NICO ROSBERG ON A RUN OF SUCCESS: Nico Rosberg's win may dominate the headlines, but Bahrain 2016 provided more to chew on than meets the eye. Image: AFP / Philippe Lopez
Bahrain - The 2016 Bahrain GP delivered its fair share of excitement as Formula 1 fans were treated to a great race. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg dominated the race while F1's qualifying fiasco continued.
Delve deeper into the action in Bahrain and it becomes abundantly clear that there are many aspects that need some mention.
We look at five key points from 2016 Bahrain GP:
1. Stars of the future: Wehrlein and Van Doorne
The 2015 season saw the debut of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr to F1, young stars that caught the attention of a field dominated by veterans. Earlier in 2016, Pascal Wehrlein debuted for Marussia and the Bahrain GP saw Stoffel van Doorne driving for McLaren in place of the injured Fernando Alonso.
Both drivers stormed through the field and at certain stages occupied positions in the top 10. Neither driver is currently driving for a top team but both showed formidable skill and talent. McLaren and Marussia were the two lowest scoring teams in 2015.
2. The new qualifying format needs to be scrapped
Anyone watching the qualifying round for the Bahrain GP would have been confused. As was the case at the season-opening 2016 Australian GP, the new format fell flat on its face leaving teams scratching their heads.
The new elimination-style format, aimed at improving the sport, leaves spectators staring at an empty track as many drivers are eliminated in their garages instead of fighting for position on track.
Instead of reverting to the previous format the FIA is considering options to alter the current format.
If ever there was an indication that F1 is turning into a circus, this would be it.
READ: Bahrain GP wrap - 'F1 in desperate need of good leadership'
3. Ferrari needs to work on reliability
Sebastian Vettel, during his warm-up lap heading towards the starting grid, came to an abrupt halt that left him stranded on the side of the track. His Ferrari lacked the fire that blasted from Kimi Raikkonen’s engine in Australia but still bellowed smoke on the track.
Ferrari’s engines did not show any sign of reliability issues during pre-season testing but the fact that both its drivers suffered mechanical issues in two consecutive races is a cause for concern.
Ferrari cannot afford mechanical failures especially if Vettel or Raikkonen hope to challenge Mercedes for the 2016 title.
4. Rosberg isn't playing second fiddle to Hamilton
For two years (three if you include 2013), Lewis Hamilton outpaced and outraced team mate Nico Rosberg. Tried as he might, Rosberg failed to match the sheer brilliance of Hamilton’s racing skill.
Since the end of 2015, Rosberg has been on a roll and has outraced Hamilton at the last five races. He won the Bahrain GP in spectacular fashion, with Raikkonen in second and Hamilton more than 30 seconds behind in third. Nico Rosberg has the 2016 championship in his sights, and given his performance in Bahrain, he might grab the title this year.
5. Haas F1 is a mid-field contender
During the Australian GP, Romain Grosjean grabbed a commendable sixth place for Haas, albeit assisted by Alonso’s crash. In Bahrain, Haas proved what it achieved two weeks ago in Melbourne was no fluke.
Grosjean drove his Ferrari-powered Haas to fifth place, ahead of more established teams such as Williams and Force India. If the American team can maintain its current form, the 2016 season could be a dream debut for them.
Haas F1 has the technical backing of Ferrari but what happens on track is entirely up to the new team.