Bahrain Grand Prix: Mercedes And A Flying Ferrari

Once again, Lewis Hamilton took the top step of the podium on a Sunday afternoon, managing his race from pole position to extend his championship lead by 27 points. Kimi Raikkonen took the drive of the day, pulling off a two-stop strategy to keep his tyres grippy and ruin Mercedes hopes of a 1-2 finish. The Ferrari finished on the second step of the podium ahead of Nico Rosberg in third. Hamilton had a clean getaway, pulling an early lead and leaving Rosberg to try and challenge Vettel into the first corner. Unbeknownst to Rosberg, Raikkonen was eyeing up a move on the Mercedes going out around the outside into turn 1 and moving himself up to P3. Further back in the grid, Maldonado and Verstappen got a bit too close for comfort as the two made contact, leaving Verstappen with some front wing damage. The rest of the grid snaked their way through reasonably unscathed, Ericsson was the big winner in the opening lap, making up four places moving himself into P9.

Lewis Hamilton took home the race victory after managing a two stop strategy. Starting on the option tyre, Hamilton’s first stop on lap 18 saw him stick to the soft compound before swapping to the medium prime tyre for the final stint. Hamilton’s drive to victory was rather unchallenged, although the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen did creep closer in the final laps due to a brake-by-wire issue with the F1 W06. Nico Rosberg delivered the fight we’d been waiting for at the Sakhir circuit. Opting for the same tyre strategy as Hamilton, Rosberg had to defend and then attack two attempts of a Ferrari undercut by Vettel. It would have been a 1-2 finish for Mercedes had Rosberg’s tyres not gone in the final leg of the race. With little grip, the German ran wide in the final laps, letting Raikkonen through easily and relinquishing the Mercedes to P3.

Ferrari posed more of a threat to the two Mercedes, though some silly errors by Sebastian cost him a podium finish. Both the Ferraris got off to a flying start, with Vettel retaining P2 in the opening stint, and Raikkonen pulling a sneaky jump on Rosberg. It was Kimi’s cool tyre management that allowed the F15 T to remain competitive right down to the final corner. Even on the “slower” medium compound tyre, Raikkonen was lapping a second quicker than the rest of the field. Vettel on the other hand couldn’t keep the grip in his tyres, and an off moment defending from Rosberg not only cost him a position, but valuable lap time and a nose change. When Vettel returned to the track, he was unable to pass Bottas in the Williams. Reluctantly Vettel finished behind the FW37 in P5.

– Alex

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