Hamilton wins despite cooked brakes

BY CHARL BOSCH - APRIL 20, 2015

Defending world champion, Lewis Hamilton, shrugged-off brake failure in the closing stages of yesterday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, to win his third race of the season ahead of Ferrari’s 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

His victory now leaves the Brit 27 points clear of Rosberg, who also a struggled with brake problems and eventually dropped to third behind Raikkonen with two laps to go. For the Finn, the result marked his first podium for the prancing horse since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.

Having secured his fourth straight pole position of the year, Hamilton lead away from the start and maintained, at the most, a six second lead throughout the 57-laps to eventually cross the line 3.3 seconds ahead of Raikkonen.

“Ferrari gave us a real good run for our money and out there it was really tough to look after our tyres, behind backmarkers and all sorts,” Hamilton told Sky F1 after the race.

“Fortunately I was able to keep the car together and the tyres as healthy as possible and pull it through. But we need to keep pushing as a team”.

Despite the way he managed to pull ahead of the battle between his teammate and Raikkonen behind, Hamilton admitted that the team continued to remain wary of the Scuderia’s improving pace, but added that the jostling allowed him to control proceedings from the front.

“It’s always easier to chase in general and Ferrari have made a good step this weekend because they were really quick. But I was really happy because l had pace and l could answer to whoever today. I had control - it's not often you have that”.

Speaking to Sky after his first podium since the Korean Grand Prix in 2013 for Lotus, Raikkonen stated that the team was in the best shape it had ever been since his return last year, and that his closing of a 15-second gap to Rosberg, proved that the car had more-or-less the pace to challenge the dominating Silver Arrows.

“I think we did the right calls and the right tyres. The pit-stops were good so we just have to get higher up at the start of the race. I think we have the pace more or less to follow the Mercedes, but if you get in a fight with them you lose the first car a lot. We have to improve a little bit everywhere,” he said.

Behind the top three, Williams’ Valterri Bottas held-off four times champion Sebastian Vettel for fourth, after an off-track experience shortly after his last pit stop, forced the latter to make an unscheduled stop to replace a damaged a nose.

In a somewhat more dramatic fashion, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line in sixth with smoke trailing as his Renault engine blew in the last few metres. The latest in a series of disappointments for the former champions could likely intensify as the blow-up would result in the Australian using his fifth and last engine at the next round, after which engine penalties would be applied.

Some 20 seconds behind the imploding Red Bull, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean continued his team’s resurgence from a miserable 2014 by finishing seventh ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez, the second Red Bull of Danill Kvyat, and a recovering Felipe Massa, who was forced to start from the pits after his Williams failed to get off the grid during the formation lap.

Mixed fortunes continued for the struggling McLaren Honda outfit with former double world champion Fernando Alonso finishing 11th and Jenson Button unable to take the start due to mechanical problems.

The next event sees the F1 circus starting its European leg with the Spanish Grand Prix at Catalunya on May 10th.

 

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX RESULTS

Position Driver Team Gap
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35:05.809
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +3.380
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +6.033
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams +42.957
5. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +43.989
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +1:01.751
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus +1:24.763
8. Sergio Perez Force India + 1 Lap
9. Danill Kvyat Red Bull + 1 Lap
10. Felipe Massa Williams + 1 Lap
11. Fernando Alonso McLaren + 1 Lap
12. Felipe Nasr Sauber + 1 Lap
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India + 1 Lap
14. Marcus Ericsson Sauber + 1 Lap
15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus + 2 Laps
16. Will Stevens Manor + 2 Laps
17. Roberto Mehri Manor + 3 Laps
DNF Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 34 laps, engine
DNF Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 29 laps, loose wheel
DNS Jenson Button McLaren mechanical

 

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Position Driver Team Points
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 93
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 66
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 65
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 42
5. Felipe Massa Williams 31
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams 30
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 19
8. Felipe Nasr Sauber 14
9. Romain Grosjen Lotus 12
10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 6
11. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 6
12. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 6
13. Sergio Perez Force India 5
14. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 5
15. Danill Kvyat Red Bull 4
16. Fernando Alonso McLaren 0
17. Jenson Button McLaren 0
18. Roberto Mehri Manor 0
19. Will Stevens Manor 0
20. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 0
21. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 0

 

IMAGE sourced from www.autosport.com