Skip to content

Hamilton holds on to claim remarkable Bahrain GP victory

Apr 6, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Race Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has won a tense Bahrain Grand Prix after fending off teammate Nico Rosberg in an incredible battle for victory on Sunday night in Bahrain, with the two drivers going wheel-to-wheel in the closest finish to a race so far this season.

Following a late safety car, the two drivers went head-to-head in a remarkable race to the flag that saw Hamilton somehow keep his quicker teammate at bay to clinch his second win of the season.

After a close battle with Williams and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez won the battle to finish third for Force India and claim the team’s first podium finish in five years. After starting P13, Ricciardo fought brilliantly to finish fourth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Sebastian Vettel.

The start saw both Mercedes drivers make a good getaway, but Hamilton managed to squeeze past his teammate into the first corner to take the lead of the race. The British driver had to defend from Rosberg for the rest of the first lap, causing the German driver to run wide, but both managed to keep it clean and continue to hold onto the lead. Felipe Massa made a great start to jump up into third place ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, and Sergio Perez split the two Williams drivers. Kimi Raikkonen’s podium aspirations were damaged by a bad start as he dropped back down to ninth place, but it was Jean-Eric Vergne who lost the most after suffering a puncture following contact with Pastor Maldonado on the first lap.

Hamilton and Rosberg quickly set about dropping the rest of the field in pursuit of a second straight one-two finish, and both drivers were told to keep an eye on their tire usage. Rosberg’s engineer informed him that he was on an “alternative strategy”, suggesting that there was a split in the Mercedes garage between two and three stops. Fighting back from his grid penalty, Daniel Ricciardo tried to pass Kevin Magnussen for 11th place, only to lock up and fall back from the McLaren. Two laps later, the Australian driver managed to regroup and pull off a good overtake on the Dane.

Bottas was passed by Jenson Button on lap nine, and the Briton was followed through by Nico Hulkenberg just two corners later as the Finn pitted for a fresh set of tires. His teammate, Felipe Massa, was also under pressure and lost out to Sergio Perez in the battle for third place, giving his faithful following something to shout about. After pitting, Massa fell further down the order and behind Bottas, handing the advantage to Force India.

After starting on the harder tire, Vettel was able to go further into the race than the rest of the field, but he reported that his DRS was not working as he came under pressure from Ricciardo. Red Bull ordered the German driver to let his teammate past so as not to hinder his strategy, and it got worse for Vettel when he was forced to pit early due to aggressive degradation on his medium tires.

Despite enjoying a lead of almost half a minute, the two Mercedes drivers entered battle as Rosberg had DRS on his teammate. Hamilton made an aggressive move to force his teammate wide, perturbing Rosberg who collected himself and tried again one lap later. Once again, Hamilton was resilient and managed to regain the lead through the second sector, but was called into the pits to release Rosberg into the lead.

The German driver dipped into the pits two laps later for medium compound tires, and came out behind his teammate who was on softs. Valtteri Bottas ran in P3, but was coming under considerable pressure from teammate Massa and the Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Struggling on his tires, the Finn requested to pit early and released his teammate into third place, but Perez was keen on gaining positions as he pulled off a brave pass on his teammate to take fourth and move behind Massa. Both Force Indias fought bravely to pass the Brazilian driver a few laps later, putting them up into P3 and P4 as the team went in search of its second ever podium in Formula 1.

At the front, Hamilton quickly set about increasing the gap to Rosberg who was on the slower tire, and enjoyed an eight second lead. After pitting, Massa came out behind Bottas in the inter-team battle at Williams, but the Finn was forced to go off track when Raikkonen braked early heading into turn one. He eventually found a way past his compatriot after Ricciardo had also passed the Ferrari ahead of the second round of stops.

Sergio Perez exited the pits just behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, but made light work of the two-time world champion. Hulkenberg dived into the pits just one lap later, but remained behind his teammate. However, both Bottas and Massa had got the undercut by pitting earlier, and were therefore sitting in P3 and P4 ahead of their close rivals, but as both were a three stop strategy, the advantage was handed to the Force India drivers.

With sixteen laps to go, the safety car was deployed following a huge crash between Esteban Gutierrez and Pastor Maldonado. The Sauber driver was flipped, and despite landing heavily on its roll cage, the car came to rest the right way up and the Mexican driver walked away unharmed. The safety car did eradicate Mercedes’ advantage, and gave Rosberg a fighting chance of the win as he was on the quicker tire when the racing resumed. The three stopping drivers were also given a chance of making up ground on their two stopping rivals, as the gap between them had been reduced.

Ahead of the restart, both Hamilton and Rosberg were told to ensure that they brought both cars home and secured a second successive one-two finish for the team. With the German driver on the quicker tire, he was immediately on Hamilton’s tail on the restart, with the Briton having to force his teammate wide at turn four to ensure that he stayed in the lead. Hulkenberg tried to pass Perez for position as Ricciardo and Vettel both found a way past Button for P5 and P6.

Ricciardo looked to go one better and made a great pass on his teammate to move up into fifth place, and both drivers closed on Hulkenberg who sat in fourth place. At the front, Rosberg once again closed on his teammate, but Hamilton once again defended brilliantly to keep the German driver at bay and stay in the lead. As the laps ticked down, the Briton managed to just stay ahead and eventually cross the line one second ahead of his teammate.

Having passed Hulkenberg, Ricciardo set his sights on Perez, but could not quite find a way past to give Force India its first podium finish since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix. However, it did mark Ricciardo’s first points as a Red Bull driver and his best result in Formula 1. Hulkenberg managed to hang onto fifth place ahead of Vettel and Massa, whilst Bottas led home the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen who rounded out the points.

In one of the finest races we have seen in recent years, it certainly went a long way to silencing those who claimed that there were problems with Formula 1 at many summit meetings in Bahrain today.

Following the race, Rosberg and Hamilton shared an embrace after a tough but fair battle. Once again, it was glory for Mercedes in Bahrain, but the team will have been on tenterhooks for the entire race as the drivers went toe-to-toe.

Latest Posts
  1. Formula E: Jerome d’Ambrosio confirmed with Dragon Racing

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    JDAFE Getty Images

    Ex-F1 shoe Jerome d’Ambrosio gets signed up for new FE series.

  2. Kyle Larson, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan featured in Cottonelle ads (VIDEO)

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    LarsonCottonelle Getty Images

    Kyle Larson’s got a new house, a new kid on the way and now a new Cottonelle ad he might not be able to live down.

  3. Report: Toto Wolff speaks out against F1′s double points finale

    Jul 22, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

    Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Practice Getty Images

    Mercedes’ Toto Wolff calls double points “unfair.”

  4. IndyCar: Toronto weekend analysis, musings and observations

    Jul 22, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

    TorontoAnalysis Getty Images

    MST’s Tony DiZinno recaps the weekend in Toronto, that featured a host of surprises.

  5. IndyCar: Gaps grow, but few major changes in points over last month

    Jul 22, 2014, 8:26 AM EDT

    TorontoLeadPts Getty Images

    The stretch of six races in four weekends is over, as is the stretch of doubleheader weekends for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Here’s the points breakdown.

  6. Chase Elliott keeps winning, but he’s not finished capturing checkered flags this season by any stretch

    Jul 22, 2014, 1:38 AM EDT

    Chase Elliott after Saturday's win at Chicagoland Speedway. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) AP

    With the third win of his rookie Nationwide Series career, Chase Elliott continued to make it look easy in this past Saturday night’s EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

  7. NASCAR: Bubba Wallace prepares for Eldora’s “Mudsummer Classic” (VIDEO)

    Jul 21, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) Getty Images

    For Wallace and his Truck Series rivals, racing on dirt presents a different set of challenges – and thus requires a different way to train.

  8. NASCAR’s Brian France on RTA’s formation: “We didn’t think it was necessary”

    Jul 21, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT

    Brian France AP

    In a satellite radio interview, France shared his thoughts on the consortium of NASCAR’s most powerful teams.

  9. IMSA: IndyCar rookie Hawksworth to make sports car debut in Brickyard GP

    Jul 21, 2014, 6:02 PM EDT

    Jack Hawksworth AP

    Jack Hawksworth will co-drive the No. 08 Prototype Challenge car for RSR Racing in Friday’s IMSA event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

  10. Eldora and Indy putting a lot on Tony Stewart’s plate

    Jul 21, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

    Will the 16th time be the charm for Tony Stewart in Sunday's Daytona 500? Getty Images

    Between his Eldora Speedway hosting the Truck Series and then competing at Indianapolis this weekend in Sprint Cup, Stewart’s in the middle of a busy week.

  11. Everything you need to know for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indy

    Jul 21, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Juan Pablo Montoya AP

    All the notes and numbers to keep in mind for NASCAR’s visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  12. Hamlin best among NASCAR trio in American Century Champ. golf tourney (PHOTOS)

    Jul 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Pocono 400 - Practice Getty Images

    One last bit of fun for Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Michael Waltrip before the Sprint Cup Series returns to action at Indianapolis.

  13. Brickyard 400 ad promises “roundhouse of awesome, square in your facehole” (VIDEO)

    Jul 21, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Ryan Newman AP

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway delivers a bizarre take on the classic “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!” ads.

  14. Back to Bark River: TORC returns to Michigan’s U.P. (SPOILER)

    Jul 21, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    TORCLogo

    Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of this weekend’s TORC: The Off-Road Championship races from Bark River, Michigan. NBCSN will air the races on Sun., Aug. 3, at 1:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…

  15. IndyCar: Chevy captures doubleheader podium sweep in Toronto

    Jul 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    ChevyTOR Getty Images

    Chevrolet dominates the results sheet for IndyCar in Toronto.

  16. Pirelli World Challenge’s GT classes double up in Canada (SPOILER)

    Jul 21, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    WC

    Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge races from the streets of Toronto. NBCSN will broadcast the Toronto races on Sunday, Aug. 10, at 1:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…

  17. IndyCar: Coyne, SFHR, RLL tire gambles come up snake eyes in Toronto

    Jul 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    WilsonTORlead Getty Images

    Quartet of Hondas could have stolen the second of the Honda Indy Toronto races if not for the final red flag.

  18. IndyCar: Penske pair edge ahead in points at end of Toronto weekend

    Jul 21, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    PenskeTOR AP

    Podiums and successful damage limitation pay dividends for Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves in Toronto.

  19. Conway: I had to be calm and seize my moment

    Jul 21, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    ConwayTOR3 AP

    Opportunistic Mike Conway and Ed Carpenter Racing delivered on their opportunity to succeed once again in Toronto.

  20. Bourdais conquers the seven-year road back to an IndyCar race win

    Jul 21, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    BourdaisTOR12 AP

    Sebastien Bourdais is back to winning form in the Verizon IndyCar Series – and that’s a good thing for him and the series.