Start, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Rosberg grabs fifth win running in hectic Bahrain Grand Prix

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix summary

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Nico Rosberg made it two wins from two races at the beginning of 2016 – and five in a row since the end of last year – with victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Rosberg led from the start as team mate Lewis Hamilton got away poorly from pole position and then tangled with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner.

Hamilton recovered to third place despite carrying damage on his car. The two Mercedes were split by Kimi Raikkonen, the Ferrari driver also getting away poorly at the start.

But Raikkonen’s race at least began better than team mate Sebastian Vettel’s did. The other Ferrari expired halfway around the formation lap, and Vettel didn’t even start.

Daniel Ricciardo was also involved in the Hamilton-Bottas collision but recovered to claim fourth place. Romain Grosjean went one better for Haas in the team’s second race by finishing fifth after an attacking drive on a three-stop strategy.

In the final laps Max Verstappen was bearing down on him but the Toro Rosso driver ran out of time to catch him. Daniil Kvyat captured seventh by springing an attack on Felipe Massa as the pair were lapped by Rosberg – Massa having fallen from second place on the first lap.

Bottas collected a drive-through penalty for the collision with Hamilton which left him ninth. Stoffel Vandoorne earned a point on his debut for McLaren but team mate Jenson Button retired early on.

Rosberg’s win means he now holds a 17-point lead in the championship over Hamilton.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Rosberg grabs fifth win running in hectic Bahrain Grand Prix”

  1. Bottas gets a drive-thru penalty? Utter garbage. You can see the Hamilton-favortism all weekend. He left the door wide open – Bottas did nothing wrong.

    Congrats to Kimi and Roman.

    1. RaceProUK (@)
      3rd April 2016, 18:25

      Someone gets a penalty for, let’s face it, almost T-boning another driver, and that’s favouritism? Maybe you should stow your anti-Hamilton bias before commenting.

      1. Lol. Give me a break. Even Lewis bypassed the direct question about the incident in his interview. He knew he left the door WIDE open. He had no clue Bottas was so close behind – i.e. his fault. Regardless, that’s my opinion. You know where you can ‘stow’ your response? @RaceProUK

        1. I don’t know about favouritism but the penalty seemed unfair to me, Hamilton was wide when bottas went for the overtake then when he cut back bottas had nowhere to go. I’d say they were equally to blame.

        2. I’ll try not to be too much of a jerk in my response, but in many of the comments regarding incidents during passes, there seems to be a definite lack of basic “race craft” knowledge.

          For example, what many seem to be missing is the fact that most, and often all, of the burden of caution is on the driver attempting the pass, and not the driver being passed. While blatant blocking is wrong, holding your line is not, even if your line happens to leave a “hole” that the passer might attempt to use to gain position.

          Just because the hole exists at some point does not obligate the leading driver to maintain that hole. And by the same token, the driver attempting the pass must consider the fact that the hole might close at any moment, and act accordingly. That doesn’t mean that the lead car can slam the door on the passer, but it also doesn’t mean that time and space must freeze for the car trying to pass.

          Passing a good driver is tricky, as it should be.

          1. It should have been quite obvious to Bottas that the door was going to close given the shape of the track at turns 1 and 2… The Sky commentary team pretty much said he should have slowed when he realised the gap was going.

            In the heat of the race I am sure that Bottas was looking to capitalise on his position. In some aspects you could say it was a racing incident, but, the more I see think about it, he should have held back…

            The up side, it made for a good race…

    2. @johanness I watched the race on C4. C4 didn’t talk much about the incident, did sky make a story out of it? I got the impression Bottas lunge was ridiculous more so than his mexico kamikaze.

      Anyway, lucky Nico 2 races from 2nd, but also lucky Hamilton, 2 seasons where bad luck results in pretty good damage limitation.

      @72defender I was pretty sure bahrain was going to be tougher for merc’s adversaries as the track has 3 long straights from the end of s3 to the end of s1 yet the race was quite tight. I get the impression that Merc is further ahead on their PU but I don’t think their chassis has improved. I wouldn’t be surprised to see RedBull and Ferrari beat Merc on an aero track, I bet shanghai is going to be Ferrari’s first proper pole position of the new PU era.

    3. F1 is getting ridiculous. That is racing. Lewis went wide to cross lines with Nico, opened the door and Bottas put his full nose in. (remember what Senna said about an empty space?) Lewis had a bad start and underestimated the guys behind. It was a normal race incident. Bottas reached the apex first. The penalty is shameful. Lewis was actually very very very lucky to finish the race and he can only blame himself

  2. All this talk of Ferrari being on Mercedes’ heels is nonsense! Even with damaged body work right from the start and compromised aero, Team Silver proved how much more superior they are.

    W05-W07 are 3 of the most dominant cars in F1 history.

    1. Anything that calms your nerves and makes you sleep:]

    2. The W07 is showing potential to be fairly dominant, but, I wouldn’t say it was dominant yet. Australia was more down to the red flag than car dominance. Let’s get to Hungary before shouting dominance I think…

  3. Very nice race! Amazing staff by GRO and Haas. Also,I am glad to see that Mac has made a leap forward! Sure, they’re not in position of fighting for podiums but they turn out to be a solid midfield team
    1) Mercedes- Ferrari 2) Haas- Toro Rosso- Red Bull- Maclaren- Force India 3) Sauber- Renault- Manor

    1. Just wanted to inform you: It’s McLaren or Mclaren, not Maclaren ;)

      1. You’re right all these years I keep making the same mistake! Thanks ;)

        1. Any rime, friend. Anytime ;)

    2. Matija (@matijaleader)
      3rd April 2016, 20:00

      i think sauber is actually the slowest car on the grid right now. manor were faster today.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      3rd April 2016, 22:56

      Williams? probably group 2), @sotiris07
      And today FI seemed to be closer to 3) than 2)

      The good thing about these groups – and we could see it today – there are some great fights going on between those drivers/teams.

      1. Oh you’re right I forgot Williams! Group 2 for sure. FI was really bad today but I think it was just a really bad day I think they get to be to group 2

  4. Hamilton needs to get his act together, losing this season to Rosberg will push him out of the list of greats to the next rank forever. Though if he’s happy with that, fine. But it’d put him second tier to Alonso and Vettel, just among his contemporaries.

    1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      3rd April 2016, 18:17

      That comment of yours, putting him out of the greats forever seems harsh even to me, and I openly dislike Hamilton for his “bold” (read bullying) attitude on the track, and needless to talk about offtrack here.

      1. Harsh but realistic. He’s been used to dominating Rosberg mentally. There are real signs now that Rosberg is getting over his inferiority complex in relation to Hamilton since the Austin win. It depends on whether that takes Rosberg potentially into the list of very top formula one drivers or not. I don’t think so. It’s not like Senna and Prost beating each other.

    2. You’re being silly. Did Vettel being outclassed by Ricciardo push him out of the ‘all-time greats’ list?

      1. Well, first Red Bull didn’t have a title-winning car and Ricciardo didn’t win the title: to be specific, I’m talking about Hamilton losing the championship to Rosberg, not just being beaten by him (as happened already with Button). Second I think Vettel’s poor performance had everything to do with his move to Ferrari. Either Lewis is underestimating Rosberg, thinking he can beat him when he wants, or he’s been complacent and failed to adjust to some new parameters. He went the last seven races of 2015 without setting pole and has been less impressive than Rosberg on track since Sochi. That’s a long stretch of relative underperformance.

  5. Vettel really not having it easy way this season.. could have been right in there with Rosberg in championship tally, but ended up today with 35 points deficit. Ferrari showing a lack of reliability, two of their powered cars stopped today due to engine problems. Hamilton struggling with starts, the season definitely started better on Rosberg’s side of the garage. Sky team being delighted that Ham pitted and came out ahead of Kimi, when it was clear that it was Ros who pitted. In addition, Ted screaming at the Merc pit crew to move away that rear tyre during that same pit stop. Wonder if he would be that excited had he know that it was Ros pitting. Made my day when they realized that Ham is actually 20 sec a drift :-)

  6. Ham was in the wrong. He deserved what he got. IMO, he is always trying to take advantage of his ego. Sorry for Bottas for being right, but getting the penalty..

    1. This.

      Better brace yourself for a comment from @RaceProUK though. He can’t resist being the hall-monitor / eye-poker for the forums. For fear anyone should say anything negative about his teddy bear LH

    2. RaceProUK (@)
      3rd April 2016, 22:03

      In the replays, it’s obvious Bottas came off the brakes in order to attempt the overtake; you can hear that in the engine note. Ergo, Bottas’s fault.

      1. Isn’t Bottas locking his tyres? I remember some smocke coming from his front rigjt tyre, correct me if I’m wrong.

        1. RaceProUK (@)
          4th April 2016, 13:58

          He may well have locked up, but that was in his second braking attempt. Basically, on the approach, Bottas braked, spotted a gap, came off the brake, braked again a moment later, locked up as the door was closed, and understeered into Hamilton.

  7. Seems like Merc have some pace on hand, I can’t see Ferrari winning races unless Merc drivers make mistakes or due car failure. Seems a repeat to the last 2 years.

    1. I hope you are wrong BUT I fear you’re right!

      1. But Ecclestone is working to change this…. Merc has huge vantage because wins the pole position (thanks to Q3 with more power…)…new Qualyfing will be an average of 2 best laps for each Q! So 6 different lap time…a way to put pressure on Merc (so strong in Q3)! If Ferrari stsrtas from the 1st row: we’ll see different races!

        1. agree with what u said although i don’t agree with Bernie snd his outdated ideas.

  8. I had initially stated how the championship may be in favour of Nico after his 5th consecutive win but thinking about it now, I think it may not be the case being that in previous occasions those wins were carried out in the said championship year. So I would say Nico’s championship chances will be better if he wins 5 times in a row in 2016.

  9. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    3rd April 2016, 18:27

    It’s hard to root for Nico when he literally can only cause damage to Lewis in every race – that’s essentially his major skill in Formula 1. Granted he’s quick but as Bottas said “I didn’t expect them to slow down so much… and carry no speed” I could have taken turn 1 faster in a Honda Accord… Drive through penalty for Nico???

    1. You’re kidding, mate.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        3rd April 2016, 19:12

        Well, I’ll take your word over Bottas’s. It looked so slow to me as he came out – if Mercedes has telemetry, they’ll know but that’s EXACTLY what Nico did in Australia when he forced Lewis to slow down on purpose.

        It’s not like we don’t have a precedent from 2 weeks ago to go on or a half dozen other precedents and Bottas confirmed it. Lewis wasn’t slowing down, we all know that;-)

    2. No One Better (@)
      3rd April 2016, 18:59

      You noticed that too? Glad I’m not the only one. Explains why Hamilton is not upset with Bottas because he knows the culprit is Rosberg purposefully creating havoc by taking the exit slowly while everyone behind is petal to the metal or petal to carbon fiber???

      1. @freelittlebirds @noonebetter Perhaps Rosberg was simply getting the ideal position for the long run-up to T4, which is a real overtaking point. Or perhaps I’m just being naive/too logical/biased/whatever.

        Rosberg did absolutely nothing wrong, and to claim that he did is simply absurd.

    3. What damage is Nico causing to Hamilton?? Keeping him sharp by being almost equal on single lap speed to give us great qualifying laps like we saw from Lewis. And challenging him for the win and championship while the other teams are not up to it.

      Cannot really want more, can you. A good driver needs to be challenge to keep upping his game, last year showed us how Hamilton took it up a few notches and it took Rosberg until the latter part of the season to improve himself to be a challenge again (i hadn’t expected him to come back after a losing out to Hamilton), now he has a strong start to the year too and we can only relish seeing Hamilton get even better (or see Rosberg rise to be a really good driver. OR see Vettel confirm his quality etc.)

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        3rd April 2016, 19:08

        It’s the slowdown to push him 3-4 positions back or cause damage. That’s the issue. If you watch F1, you’ll see it. Nico was stopping Lewis even before they were in contention for the championships – do you remember the broken wing in 2013 or so?

        I understand why he’s doing it – it’s just a cheap tactic cause he should have a little self confidence in his skills.

      2. No One Better (@)
        3rd April 2016, 19:12

        @bascb,
        I know its hard for you, but we are talking about the turn 1 incident. Do try and stay on topic. Specifically how the tactics of the leading car(Rosberg) had a domino effect on the cars behind him.

        It’s racing tactics at play. Dirty tactics, but they are part of racing. To the untrained eye, it would look like Bottas ran into the corner way too hot, but the problem was Rosberg was going too slow. Hamilton couldn’t go any faster as he was mm away from Rosberg’s gearbox.

        1. Eh, right. Just go and watch that start again. Please don’t bother to reply to me in the future, even though “it might be hard for you” @noonebetter.

          1. No One Better (@)
            3rd April 2016, 21:11

            @bascb,

            Great counterpoint. I think it would be wise for me to heed your advice. I will refrain from responding to you.

    4. that comment it’s a little… too much i think; but, ROS slow down too much in the first corner to ensure HAM doenst have a tow come turn 4 and that leads to BOT to hit HAM, in my view.

    5. Well, Hamilton has an easy solution, be quicker off the grid.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        3rd April 2016, 19:40

        There seems to be an issue with Merc’s clutch – it was a major point of discussion by Steve Matchett – Nico had a slow start in the warmup lap. Mercedes has to fix it – there’s no doubt Nico is less affected by it but Seb got him and we saw the double pass twice last year. You don’t want a clutch deciding a championship.

  10. I saw that the Sauber mechanics were sitting on the floor. Can’t Sauber even pay for chairs for their staff?

  11. I see some people are quick to dive into the pessimism side after a comfortable Mercedes victory.

    Even excluding the fact that it’s still race 2 out of 21-massive room for improvement from Ferrari, i’ll just remind you guys that Vettel did NOT started the race, and that Kimi finished no more than 8 seconds behind Rosberg, and he eased off when crossing the finish line. We all know that Seb is faster than Kimi at present day, so had Seb run, we could be well talking for a Ferrari win today.

    We have a great championship in front of us. Merc vs Ferrari at the top, giving it all for the ultimate glory.
    Youngsters at the midfield, fighting to take their careers to the next level.
    Twists and turns anywhere, anytime.
    All for 19 more races.

    Come China, scrap the new Quali system, put Alonso back in the seat, and 2016 will be a season we won’t forget any time soon, trust me…

    1. Kimi finished 8 seconds back while Merc just playing it safe and covering Ferrari moves. 3 stops, 4 seconds gain in undercut for each stop, add the 8 seconds, add the 3 seconds when ROS got delayed at the pit, that is 23 seconds and we’re not talking about ROS pitting first which would pull him further as well.
      Otherwise, agree with you, this year the field is tighter and we will look for battles each race.

      1. That is true, Rosberg was more or less controlling his pace from mid-race onwards.
        However, we there is no denying that Kimi is as good as Seb at this moment of their respective careers – Seb carries the hopes of both the Scuderia AND all neutral F1 fans in his back. I can’t see him giving up the fight “until it’s mathematically impossible to win it”, as JB said back in 2010.

      2. That is true, Rosberg was more or less controlling his pace from mid-race onwards.
        However, we there is no denying that Kimi is as good as Seb at this moment of their respective careers – Seb carries the hopes of both the Scuderia AND all neutral F1 fans right now. I can’t see him giving up the fight “until it’s mathematically impossible to win it”, as JB said back in 2010.

    2. I wouldn’t be sure to say that if Vettel started, he would have won the race. But I think we can say that there would be a fight between him and Rosberg perhaps?

      1. That’s what i meant, in essence.

      2. i doubt it. Rosberg pulled away at 2+ second a lap from Kimi in the beginning and just controlled. Even with Vettel in supermode, it would have been very hard to keep up. When kimi drove a fast lap, you saw Rosberg react.That Merc is a deadly fast machine

    3. Great post! After all the negative doom laden sooth-sayers, a breath of spring-like fresh air..

    4. Seb is faster than Kimi but in qualifying trim that is.
      Kimi is right up there with him in the races. In an interview Kimi told the reporter that it was a complex combination of factors that lead to him struggle in qualifying and he has been working hard to sort that out.
      I think Mercedes had 4-5 tenths in hand today. So I dont think Vettel could’ve done any better today.

  12. For me:
    Ecclestone is working to change this qualy sessions because Merc is always in teh first row…. today this is a huge vantage because who wins the pole position easily wins the race. Merc has a really powerfull engine in Q3 (they use a “botton”- max power in Q3)…new Qualyfing will be an average of 2 best laps for each Q! So 6 different lap time…a way to put pressure on Merc (so strong in Q3)! If Ferrari stars from the 1st row: we’ll see different races!

    AM I RIGHT? Any Comment?

  13. Haas eh? What a team! Great to see them do so well in the opening two races of the season. Taking that year extra to prepare has payed of and getting Grosjean now looks like a coup. I was expecting them to do well, but not this well!

    More importantly, Haas’s success demonstrates to any potential new teams that there is now a model in which you can enter the sport (other than buying out an existing team) which doesn’t leave you getting shafted at the back of the pack for multiple seasons until you collapse. That is fantastic news for the long term health of the sport, and, with any luck, other new start ups will be following Haas’s lead in the future.

  14. @johanness @raceprouk Please keep things civil (one of you would think ‘well I’m less to blame for the semi-semi-flame-war we had’ and you’d be right, but still…..if a proper flame war breaks out here I guess apocalypse is nigh? :)

    1. All good. No apocalypse. 😉

  15. But should we have a dull race we can always bait them into a mini apocalypse:)

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