Nico Rosberg triumphed at Bahrain Grand Prix to open new Formula 1 season with two straight wins. With three victories at the end of last season, Rosberg extended his streak to five wins. The German took advantage of a first-turn accident involving Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and before the start engine failure which prohibited Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to event start the race.
Rosberg led through entire race to win at the Sakhir circuit with 10.2 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton who recovered from the starting collision and finished third. It was first win for Rosberg in Bahrain.
Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull came in fourth while Romain Grosjean took fifth, displaying another promising performance by the new Haas team. Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen finished sixth while Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat finished seventh. Williams’s drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished eighth and ninth despite promising starting positions while McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne came in in 10th to earn one point on his Formula 1 debut.
The warm-up lap brought drama and disappointment as smoke began to shoot out of the back of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari as he instantly parked the car. It was the second engine failure for Ferrari already in the new season after Kimi Raikkonen failed to finish the race in Australia two weeks ago.
Pole position holder at Bahrain, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton again got off to a poor start, just like in Melbourne, as he adjusts to the new rule which restricts drivers to single clutch at the green lights. Hamilton dropped behind Rosberg at the first corner when Valtteri Bottas tried to take him over and collided with the right side of the Hamilton’s Mercedes, dropping him down to seventh place at the end of the first lap. Bottas ended up with a pit lane drive-through penalty.
With his biggest rivals basically out of the race, Rosberg cruised away at the front, and increased his lead to more than 14 seconds when the first round of pit stops began in 12th lap. Lewis Hamilton ended up with the hardest-available medium tyre compound in order to close the gap behind the leaders and drove entire race with damaged chassis after that first-lap crash but could not overtake Raikkonen in the end.
Next Formula 1 race will be China Grand Prix on April 17th.