Nico Rosberg wins Bahrain GP while Hamilton, Vettel hit trouble
Nico Rosberg has now won the last five grands prix in a row, and the opening two races of the 2016 season, after a dominant performance at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain on Sunday.
Things played right into the German’s hands before the opening lap of the race was even complete.
Firstly, there was the threat of Ferrari, which disappeared in a plume of smoke on the formation lap for Sebastian Vettel, and then in a botched start for Kimi Raikkonen.
Starting second, Rosberg edged out his Mercedes teammate – and polesitter – Lewis Hamilton in the first turn, who then got hit by Williams driver Valtteri Bottas. Bottas dropped back to third while Hamilton dropped outside of the top five, but things got worse for Bottas when he was handed a drive-through penalty for the collision.
The opening few laps were filled with plenty of action throughout the field, with contact between Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz leading to Perez pitting for a new front wing while the Toro Rosso limped around the circuit with a puncture. Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg also came in for unscheduled stops at the start, with Palmer not returning to the circuit.
McLaren’s Jenson Button, Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez, and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz joined Vettel and Palmer as retirements. However, there was much more fortune for Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who was racing up towards the front of the field all race long with the Williams and Red Bull teammates, despite a couple of sluggish pit stops. Grosjean finished in a solid fifth place.
But none of those drivers or teams had anything for the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, with Raikkonen and Hamilton working their ways back up through the field to finish on the podium – with Raikkonen in the second spot.
Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas and debutant Stoffel Vandoorne rounded out the points finishers.
Formula One will be back in action in two weeks time in China.
Full race results: