Lewis Hamilton scores second Sakhir Win amid drama
Lewis Hamilton sped from pole without any incident but was fortunate to win the race as Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari was only 3.3 seconds behind him with faster soft tyres and Hamilton was facing problems with his brake. Nico Rosberg of Mercedes came third and was followed by Valtteri Bottas of Williams in fourth and Sebastian Vettel of Ferarri in fifth.
Ferrari made an interesting call to put Raikkonen on medium tyres after the first stint whereas Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari chose to shod soft tyres again during the first pit stop. So this leading trio had medium tyres at the end and Raikkonen had the faster soft tyres in the last stint. Sebastian Vettel unfortunately ran wide in lap 35 and had to change the nose of his car. This pushed him down the order.
It was not all happy speeding away from pole for Hamilton. The Mercedes team did a tardy pit stop and this resulted in Lewis Hamilton just emerging ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg’s car and the distance separating the two would not be more than even a feet. At that time Rosberg was in battle with Sebastian Vettel.
Fortunately there were not incidents and Lewis Hamilton could resume his race lead and then soon create a gap between him and others. However, on the penultimate lap both the Mercedes cars faced brake problems. So Kimi Raikkonen could overtake Nico Rosberg and finish second. He was barely 3.3 seconds behind Hamilton and if there was perhaps even one more lap to go then Kimi would have overtaken Lewis Hamilton. So Mercedes needs to remain on their toes, else suddenly Ferrari can just snatch away wins like they did in Malaysia.
There are some people who felt that Mercedes purposefully slowed their cars down during the second stint, so that the gap between Mercedes and others doesn’t appear very big. There have been calls from other teams, especially by Red Bull to bring in a regulation and take away the advantage of Mercedes. In the strictest sense, F1 is not a sport as the drivers within a team can only race each other if they are allowed to by their teams. Now the call to penalise the leading team because others are not competitive is clearly against free competition. However, F1 is also not an equal opportunity sport for all teams. The top teams negotiate with CVC the rights holder and Bernie Ecclestone and get a major portion of the revenues. The lower ranked teams get less. Add to that the money power of the top teams like Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and one can easily know that the independent teams find it very difficult to spend money and compete. Red Bull had dominated F1 for four consecutive years and for the first time last year they lost the title to Mercedes. And since this year they are not in the pace, immediately they are calling to change the rules and throttle Mercedes. Such is the politics in F1. If this results in fans moving away from the sport, then it won’t come as a surprise.
Vettel’s former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull finished sixth. This is a better than expected result for the Red Bull team especially since they finished higher then their sister team Toro Rosso which has way less resources than Red Bull. Both the Toro Rosso’s didn’t finish. However, Ricciardo’s Renault engine died while he crossed the finish line and won’t be usable later. Romain Grosjean of Lotus is having a much better luck than last year and he finished in seventh and was followed by Sergio Perez’s Force India.
Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull came in ninth with two points. Felipe Massa of Williams was 10th. Massa had to start from the pitlane as his car stalled. He however could muscle his way through and atleast salvage one point.
The drivers from 8th onwards were lapped.
It was another bad day for McLaren team as Jenson Button couldn’t even drive the race as there was an electrical problem with his engine recovery system. Fortunately the other car driven by Alonso could run the full race distance and finished in 11th. However, they are still slow and need much more development to be competitive.
Rookie Felipe Nasr of Sauber came in 12th followed by Nico Hulkenberg of Force India. Marcus Ericsson of Sauber was 14th and was followed by Pastor Maldonado of Lotus in 15th.
Will Stevens of Manor racing came in 16th and was lapped twice. His team-mate Roberto Merhi was three laps down.
Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari had the distinction of scoring the fastest lap of the race with a 1m 36.311s in the lap 42 denying Lewis Hamilton having the distinction of Pole, win and fastest lap.