Lewis Hamilton held off Nico Rosberg to claim a second straight win in 2014 at a Bahrain Grand Prix that will be remembered for some time.
With all the talk of a showdown between the superior Silver Arrows pre-race the Mercedes drivers didn’t disappoint in a race that went down to the final lap and saw several wheel-to-wheel battles between Hamilton and Rosberg.
At the start it was Hamilton who forced his way into the lead at the first corner using the inside line, despite an attempt by Rosberg to re-pass into turn four, the Brit held off his team-mate and the pair ran a few seconds apart for much of the first stint.
As the first pit-stops emerged Rosberg closed back in on Hamilton and again the 2008 champion was forced to hold the No.6 Silver Arrow at bay before pitting.
A change of strategy saw Rosberg go onto the medium compound following his stop a few laps later which meant the two Mercedes were now on a different tyre strategy, this meant Lewis had to pull out a good gap over his team-mate before the second stops.
However, a Safety Car period, after Pastor Maldonado recklessly running into the side of Esteban Gutierrez flipping his Sauber over as the Lotus exited the pits, towards the end of the second stint had looked to put Rosberg in the driving seat to claim victory, with the advantage Hamilton had built up eliminated.
Despite having the faster tyres for the run in, Rosberg wasn’t able to pass Hamilton despite several attempts at doing so and it was Lewis who claimed his second win in a week by just one second over Rosberg.
If the battle for the win was good then the battle behind was scintillating with the two Force India’s and the two Williams’ squabbling for the final race on the podium, for a while it looked as though the Williams’ had the edge but after the Safety Car period Red Bull entered the frame with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo upto sixth and seventh.
Ferrari and McLaren were also in a tight fight towards the back of the top ten, however, mechanical problems forced both Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, in his 250th race, to retire late on, the first time either car had failed mechanically since 2012.
In the final 10-lap dash after the safety car it was Ricciardo who made the moves first on his team-mate Vettel into turn one and then on Nico Hulkenberg to claim an impressive fourth just one spot down on his qualifying position before his penalty.
The Australian was only four tenths down on third place man Sergio Perez over the finish line as the Mexican claimed a well-deserved podium and Force India’s first since Belgium 2009, Hulkenberg held fifth in a good day for the Silverstone team with Sebastian Vettel frustrated in sixth ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.
Rounding out the top ten were the two Ferrari’s of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen on an evening most at Maranello would want to forget with the Prancing Horse’s easily outclassed by all four Mercedes-powered teams who simply breezed past them when battling on the straights.
Daniil Kvyat failed to score points for his third consecutive race just missing out in 11th ahead of Romain Grosjean as both Lotuses made it to the finish, Max Chilton maintained his 100% record and took back tenth for Marussia in the constructor’s championship in 13th.
The evening belongs to Mercedes, however, who, when the gloves were off, managed to pull out a 24-second gap to Perez in third in ten laps highlighting the dominance the Brackley team have.
In a race that was a poke in the eye to all those criticising the new style F1, fair play to Mercedes who allowed their drivers to race to the end when most would have called off the fight but at the end of it all it was Hamilton shining brightest in the lights of Sakhir.
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