Nico Rosberg extended his Formula 1 championship lead with victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix as Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton recovered from a first-lap collision to finish third.
Rosberg made the most of polesitter Hamilton’s slow getaway to lead into the first corner and then was relatively comfortable at the front, finishing 10.2 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen under the lights at Sakhir.
Hamilton bogged down at the start but was second into Turn 1 before the Mercedes driver was T-boned by Valtteri Bottas, dropping him to ninth. The reigning world champion suffered front wing damage but was able to continue, carving his way back through the field to rescue third and remain within 17 points of title rival Rosberg.
Raikkonen also recovered from a poor getaway but didn’t quite have enough pace to seriously challenge Rosberg for the lead in the closing stages.
Meanwhile, his team-mate Sebastian Vettel did not even make the start after suffering an engine failure on the formation lap. Romain Grosjean continued Haas’s brilliant start to the season with a superb fifth, having done three stints on the super-soft tyres, one place behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen bolted on a set of super-soft tyres late and surged pastFelipe Massa to take sixth, with Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat also passing the Brazilian on the penultimate lap to take seventh.
Massa ran second early on after an impressive start, but dropped down the field asWilliams opted for a two-stop strategy with two stints on the medium and he ended up eighth. Bottas, who had a drive-through penalty for causing a collision with Hamilton at the start, was ninth while McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, standing in for the injured Fernando Alonso, scored a point on his F1 debut with 10th. Kevin Magnussen was 11th, ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who had a feisty battle with team-mate Felipe Nasr, with the two making contact in the early stages. The Swede came out on top and ended up 12th, with Nasr finishing down in 14th and complaining on team radio that the car “is terrible to drive”. Pascal Wehrlein finished an impressive 13th for Manor with the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg 15th and 16th respectively.
Carlos Sainz Jr looked well-placed when the highest runner on the softs early on, but he picked up a puncture when he was clipped by Perez and later retired. While Grosjean scored points for the second successive race, there was heartache for Haas team-mate Esteban Gutierrez who was running in the points one place behind Grosjean before pulling into the pits and retiring the car. Jenson Button retired with an ERS problem while Renault’s Jolyon Palmer pulled into the pits at the end of the formation lap with a hydraulics issue.
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