Lewis Hamilton continued his strong start to the 2015 Formula 1 season, taking a third victory in four races at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton streaked away from the start having qualified on pole, controlling the pace from the front. Even a late race problem with overheating brakes couldn’t stop him recording the win and stretching his advantage at the top of the championship table to 27 points.
Hamilton’s braking issue also afflicted his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who was ensconced in a battle for second with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen two laps from home when he went wide under braking, allowing Raikkonen to nip through.
Sebastian Vettel in the other Ferrari had been disputing the podium positions with Rosberg and Raikkonen, but an off-track excursion necessitated a stop for a new nose cone, which dropped him down to fifth at the flag. Valtteri Bottas took Williams’ best result of the season, finishing ahead of Vettel in fourth.
Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth for Red Bull, despite his Renault engine blowing up as he sprinted for the line. That means he has already used three of the four engines allowed for the season; it would be a miracle if the new motor lasted several thousand miles till the end of the year, so the situation will inevitably result in several penalties being handed out. Red Bull has not publicly lashed out at Renault, as it has after other poor performances in the last few races, but you can be sure there will be some robust discussions going on behind the scenes.
Romain Grosjean brought his Lotus home in seventh, while Force India’s Sergio Perez, Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and Williams’ Felipe Massa filled out the rest of the top ten a lap down.
Fernando Alonso came close to taking McLaren Honda’s first points of the season, finishing eleventh; Jenson Button didn’t even make the start after his car suffered an energy recovery system problem.
Despite his early season dominance, it is too early to call the season in Hamilton’s favour. After all, there are still 15 races left to run. But it is clear the other teams have some way to go to make up the deficit to Mercedes. That, though, will become easier now as the circus returns to Europe for the next race in Spain.
But Mercedes won’t be resting on its laurels, either. The development war begins.
The next round is the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 10 May. For more information click here
Bahrain Gran Prix results after 57 laps
- Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes — 1:35:05.809
- Kimi Raikkonen — Ferrari — +3.380
- Nico Rosberg — Mercedes — +6.033
- Valtteri Bottas — Williams-Mercedes — +42.957
- Sebastian Vettel — Ferrari — +43.989
- Daniel Ricciardo — Red Bull-Renault — +1:01.751
- Romain Grosjean — Lotus-Mercedes — +1:24.763
- Sergio Perez — Force India-Mercedes — +1 lap
- Daniil Kvyat — Red Bull-Renault — +1 lap
- Felipe Massa — Williams-Mercedes — +1 lap
- Fernando Alonso — McLaren-Honda — +1 lap
- Felipe Nasr — Sauber-Ferrari — +1 lap
- Nico Hulkenberg — Force India-Mercedes — +1 lap
- Marcus Ericsson — Sauber-Ferrari — +1 lap
- Pastor Maldonado — Lotus-Mercedes — +1 lap
- Will Stevens — Marussia-Ferrari — +2 laps
- Roberto Mehri — Marussia-Ferrari — +2 laps
- Max Verstappen — Toro Rosso-Renault — lap 34 (electrics)
- Carlos Sainz Jr. — Toro Rosso-Renault — lap 29 (engine)
- Jenson Button — McLaren-Honda — DNS (ERS)