonso is coasting to victory on his Ferrari debut, he is 14.3 seconds clear.

Lap 47: Vettel's advantage over Rosberg is down to 1.3 seconds, can he hang on? Schumacher will not be able to catch him now I reckon.

Lap 46: Rosberg in fifth is hunting down Vettel. Alonso increases his lead to 11.8.

Lap 45: Trulli has ongoing hydraulic problems which is why he has dropped to last. Lotus, unsurprisingly, are very keen to keep him out so that they can have both cars finishing the race. Alonso sets the fastest lap of the race - a 1:58.287.

Lap 44: Schumacher, in sixth, is told by his Mercedes team that he could catch fourth-placed Vettel on the last lap. Five laps to go, Alonso is 9.1 seconds clear of Massa. Hamilton third.

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Williams are symptomatic of the tyre troubles all the teams are having. Nico Hulkenberg went onto the soft tyre and found it undriveable, so he's had to change once again."

Lap 42: It's settled down a bit now with Alonso in control. BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz says: "McLaren have reassured Lewis Hamilton that the only problem he has is a patch of uneven wear on his front tyres."

Lap 41: Webber is trying to hunt down seventh-placed Button but goes deep into a corner and loses a bit of time. Alonso is 8.8 seconds clear of Massa. Both Lotus cars are still running, they are 16th and 17th.

Lap 40: Hamilton reports that there are vibrations at the front of his car. They reply: "We are looking into it."

Lap 39: Alonso is 6.5 seconds clear of Massa now. It's his to lose.

Jacques Villeneuve on BBC Radio 5 live: "That is why you shouldn't ever think you have won the race before you have crossed the line. A lot can happen."

Lap 38: Hamilton takes Vettel at Turn One. Rosberg is fifth, Schumacher sixth - 4.4 seconds behind his team-mate. Button is seventh, 37.1 seconds behind Alonso.

Lap 37: Vettel asks if there is anything that can be done. "Negative", is the reply. The exhaust has failed. Alonso sets the fastest time of 1:58.879. Massa is 5.7 seconds behind him with Vettel in third, although Hamilton is closing.

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Adrian Newey on the Red Bull pit wall is shaking his head in discussion with Christian Horner. It sounds like a cracked exhaust as it goes by, but whatever it is, it's a loss of power. They haven't told Vettel exactly what the problem is yet but there's no alternative, they have to let him keep going."

Sauber's Pedro De La Rosa on BBC Radio 5 live: "The team told me on the radio that we had a hydraulic problem, I had to come in. Life is life, motor racing is like this - until then I was having fun out there. It's a shame."

Lap 35: Massa then takes Vettel on Turn One. The Red Bull mechanics look crestfallen, the Ferrari garage celebrates. It's a Ferrari one-two.

Lap 34: There seems to be a loss of power with Vettel's Red Bull. Alonso takes the lead on Turn 23. Vettel cannot do anything about it.

Lap 33: Something is wrong with Vettel's car as he ends the lap. He's struggling. Massa is told to keep his eye on his engine.

BBC pundit on David Coulthard: "Vettel is a cool customer up front, but he's getting a little bit concerned, he knows that - track position being nine-10ths of the law - he'll lose his lead if he makes a mistake. Alonso will be doing what Mark Webber was doing to Jenson Button earlier, getting as close as he can to the tail. Within a one-second window you have no room to lock up and run wide. The pressure is definitely building."

Lap 32: Vettel is told by his crew that Alonso "will overheat" and to "keep the gap". That gap is now 2.2 seconds.

Lap 31: Vettel stabilises his lead at the front. Massa is 2.7 seconds behind Alonso.

Lap 30: Tasty. The gap is now 1.1 seconds.

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Things not quite as rosy as they might have liked at Red Bull. Vettel's been told to save his tyres. As those tyres go away he's been told to think about the front flap adjust and how he can use that to just coax the tyres through the rest of the race."

Lap 29: Alonso upping the pace now. He sets the fastest lap of the race so far - a 1:59.583 - and the gap is down to 1.5 seconds. We could have a race on here.

Lap 28: De La Rosa is out, he is wheeled back into the pits. Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari sets the fastest lap of 1:59.964.

Lap 27: Vettel's lead is 2.2 seconds now. Hamilton in fourth is 11.9 seconds behind Massa.

Jacques Villeneuve on BBC Radio 5 live: "You really need a big trust for your race mechanic when you are out on the track because they see things that you don't. That relationship is really important and I always listened carefully to what they were telling me. You spend an hour and a half in that car and it is good not to be alone, it's great to get their advice on when to push. It's important to have that little spirit voice in the back of your mind."

BBC Radio 5 Live
Richard Branson on BBC Radio 5 live: "This Virgin didn't go the whole way - they have built a great car but we had a few problems. Hydraulic problem on one car and a gearbox issue with the other. But this is all part of Formula 1. I am sure that they will learn from it in time for Australia."

Lap 25: Vettel is 2.8 seconds clear of Alonso. Massa is third, Hamilton fourth while Schumacher in sixth and is catching Mercedes team-mate Rosberg. Could be a spiky battle that. Button seventh, Webber eighth.

BBC pundit David Coulthard: "Nobody has tested long runs at these sort of temperatures. All the strategies the teams are playing out are being updated as we speak, and this will become the reference for the rest of the season. I feel a bit for Felipe Massa, he was just a bit cautious at the start of the race, and we missed out on seeing Sutil's performance on the hard tyre."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner: "The first third of the race has gone pretty well. We've got a big enough lead to cover the Ferraris. Mark Webber has got the ability to go quicker but we couldn't drop him into a clear bit of space on-track so we'll have to work hard with him in the latter part of the race. The drivers are looking after the tyres well. Mark is quicker than the three cars ahead of him but he'll have to pass them on-track to find a way through. Sebastian Vettel has found a nice little rhythm and is driving very nicely at the moment."

Hispania's Bruno Senna on BBC Radio 5 live: "I am not sure what happened I think it is hydraulics, the data is not telling us anything but this is all useful mileage for us, we need to learn from it."

Lap 24: McLaren tell Button to look after the tyres as they will last him to the end of the race, and that he is gaining on Schumacher. "Your pace is good," they say. Barrichello overtakes Sebastien Buemi at Turn One to go 10th.

Lap 22: Apparently Hamilton's brakes are overheating. He's 12.4 seconds behind Massa. Alonso cuts Vettel's lead to 2.6 seconds.

Jacques Villeneuve on BBC Radio 5 live: "The straight line speed differential on the McLaren is incredible."

Lap 21: Vettel's lead is cut by a fraction. Schumacher is sixth, Button seventh.

Lap 20: Here's the standings after that flurry of stops: Vettel is 3.3 seconds clear of Alonso, Massa is third - he now has the fastest lap of 2:00.117. Then it's Hamilton and Rosberg. Liuzzi comes into the pits and switches to the softer tyres.

Lap 19: Hamilton comes up the inside of Barrichello to overtake him at Turn One. Senna's Hispania stops. The engine sounds like Bobby George with laryngitis.

Renault's Vitaly Petrov on BBC Radio 5 live: "I think we lost one piece of the car, I hit a kerb, the suspension was not totally broken but it was damaged. The car was brilliant to drive though and I was quicker than I thought I would be, it's disappointing to have to retire but these things happen."

Lap 18: Vettel comes in for his stop. Virgin's Timo Glock is wheeled back into the garage, his race is over.

Lap 17: McLaren have accidently done themselves a big favour. Rosberg had to be held in the pits as Button came in. That meant that the German came out behind Hamilton.

Lap 16: Kobayashi is out because of a hydraulics problem. Alonso is in for a very, very quick stop. Rosberg and Button also pit.

Lap 15: Hamilton and Schumacher both come into the pits. Kubica sets the fastest lap of 2:01.397.

Lap 14: Vettel goes a second faster than Alonso at the front. This is some drive. Are Ferrari's tyres falling away? Petrov's race is over.

Lap 13: Easy street for Vettel - the lead is over four seconds. Petrov is in the pits for Renault but something goes wrong and he is stuck. Don't know if he will make his way out. There were 244 overtaking moves in Formula 1 in 2009, 260 in 2008 and 270 the year before that, so it seems it stays at a fairly consistent number. David Croft on BBC Radio 5 live, giving John Motson a run for his money in the statto stakes.

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "McLaren's message to Lewis is if he can't get past Rosberg then please save his tyres. But there was also a message to Jenson Button about where he might feed back into the race if he makes his pit stop in three or four laps' time. They want to get him clear of Petrov's Renault. If he rejoins behind Petrov they think it'll ruin his race."

Lap 12: Hispania's Bruno Senna comes in to the pits for the team's first stop in anger. Kubica is also in.

Lap 11: Fastest lap for Vettel now - a 2:02.318. The gap between him and Alonso is 3.5 seconds. Schumacher is sixth, 18.5 seconds off the lead.

Lap 10: Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa puts in a move on team-mate Kamui Kobayashi for 12th.

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Ferrari have been on the radio to Felipe Massa telling him the gap between him and team-mate Fernando Alonso, 2.3 seconds at the moment, is too big. His team are trying to get the jump on Alonso's crew in the pits. Meanwhile, Vitantonio Liuzzi is reporting rather bad understeer in the Force India."

Lap 9: Massa is on a charge now as he closes the gap on team-mate Alonso ahead of him. The Brazilian sets the fastest lap of the day so far, a 2:02.494.

Lap 8: It's still Vettel, Alonso and Massa. Rosberg is fourth, 10.5 seconds off the lead. It seems to be a three-horse race. Defending world champion Jenson Button is down in eighth, 17.6 seconds off the pace.

BBC Radio 5 Live
Jacques Villeneuve on BBC Radio 5 live: "It's a shame for the new teams that Di Grassi and Chandhok are out because what those guys really need is mileage."

Hispania driver Karun Chandhok: "It was only my fifth lap of the circuit, I found a bump I didn't know was there before and it launched me off."

Lap 7: Here's some info on Webber starting slightly outside his grid box. BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz says: "They are slightly nervous about the grid - Webber didn't jump the start but I have seen that kind of thing penalised before." Massa is third while leader Vettel is stepping on the gas - the gap is 2.8 seconds.

Lap 6: Alonso lapped quicker than Vettel last lap but the Red Bull driver is still 2.1 seconds ahead.

Lap 5: Sutil is starting to move up the field now and is 18th, which will please someone in this office. Hamilton is starting to put some pressure on Rosberg for fourth.

Lap 4: The Hulk comes in for the first pit stop. Vettel is around 2.3 seconds clear at the front.

Holly Samos on BBC Radio 5 live: "Mark Webber has not said anything to his crew on the team radio about the large plume of smoke that came out of his car at the start, the crew have gone back into the garage, so it looks like the Australian is just getting on with it."

Lap 3: Big problems for Williams driver Nick Hulkenberg as he spins. The German rescues the situation and returns to the race. Lucas Di Grassi's Virgin grinds to a halt. Kubica and Sutil spun at the start which is why they are down the list.

Lap 2: Vettel is streaking ahead and is over two seconds clear. Webber goes to seventh ahead of Button, it seems Webber's problem was not too serious. Chandhok out - he did not complete two laps.

Lap 1: Vettel has clear air at the end of the lap. Alonso is up to second, Massa third with Rosberg in fourth. Sutil is second last.

Lap 1: Good start from Vettel. Smoke pouring out of Mark Webber's car. Hamilton drops to fifth behind Rosberg.

1203: The cars slowly get into position. We are about to begin. Renault's Twitter feed simply says: "Butterflies."

1159: The formation lap begins. Apparently Mercedes team bosses went to the back of the grid ahead of the race to wish the new boys luck. Nice touch.

1158: Brundle reveals that a TV girl was kicking his leg as he was trying get that question in with Alonso.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn: "Tyres are going to be very delicate, especially the rear tyres. Whoever can make them last will have a strong performance. A lot of cars behind us will be on the prime tyres so you have to be careful about coming back out into traffic. It's going to be a reactive strategy today."

1156: Four minutes to go. Ready? The stage is set...

Virgin driver Timo Glock on BBC ONE: "I am a bit nervous at the moment. It would be great to finish the race, but we will see what happens. It's strange that I am next to Jarno Trulli on the grid - we were at the front of the grid for this race last year and now we are together again but a little bit further back."

1150: It could be a difficult day for the new teams in Bahrain. Hispania's Karun Chandhok, for example, only drove his car for the first time yesterday. The bigger teams will be hoping that the new boys will not be like a learner driver in rush hour.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner on BBC ONE: "It's going to be a big challenge with the red cars just behind us. They can probably split their tactics so we will have to be careful, tyre wear will be crucial so we are going to have to rely on the drivers to give us a lot of information. It's difficult because this season we have no idea when people are going to stop, we will have no idea what the competitors are doing. It's all about brinkmanship this season and guessing what the other drivers are going to do, we will be searching for some clean air, it will be exciting out there."

1144: Grid walk gold in Bahrain. After meeting Rory Bremner, Brundle is forced to wait as a presumably Spanish journalist speaks with Alonso. The questions and answers go on a bit longer that desired but Brundle, being the trooper he is, hangs on in there to get his question in.

1141: This is a good time to alert you to some Sport Relief video of Lewis Hamilton visiting a project in Brazil. Inspiring stuff. There is also some great AV of the telly team talking about the new season. Have a quick look before the start, but do remember to come back.

1139: It's time for Martin Brundle's grid walk. There's a police brass band in very pristine white suits at one end of the grid but there are no drivers out there yet so to be honest, this could be hard work.

Nid Cheriyan on Twitter: "I'm from Bahrain but currently residing in the US. How are you liking the weather up there?"
If only, I'm in Shepherds Bush. It is sunny though.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Bahrain: "Tyre strategy is going to be a critical factor in deciding the races this year. Here in Bahrain, the top teams are all starting on the softer of the two tyres, both of which they have to use in the race. The decision around when they make their stop will depend on several factors - how long they can make the harder tyres last in their second stint, and therefore at what point is it viable to come in for a single stop; how well the soft tyre is wearing; and what their immediate rivals are doing. If someone you're racing comes in for fresh tyres, you basically have to follow him in within a lap or risk losing the battle. Expect stops from around the 15th lap, but any early safety car could trigger a mass dive for the pits."

1129: Here's a few stats about Bahrain. The track has been lengthened to 6.299km, that's 3.914 in old money, with a new loop added after Turn Four. The Bahrain Grand Prix started in 2004 and four of the six winners have gone on to claim the world championship. Schumacher (2004), Alonso (2005, 2006) and Button last year.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "Who will take the first chequered flag of 2010? It wouldn't be Formula 1 if opinion wasn't divided. Eddie Jordan has gone for McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, Jonathan Legard is picking Felipe Massa while the web team favour Fernando Alonso. Sebastian Vettel starts on pole for Red Bull but will their tyres last the whole race as Bahrain's asphalt heats up and the rubber sizzles? Red Bull are worried about Massa and Alonso looming over Vettel's shoulder. Both Ferraris have changed their engines but that is unlikely to count either of them out. Massa has won two of the last three races here and the Brazilian will be out to prove he can match his new team-mate as Massa returns to racing after his life-threatening crash last July. Alonso is also a double winner in Bahrain and Alonso being Alonso he'll do whatever it takes to card up his first win since 2008. We can't count out the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, who start in fifth and seventh respectively, as they've looked good in the long runs and the McLarens. It's going to be fascinating."

1125: Returning seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is being interviewed on telly and is wearing a quite wonderful purple scarf. Smoking jacket anyone? Meanwhile, I've had a few questions in about the Ferrari engine changes for both Massa and Alonso. Here's BBC Sport's Andrew Benson: "The rules say they only get a penalty if they use more than their eight engines in a year. They're not allowed to use that engine again in a qualifying session or a race."

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Gary on 606: "Got a winner yesterday with Ferrari qualifying top team. Here's my other bets today. Alonso to win and have fastest lap. To win by over 6.5 seconds and there to be at least 17 cars finishing. Of course also top team in points Ferrari!"

Sportsfan87 on 606: "I am literally bouncing all over the place waiting for this to start."

Tom Humphries on Twitter: "It would be nice to see Schumacher do well. Think that this may not be the race for him though. Give him time, he'll be back!"

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Bahrain: "The struggle faced by the new teams was put into stark perspective by their lack of pace in qualifying in Bahrain - the quickest car, Timo Glock's Virgin, was five seconds off the pace. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he had not been surprised by their battles. 'F1 is the pinnacle. If a new team could arrive and be competitive, we would not be doing our job. They have a mountain to climb. I'd have been surprised if they had been up with the established teams and something would have been terribly wrong if that had been the case.'"

1116: For the fashion conscious among you, here's an update of what the TV boys are wearing. Jake Humphrey is in pink, Eddie Jordan in navy blue, while David Coulthard is wearing a pair of tight white trousers. There is no way I could get away with that I tell you.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "It's all go up in the palm-tree fringed Bahrain paddock. I popped my head into the Lotus kitchen where the chefs were serving up team-branded green pancakes for lunch. Malaysian food expert Norman explained they were normal pancakes stuffed with coconut and that the green came from extract of pandan leaf. I'm now hoping colour-coordinated food catches on at the other teams. Yum."

1111: Here at BBC Towers, we've taken a straw poll of who we think is going to win the race. In no particular order, here's our predictions - Adrian Sutil, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Seb Vettel. No names are going to be attached to the driver, however, unless my pick comes home first.

1109: Right all, television coverage is about to start on BBC ONE. All together now...

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Bahrain: "Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg said he was surprised by his inability to challenge for pole, and blamed overheating tyres on his Mercedes, but he said he expected to be more competitive in the race. 'We're a little off the pace of the Red Bull and Ferrari,' the German said after qualifying, 'but not as much as it looked today.'"

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Thatwasfunny on 606: "I had the feeling that the Ferraris were going to get the flying start that Brawn had last year. But I was happily surprised by Q3. Jenson's style seems nicely suited to the new rules. I actually recorded the qualifying yesterday and in 30 years of following F1 that is a first. Can't wait for that first corner."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "The 20 living world champions - with the exception of Nelson Piquet and Kimi Raikkonen - are in Bahrain this week to mark the 60th anniversary of the drivers' championship. At each of the 12 team headquarters along the length of a very hot paddock, a world champion or two is to be found seeking shade. On Sunday lunch-time, 1997 champ Jacques Villeneuve was hanging out at Renault, four-time champion Alain Prost was locked in an intense discussion at Lotus while three-time winner Niki Lauda was the focus of attention outside Sauber. Many of the drivers, including special guests such as BBC bod David Coulthard, will be parading some classic F1 cars before the 2010 speed machines go head-to-head. More on the living legends on the blog.

Former world champion Nigel Mansell on BBC 1's Andrew Marr programme: "For me, 2010 is the most genuinely level playing field you can have. There's literally five or six teams here this weekend that could win the race. I think that's very healthy." Have a gander at a clip of the interview here.

1056: Could you do me a favour and manually refresh the page by pressing f5? You will get the streaming screen at the top of this page ready for the start of live coverage at 1110 GMT.

Mike Baldry on Twitter: "I've got a funny feeling Schumacher's return will be unpleasant. He'll get dominated by those young drivers. Winner = Rosberg!"

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20ledge-kb on 606: "I'm tempted to support Force India now, just so I can say I'm with the force."

1043: I think it is time to mention two of the major rule changes for F1 this season. The first is that for the first time since 1993, there will be no refuelling during the race. That means the cars will be starting with enough fuel to last the distance - a weight of around 160kg. The second is the new points system, which will see places rewarded in a sequence of 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. The idea is that with a seven-point gap between first and second, drivers will be more inclined to go for the win rather than settling for what they have.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Bahrain: "Michael Schumacher's return to F1 was always going to be one of the stories of the Bahrain Grand Prix - but how many thought that story would be about his lack of pace? The German legend seems to be as flummoxed by it as everyone else. He was very subdued in a news conference on Saturday. Some thought he was in a strop; others that he was totally bewildered by what was going on. I asked him after qualifying why he was struggling with one-lap pace, something which in the past was always his strong point, and he said: 'There are several reasons. I just have to get the rhythm. Slowly and progressively it has improved. It's challenging and that's a good thing.' Could he be beginning to wonder what he has got himself into?"

BBC's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "Ferrari's Felipe Massa has changed his engine for the race but Andrew Benson has spoken to the powers that be and there's no grid penalty."

Force India on Twitter: "Last season we didn't get through to Q2 in this race and this year we've got both cars in the top 12. Are you with the Force this season?"

Get involved on 606
Blue_thru_and_thru on 606: "Massa or alonso to win. I think this race will be a bit too predictable but I'm excited for the season as there are so many realistic contenders for the WDC."

1030: I have pictures from Bahrain and unsurprisingly for a desert, it's er... well, sunny. Jake Humphreys and the boys are looking very cool in shades while they go through their scripts. They'll be on air on BBC ONE at 1110 GMT. The drivers pose for their pre-race photo on the track, a bit like a class snap at secondary school but without people being pushed off the bench at the back.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "Breakfast in Bahrain was served with a helping of double world champion Emerson Fittipaldi. The 1972 and 1974 winner was a guest of Renault and TW Steel and spoke over bacon sandwiches and mini muffins about his F1 past and the current crop of drivers. Fittipaldi, who won both his titles with Lotus, said: 'The history of Lotus makes them so special. When (founder) Colin Chapman invited me to drive for Lotus it was an honour. The team stopped for a long while but now they are here again and I'm sure they'll have no problems.' The Brazilian was also hopeful that his compatriot, Bruno Senna - making his F1 debut with Hispania - will also find his feet. 'I like Bruno a lot,' he added. 'He has the right mentality and the desire. He takes the pressure of his famous name in a positive way. I hope Hispania can get their act together so he can show his talent.' On the return of seven-time champion, Michael Schumacher, Fittipaldi said: 'I've spoken to Michael here and he's motivated. He's doing it because of the love, the passion and the challenge."

1023: Now then, this commentary will be nothing without you lot, so this is how to get involved. You can text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), tweet me - I think that is what it is called! - on Twitter or use 606. Don't leave me hanging now.

Ferrari on Twitter: "Not the best start of the day. We are going to replace Felipe's engine but just for precaution. The engine can be used again in FP sessions. Anyway, no penalties for Felipe, who will start the race from second place on the grid. We will change the engine on Alonso's car for the same precautionary measure."

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Bahrain: "Sebastian Vettel's pole lap was described by Michael Schumacher as 'fantastic', and he was not the only person surprised by Red Bull's pace. One senior figure at a rival team told me that he thought Red Bull had been 'sand-bagging' - disguising their true pace - throughout winter testing, and would walk the race this afternoon. Others think the car will be vulnerable to the Ferraris because it wears its tyres too much."

1013: Morning all. It's finally here. After months of waiting, the Bahrain Grand Prix is within touching distance. Excited? Thought so. In case you missed qualifying yesterday - tut tut, where were you? - here's a quick summary. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is the man on pole, with the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and two-time champion Fernando Alonso behind him. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton qualified in fourth with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in fifth.

1005: Mums are great, fact. (Happy Mother's Day to the Mrs Os by the way). However, you might just have to delay that special Sunday lunch for a bit - there's the opening grand prix of the season to watch. I'm sure she'll understand.

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see also
Alonso triumphs as Vettel fades
14 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix photos
14 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Prost backs race refuelling ban
14 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Vettel stuns Ferrari to grab pole
13 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix Saturday photos
13 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Prost backs race stewards' move
13 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher keen to 'raise game'
12 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Briatore must be punished - Todt
12 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
All-clear for McLaren wing design
12 Mar 10 |  Formula 1

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