Hamilton Fends off Ferrari Challenge To Win Bahrain Grand Prix
Formula One
Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix in what was a disciplined victory from start to finish. Hamilton, though never troubled for the victory, always had to contend with the presence of his team mate and the threat of the two Ferrari’s whose resurgent form was confirmed to be not just a one off Malaysian GP win. Nico Rosberg was always within sight of Hamilton but never able to match his team mate for outright pace and this left the Mercedes driver open for a Ferrari onslaught throughout much of the race. Bahrain-GP-2015-D Ferrari underlined their pace during Saturday’s qualifying session which ended with Sebastian Vettel securing 2nd place on the grid, splitting the two Mercedes drivers. Raikkonen was 4th. Both Mercedes and Ferrari are now the two fastest teams and Sunday was going to be a tense show down. Would it come down to outright pace or tyre strategy. In the end Hamilton skillfully managed the race, making sure to push when required but also manage to sustain the life of his tyres. Rosberg dropped from third to fourth at the start of the race after Raikkonen made the better start and so Rosberg’s afternoon was spent trying to claw back position. He did and 8 laps later he was past both Ferrari’s. Bahrain-GP-2015-C By now Hamilton had amassed a six second lead over Rosberg who was a further two seconds ahead of Vettel. When Vettel made his first stop on lap 13 Rosberg responded a lap later. His reward was to be demoted back to third after Vettel put in a quick lap on a fresh set of tyres. Rosberg reclaimed second a lap later after passing Vettel again and when Hamilton pitted for his first tyre stop the Englishman rejoined the race in the lead which had now been slashed to around one second. And so it was that a kind of stand off began between the top three, Raikkonen dropped behind because of a different tyre strategy which meant he was doing longer runs. Hamilton began to rebuild his lead and eventually pulled a safe distance ahead with Rosberg left to deal with Vettel. When Vettel made his second pitstop he was again able to leap ahead of Rosberg when the Mercedes driver followed suit a lap later. And so Rosberg resumed his battle for second place this time chasing and again closing down Vettel’s Ferrari. However Vettel made a mistake on the final corner on lap 35, ran wide and kissed the gravel trap to his left allowing Rosberg back into second. Vettel radioed to his team that his front wing felt damaged and he pitted not soon after to change the wing this dropped him down to 5th. There Vettel remained until the end battling the Williams of Valterri Bottas, unable to do more than the perceived damage allowed him to. Bahrain-GP-2015-B And so it was left to the Ferrari of Raikkonen to do battle with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg but he was some 15 seconds down after competing his final pitstop for a set of soft tyres. Raikkonen though had looked fast all weekend and with 17 laps to go he began to eat away at the gap between himself and Rosberg. The fast charging Raikkonen looked to have forced Rosberg into a mistake on the penultimate lap as the Mercedes driver completely missed his braking point for turn one and this allowed Raikkonen into second. It turned out that Rosberg’s Mercedes had developed a brake-by-wire fault and mysteriously the same affliction also happened to Hamilton. Had the race ran two laps longer Raikkonen could have won the race. Bahrain-GP-2015-A Daniel Ricciardo’s race ended with a bang, his Renault powered Red Bull gave up just as he crossed the line. The extinct engine coughed up a plume of smoke that fogged out the scene behind him. The Lotus of Romain Grosjean and the Force India of Sergio Perez were next up and the final points positions were allocated to Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and William’s Felipe Massa who drove with a damaged floor for most of the race, a gift of sorts from Pastor Maldonado. And so it was that Lewis Hamilton took a contained win that underlined his quest to retain his world champion status and the the growing threat arising from the Scuderia. 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Result
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes 1:35:05.809 25
2 Kimi Räikkönen FIN Ferrari +3.38s 18
3 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes +6.033s 15
4 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams +42.957s 12
5 Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari +43.989s 10
6 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull +61.751s 8
7 Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus +84.763s 6
8 Sergio Perez MEX Force India +1 lap 4
9 Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull +1 lap 2
10 Felipe Massa BRA Williams +1 lap 1
11 Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren +1 lap 0
12 Felipe Nasr BRA Sauber +1 lap 0
13 Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India +1 lap 0
14 Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber +1 lap 0
15 Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus +1 lap 0
16 Will Stevens GBR Marussia +2 laps 0
17 Roberto Merhi ESP Marussia +3 laps 0
RT Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso DNF 0
RT Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso DNF 0
DNS Jenson Button GBR McLaren DNS 0
Fastest lap – Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 36.311s (lap 42)
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