Hamilton is the master of his domain at F1 Bahrain GP

     As if there were any doubts about a Mercedes victory at the Bahrain GP, the question was which Mercedes would win; Nico Rosberg, the pole sitter, or Lewis Hamilton, the previous GP winner? It was Hamilton who achieved his second win of the season at Sakhir, beating team mate Rosberg by a very slim 1.085 seconds at the flag. Sergio Perez secured the final podium spot for Force India, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing a credible fourth place after serving a 10-place drop penalty at the start of the race.(click to enlarge)

The Bahrain GP victory was Hamilton’s third for the team and his 24th career win. Meantime, Rosberg claimed his 14th F1 career podium, his 12th for the team, on his 150th Grand Prix start. “I knew that I needed a good start and to go into the first corner in the lead was crucial to my race this evening. From there, it was such a battle. Nico (Rosberg) drove fantastically well and, in all honesty, he had the pace on me in the race but I managed to hold on,” Hamilton reiterated.

Starting on pole, Rosberg lost the lead to his team mate and thereafter couldn’t regain back the lead. He expressed his disappointment in post-race, “Of course, it’s very disappointing to have finished second in the end but I gave it everything and it just didn´t quite come off for me. Lewis did a great job defending his position and, so often when I did manage to get past, I then couldn´t see him in the blind spot in my mirrors.”

Lewis Hamilton is master of his domain at Bahrain GP

With the win, Hamilton is second behind Rosberg in the Drivers’ standings; 50 to 61 points, with Nico Hulkenberg a distant third on 28 points. A second consecutive one-two finish for the Silver Arrows at the Bahrain GP saw the team extend its lead at the top of the Constructors’ Championship as Mercedes have a whopping 111 points in only the third race of the season to Force India’s 44 points.

Force India have returned to the podium, thanks to Perez’s efforts. The second VJM07 of Nico Hulkenberg captured fifth for Force India’s grand total of 44 points in the Constructors’ rankings. Perez commented, “This is a massive confidence boost, especially after the very hard season I had last year, and it was the hardest-fought podium I ever had. It was an amazing feeling to cross the line because the last few laps were very difficult. I had to keep up the pace and I knew the Red Bulls were coming. In the end we managed to stay ahead and score this very special result in only my third race with the team.”

Both RBR drivers managed to slot into the top ten with Ricciardo, fourth and Vettel, sixth. Ricciardo played catch up to the race leaders in the first stint. Thereafter, the Australian became a fixture between the leaders and the chasing pack, including his reigning champion team mate. Vettel couldn’t find a quicker pace all race long and had to settle for sixth. One of the main reasons for the champ’s slower catch up rate was the sluggish pace of the RB10 on the straights throughout the second half of the race.

Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valterri Bottas topped the Ferrari pair of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in s straight forward fight. The Ferraris just couldn’t match the Mercedes-engined Williams through the 56-lap desert race. Meanwhile, Daniil Kvyat finished the race as the best of the backmarkers, ahead of Romain Grosjean, Max Chilton, Pastor Maldonado and Kamui Kobayashi. Retirees included both McLarens, out on clutch issues, Esteban Gutierrez, Marcus Ericsson, Jean-Eric Vergne and Adrian Sutil.

The Formula One World Championships Round 4 heads to the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese Grand Prix from 18 – 20 April.

2014 Formula One World Championships Round 3 Bahrain Grand Prix results

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39:42.743
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1.0 secs
3 Sergio Perez Force India +24.0 secs
4 Daniel Ricciardo RBR +24.4 secs
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India +28.6 secs
6 Sebastian Vettel RBR +29.8 secs
7 Felipe Massa Williams +31.2 secs
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams +31.8 secs
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +32.5 secs
10 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari +33.4 secs
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +41.3 secs
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus +43.1 secs
13 Max Chilton Marussia +59.9 secs
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +62.8 secs
15 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham +87.9 secs
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia +1 Lap

Drivers’ standings
1 Nico Rosberg 61
2 Lewis Hamilton 50
3 Nico Hulkenberg 28
4 Fernando Alonso 26
5 Jenson Button 23
6 Sebastian Vettel 23
7 Kevin Magnussen 20
8 Valtteri Bottas 18
9 Sergio Perez 16
10 Daniel Ricciardo 12
11 Felipe Massa 12
12 Kimi Räikkönen 7
13 Jean-Eric Vergne 4
14 Daniil Kvyat 3

Constructors’ rankings
1 Mercedes 111
2 Force India 44
3 McLaren 43
4 RBR 35
5 Ferrari 33
6 Williams 30
7 Toro Rosso 7

Nico Rosberg tops F1 Bahrain GP’s first night qualifying

The Formula One World Championships touched down at Sakhir for Round 3 Bahrain Grand Prix. After two rounds, the Mercedes AMG F1 Team drivers lead the proceedings with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton each with a victory. This meant that prior to the third round, the Mercedes AMG F1 Team are already the firm favorite for this year’s honors in the era of the 1.6 Turbo hybrid.

In the first ever night qualifying at Sakhir, Rosberg edged his team mate by a marginal three tenths for the top spot. Hamilton, who already had two pole positions in the bag, really didn’t mind second place, which essentially meant an all-Mercedes front row for the Bahrain GP. It was Rosberg’s fifth career pole on his 150th GP start for the Silver Arrows. “We’ve had a good weekend so far and I’ve been able improve my pace throughout the practice sessions so I was hoping for a strong qualifying. It’s so difficult to get everything completely right with all the new technology and set-up requirements on the car but I felt really comfortable this evening and was able to put some great laps together,” Rosberg beamed.

F1 Bahrain GP: Red Bull Racing woes continue during qualifying

RBR (Red Bull Racing) had Daniel Ricciardo in third, with the Wiliams’ Valterri Bottas lining up alongside the RBR in row two. However, Ricciardo would serve a 10-place drop for a pitstop infringement at the previous GP. Four-time Champion Sebastien Vettel failed to impress at the desert track as he couldn’t get by into the third qualifying session. Vettel, though, had a good run with Kimi Raikkonen in Q2 and would end up eleventh; the lowest qualifying position he’d ever been since the day before forever.

Row three had Sergio Perez’s Force India and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, followed by Jenson Button and the second Williams of Felipe Massa in row four. The second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso completed the top ten grid positions in row five. With Ricciardo’s penalty for an infringement at the Malaysian GP, Bottas would go up to third on the grid and everyone else also moved up a spot.

In the Ferrari camp, Raikkonen who didn’t feel completely at ease, albeit new components added to the F14 T for the desert race. The Finn, though, did his level best for sixth quickest, he commented, “It’s hard to say how the race is going fair, because in the simulation done on Friday, I was struggling on the Medium tyre, while the balance was better on the Soft. We know we can’t fight with Mercedes, but the qualifying’s result gives me more confidence than at the previous races and I’m gonna do my best to bring home a good result.”

Alonso got through to the top ten shoot-out in fifth place, but confronted a drop off in performance in Q3 which saw him struggle to a tenth spot at the end of qualifying.

Button and Magnussen who qualified seventh and ninth are promoted to sixth and eighth on the race grid, respectively. In Q3, Button drove a flawless lap that was good enough for seventh (which became P6 after Ricciardo’s demotion), while Magnussen ended up close behind in ninth (which became P8). Button could have qualified fourth, but the Brit admitted that it was a very tight qualifying session. He intends to pick up more points in the fly-away races and continues to make up some lost grounds, “The four fly-away races are all about picking up points as and when you can. We’ve done that pretty well the first two races, and we’ve got to continue doing that. A podium finish for the race would be great as the first two places could be difficult with the two Mercedes cars rather reliable,” Button explained.

2014 Formula One World Championships, Round 3, Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying (Q3)

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.180
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.464
3 Daniel Ricciardo RBR 1:34.051
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:34.247
5 Sergio Perez Force India 1:34.346
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:34.368
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1:34.387
8 Felipe Massa Williams 1:34.511
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:34.712
10 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:34.992