The race for the Drivers World Championship is on, with Lewis Hamilton looking on form in qualifying gaining half a second on his teammate Rosberg.
Despite looking good in practice, Romaim Grosjean is out of position after he was given a five place grid penalty in 17th, while Felipe Massa is also slightly out of position in 11th with the team expecting slightly better things from the Brazilian.
With the Mercedes drivers the only two in the top ten able to qualify on the soft tyre, with Massa, Sainz, Wherlein, Grosjean, Nasr, Ericsson and Palmer are all starting on the same tyre as the front row.
It was a fast formation lap by Lewis Hamilton on the way to the grid, the two Mercedes drivers taking their place at the front of the grid. It was a very slow start from Lewis Hamilton, to allow Nico Rosberg to take the lead with Vettel and Raikkonen taking the challenge. Hamilton fell to behind Ricciardo, Verstappen also getting a slow start. Gutierrez fell to 20th as well, with Button also at the back of the field.
Hamilton made the move stick on Ricciardo around the outside of Curve Grande on lap 2, with him now up to fifth place. Palmer and Nasr clashed at the first corner, bringing out the yellow flags, and saw Nasr have a puncture with broken suspension and Palmer also last his front wing.
Lap 3 saw debris on the track along the back straight, it was just a warning flag though with the field heading around it. Hamilton closed in on the back of Valtteri Bottas, but couldn’t get through in the first chicane. Both of them were also closing in on the Ferrari drivers. With Palmer and Nasr stopping, they switched to the medium tyre. Grosjean had improved to 12th, from 17th on the grid and was closing in Hulkenberg in 11th.
Lap 6 and Raikkonen reported that he had a vibration under breaking, with the Ferrari still in third place. Verstappen had already made his way back into the top ten, with Felipe Nasr retiring with damage to the floor. There was a battle between Magnussen, Gutierrez and Button, the British McLaren driver getting the best of all of them.
Rosberg was setting the fastest laps of the race at the front of the field, with Verstappen carrying on his charge at to the front overtaking Fernando Alonso for 9th. Jolyon Palmer also retired from the race after his damage with Felipe Nasr.
With his team encouraging to look after his tyres, Hamilton started to battle with Bottas for the fourth place. It was a hard defence from the Finn into the first corner, keeping the Mercedes behind him for the rest of the lap, Nico Rosberg still driving away at the front.
Nasr was given a ten second penalty for his accident with Jolyon Palmer.
Hamilton made the move stick on the Williams a lap later which a little help from the DRS, the Ferrari drivers had got away up the road, with the aim for Hamilton to track them down to get on terms with his own teammate.
Twelve seconds down on Rosberg, Hamilton was already complaining that his rear tyres were struggling on lap 12. Starting on the supersoft, some others in the top ten were getting ready for their pitstops. In clear air, Hamilton was a second a lap slower than his teammate who was setting fastest laps after fastest laps.
Ricciardo was gaining on lap 14, with Bottas stopping that warding off an advancing Red Bull undercut. Verstappen pitted, along with Fernando Alonso. Red Bull took the soft tyre, with Hamilton told that he would need to pick up the pace with three laps extra for the Mercedes driver. Bottas emerged behind Jenson Button and Carlos Sainz, handing the advantage to Daniel Ricciardo. He passed both Sainz and Button through the Curve Grande.
Raikkonen pitted on lap 16, with Ferrari taking the supersoft tyres and therefore having to stop again. He came out ahead of Grosjean and behind him Bottas. Ferrari pitted Vettel a lap later, again a set of the supersoft tyres for the German, It was a slow lap for him, with Raikkonen getting very close to his teammate. Wehrlein and Gutierrez also pitted on the same lap.
Bottas had closed onto the back of the non-stopping Grosjean in fifth, carrying Ricciardo with him behind. It wasn’t long though before the pair of them got ahead of the Haas driver.
Hamilton was closing in on Rosberg, with the gap trying to be bridged to get the British driver ahead of the Ferrari’s, with the gap not quite enough on lap 21. Grosjean, who like the Mercedes drivers had yet to stop, Perez was closing in on the Frenchman. He made the move the following lap into the first corner. Gutierrez who had fallen down the field got ahead of Ocon, before the impending Mercedes drivers got on the back of them.
With Vettel starting to close in on Rosberg stopped on lap 25 for a set of the medium tyres. It was a slowish pitstop for the German, although he did come out in front of the Ferrari’s.
Hamilton, now in the lead lost a second to Vettel and was behind a line of traffic, to pit a lap later and a set of the medium tyre as well. Both Ferrari drivers went ahead of the Mercedes, although they have to pit again, at least for the soft tyre. The only driver yet to pit was Romain Grosjean.
Exiting the pits, Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap of the race on the medium tyre, with Vettel being told over the radio that he needed to push. Wehrlein was told that he had to stop the car, he did so at the first corner with the team having a tone of urgency over the radio.
On lap 28 Rosberg was leading Vettel by five second, from Roakkonen and Hamilton in fourth but with a reduced margin.
Grosjean pitted at the end of the same lap, with the Frenchman falling down the order, he had already been overtaken Fernando Alonso and dropping outside the top ten.
Perez made his second stop on lap 30, with Hulkenberg having fallen down the field. Bottas stopped a lap later, another super quick stop from Williams taking the soft tyre with 22 laps left in the race.
Vettel stopped on lap 34 with Ferrari taking on the soft tyre, while Raikkonen backed Lewis Hamilton up. Hulkenberg also stopped, while Vettel got out ahead of Verstappen and hadn’t stopped again. Raikkonen pitted a lap later, again taking the soft tyre, Max Verstappen coming out behind Verstappen.
At the front of the field and Rosberg was pulling away from Hamilton, while Verstappen pitted on lap 36 to release Raikkonen. Vettel was closing in on Ricciardo by a second a lap. Kvyat had also been investigated by speeding the pitlane. He was given a five second penalty.
Ricciardo pitted on lap 38 for a set of the supersoft tyre with fifteen laps remaining. Bottas got out ahead of Bottas, but with a step softer tyre. After being given the penalty, Kvyat retired from the race in the pitlane.
Hamilton locked up in the first chicane and made his way over the chicane, losing over a second on lap 40. It was a losing battle though for Hamilton with him over ten seconds behind the German. The British driver was also given a hurry-up by his team. Ricciardo was also closing in quickly on the Williams of Valtteri Bottas for fifth. Button was also going quickly, just two seconds behind his teammate.
The fastest lap went to Kimi Raikkonen, although he was the fastest of the leading pack but still six seconds behind his teammate Vettel. He then went on to do the same on the next lap.
Button had a go on Alonso into the first corner on lap 45, a fantastic move by Button with the Spaniard fighting back into the second chicane. It looked like the pair were having some fun in 12th and 13th.
Ricciardo set the fastest lap of the race on lap 47, and immediately made an audacious move into the first corner and made it stick. Verstappen was down in eighth and was closing in on Perez in seventh. Verstappen got the move done at the second chicane on lap 47, with the Force India having to take to the escape road. Button was also catching Grosjean for 11th.
The final lap saw Button in battle with Grosjean, although the McLaren lost traction on the exit of the first chicane. His teammate on the other had who had just pitted set the fastest lap in the McLaren.
Rosberg was the winning though, which was never in doubt from the very start from Hamilton and Vettel in third. Raikkonen was fourth with Ricciardo in fifth and Bottas dropping to sixth.