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F1 2015: Bahrain Grand Prix – Hamilton Brilliant in Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, Winner 2015 F1 Bahrain GP

It’s no secret that several past Bahrain Grand Prix had been a bore fest. However, since the introduction of a night race two years ago the desert circuit has come alive.

Lewis Hamilton’s dominant start to the 2015 season continued with yet another faultless victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Pole position by four tenths of a second over Sebastian Vettel was the precursor for an even more authoritative performance in Sunday’s race. Seemingly always in control, Hamilton’s latest victory is his third of the season.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Bahrain Grand PrixFerrari would have wished that the Bahrain Grand Prix was a few laps longer than the allotted 57. An alternative strategy had Kimi Raikkonen within three seconds of race leader Hamilton as the chequered flag beckoned. But the second step of the podium was the best result possible for a team who has once again underlined their staggering progress.

For most, the final stint of the on the softer option tyre would’ve been the headline grabber. After all, the Finn closed down a nineteen second gap and took second place from Nico Rosberg. But it was the middle stint of the Bahrain Grand Prix that defined Raikkonen’s race. While Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel opted for the option tyre at the first stop, Raikkonen fitted the harder medium compound tyre. Logic dictates that top three should’ve been lapping at a quicker pace than Raikkonen given the off-set of tyre performance. Yet, Raikkonen delivered a stunning stint on par and occasionally quicker than those ahead of him.

2015 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG PetronasLewis Hamilton’s Bahrain Grand Prix drive was faultless and far superior to his teammate who is considered somewhat of a Bahrain-specialist whilst Kimi Raikkonen’s incredible pace on the softer tyre nearly netted him a victory.

It’s difficult to choose a driver of the day between the top two finishers but it bodes well for the rest of the season.

Sebastian Vettel endured an off-colour afternoon as several errors cost him a shot at the podium.

Bahrain Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel off trackAn off track excursion while trying to maintain his position ahead of Rosberg caused the German some front-wing damage and any chance at a podium finish.

A late-race fight with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas added some flavour to an otherwise disappointing race but the German was not able to take fourth place from the Finn.

Timing was everything as Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line for sixth under an enormous plume of smoke as the Renault engine let go mere meters from the finish line.

Bahrain Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo crossing the line with a blown engineThe spectacular, and smoky, end of Ricciardo’s engine doesn’t bode well for the remainder of the season as the Aussie has now used his allotted four engine units.

Lotus Romain Grosjean put a fine drive for seventh ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez in eighth.

Daniil Kvyat recovered from a difficult weekend to finish ninth while Felipe Massa’s race was compromised by a clash with none other than Pastor Maldonado. The Brazilian suffered floor damage which hampered the performance of his Williams and ultimately finished tenth.

Fernando Alonso dragged the McLaren-Honda into eleventh place but it was dreadful weekend for teammate Jenson Button who suffered issues throughout. The calamity came to a head as the 2009 champion was unable to start his 100th race for McLaren with a suspected electronic issue.

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff confirmed after the race that Hamilton and Rosberg struggled with brake issues towards the closing stages. While Rosberg blamed the brake issue for losing second place Hamilton dismissed it as “not really a problem.” Rosberg did show some fight with the two Ferrari’s but didn’t threaten Hamilton at any stage of the weekend. The difference in mentality between Rosberg and Hamilton is noteworthy.

The Spanish Grand Prix around the circuit de Catalunya is three weeks away. It is at this the point of the season that the first big upgrade packages are introduced. It could be a significant moment in the 2015 season which turns the championship fight into more than just a Mercedes show.

Photo credits:

Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain Grand Prix first place trophy: Mercedes AMG F1

Kimi Raikkonen, Bahrain Grand Prix second place trophy: Scuderia Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain Grand Prix winner on the podium: Mercedes AMG F1

Sebastian Vettel off the Bahrain Grand Prix track: Screenshot from SkySports F1

Daniel Ricciardo crossing Bahrain Grand Prix finish line: Screenshot from SkySports F1

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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