Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG Petronas won the Bahrain Grand Prix today, taking his second win in a row after his title victory at the Australian Grand Prix. The German driver was followed on the podium by Kimi Raikkoen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who had been on pole ahead of the race.
Polesitter Hamilton was involved in a shunt with Valtteri Bottas early on in the race, which saw him drop down the grid with a gradually increasing gap on his damaged car.
The race began eventfully, with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who began the race in third, returning to the pits on his formation lap after his car “spit molten metal” according to commentators.
Rookie Jolyon Palmer of Renault was next to retire, with Hamilton, with a damaged wing, struggling to catch up to his teammate. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen appeared to make up for the loss of his teammate as he pulled into P4 ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, during which time spectators saw another DNF, although one that was expected.
Ricciardo eventually finished in P4 for the second race in a row, doing well for Red Bull as teammate Daniil Kvyat also finished in the points.
McLaren’s Jenson Button retired from the race with power issues, with teammate and F1 debutant Stoffel Vandoorne outperforming him again.
The Belgian GP2 champion moved up the grid at a steady pace, with Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso, Williams’ Felipe Massa and Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean all going neck-and-neck.
Verstappen and Grosjean in particular put in strong performances, with the young Dutchman displaying the trademark overtaking skills he is quickly becoming known for, particularly on Massa. He described the track as “fun for overtaking,” saying he was happy with a P6 finish.
Grosjean, driving for the only new team on the grid – Haas F1 – did well as he had at the Australian Grand Prix, where he was voted driver of the day. He ended today in 5th, one higher than his finish in Australia.
Force India lost out after showing promise, as did Williams, with Valtteri Bottas losing time and earning a drive-through penalty for his shunt with Hamilton.
Following an eventful race characterized by a number of incidents and debris on the track, Mercedes appear to continue to dominate, although it is Rosberg who appears so far to have taken the mantle from double reigning champion Hamilton.
McLaren will be happy that Vandoorne has scored points on debut with a P10 finish, but given the team said they had solved the reliability issues they had in 2015 and these have continued in 2016, they will not be pleased with what appears to be a total loss of power for Button.