Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014

Hamilton fends off Rosberg for win in Bahrain thriller

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Lewis Hamilton took his second consecutive victory after holding off team mate Nico Rosberg in an intense race-long battle during a dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix.

In a race filled with overtaking and suspense, the two Mercedes drivers fought for victory in a close battle that saw Hamilton holding off Rosberg despite being on the slower Medium tyres.

Sergio Perez claimed third to secure only the second podium appearance for Force India in the team’s history, after holding off a hard-charging Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.

A frantic start saw Hamilton jump his team mate on the run to the first corner, but Rosberg did not want to yield the lead too easily and tried a bold move around the outside of turn four, only to be squeezed off the track by Hamilton on exit. Felipe Massa made a superb start from seventh place in the Williams to leap into third position.

Nico Hulkenberg caught and passed Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari for seventh, before snatching sixth from Valtteri Bottas on lap 10 after Jenson Button dived past the Williams into turn one. Just two laps later, Sergio Perez frustrated Williams further by robbing third place from Massa on the exit of turn four.

The first round of pitstops saw heavy competition between Hulkenberg jump ahead of his team mate, while Bottas successfully undercut his own team mate. Sebastian Vettel allowed team mate Daniel Ricciardo past after complaining to his team that his DRS was malfunctioning.

Suddenly on lap 18, Hamilton came under intense pressure from his team mate with Rosberg diving down the inside of turn one. After a dramatic sequence of two laps with the leading Mercedes dicing for position, Hamilton was ultimately able to fend off his team mate before both cars were called in to the pits. Hamilton was given another set of Soft tyres while Rosberg was placed onto the harder Mediums.

Meanwhile, the battle between Force India and Williams was also heating up. Bottas led a train including his team mate, Hulkenberg and Perez. The Mexican took advantage of Bottas holding the three of them up to pass his team mate, before both Force Indias forced their way passed Massa on lap 28 after Bottas pitted for the second time.

The mixture of two and three-stopping cars provided plenty of action in the middle stage of the race. Bottas almost ran into Kimi Raikkonen at turn one, as the Ferraris found themselves under constant attack from the Red Bulls and Williams. With the advantage of the Soft tyres, Hamilton pulled a gap of over 13 seconds to Rosberg in second.

But on lap 41, the race took an even more dramatic turn when Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber was sent into a violent roll at turn one by Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, bringing out the Safety Car. Suddenly, the advantage Hamilton had built up over his team mate on the Soft tyres was eliminated, leaving him facing a ten lap challenge to hold off Rosberg for the victory on the slower compound. Mercedes’s Paddy Lowe was heard warning both drivers to “bring both cars home”.

But Lowe’s calls appeared to fall on deaf ears as, at the restart, Rosberg immediately put Hamilton under pressure for the lead while Hulkenberg challenged his team mate for the final podium position. While there were no changes of position at the front, Ricciardo charged past his world champion team mate for fifth place.

With six laps to go, the fight for the win between the two Mercedes ignited again with Rosberg challenging his team mate once more. But Rosberg was unable to retake the lead and it proved to be as close as the German would get to his team mate.

Having passed his team mate, Ricciardo dived past Hulkenberg for fourth before trying in vain to catch Perez for the final podium spot. After such a promising weekend, Williams will likely be very disappointed to have crossed the line in seventh and eighth while Ferrari will not be happy to have rounded out the points in ninth and tenth.

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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94 comments on “Hamilton fends off Rosberg for win in Bahrain thriller”

  1. F1 is dead according to the naysayers. I say viva le F1!

    1. More like that and we won’t have to put up with much more of the rubbish comments about this not being F1. If that wasn’t good enough for F1, then I don’t think my heart could take the supposed “proper” F1, so I’ll stick with this thank you very much

    2. Change the cars? Change the tracks.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th April 2014, 19:03

      What a stunning fight by Hamilton to hold onto victory! Most drivers were phenomenal but I think this will go down as one of Hamilton’s finest races. I still get goosebumps when I think of Austin Texas 2012. I will remember Bahrain 2014 for a very, very long time.

      1. Totally agree @freelittlebirds for me that was up there with alonso’s defensive drive against Schumacher but he not only had a tyre disadvantage but also had to defend DRS too!

      2. agreed dude!

    4. we should not forget all cars were racing at the end coz of safety car, they were able to save enuf fuel to go on full attack towards the end, may be f1 should think of raising fuel limit, IMO that should make it more entertaining, pity nothing can be done regarding sound though, i really miss it :( . its like f1 cars racing with GT car racing sound track on.

      1. @f1007 well would you say that it never happened in yester-years? what a stupid thought. If is was entertaining, i dont think any one would mind. I liked all three races, but this one was gripping. Overtaking happened since the beginning and went on till the end throughout the field, though you could say the top 5 would not have had much overtaking to do.

        1. @hemzshaw lets just say that is your stupid thought, and this is mine.

  2. Fend Off.
    Agree. Best word of choice.

    1. shove would be a better word.

      1. I wouldn’t agree with shove at all.. Fend off is spot on..

  3. What the hell were those idiotic race directors thinking not showing us or only showing us flashes of the battle for the lead in the last 10 laps?? Showing us the ‘intervals’, ‘fuel consumption’ and everything else EXCEPT the battle live! When was the last time we had a good nailbiting battle for the race win? Jeezes, this was an amazing race but it was destroyed a little bit by the race directors in the end…

    1. @gdewilde I had the same thoughts, at one point we had several seconds showing the back end of a McLaren parked in its garage while there were several exciting battles going on. Rather than worrying about spicing up the show maybe FOM should focus on showing the great show we’ve got first.

  4. Wonderful Job by Mercedes without team orders . Lewis you hotshot ! What a race !
    The new formula shows how important drivers are . Take Maldonado and Hulkenberg. Ricciardo has a normal race at last ! Kudos to him on his efforts
    Montezomolo better shut his tap . That’s about as much polite as I can be .

    1. +1.
      What a fantastic drive by Lewis!

      1. I have to agree, Hamilton did well, but honestly, I could have kept Rosberg behind. Anyone who tries 4 times to pass around the outside of turn 4 deserves to get beat! All Hamilton had to do was keep his line, simple as that.

    2. Absolutely amazing drive by Lewis. Managed the option tyre gap well. Fair defensive driving throughout. And to defend with prime versus option and against DRS. Fantastic. Closed up field at the end provided manic action. Simply Awesome

    3. A wonderful job by Mercedes, and I am very happy for Aldo Costa. He was sacked by Ferrari when he kept on saying their wind tunnel had issues, now he is delivering for Mercedes, plus he gets to experience a thrilling race by his drivers in something he played a part in creating.

  5. Mercedes is dominant but at least we have intra-Merdedes battle for now. That’s good. However, I’m afraid if there’s only battle between Hamilton and Nico, nobody else, I believe the sheer force of Hamilton would easily crush Nico. I think we need another player asap…

    1. I believe the sheer force of Hamilton would easily crush Nico

      Not based on the race today at least!

      1. Paul Ogbeiwi (@)
        6th April 2014, 19:08

        SC helped Nico @joeoml1n

        1. Nico could’ve still catch Lewis in the last stint as he had softs left and Lewis had mediums. Ofc, he wouldn’t have had that many laps (most likely) to try overtake but might have catch him.

          1. Traverse (@)
            6th April 2014, 20:40

            What on earth makes you think that Nico had a hope in hell of catching Hamilton had the safety car not been a factor?

            Nico had the softs put on his car just before the safety car interrupted proceedings, yet he couldn’t overtake Ham who also pitted at the same time to put mediums on his car. So if Rosberg couldn’t pass Ham despite restarting the race (post SC) right behind Ham on faster tyres, what makes you think he could’ve made up a 13/14sec deficit and then challenge a pass?

            Ham has and will have Rosberg’s number this year; Rosberg’s WDC lead is an artificial one as he only leads Ham due to his Melbourne dnf. Ham would’ve finished the opening race 2nd at worst and would currently lead the WDC.

        2. Who in turn was not helped by his team instructing him to stay out a further two laps more than Hamilton in 20+ old tyres.

          1. It was hoped it would be to his benefit as they could reduce his time on the softs later I assume, meaning he could take more out of them when he needed to push to catch and overtake Hamilton.

          2. I guarantee you if it was Hamilton on softs and Nico on the hard tires with 10 laps remaining, Hamilton would have passed Nico and left him where he found him on the way to victory. Hamilton’s force of will and sheer driving talent was the difference today. He refused to be beaten despite the severe handicap of the slower tires and the drs advantage Nico had. Incredible driving by Lewis. Incredible talent and experience as well, considering how many other teammates were able to make passes in the final ten laps without that same tire advantage Nico enjoyed.

        3. HAM pulled away when he was on the softer tyre, rolls were reversed in final stint.

        4. @pauldstar, I’m not sure that is true, Nico may have been able to finish the race without a further pit-stop which is what I believe was Mercs plan B, Ham had to stop for primes, the safety car gave Ham a free pit stop.

          1. Paul Ogbeiwi (@)
            6th April 2014, 22:26

            “what I believe was Mercs plan B” I read that and decided you don’t really anything about their plan B. But thanks for your opinion @hohum

          2. @pauldstar, true I don’t know what their plan B was, but they surely had one as Nico was told they were going to change their strategy and it was important for him to be able to run long on his starting set of options. I read elsewhere that Rosberg pitted and changed back to options before the safety car came out but I was unaware of this, all I know is what the TV shows me so there are many gaps in my knowledge, I have to speculate and try to never pass my speculation of as irrefutable fact.

  6. I thought F1 was dead with the new rules….. how wrong I was! Best race since Brazil 2012….. the whole 2013 lacked of this….. Real Racing.

    1. same tho8 here

    2. shame that webber wasted a great seat for 4 years. Vettel was never challenged like hamilton is now.

      1. Absolutely. Ricciardo passed Sebastian more times in todays race alone than Webber did in 4 seasons.

  7. One of the best races I have seen in a long time and I am really enjoying this new F1. I am a Ferrari fan but i really wish Luca would stop talking on my behave!

    Also, something needs to be done about Pastor! He really is going to hurt someone!

  8. Thank you Mercedes for letting them race!
    I was afraid the safety car would rob a thrilling race that would build up with a faster Rosberg.
    But in the end Hamilton was brilliant!
    And Rosberg showed he is a great racer.. being this close to Hamilton is not a given!

    1. Seconded.

      …and fair play, Hamilton will have won a lot of fans by being able to hold off Rosberg at the end there.

    2. What was great about it was that they allowed the racing right until the chequered flag, no bring told to hold stations after lap x, just race fairly to the end as long as both cars intact. Refreshing

    3. I don’t think Lewis was told Rosberg was on the options, because he was saying he was lacking in power and immediately I knew he was being surprised by Rosberg’s soft tyre advantage.

  9. Alonso celebrating 9th place. A clear message to Ferrari i assume. Ferrari can hire Raikkonen to try and push alonso but who is going to push Ferrari to make a good enough car ?

    1. I’ve never thought Alonso needs re-motivated or shock treatment. He just needs better car.

    2. Yeah that was a signal to Ferrari team from Alondo ironically saying: Look at me mammy, I’m 9th! Yippee! And don’t you think that both of them didn’t sweat for 9th and 10th place. They were constantly under attack by others. Now LdM will whine even more instead of put their head down and work harder for Kimi and Alo.

    3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      6th April 2014, 21:02

      @aimalkhan – As some form of consolation, these first three races have hardly been bad for Alonso’s image, in that he is comfortably ahead of Raikkonen, and at Williams Massa, a man Alonso scored more than twice the points of during their time as teammates, is barely slower than the highly rated young-gun Bottas. Meanwhile at Red Bull, Vettel is actually under pressure from young Ricciardo…

      1. @william-brierty I wouldn’t say Alonso is “comfortably” ahead as Kimi was in Malaysia faster of the Ferrari drivers whole weekend except wet qualifying (that was first time Kimi drove F14T in wet conditions, so that’s acceptable). Kimi was also comfortably quicker in qualifying yesterday.

        Somebody has hit Kimi’s car in every race so far: Kobayashi in Australia and Magnussen twice in a row. Those incidents possibly broke something from Kimi’s car in race days. That’s the only explanation I can think of why Kimi didn’t beat Alonso today since he was so much quicker on Saturday. Bad luck will come to Alonso as well and then their points tally will look a lot more closer.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          9th April 2014, 12:23

          @huhhi – I would still argue it has been comfortable for Alonso. Alonso suffered an engine software issue on Saturday in Bahrain and on Friday in Malaysia, as well as managing to outqualify Kimi with out of balance steering following his collision with Kvyat. The fact that Raikkonen has been fundamentally lacking in pace is undeniable, and it is not just a matter on luck with incidents that explains the points gap.

          1. @william-brierty According to Ferrari there was nothing wrong in Alonso’s car during qualifying. Kimi’s little shunt at Friday practice however broke something from the chassis, so Kimi out-qualified Alonso and got similar result from the race with a broken car.

            I’d say this fight is far from over.

  10. Damn, that was intense. I think I just lost all my fingernails… And in Sakhir of all places!

    Wonderful! :D

    1. I second that! For me, it was the ForceIndia who had my heart in my mouth!!!!

    2. It isn’t good for the nerves I know that!

      You say in Sakhir of all places, but don’t underestimate this track. It is an underrated track in my opinion, not helped by being designed by Tilke which to many people means it can’t be good. It produced arguably the race of the season last year and it will take some beating this time around as well!

  11. Ferrari were just painfully slow this race. They have one of the best designers and engineers in the padock, one of the biggest budgets and still struggling massively. I wonder, when Alonso will lose his temper. But anyway, he has limited choices in going to another team. Red Bull and Mercedes already have wonderful drivers and will not change them. Maybe Mclaren, but they are not in a good shape either, unless Honda will promise wonders. Maybe Force India is not a bad choice?

    1. Ferrari is more becoming a real shame day by day season after season

      1. Without a doubt the most underperforming and inefficient team on the grid.

        If you look at performance per $ spent. Ferrari has probably been one of the worst teams on the grid since 2011. Mclaren is probably the 2nd worst in this category, but I doubt they spend as much as Ferrari

    2. Alonso will most likely retire from Ferrari, at latest after 2016 season. That’s my bet.

      1. I really hope he leaves Ferrari at the end of this season. That team are clueless and their leader is the biggest m oron on the face of this planet

        If pray he gets together with Mclaren (hypothetical now.. since ron is back)

        1. Alonso to McLaren is certainly a possibility. Some rumours have been doing the rounds this weekend in fact.

  12. Force India 2nd in championship at the moment. :)

    Way to go !!!!

  13. One other thing we can definitely conclude now also – Ricciardo is a quick driver, and anyone who doubted whether Red Bull made the correct decision surely must have their doubts removed.

    1. @vettel1

      Lol the funny thing is that Ric is as quick even Malaysia he was told to drop back does not look good for Vet at the moment does it. Also gives the naysayers even more ammo that Vet int all that im not 1 of those bye the way

      1. Ricciardo was advised to drop back to maintain his tyres in Malaysia. That doesn’t mean he complied, nor does it in any way suggest he was faster.

        And Australia is a complete unknown, as Vettel’s car was never functioning properly in any competitive session. Nor does it seem was it working as well as Ricciardo’s in the last stint of this race.

        1. @vettel 1

          O i agree im just saying is Vet as good as what you though now? Ric was not excactly killing JEV was he.I genuinely feel if Ric can be as close how would Ham fair v vettel?

          1. Traverse (@)
            6th April 2014, 20:42

            Ham would win that battle methinks.

          2. SV has failure of DRS at first stage and MGU-H in the Last stint , But RIC drove a Good race , I dont think Ric is beating SV on straight pace He was good but on a Clear Zero Issue race SV shown he was faster than DR in Malaysia , Lets see how much difference in a Failure Free DRY Q and R

      2. translation please…

  14. Well done Chilton, 13th!

  15. Williams should work with its drivers more. These pilots make mistake by mistake. If they had Alonso and Kimi, they would easily have that 2nd place in the CC.

    Ferrari didn’t disappoint. This is what I expected from them. They are a disaster.

    1. You meant “drivers”, maybe?

      1. I some Slavic countries (in Czech Rep. for instance), the people who race in F1 are called “pilots”. I find it entirely appropriate :-).

        1. Yeah, in Macedonia they are called pilots too

          1. In France also I believe.

      2. @oscar

        You contribute alot to this site are you Keith’s filter perhaps. All your posts are about mistakes what a loser you are.

  16. I really don’t see what others expected from Ferrari in this reason. It seems to be their legitimate position. They tried their best fighting with Merc powered cars but aren’t able to do it because they lack the power.

    But there is hope, if they can bridge the gap by China. The chassis seems to be good and they have finished both the cars in all races. The season is long. Even if Merc takes the championship, the fight for second seems to be an exciting one.

  17. Maybe it’s pure coincidence that every time Vettel has been overtaken by Daniel or been slower than him Vettel’s been on the radio complaining of a car issue just moments later…

    1. It’s coincidence.

    2. Vettel’s long pitstop was also a coincidence? Oh, wait… Was his fault!

    3. Could you care to develop more, Mr. Tin Foil Man?

      1. Take it you don’t watch the action then?? When Ricciardo destroyed him in qualifying it was down to poor downshifting that strangely enough sounded perfect to Ant Davidson, and today when as soon as he gets overtaken by Daniel he radios in saying he’s got no power.

        1. Antony Davidson´s opinion… One of the “greatest drivers of all times”… LOL

          1. Well, if you have to be one of the greatest drivers of all time to have a valid opinion about the sound of downshifting…

          2. There was nothing wrong with Vettels car yesterday, Daniel has been faster than him all weekend and that’s a fact!

  18. Thanks Merc; Lewis and Nico seemed to have a lot of fun bringing the cars home safe! Brilliant way to demonstrate that the new rules are fine as they are (and that Mercedes make good taxis)
    Good driving all round today, except for Maldonado.

    1. If that’s how taxi drivers get to drive, then think I better give up my day job and become a taxi driver

  19. This battle between Hamilton and Rosberg made me think of something. Rememeber how close Shumacher was to Rosberg during those three years he spent with Mercedes? That just goes to show that at 40 something years old, and having stopped for three years, Shumacher was still one hell of a racer.

    1. +1 Rosberg has always been under rated! he is quick and a clever driver in that he knows how to set his car up to maximise pace.

      Where I think he lacks compared to Lewis is he hasn’t got that couple of tenths lewis will find when he’s really on it and his race craft sometimes isn’t as good. He should have won today.

      Superb drive from Hamilton though, different to last week where w=he as the faster driver could see in the first stint that Rosberg was probably the quicker guy but he managed to hold on with some brilliant defensive driving. Reminded me of his win in indy 07 when Alonso was hassling him! Las 2 races Hamilton has shown his all round game/1

    2. Were we watching the same those 3 years Nico really wiped floor with him.

      1. Agreed. And so far Hamilton is really gaining the upper hand on Rosberg. Nico was going to finish second by about 2 seconds until he was practically given a win on a silver platter but still didn’t do it.

  20. I think that, if at least ONE Mercedes car is on the track racing, they’ll win all the races this season. I mean 2+ seconds to the next competitors, with occasional 3+ seconds on some point of the race, at this early stage of the season, it’s just overkill. I don’t think any team will catch up on them, even if Renault gets their act together.

    1. I really was amazing to watch the Mercs race off to a 25 second lead in the final ten laps despite battling each other every step of the way, dicing it up lap after lap. A 2.5 second advantage per lap in the final ten. Incredible. That Merc is quick, and easier on it’s tires than any other car at the moment. Oh, and it also exhibits excellent fuel consumption compared to the rest of the field. What a machine Mercedes has built. Job well done. They have opponents crying to the powers that be for rule changes. I never knew F1 was for crybabies and whiners. They should get on with the job and improve their programs and quit crying that they are currently getting it handed to them. Mercedes was working with the same template as everyone else. Where were the rule changes when Red Bull was dominating year in, year out? Ferrari’s leadership is a complete and utter lost cause with all their complaining. They have no idea what to do because now even the junior teams are running past them on the way to the podium.

  21. Hamilton is the man! What a race. Couldn’t ask for more.

  22. Anele (@anele-mbethe)
    7th April 2014, 7:00

    What a race loving how close to each other all the teammates are this year but Mercedes being so far ahead does take away a little. Hopefully the rest can catch up soon

  23. “bring both cars home”

    For me that means they are free to race each other butthey must be careful.

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