Nobody knew what to expect before Sunday's season-opening grand prix: not the drivers, not the teams and certainly not the fans. The only thing anybody was willing to predict was that something unpredictable would happen - and so it did. But while Sebastian Vettel's broken exhaust, sustained while leading the race, ruined his chances of a maiden win in Bahrain, Ferrari's frosty duo of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa secured a one-two finish. But what of the 41-year-old Michael Schumacher? And did a driver really compete in his first grand prix after just seven practice laps - in qualifying? We look at what we have learned from the first race.
1. McLaren do not have the pace expected of them - even with a controversial wing. When Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton occupied two of the top four positions following Friday's second practice session, much was made of the speed of the new MP4-25. Here was a team with two world champions and a very fast car. Oh, and also a regulation-bending rear wing. Rival teams were not happy. However, post-qualifying, the mood changed as they struggled to fourth and eighth and then a distant third and seventh in the race. Turns out the McLaren-Mercedes' are not as quick as first suspected, and that rear wing? Well, the teams can live with it, after all.
2. The Germans are primed to prosper, but F1's fastest is no longer called Schumacher The throngs of German media who travelled to Bahrain for the return of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher were given a golden glimpse of their homeland's future in motorsport. Adrian Sutil topped the first practice session, while at one stage of second practice, five of the top eight drivers were flying the Deutsch tricolor. Vettel claimed pole in qualifying and later led the first 34 laps before suffering an exhaust malfunction. But while the young Germans impressed, the old German, Schumacher, eventually finish in sixth, one place behind his compatriot - and teammate - Nico Rosberg.
3. Indians do follow Formula One and Karun Chandhok will increase the following. With all the hype surrounding cricket's Indian Premier League, Karun Chandhok, HRT's rookie driver from Chennai, was expected to glide into Formula One under the radar of his fellow countrymen. No chance - especially when Bollywood-stars-turn-IPL-owners Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra are praising your achievements. It seems motorsport is catching the attention of India's 1.2 billion population and, despite missing three practice sessions and only managing two laps in Sunday's race before being forced to retire, Chandhok is undoubtedly going to be a major name by the time the inaugural Indian Grand Prix swings around next year.
4. More regulations do not equate to more excitement. The new regulations that prohibit in-race refuelling were imposed to improve Formula One, so why is it that before the hip-hop star Timbaland had even take to the stage to close the Bahrain Grand Prix, discussions were underway to change the rules once more? Each car started Sunday's race laden with 160kg of fuel, giving the drivers the task of controlling these, to steal a phrase from Sir Jackie Stewart, "pregnant elephants". The result was overtaking was limited to technical problems and Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren boss, is already calling for a mandatory two-stop rule, which is unlikely to be implemented any time soon. firstname.lastname@example.org