Rosberg cruises to fifth successive victory

By on Sunday, April 3, 2016
Pirelli Media

Pirelli Media

Nico Rosberg made it five wins in a row as he cruised to victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix to open up a 17 point lead in the championship.

Rosberg took advantage of a perfect start, and contact for team-mate Lewis Hamilton, to ease into the lead and manage a three stop strategy to emerge on top at Sakhir.

Kimi Räikkönen was second in the sole Ferrari while Hamilton recovered to finish a distant third.

The drama began before the start when Sebastian Vettel informed Ferrari of a failing engine and the V6 let go in spectacular fashion on the formation lap, leaving the German out of the race.

Hamilton bogged down from pole position but held a clear second approaching the first corner, though was hit by the fast starting Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton was half spun in the incident and dropped down, while Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo suffered front wing damage as Felipe Massa surged up to second from seventh, at the expense of Räikkönen.

Bottas was given a drive through penalty for causing the collision, though Hamilton breezed past the Finn and profited when rivals stopped to move into third position, as Rosberg built a sizeable lead.

Rosberg maintained a lead of 13 seconds through the first round of stops, ahead of Räikkönen, who emerged from the pits ahead of Massa and quickly passed Ricciardo, with Hamilton third on Medium tyres.

Rosberg retained his lead but a pair of slow stops enabled Räikkönen to move to within four seconds as the final stint began with both on Soft tyres, as Hamilton remained a distant third, having stayed out for several extra laps.

Rosberg duly edged away from Räikkönen to record his second win of the year in as many races, with Hamilton in third.

Ricciardo claimed fourth for Red Bull while Romain Grosjean was a superb fifth for Haas to secure another strong result for Formula 1’s new team.

Max Verstappen put in a charging drive to take sixth, while Daniil Kvyat recovered from a poor qualifying to take seventh, as Williams faded to eighth and ninth, with Massa ahead of Bottas.

McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne rounded out the top 10 to secure a point on his debut in the sport.

Kevin Magnussen charged from the pit lane but narrowly missed out on points in 11th, while Marcus Ericsson fended off Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein, as the German demonstrated the team’s progress with a battling drive.

Felipe Nasr survived contact with team-mate Ericsson to take 14th, while Force India had a dismal day as Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez could manage only 15th and 16th.

Rio Haryanto was the last classified runner in 17th position.

Esteban Gutiérrez enjoyed a strong start but Haas retired the young Mexican during the first stint of the race. Carlos Sainz Jr. sustained a puncture early on and complained of ill-steering and eventually retired mid-distance.

Jenson Button lasted only a handful of laps before pulling to the side of the circuit while Renault’s Jolyon Palmer headed into the pits at the end of the formation lap with a hydraulic failure.

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