Sebastian Vettel has easily won today's Bahrain Grand Prix in utterly dominant fashion. After Alonso dropped back due to a DRS failure, nobody else was there to threaten him. Raikkonen, starting from 8th finished in second place, joined on the podium by his Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean.
Temperatues are higher today than they have been so far this weekend, creating yet another setting and possibly different degradation levels for the tyres. It's 29°C and with the sun burning down on the track, the asphalt is heated up to 41°C. Furthermore an increase in wind speed has been pinned as a critical factor by several teams.
Nico Rosberg of course starts from pole, with alongside him Sebastian Vettel. On the second row are the Ferrari cars, followed by Force India on row 3. At the back of the grid, Esteban Gutierrez starts from 22nd on hard tyres, behind 6 cars on mediums.
As the lights go out, Rosberg retains his first place while Alonso takes the outside of turn 1 to move up to second place. Felipe Massa also gets passed by Di Resta while Sutil find himself in trouble a few turns later, returning to the pits at the end of that lap. Jean-Eric Vergne suffers a puncture one lap later and has to pit as well.
Vettel meanwhile re-passed Alonso at turn 4 and moves on to take on Rosberg in the same turn the next lap. Even though that attempt failed, one lap later the Red Bull driver gets past Rosberg and takes the lead. The pass immediately allows Alonso to move up close behind the Mercedes and overtakes him in turn 14, only to see Rosberg pass again by the end of the main straight.
Behind the fight at the front, Webber is 6th just behind Massa and ahead of Button, Perez, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Maldonado and Bottas.
At the start of lap 5, Vettel records the fastest lap while Alonso passes Rosberg for second place. The cars behind them are also still very close and Di Resta seizes the opportunity to move up a place the next lap.
Sutil meanwhile is running again at the back of the grid while Massa's stacked front wing element on the left hand side is loose and set to break off.
As of lap 5 Alonso is struggling to stay ahead of the cars behind as his DRS system is stuck in the open position, costing him quite a bit of downforce. On lap 7 Alonso is called in for new tyres and fortunately for Ferrari a very rapid fix. The next lap, Alonso opens his DRS flap to pass a Marussia after which it again fails to close. It appears the airflow that gets underneath the open flap makes the flap turn further upwards, making it impossible for the actuator to close it again. Alonso of course is again called in to allow the engineers to put the flap in its closed position and to fit new tyres. The Spaniard rejoins in 18th place.
On lap 11 many drivers come into the pit for new tyres, among them Vettel, Grosjean and Massa. The puts Di Resta in the lead, just like last year.
At the back of the field, van der Garde attempts a pass on Gutierrez and fails miserably, shattering his nose and front wing in a thousand pieces.
At the end of lap 11, Button passes Rosberg for place 7, with Massa just behind them.
On lap 15 Di Resta pits from the lead and Vettel takes the lead from Raikkonen. The Finn has yet to pit and may be looking to make one stop less. On lap 17 the Lotus driver finally makes his first stop and changes to the hard tyres. He rejoins the track just ahead of Maldonado who has Alonso closing up behind him.
On lap 18 Massa returns to the pits slowly as his right rear tyre has punctured. Massa was running third and he rejoins down in 15th place.
Positions are now VET who is comfortably leading after 20 laps. Behind him is WEB and then a close pack of ROS BUT GRO PER, followed further on by DIR HAM RAI HUL MAL ALO BOT RIC MAS PIC BIA CHI GUT SUT VDG and VER.
On lap 22 another series of pitstops kicks off with Webber, Perez, Button and Rosberg all pitting. All four are rejoining behind Alonso, but Webber is quickly past the Spaniard. Alonso is though close behind Maldonado but because now he cannot use DRS anymore, he us seemingly unable to get past the Williams.
On lap 24 both McLarens, led by Perez get past Rosberg in one move, all through turn 1. They're now jointly closing up to Alonso while the other Ferrari of Massa is 2 seconds behind the trio. Alonso however pits at the end of that lap and rejoins in 15th, again behind Maldonado who stopped one lap earlier.
Another lap later, Vettel also pits from the lead. A pitstop without problems easily keeps him in the lead, rejoining 5 seconds ahead of Grosjean and Di Resta, both of whom have yet to make their second stops. Behind them are Raikkonen who has also still only made a single stop. Webber is 5th, Button 6th after passing Perez, followed by Rosberg in 8th.
One lap later Di Resta passes Grosjean to take second place, triggering a pitstop for the Lotus at the end of that lap.
3 laps later Perez attempts to re-pass Button, but fails in turn 1. In turn 4 the Mexican gets a little bit too close to Button and breaks off a little part of his front wing onto Button's right rear tyre. There seems to be no tyre damage and both cars continue as usual. Button however soon was on the radio, asking his team to calm Pérez down.
Two laps later Pérez again atempts to pass Button and fails once more, allowing Grosjean to pass himself on lap 4. Another lap further down Grosjean gets past Button as well while Raikkonen moves up into second by passing Di Resta.
The Finn pits the next lap, as well as Button.
On lap 37 Massa's right rear tyre lets go and the Brazilian has to return to the pits for another stop. Contrary to his earlier puncture, this time he was already close to the pits so he did not lose that much time.
One lap later Webber pits and rejoins just ahead of Rosberg and Button. Rosberg immediately tried to make the pass through the outside of turn 1, coming out on the inside of turn 2, only to see Webber violently cut off the German's line, nearly forcing him into a spin. Button benefited from that event and managed to get past the Mercedes through turn 4. The incident is immediately announced to be under investigation by the stewards.
On lap 40 Perez and Alonso pit. They rejoin behind Hamilton who pitted earlier and is running in 8th place.
After 42 laps, positions are VET GRO RAI DIR WEB BUT ROS HAM PER ALO.
At the end of that lap, Vettel and Grosjean make their final stops. Vettel rejoins in the lead while Grosjean gets back on track just ahead of Button. One lap later Grosjean passes Webber while Rosberg gains a place on Button. Close up behind them is Hamilton, followed by Pérez with Alonso on his tail.
The next lap Rosberg pits and Hamilton moves up into 6th. The situation for Button gets worse still as another lap later he's passed by Perez and Alonso, with Alonso moving up another spot by taking Pérez the next lap. Button pits the next lap and thereby drops out of the points.
Di Resta meanwhile is alerted that Grosjean is closing in on him rapidly, gaining nearly a second a lap. The gap, with 9 laps to go is about 3.5 seconds.
Hamilton is also putting up a late race challenge to Webber, having chased him down and now looking for an opportunity to move up into 5th place.
In lap 52, Grosjean makes his first attempt count as he moves past Di Resta through turn 1, thanks to DRS. Hamilton has also passed Webber at about the same time. Hamilton however sees Webber pass by again in turn 1 of the next lap. Alonso will certainly be happy to see that as this allows him to move closer to the two, although he's also still very busy with Pérez who has been chasing him ever since making the pass on the McLaren driver.
In turn 4 of lap 54 Pérez passes Alonso again while Hamilton takes on Webber once more but fails to make his move stick. Webber is consistently defending the inside of turn 1, forcing Hamilton to the outside and giving the latter little chance to make a move, even not through turn 4. At the start of the final lap, Webber suddenly forgot to defend the inside and kept his line, allowing Hamilton to get past. A few turns later even Perez passes Webber to drop the Australian to 7th, only just ahead of Alonso on the finish line.
Vettel though wins this race without much fighting on his hands. Raikkonen is second and Grosjean third.
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||57||Winner||2||25|
|2||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||57||+9.1 secs||8||18|
|3||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||57||+19.5 secs||11||15|
|4||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||57||+21.7 secs||5||12|
|5||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||57||+35.2 secs||9||10|
|6||6||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||57||+35.9 secs||12||8|
|7||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||57||+37.2 secs||7||6|
|8||3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||57||+37.5 secs||3||4|
|9||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||57||+41.1 secs||1||2|
|10||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||57||+46.6 secs||10||1|
|11||16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||57||+66.4 secs||17|
|12||11||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||57||+72.9 secs||14|
|13||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||57||+76.7 secs||6|
|14||17||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||57||+81.5 secs||15|
|15||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||57||+86.3 secs||4|
|16||19||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||56||+1 Lap||13|
|17||20||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||56||+1 Lap||18|
|18||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||56||+1 Lap||22|
|19||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||56||+1 Lap||19|
|20||23||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||56||+1 Lap||21|
|21||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||55||+2 Laps||20|
|Ret||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||16||+41 Laps||16|