Rosberg victorious in eventful Bahrain GP
Nico Rosberg cruised to victory following a faultless drive in an eventful Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver stormed into the lead at the start which he maintained throughout staying well clear of the action behind.
As chaos ensued in the early stages, Rosberg built up an impressive advantage which paved the way for a relatively comfortable win as he opened up a 17 point lead in the standings.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen posed a threat in the closing stages after recovering to second following a slow start, but he ultimately ran out of laps.
Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton claimed third after an impressive damage limitation drive from eighth, having been tagged by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap.
The Brit suffered damage to the right side of his Mercedes but it failed to seriously hamper his pace, as he surged back to sharp end.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo made the most of a three stop strategy to claim fourth having run amongst the podium places in the early laps.
This came after the Australian damaged his front wing when he was caught up in the Hamilton/Bottas clash.
For the second race in succession Haas F1 scored points with Romain Grosjean finishing fifth as the Frenchman extracted stunning speed during two stints on the super-soft tyres.
Drama unfolded before the race began with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel forced to retire on the formation lap after an engine failure.
Vettel was joined on the list of retirements by Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, who was prevented from making the start due to a hydraulic issue.
The action continued when the lights went out as Rosberg leapt into the lead at the start while his rival Hamilton encountered trouble.
The fast starting Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Bottas jumped into contention with the Mercedes duo, but the latter misjudged the first turn as he clouted Hamilton.
Stewards issued the Williams driver with a drive-through penalty for causing the accident, which dashed his hopes of a strong finish, ending up ninth at the flag.
Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen was involved in plenty of wheel-to-wheel action as he powered to sixth ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who produced a fighting drive from 15th on the grid.
Massa showed strong pace in the early laps following his lightening launch to second at the start, but he slipped back to eighth at the finish.
Meanwhile, Stoffel Vandoorne emerged as a star of the future by scoring a point on his F1 debut in 10th as McLaren suffered a mixed race, with Jenson Button retiring with a mechanical issue.
After starting from the pit lane, Kevin Magnussen drove his Renault to 11th ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, along with Rio Haryanto completed the classified finishers.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz endured an eventful race which began with a puncture caused by early contact with Perez. He eventually retired with a mechanical problem.
Esteban Gutierrez also suffered his second consecutive retirement after his Haas F1 developed a suspected brake issue.
Result: Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix
|1||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||57 Laps|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||+1:02.494s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||+1:20.928s|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||+1 Lap|
|8||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|9||Valtteri Bottas||Williams/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|10||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||+1 Lap|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||Renault||+1 Lap|
|12||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|13||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|14||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|17||Rio Haryanto||Manor/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|DNF||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||Retirement|
|DNS||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Not started|
|DNS||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||Not started|