The Bahrain Grand Prix, was the 900th race of the Formula 1 World Championship, and anniversary races have a habit of providing great races.
Ahead of the Grand Prix, Ferrari had some problems with Kimi Raikkonen’s car in Parc Ferme with a change of turbo unit.
Vettel and Sutil, who were out of position compared to their speed, started on the medium tyre. Perez and Hamilton were slow away for the formation lap, but were able to get under way before the last car passes.
At the lights, Rosberg and Hamilton got a good start, although it was a great start for Massa in the Williams to take third place from his team mate. Perez locked up, but headed off Massa. Hamilton with the better start, got ahead of Rosberg at the first corner. Hulkenberg locked up behind Button. Further back in the field, Vergne had a puncture on the rear, and Alonso got ahead of Raikkonen, Vettel remained 10th. Magnussen hit Raikkonen though the fast esses.
At the end of the first lap, Grosjean past by the Caterham of Ericsson. Vergne pitted for new tyres, and complained that it was a Lotus who was ‘mental’, ‘and this guy tried to kill me’. It put the Toro Rosso out of position at the back of the field.
Hamilton quickly set the fastest lap on the 2nd lap. With the order being Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Perez, Bottas, Button, Alonso, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen and Vettel.
Rosberg went on to take the fastest lap on lap 3 to close on Hamilton. Followed by anther one by Hamilton a lap later.
Hulkenerg past Alonso with DRS help for 7th on lap 5 on the start finish straight. Alonso was complaining of a lack of power. It was close between Massa and Perez in 3rd and 4th.
Ricciardo in 12th was close behind Magnussen in 11th, almost hitting him. Sutil the first to pit, getting rid of the mediums on lap 8.
On track, Ricciardo was still close behind Magnussen, just 3 tenths separated them. Vettel was also piling on the pressure with Raikkonen who in turn was getting stuck behind his team mate.
Ricciardo overdid it into the fist corner, with Magnusson going off the circuit, then coming under pressure from the Toro Rosso of Kvyat.
Button past Bottas into the first corner on lap 10, with Hulkenberg taking him as well on lap 4, dropping Bottas back to 7th.
Bottas pitted at the end of the lap, with the Williams looking like they were going to three stop, along with Kvyat. Another set of the soft tyres for Bottas, coming out ahead of the Caterham of Ericsson. Bianchi also pitted in the Marussia.
Magnussen and Ricciardo were still battling, with Ricciardo very close behind. Magnussen struggling with rear grip, and overtook on the back straight.
Perez tried to overtake Massa in turn 4, and won through on the exit, with Massa trying to come back. Williams were in the meantime struggling with the tyres.
Ferrari responded on lap 13 with Alonso. Soft tyres again for the Ferrari, with the Williams passing him easily. He only just able to get ahead of a rapid Kvyat who had also pitted.
Sutil caused a yellow flag in an incident with Jules Bianchi breaking the suspension of the Sauber with a late lunge for the Marussia.
Massa and Raikkonen pitted on lap 14. Massa exited ahead of Alonso and Raikkonen with Bottas who had pitted earlier ahead of them all. Sebastian Vettel had also complained that his DRS wasn’t working, with his team mate directly behind.
Vettel was told by the team to let his team mate through, who were on different tyres. Both were given radio calls and Ricciardo overtook Vettel quickly.
Hulkenberg pitted from 5th, coming out behind the Ferraris and Kvyat on lap 16. He got past Raikkonen and then Kvyat on the first lap out of the pits.
Vettel complained that he had no more rear tyres while Perez pitted on the same lap from 3rd. Perez came out behind his team mate. Vettel also pitted. So of those who pitted, the order was Bottas, Massa, Hulkeberg, Perez.
Nico Rosberg went down the inside of Hamilton into the first corner on Lap 18, but got the place straight back again. Button pitted for his first stop, while Hulkenberg set the fastest lap of the race.
The battle between the leaders resumed for a second lap, but this time Rosberg got the better. The battle went up to turn 4 though with Hamilton taking the place back.
Ricciardo pitted on lap 19, while his team mate Vettel set the fastest lap.
Hamilton pitted first at the end of the lap from Rosberg. He needed to get back into the lead to get the call to pit first. Need to get the first call on the pit stop, more soft tyres at Mercedes. Rosberg was told to push for two more laps until his pitstop. Further back Hulkenberg and Perez got past Alonso.
After the pits stops the order on lap 21 was: Rosberg, Hamilton, Bottas, Massa, Hulkenberg, Perez, Alonso, Raikkonen, Button and Vettel.
Button past Raikkonen into turn 1 on lap 21 using the DRS.
As advised, Rosberg pitted two laps later, putting on the medium tyre. A different strategy from Mercedes, with Rosberg behind Hamilton who was around 3 seconds up the road. Nico was then told that it would be a long stint, which would make you assume they were aiming for 2 stops.
Vettel was in 10th, close behind Raikkonen. Further up the road, Bottas and Massa were also close, with the Force India’s closing in on them.
Bottas was causing a queue with tyres 5 laps older than Massas. At the end of the lap, they were all covered by a couple of seconds.
Vettel tried around the outside of turn 11, but then was in the slipstream into the final corner, and got down the inside. Massa and Bottas got close into the final corner, with Hulkenberg trying to get down the inside of Massa.
Bottas said over the radio that he would like to pit, which he did, freeing Massa, but they all had DRS and positions stayed the same. Huilenberg was very close, with Perez getting past Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg tried to get back using the DRS, although his team mate did as well. Massa got a bit of space from the battling Force Indias.
Up front, Hamilton was 7 seconds now ahead of Rosberg on lap 27. Ricciardo tried to get past Raikkonen in turn 1, but didn’t succeed.
Button reported that his DRS wasn’t working and was told by the that he should use it manually. Bottas in the Williams was still ahead of Perez and Hulkenberg. Ricciardo locked up behind Raikkonen, getting side by side in turn 1, with Raikkonen retaining the advantage.
Perez did the same move he did on Hulkenberg on Massa, with Hulkenberg getting better traction into turn 10. He got bad exit but Massa still stayed behind, now down to 5th place from the podium.
Massa and Alonso pitted the lap later, with Alonso taking the mediums. Ricciardo on the mediums also tried again on the back of Raikkonen. Bottas was ahead of Massa after their pitstops.
Rosberg on the alternative strategy told that the pace difference isn’t that much between the two tyres which would mean that there wouldn’t be at the end of the race, with Rosberg on the faster tyre.
With Raikkonen and Riciardo battling, Bottas on newer tyre closed in, Massa was seven seconds down the road. Bottas overtook Ricciardo, but had to make avoiding action from hitting the back of Raikkonen, then dropping back from the pair of them.
The Raikkonen and Ricciardo battle resolved with him passing in turn 4, with Bottas closing in them both, Bottas past Raikkonen using the DRS on the back straight.
After 33 laps, the Mercedes were 30 seconds ahead of the Force Indias. Bottas tried to get ahead of Ricciardo, but couldn’t do the Perez move in turn 4. Massa got past Raikkonen using the DRS on the back straight.
Bottas got past Ricciardo on the front straight, with Massa closing in also. Raikkonen pitted on the same lap, a 3.3 second stop.
Perez pitted on lap 35 along with Vettel. Massa also got past Ricciardo. Perez got out of the pits behind Fernando Alonso who had pitted a few laps previously. At Vettels stop there was a slight delay pushing him back. On his out lap, Perez got past Alonso. Ericssons Caterham retired on the circuit on Lap 36.
Hulkenebrg pitted along with Button, with them both out behind Perez and Alonso. Ricciardo pitted and came out behind his team mate and Magnussen. They all came out behind the Lotus of Maldonado, with Vettel getting past quickly on new tyres.
Lap 38, and Ricciardo went around the outside of Raikkonen through turn 4 for 12th place. Ricciardo also went past Magnussen for 11th. Massa cruised up behind Bottas and Ricciardo also got past Maldonado.
The first Williams to stop was Felipe Massa stopped on lap 39 for the hard tyre on their three stopper, trying the under cut on his team mate, but coming out behind the two Red Bulls of Vettel and Ricciardo. He came out though ahead of Maldonado, who was now battling with Raikkonen for 11th. Raikkonen got past quickly on the back straight, Kvyat in the Toro Rosso was the next person behind Maldonado. Alonso and Button battled closely for 6th place.
There was a big crash at the first corner on lap 41 between Maldonado and Gutierrez. Maldonado who was coming out of the pits, went down the inside on Gutierrez in the first corner, hitting the side of the car, flipping it over and leaving debris all over the circuit.
Hamilton also pitted from the lead, with Rosberg coming in behind and took the soft tyre while Hamilton had to take the hard. The safety car came out after a long wait, in order to recover the Sauber from the side of the track and collect the debris.
Magnussen stopped on the side of the track on lap 42 under the safety car, a retirement for the McLaren. The car smoking as it was pulled away from the circuit. Reported to have been a clutch failure.
The order under the safety car was Hamilton, Rosberg, Prez, Hulkenberg, Button, Vettel, Ricciardo, Massa, Bottas and Alonso. Raikkonen just side top 10 in 11th.
Under the safety car, Paddy Lowe told Lewis Hamilton to make sure that he ‘brings the car home’. He also sent the same message to Rosberg.
The safety car can in on lap 47. Hulkenberg got close in turn 1. Rosberg got round the outside of his team mate in turn 4, but Hamilton kept the lead. Vettel overtook Button, with Ricciardo also passing up the hill, Jenson was struggling on the hard tyre. The Williams of Massa overtook Button also into turn 1.
Lewis Hamilton complained that he had no power, while Bottas also past Button into turn 4. Alonso was the next car behind him. Kvyat also hit the back of the Ferrari of Raikkonen. Vettel and Ricciardo were up to 5th and 6th behind the Force Indias.
Hamilton took the fastest lap, but not enough to get out of DRS range from Rosberg. The Ferraris again got close behind Button but not past into the first corner, with Kvyat just behind them in 12th.
Vettel in 5th and Ricciardo in 6th close in on Hulkenberg. Ricciardo had a go on his team mate and overtook into turn 1, with Vettel not fighting back immediately, but went around the outside into turn 4. Riccairdo stayed ahead.
Rosberg on lap 49 set the fastest lap, closing into his team up to half a second, with them 11 seconds ahead of the field. Vettel complained that he was slow along the straight, falling behind Ricciardo.
Hulkenberg went wide in turn 4 with Ricciardo closing in. Vettel got very close behind his team mate, but not able to use the DRS.
Rosberg went into turn 1 on lap 52 up the inside, with Hamilton able to keep the position, Hamilton keeping the inside into turn 4, with Rosberg going off the track on the exit.
The next lap Rosberg went down the inside, but out braked himself, with Hamilton retaking the lead. Not quite as close as the previous lap.
Ricciardo past Hulkenberg for 4th. Rosberg was too far back at the end of lap 53 with that gap increased to a second a lap later.
Vettel made a mistake at the first corner on lap 55, with Massa getting closer behind him.
Button slowed with two laps to go, a sad end for his 250th grand Prix and then pitted.
On track, Massa got close hind Vettel, going off the track to get around Vettel, with Vettel going back around the outside of Turn 4.
Massa attacked by Bottas on the final lap, which Ricciardo was closing on Perez for 3rd.
Hamilton it was though, with Rosberg finishing second. Ricciardo dint have enough to take third for Force India to finish 3rd, Hulkenberg, Vettel, Massa, Bottas, Alonso and Raikkonen.
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h38m42.743
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1.085s
3. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes +24.067s
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault +24.489s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +28.654s
6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +29.879s
7. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +31.200s
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +31.800s
09. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +32.500s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +33.400s
11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +41.300s
12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +43.100s
13. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +59.900s
14. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault +1m02.800s
15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault +1m27.900s
16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari +1 lap
17. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +2 laps
Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 40 laps
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 39 laps
Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 33 laps
Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps
Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 17 laps