Lewis Hamilton won todays Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and teammate Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes driver seemed to manage the pace for most of the race, despite some challenges from Ferrari early on which forced them to cover Sebastien Vettel in the pitstops.
Vettel who started from second on the grid got a good start off the line, as did Raikkonen who managed to get past Rosberg and into third. We also saw Marcus Ericsson gain four positions at the start, with Riccardo also getting past Grosjean for P6. Elsewhere Maldonado made contact with Verstappen which prompted the Toro Rosso driver to pit early for a change of nose and tyres.
As that happened we saw Rosberg make swift work of Raikkonen and Vettel to get into P2 before the pitstops. Vettel meanwhile pitted before Rosberg, which made Mercedes react and pit Rosberg in second. He came out just behind Vettel, who defended position for a lap before Rosberg overtook him as Hamilton pitted and handed the lead to Raikkonen.
From there we saw a fairly stagnant race, with some moves being made in the midfield and Kvyat making his way up the field after a poor qualifying session. By the halfway mark he was into P9 challenging for points on the Medium tyre. Also on the Medium tyre was Raikkonen, and lapping three tenths a lap faster than Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel combined.
At was at this stage Ferrari spotted an opening, which allowed Raikkonen to challenge for second. Having another set of Softs left and knowing that the others had to run the Medium, it meant that this final stint was a case of Raikkonen just closing the gap. In the final round of pitstops Vettel managed to get the undercut on Rosberg again, only this time he ran wide and let him through on the start/finish straight.
The Ferrari driver not only lost time, but had to pit for a new front wing after he damaged the pillers coming off the track. That meant P3 was on for Kimi, but Ferrari weren’t about to let Mercedes off that easily. The two cars were struggling with brake heat management for most of the race, and with just 10 laps to go we saw Raikkonen get ever closer on his quicker tyres.
Three laps to go and Raikkonen was right on Rosberg’s gearbox, and as the Mercedes driver entered the first corner he ran wide after his brake-by-wire system failed. Raikkonen got through but the pair were side-by-side going up the hill into turn five, by which point Rosberg had to concede position to the Fin who now set his sights on Hamilton. With a lap to go the race leader got a message on his dashboard “BBW fail” – the same thing that happened to Rosberg a lap ago.
Luckily enough though he had a big enough gap to Raikkonen to just manage the final lap, and take the chequered flag for his third win of the 2015 season. Meanwhile Vettel found himself behind Bottas, who was on older rubber. But try as he might the Ferrari driver was unable to pass him, finishing in P5 whilst the Williams driver claimed P4.
Ricciardo finished P6, joining in on the fireworks display as he crossed the line when his Renault Power Unit just let go with a couple of metres to spare at the line. He wasn’t the only Red Bull driver to retire with engine problems, with Vestappen retiring 23 laps to the end in the Toro Rosso. In fact it was a double retirement for that team after Sainz had to pull over after his second stop with a loose wheel nut.
Meanwhile Grosjean managed P7 ahead of Sergio Perez in P8, and Kvyat eventually P9 ahead of Massa who was also on a recovery drive after facing Power Unit issues at the start and having to join the race from the pit lane. Finally its worth noting the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, which finished in P11 despite his teammate Jenson Button not taking the start with ERS issues.