Hamilton wins in Bahrain
SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) – Lewis Hamilton’s bid for a third Formula One title is gathering momentum after another convincing win in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, while his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg’s status as his main challenger is under threat from a resurgent Ferrari team.
Hamilton won the race from pole position to strengthen his overall lead in the standings with his third win in four races, and 36th of his career. He is already 27 points ahead of Rosberg and 28 clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – the only driver to beat Hamilton so far.
“It doesn’t matter who it is against, you try and beat everybody out there,” Hamilton said, underlining how the F1 title race looks far from being the two-horse contest between Mercedes teammates it was last season. “It’s great to be having a fight with the Ferraris.”
The British driver started from pole for the first time in the desert race under floodlights and was largely untroubled, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Rosberg, whose braking problem with two laps remaining let in Raikkonen for his first podium in two years.
“Ferrari gave us a really good run for our money and we will need to keep pushing as a team,” Hamilton said. “We’re trying to win both championships. So we won’t be 100 per cent happy because we wanted to finish 1-2.”
Rosberg, meanwhile, has no wins and no poles so far and has only won one race in the past 15.
“(Hamilton) had good speed today so it was impossible to get by him” Rosberg said.
Vettel looked set for a podium position until a late front wing change ended the four-time F1 champion’s chances and he placed fifth behind Valtteri Bottas.
Jenson Button, last in Saturday’s qualifying, did not start due to a technical problem, while Brazilian driver Felipe Massa stalled his car on his formation lap due to an electrical problem and started from the pit lane.
A late brake problem slowed Hamilton down a little on the final lap, but he crossed the line 3.3 seconds ahead of Raikkonen and six seconds clear of Rosberg – last year’s runner-up. Hamilton stood on his Mercedes and pumped his fist in the air before leaping into the arms of his crew. He then jumped up and down in delight as he climbed onto the podium.
Raikkonen was 1.1 seconds behind Rosberg but overtook him on the outside after Rosberg went far too wide on a turn, prompting jubilant cheers in the Ferrari garage.