Bahrain 2006: Driver of the day

Published March 12, 2006

A brilliant race to kick off the season with, I was already convinced that there would be four teams vying for the win: McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and Honda. We had our money on Schumacher clinching the first win of the season, but our hopes rested with anyone but.

Räikkönen put in a sterling performance, starting last on the grid and storming his way through the pack to end up third. Although this would be driver of the day material, we’ve seen him do this before, and I wasn’t surprised to see him on the podium today. Montoya must be a little bit embarrassed though, having a very quiet afternoon and finishing a lowly fifth.

Schumacher and Alonso both fought for the win hard, and although brilliant drives by both (Alonso gets special mention for avoiding the menace that is Massa spinning and almost taking him out right at the start), neither did anything spectacular to earn my praise.

Button showed his true skills by overtaking Montoya twice and holding his own against the more formidable personalities, but the bad start at the beginning meant he was always playing catchup. I considered him for driver of the day but it depends whether the problems at the start were his fault or not. (I was the only person to notice that he didn’t get away on the parade lap - neither of the ITV commentators picked up on it, nor the eagle-eyed Mr C.)

So, with all the top drivers putting in race winning performances but still not clinching the accolade - who does my driver of the day go to? Nico Rosberg. There was overtaking, defensive driving, sensible thinking and generally a clear and superb race. Finishing seventh and picking up some points on your debut Formula 1 race is something to be proud of.

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