It is the faster cars starting at the back that will be one of the major talking points of the race. Up front though it is still Mercedes who continue to dominate, taking the front row once again, even with Ferrari updating their engine for the race, propelling Kimi Raikkonen to third. The story continues behind though with a raft of Mercedes engined cars showing their prowess on the high speed circuit.
Penalties though mean Jenson Button will start at the back of the field, with Max Verstappen also taking an engine penalty for this race, along with his penalty from the Monaco race. Sebastian Vettel’s engine problem also meant he would start at the back of the field, not helped by overtaking the Manor of Roberto Merhi in FP3 under the red flags.
With the cars at the back of the field out of position it was only the two Manor cars and Felipe Massa who would start on the soft tyre, along with Verstappen and Button.
The lights went out with Hamilton getting a good start cutting off Rosberg. Raikkonen tried around the outside of Rosberg through the second corner. The order stayed the same with Hamilton, Rosberg, Raikkonen and Bottas the order. Verstappen overtook Massa at the hairpin further back. Button served his drive through at the end of the first lap.
By the end of the first lap Vettel had worked his way up to 16th in the Ferrari. The only change in the top ten was Hulkenberg overtaking Maldonado. Raikkonen overtook Sainz for 14th on the third lap, with Massa back in sight of the Ferrari. Alonso got it wrong at the final corner with Ericsson and then Massa overtaking the McLaren, the Ferrari just behind. Vettel went down the inside at the hairpin, and locked up, then overtaking the McLaren down the back straight.
While Hamilton was setting many fastest laps at the front of the field, Ericsson was still holding Massa behind for 11th, with Vettel right on the back of the Williams.
Vettel pitted on lap 8 in the Ferrari after getting on the back of the Williams. It was a slow pit stop for Vettel with a problem on the left rear. Massa tried into the first corner on Ericsson, with the two cars touching. Massa won the battle into turn 3. Perez overtook Ricciardo for 9th. Vettel was running quickly on his new tyres, while Verstappen overtook Nasr at the back of the field.
Lap 12, and Lewis Hamilton was still setting fastest laps. Kvyat was told that he had a hot rear calliper, with possible brake problems for the Red Bull. Massa got onto the back of Ricciardo, and had overtaken using the DRS on lap 14.
Lewis Hamilton’s lead by lap 15 was 3.3 seconds from Rosberg, who was three seconds ahead of Raikkonen. Massa overtook Sergio Perez into the final chicane for 9th place. Both McLaren drivers were told that they had to save fuel, after just 17 laps.
Maldonado pitted on lap 18, while Massa was getting close to the back of Kvyat. Alonso overtook Verstappen, with Vettel behind the pair having pitted earlier. Vettel tried to overtake Alonso into the final chicane, but Vettel got caught out and went over the kerb. Felipe Massa managed to make the move stick on Kvyat. Vettel did the same thing on Alonso for another lap, but was able to make the move stick on the pits straight. Hamilton lapped Button on lap 22.
Maldonado overtook Ericsson after his pitstop, coming back through the field, around the outside into the first corner. Vettel overtook Sainz into the final corner in an easy pass. A lap later and he overtook Ericsson. Ricciardo stopped on lap 24 for the soft tyre. Perez pitted a lap later coming out ahead of Ricciardo.
Raikkonen pitted on lap 27 in the Ferrari, changing to the soft tyre coming out in forth place behind Bottas. Vettel had got on the back of Maldonado. Rosberg was told to push, responding to the pitstop by Ferrari. Raikkonen spun at the hairpin though, with the Manor cars having a go at him. Mercedes did a 1:17.9 with Rosberg, although the threat from Ferrari had gone. Bottas pitted on lap 29, although it was a 4.8 second stop. He got out ahead of Raikkonen. Hulkenberg pitted the same lap.
Hamilton pitted on lap 29, for the soft tyres in a 2.8 second stop. Rosberg went wide at the hairpin by locking his front tyres. Vettel overtook Maldonado, with the Lotus driver going straight on at the final corner. Rosberg pitted from the lead a lap later, another fast lap from Mercedes, bringing him out behind Hamilton.
Further back Vettel had been making good progress, getting onto the back of Felipe Massa who had also started at the back of the grid. Fernando Alonso pitted for the first time on lap 33. Rosberg closed in on Hamilton, with Hamilton held up behind Alonso who had exited the pits. Kvyat overtook Verstappen for 10th. Sergio Perez overtook the Dutchman a lap later.
Massa with Grosjean and Vettel close behind still hadn’t pitted and was struggling with his tyres on lap 36. Grosjean went ahead of Massa on lap 36. Vettel pitted on lap 36 for another set of the soft tyre, taking him out of the battle and out behind a Manor. He was out ahead of Kvyat.
Rosberg was told over the radio that brake wear was ‘critical’ and that he would have to hold off for the next ten laps. Felipe Massa pitted on lap 38, the super soft tyres for the Williams hoping to take them to the end. He came out just ahead of Kvyat and Perez. Vettel was already up the road after his pit stop.
Vettel was fast on his new tyres, with Rosberg closing in once again on Hamilton while the Brit was asked to save fuel. Raikkonen pitted in the Ferrari, he went a bit long on his marks taking the super soft tyres. He stayed 4th ahead of Grosjean. The gap at the front just over a second.
Vettel was held up behind Hulkenberg, letting the Lotus cars get further up the road. Hulkenberg and Vettel got very close in the final corner with the Force India nearly going into the wall of champions, he went around the marker to as well losing more time.
Fernando Alonso pitted and retired with a lack of power on lap 47, just after Jenson Button pitted for a set of the super soft tyres, so he could have ‘fun’ at the end of the race.
Romain Grosjean and Will Stevens pitted on lap 50 at the same time, with Grosjean coming in though the run off. The Lotus team scrambled around to fit a new set of tyres. Grosjean punctured his rear tyre trying to lap the Manor, clipping the front wing in the process.
In the other Lotus, Maldonado was being hunted down by Vettel, with the gap down to three and a half seconds. Grosjean was given a five second grid penalty for the accident, handed by the stewards.
At the front, Rosberg was still closing in on Hamilton, with the gap down to a second on lap 53. Ricciardo was overtaken by Sainz for 12th. After his problem with Stevens, Grosjean found himself down in 11th.
Vettel overtook Maldonado for 5th, one place behind his team mate with fourteen laps remaining. McLaren retired Button on lap 58, a double retirement for the team. The McLarens being the only retirements in the race.
At the front Lewis Hamilton started to increase the gap to his team mate, having saved fuel, and Rosberg looking after his brakes. The gap was up to 1.6 seconds.
Vettel was still going quickly in the Ferrari, although still 12 seconds down on his team mate. Raikkonen was still eight seconds down on Bottas and not making the progress he needed to get on the back of the Williams.
There was a tight battle at the back of the field with Ericsson just ahead of Verstappen for 14th place. Just ahead of them was a very slow moving Manor of Roberto Merhi at the hairpin, where he continued slowly along the back straight. Massa was closing in on Maldondo for 6th, with Roberto Merhi retiring from the race at the end of the lap.
Massa made light work of Maldonado who had old tyres having not stopped since lap 17. Further back and Grosjean closed in on Kvyat, where he was told by his team to push. At the front and Rosberg closed in once again on Hamilton. Verstappen was still behind Ericsson.
With three lap remaining Grosjean was still behind Kvyat, with Rosberg losing time behind Hamilton, the gap increasing to three seconds. Despite the lead, Hamilton was told that he would need to lift and coast, even though he thought he was safe.
Hamilton stayed in the lead though, with Rosberg in second and Bottas heading over the line in third. Raikkonen and Vettel finished in forth and fifth in the Ferraris.
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +2.2s 1
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams +40.6s 1
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +45.6s 2
5. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +49.9s 2
6. Felipe Massa Williams +56.3s 1
7. Pastor Maldonado Lotus +66.6s 1
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India +1 lap 1
9. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull +1 lap 1
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus +1 lap 2
11. Sergio Perez Force India +1 lap 1
12. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso +1 lap 1
13. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +1 lap 1
14. Marcus Ericsson Sauber +1 lap 1
15. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso +1 lap 1
16. Felipe Nasr Sauber +2 laps 1
17. Will Stevens Marussia +4 laps 2
Ret Roberto Merhi Marussia +13 laps 2
Ret Jenson Button McLaren +16 laps 3
Ret Fernando Alonso McLaren +26 laps 2