SAKHIR, Bahrain – official series release — Clive Mason/Getty Images Europe photo —
Lewis Hamilton drove to a dominant victory in Sunday’s 2015 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, but Mcrcedes teammate Nico Rosberg ultimately fell prey to Kimi Raikkonen after a brake issue and a race-long battle with Ferrari.
A clever switch of strategy put Raikkonen on the faster soft tires for his final stint, during which he was able to haul in the medium-tired Rosberg, before passing the German, who like Hamilton had brake issues, on the penultimate lap.
Raikkonen’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel, had been in contention for second until a mid-race error forced to him to make an unscheduled pit stop for a new nose and he ultimately came home fifth, just losing out to Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.
Both Red Bulls scored points, with Daniel Ricciardo sixth and Daniil Kvyat ninth, though the former’s car expired as he crossed the finish line. Between them were Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Meanwhile, the win was the 36th of Hamilton’s Formula One career — fifth on the all-time Grands Prix win list — and his third of the season.
“Firstly, a big thank you to my team, they did an amazing job this weekend,” Hamilton said. “The Ferraris gave us a real good run for our money and out there it was really difficult to look after the tires in these conditions — behind backmarkers and all sorts — but fortunately I was able to keep the car together, keep the tires as healthy as possible and pull it through.”
“We need to keep pushing as a team, we’ll of course do [that]. [But] just a massive thanks to everyone and all the people who came out to support me this weekend, I really appreciate it. The car was really nice to drive this weekend and [I’m] really proud of everyone for all the hard work they put in.”
At the back of the points, Felipe Massa had an eventful journey to round out the top ten. The Brazilian’s Williams stalled on the formation lap and he had to fight back from a pit-lane start throughout the evening — but still managed to stay in the points ahead of former world champion Fernando Alonso, who just missed scoring the maiden tallies for McLaren-Honda by finishing 11th.
On the flip-side of Alonso’s best result of the season, Jenson Button’s McLaren quit before the start with more electrical problems centered around its energy recovery system, forcing Honda to withdraw the machine.
The Formula One season continues on May 10 with the running of the Spanish Grand Prix from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
CREDIT: Formula One World Championship