Lewis Hamilton picked up his second Driver of the Weekend win following his victory and titanic battle with team mate Nico Rosberg in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton received 49.2% of the vote to top the poll ahead of Sergio Perez, who scored his first podium for Force India in only his third race with the team after a series of overtakes on the exit of turn four.
Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo – who just missed out on stealing the final podium spot from Perez on the last lap – was voted in the top three for the second time this season after his comeback drive from thirteenth on the grid to fourth.
1. Lewis Hamilton
After topping all three practice sessions it looked silly to bet against anyone other than Hamilton for pole position. However a slow first run and a mistake on his second meant he was denied the top spot by teammate Rosberg.
He quickly made amends by taking the lead in the first corner and proceeded to attempt to open a gap over his team mate, although Rosberg refused to give in. On lap 17 Rosberg made his move and the two engaged in battle, although Hamilton fought back. Rosberg tried again the following lap and succeeded, but Hamilton got a better exit from turn four and swept in front into turn five to ensure he could pit first at the end of the lap.
On a quicker tyre than his team mate Hamilton then set about building a gap, knowing Rosberg would have the advantage in the final stint. The safety car eradicated this however and Hamilton was then left to defend from Rosberg for eleven laps on the slower tyre. Rosberg fought hard but Hamilton used all his karting knowledge to keep in front, and claim possibly the hardest-fought win of his career.
Hamilton has to be my pick for Driver of the Weekend.
Had he fended off Rosberg with soft tyres it would be a different story, but handling his teammate while using primes in spite of two DRS zones was simply astonishing. I thought he was dead in the water once the Safety Car came out. It was a world class drive, especially how he reclaimed the lead exiting turn one so many times.
For some reason (probably set up, but we’ll never know), Rosberg had a faster car than Hamilton, but Hamilton showed real grit to keep the lead just before his first stop.
Then quite how he kept Rosberg behind him in the race was pure genius. OK, he made a mistake when it counted in qualifying, but in every other aspect of the weekend he was the best driver in my opinion!
I went with Hamilton. He’s known as a great attacking driver, but little is said of his defensive ability. So it was nice to see it on display this weekend.
2. Sergio Perez
After a torrid and unlucky first two races, Perez needed a clean and strong weekend in Bahrain. Out-qualifying highly rated teammate Nico Hulkenberg on Saturday was a good way to start as he put himself fourth on the grid following Ricciardo’s penalty.
Perez came alive in the opening stint as the Williams’ pair’s tyres began to degrade and he proceeded to pull some impressive overtakes on the exit of turn four with his superior grip. A move on his team mate exiting turn four – after Hulkenberg had been somewhat blocked by Felipe Massa – signaled a sign of intent and Perez held on from Daniel Ricciardo after the safety car despite being on slower and more worn tyres.
Hamilton and Rosberg’s battle was epic, but Rosberg should have been able to get past him on softer tires and Hamilton shouldn’t have goofed on his qualifying run on Saturday so that takes them out of the Running for me.
Perez got the best he could possibly get from his car.
I voted for Perez. He outqualified and outraced Hulkenberg, which is no mean feat, and in doing so he really needed to ring the neck of that car. Qualifying has never been Perez’s strongest attribute so to put a Force India on the second row was a terrific effort, and then to top it off with only their second podium.
3. Daniel Ricciardo
After practice had been more or less dominated by Mercedes powered cars it was somewhat of a surprise to see Ricciardo pop into third during qualifying, the closest challenger to the two Mercedes works cars.
His penalty from Malaysia dropped him to thirteenth but Ricciardo put in a storming drive to finish fourth, even daring to ask that teammate Sebastian Vettel let him through.
Went for Ricciardo. Excellent qualifying, undone by the grid penalty unrelated to this weekend, which meant that he had the rare chance to have a good qualifying and come through the field. Outraced Vettel, which is a good achievement (even though Vettel had DRS and MGU-H problems which may have made Ricciardo look slightly better than he really was).
2014 Driver of the Weekend results
|Australian||Kevin Magnussen (48.38%)||Valtteri Bottas (24.49%)||Daniel Ricciardo (14.05%)|
|Malaysian||Lewis Hamilton (54.3%)||Nico Hulkenberg (24.0%)||Sebastian Vettel (6.5%)|
|Bahrain||Lewis Hamilton (49.2%)||Sergio Perez (25.7%)||Daniel Ricciardo (16.6%)|
2014 Bahrain Grand Prix
Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei