From the moment the lights went out it ceased to matter how the cars sounded, who you wanted to win, or whether you thought this year was boring this far. F1 was turned up to eleven and, other than a brief Safety Car period following Maldonado’s spear tackle into the side of Gutierrez’ Sauber which sent him end over end, it is near impossible to name a lap that wasn’t full of action. Fortunately neither driver in the aforementioned incident was injured.
From the start it was Mercedes race. We had already seen how much faster they were in a straight line and if there is one thing Bahrain does not lack it is just that. The question was more, which Mercedes would come home first? A question that we were left asking until the last corner as the two Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, were left to race. Hamilton, on the harder compound tyres, struggled to keep Rosberg, on the softer rubber, at bay in the closing laps after the Safety Car providing viewers with spectacular racing.
Good news too, that we can expect to see more of the same in coming races as Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff confirmed
“[We will continue like this] until we lose some front wings and then we will sit down again and discuss if this was the [right] strategy…. No, they are racing drivers, so it is all academic…”
“We would never have split them, we want them to race,” he insisted, “We knew that the second car could only win if we offset it on the strategy, but both cars were on a strategy to win the race.
“Obviously, it is great watching two drivers of that level racing each other fair and square, not risking the other car, and still delivering a mega show,” Wolff concluded, “It doesn’t get any better as advertising for F1 in a moment where a lot of people were talking F1 down.”
Behind the race leader the battle for Bahrain was even more fierce with Daniel Ricciardo moving up from 13th on the grid to 4th behind Perez in the Force India who also had a spectacular drive.
The big losers on the day however were McLaren who saw both cars retire before the end of the race, marking the first Mclaren retirement since 2012. Ferrari also suffered in the points as they were simply out powered in the straights despite both drivers battling as hard as they could in the corners.
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes 57 laps 1hr 39m 42.743s
2. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +00m 01.0s
3. Sergio Perez Mexico Force India-Mercedes +00m 24.0s
4. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 24.4s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes +00m 28.6s
6. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 29.8s
7. Felipe Massa Brazil Williams-Mercedes +00m 31.3s
8. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Mercedes +00m 31.8s
9. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 32.5s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 33.4s
11. Daniil Kvyat Russia Toro Rosso-Renault +00m 41.3s
12. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault +00m 43.1s
13. Max Chilton Briton Marussia-Ferrari +00m 59.9s
14. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Lotus-Renault +01m 02.8s
15. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Caterham-Renault +01m 18.3s
Rtd Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes +2 laps
16. Jules Bianchi France Marussia-Ferrari +3 laps
Rtd Kevin Magnussen Denmark McLaren-Mercedes 40 laps completed
Rtd Esteban Gutierrez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 39 laps completed
Rtd Marcus Ericsson Sweden Caterham-Renault 33 laps completed
Rtd Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps completed
Rtd Adrian Sutil Germany Sauber-Ferrari 17 laps completed
. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 37.020s lap 49
all results unofficial
The next race is in two weeks time in China.
Roger Baillie (@Rojn8r)
Images and results via: Crash.net