Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg after a thrilling wheel-to-wheel duel, taking him level with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio with a 24th career victory. Hamilton finished 1.085 seconds ahead of Rosberg.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was third, a huge 24.067 off the winner’s time. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who had started in 13th place, was fourth, followed by Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India and world champion Sebastian Vettel in the second Red Bull completing the top six.
The result left Rosberg still atop of the standings with 61 points. Hamilton has 50 while Hulkenberg is third with 28 points.
Hamilton had been cruising to victory leading by more than nine seconds when the safety car was called out on lap 42 of the 57-lap race. Rosberg briefly slipped past Hamilton, but the latter reasserted his authority soon enough out-braking the German. Hamilton consolidated on the final lap to take his 24th career win after a memorable close-quarters battle.
Hamilton had snatched the lead on the first corner from his pole-sitting teammate and gradually built a commanding lead.
After a passage which saw Red Bull ordering Vettel to give way to Ricciardo for sixth place — “Daniel is faster than you, Seb, Let him pass!” — the 19th lap saw Rosberg slip inside Hamilton to briefly take the lead before the latter reclaimed the advantage.
Hamilton then pitted for the first time but regained the lead on the 22nd lap when Rosberg also made his first trip to the pits.
On lap 42, the safety car was called out after Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus T-boned the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez who was sent into a somersault. Racing resumed four laps later with Hamilton going on to just hold off Rosberg.
The results: 1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:39:42.743; 2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +00:01.085; 3. Sergio Perez (Force India) 00:24.067; 4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 00:24.489; 5. Nico Huelkenberg (Force India) 00:28.654; 6. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 00:29.879; 7. Felipe Massa (Williams) 00:31.265; 8. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 00:31.876; 9. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 00:32.595; 10. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 00:33.462; 11. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 00:41.342; 12. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 00:43.143; 13. Max Chilton (Marussia) 00:59.909; 14. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 01:02.803; 15. Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham) 01:27.900.
Retired: Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1 lap; Jenson Button (McLaren) 2 laps; Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) 17 laps; Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 18 laps; Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) 24 laps; Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 39 laps; Adrian Sutil (Sauber) 40 laps.
Constructors Points: 1. Mercedes (111); 2. Force India (44); 3. McLaren (43); 4. Red Bull (35); 5. Ferrari (33); 6. Williams (30); 7. Toro Rosso (7); 8. Lotus (0); 9. Sauber (0); 10. Marussia (0); 11. Caterham (0). — Agencies