David Coulthard column: Button's anger with Perez understandable

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel wins the Bahrain Grand Prix

A number of interesting stories came out of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

There was good wheel-to-wheel action, a dominant victory for Sebastian Vettel, a little bust-up between McLaren team-mates Jenson Button and Sergio Perez and another mistake and missed opportunity by Ferrari.

Button was clearly not happy with Perez's driving while they were fighting for position during the race.

Perez was a topic of conversation at the drivers' briefing on Friday - his driving in the Chinese Grand Prix was raised by Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen.

I suspect Perez will continue to be a subject of discussion for the other drivers, but not on the same level as we have seen recently with Williams's Pastor Maldonado, when he banged wheels with Lewis Hamilton in Spa, or cut Perez up in Monaco.

On balance, it was a strong weekend for Perez, but I can understand why Button was upset.

Jenson was riding on three races of being undisputed number one. He would have expected that kind of wheel-to-wheel racing from Hamilton and perhaps he was caught out a little bit by Perez finding form and did not expect that level of pressure.

That's a little reminder to Jenson that you've got to go out there and take the good with the bad.

Sergio Perez and Jenson Button

It was the most impressive performance so far this season from both Perez and McLaren.

We know Jenson isn't entirely happy. But it's inevitable with any new relationship that you won't always see eye to eye with your team-mate.

When I first saw Perez defend his position from Button on the run down to Turn One I said on the commentary that I thought he had moved too late, but the replay showed that he moved before Button did, so I revised that opinion.

Button was more concerned about Perez weaving down the straight between Turns Three and Four when the roles were reversed, but as long as you're not doing it too late, I think that's absolutely fine, within limits.

You could argue Red Bull's Mark Webber weaved too much in the run down to Turn One when he was battling with Hamilton's Mercedes.

Well, he still left a car's width on the outside and the rule is quite clear - you are not allowed to crowd someone, you can make one defensive move and you can move back into your braking position but leave a car's width. That's what Mark was doing.

The bottom line is the stewards are there to make the referee decision. Can I understand why Jenson might be tweaked? Yes, for the reasons I explained. But otherwise we had some great racing and the tyre allowed the drivers to race.


Romain Grosjean returned to form to take third place behind his Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel.

Grosjean had not had a great season before Bahrain but this time he was on the pace and he raced well, leaving space when he was driving, showing a maturity that was not there last year.

Raikkonen continues to be Mr Consistency, and is within 10 points of Vettel in the championship. This is going to go on. And somehow Hamilton has found himself in third place despite Mercedes' unconvincing performance in races.


Mercedes flattered to deceive again. It was a great pole position from Nico Rosberg but the high track temperatures in the race meant they were not able to keep their performance together because their rear tyres overheated and they went backwards.

In China last weekend, a very different circuit, Hamilton was able to take third after starting on pole.

But in Bahrain - where the hot temperatures ask a lot of the rear tyres, which are Mercedes' big weakness - Rosberg plummeted to ninth.


For Vettel, it was the most dominant victory we have seen since his maiden win for Toro Rosso in Monza back in 2008.

He reined it back in at the end so he won by 'only' nine seconds. But consider that he was able to do an additional pit stop to Raikkonen yet managed to open up such a margin that he was able to pit and rejoin in the lead after just his second stop.

Vettel's pace was, just like last year in Bahrain, quite a contrast with his team-mate Webber, who simply could not get the tyres to last.


As far as Ferrari are concerned, they have now had two races in four where they have missed some big opportunities.

In Malaysia last month, in hindsight they clearly should have told Fernando Alonso to come in to change his damaged front wing at the end of the first lap.

In Bahrain, clearly with the benefit of hindsight, they should have told him after his first stop that he should not use his DRS again. He did, and he had to stop again immediately to have his rear wing fixed back into place.

That surprises me, because normally Ferrari are pretty solid when it comes to communication. It just shows that sometimes, in the heat of the moment, when you're not expecting a failure, decisions can go wrong.

It was a good comeback from Alonso in the race to take eighth, but it's definitely an opportunity missed.

Had he not had to make that second stop he would have been on the podium. And having lots of podiums last year kept him in the hunt.

That could prove costly later in the year. But communication errors can be sorted out; having a slow car is much more difficult job. So expect them to bounce back in Barcelona next time out.


It was alarming to see Felipe Massa have two tyre failures on his Ferrari in the race - especially after Hamilton had a very similar one in practice.

But there was a fantastic bit of footage from Massa's onboard camera showing the second failure.

On acceleration out of a medium speed corner it literally ripped the tyre off the sidewall.

That will be invaluable to Pirelli as they try to work out what went wrong.

David Coulthard was talking to BBC Sport's Andrew Benson

Top Stories