By Jonathon Momsen
Lewis Hamilton has won the Bahrain Grand Prix taking him 27 points clear of the field in the race for the 2015 F1 Drivers’ World Championship.
Hamilton was never in doubt as he cruised home ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Riakkonen in second and teammate Nico Rosberg in third.
Valtteri Bottas fought hard on ageing tyres to hold off Vettel in the battle for fourth.
Daniel Ricciardo put in a solid performance to finish sixth but at the expense of another Renault engine. Ricciardo crossed the finish line in a cloud of smoke as reliability issues continue to plague Red Bull Racing.
Early in the race Vettel and Raikonnen failed to fight off Rosberg despite beating him out of turn two on the first lap.
Rosberg made a brave move into the turn one hairpin to take third off Raikonnen before lifting his eyes onto the rear of Vettel’s Scuderia Ferrari.
He made easy work of the four-time champion to settle into second position.
Vettel would jump Rosberg in the first set of pit stops which once again saw Ferrari making the most of some bold strategies.
One lap later Rosberg would make another brave lunge at turn one, this time under Vettel, but with fellow Mercedes driver and leader Lewis Hamilton emerging in front of the pair from pit lane, triggering a three-way battle for the lead.
Raikkonen was able to capitalise on Nico Rosberg’s ailing brakes late in the race to take second place without enough time left for Rosberg to respond.
The skirmishes between Ferrari and Mercedes brought life to a battle that appeared dormant in Shanghai but was still one sided on track at least at the front of the field.
While the boffins on laptops in the Ferrari garage were able to squeeze every advantage out of their tyres and fuel, Hamilton’s outright pace saw him drive away from the Prancing Horses once again.
Ferrari and Mercedes didn’t fill out the front of the pack as they have done all season as Valtteri Bottas was able to leap in front of Vettel and hold him off valiantly with fading tyres as the Ferrari hounded the back of Bottas’ Williams.
Back in the pack, Button’s woes at McLaren continued with the Brit failing to make the grid due to technical difficulties.
Felipe Massa also encountered some gremlins before the lights went out but was able to start from pit lane.
Despite the unfortunate start, Massa would claw his way through the pack to reach tenth place and remain one point ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Above all else, the Bahrain GP brought close racing.
Hamilton may have gone from pole to the top of the podium but he had to at least defend his position.
Commentator Martin Brundle remarked, “A good race I thought, I enjoyed that,” which is more than can be said for the majority of racing this season.
Further down the order it wasn’t a case of follow the leader as every position was being fought for in the dying stages.
The signs are there for more exciting races to come.
With three weeks until the Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari, and now Williams, will be able to make progress in their bid for the top step of the podium.
They will have a lot of work ahead of them though as Hamilton is now ahead of the field by more than a race win’s worth of points, just four races into what is looking like his third World Championship.
Image courtesy of Moto GP Italia