Hamilton Holds Off Rosberg To Win Fascinating “Battle of the taxi drivers”
Mercedes
Posted By:   |  06 Apr 2014   |  6:50 pm GMT  |  953 comments

If Formula 1 in 2014 is a battle of the taxi drivers, as Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo called it this morning, then it could catch on.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg gave an exemplary display of close racing today to have a race-long battle in the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Hamilton claiming victory at the Sakhir circuit following an enthralling race, in which Sergio Perez completed the podium. He now has two victories to Rosberg’s one, but the German still leads the world championship.

It is the 24th victory of Hamilton’s career, equalling the tally of Juan Manuel Fangio, and gives Mercedes their second one-two in succession.

“It’s a long time since I had a race like that,” said Hamilton. “My weekend started off well but I didn’t really have great pace for qualifying and the race. I knew that I needed a good start and to go into the first corner in the lead was crucial to my race this evening.

“From there, it was such a battle. Nico drove fantastically well and, in all honesty, he had the pace on me today but I managed to hold on.”

Bahrain under lights produced a fascinating race, not just between the Mercedes drivers, but among team mates at Williams and Force India, and between Red Bulls and Ferraris too. There were DRS overtakes but many non-DRS overtakes too in a thrilling 57 laps.

The battles throughout the field culminated in a ten-lap sprint to the finish following a late Safety Car period following a spectacular roll for Esteban Gutierrez.

With Hamilton snatching the lead from Rosberg at the start line, the Briton established a one second lead as the pair disappeared from the following cars. As the first phase of pit stops approached Rosberg decided to attack and on laps 18 and 19 the pair staged a furious fight, with Hamilton on the limit to retain his lead.

A late braking manoeuvre in to turn one saw Rosberg momentarily take first place, only for his team-mate to switch back on the inside and regain the lead.

A lap later and Rosberg attempted the same move, holding the inside line as both cars locked up in the heavy braking zone. The German was more successful this time around, holding the lead on the run up to turn four as Hamilton switched sides behind.

The two raced wheel to wheel through the downhill chicane complex with Hamilton once again taking back the lead of the race, before pitting at the end of the lap for a second set of soft tyres with Rosberg staying out a further two laps before a switch to the medium compound tyre.

Mercedes were able to complete the race on two stops, with each driver opting for a different strategy. Rosberg went for the medium tyre in order to have a crack at Hamilton at the end on the faster soft tyre at a time when Hamilton would be on the medium. Then luck swing dramatically Rosberg’s way with the Safety Car, which cut Hamilton’s 10 second lead and seemed to turn the race in Rosberg’s favour as the two cars pitted line astern, Hamilton for mediums and Rosberg for softs.

At the restart, Rosberg attacked, knowing that he had to take advantage of the soft tyre’s 6/10ths of a second performance advantage straight away. Twice he made his way up the inside in to Schumacher corner, Turn One, only for Hamilton to once again switch back and hold position.

It was a remarkable display by Hamilton, who managed to hold off his team mate, despite having clearly the slower tyre.

After chasing each other around, Rosberg’s soft tyres began to overheat and he dropped back and followed his team-mate home to increase Mercedes’ lead in the Constructors’ Championship, with Force India on 44 points the closest to Mercedes’ 111.

Behind, the battle for third swung in numerous directions as Valterri Bottas lost the initiative at the start. Felipe Massa held the final podium spot in the opening phase of the race due to a brilliant start from seventh to third by the first corner.

He opted to pit two laps later than team-mate Valtteri Bottas, the Finn taking third place through use of the under-cut as the pair sat ahead of the Force India duo.

With two-stopping Perez and Nico Hulkenberg showing stronger pace as the race wore on, they were able to hold third and fourth position prior to the Safety Car, which could have wrecked their race when it came about as Pastor Maldonado exited the pits, tagging the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez in the exit of turn one and flipping the Mexican in to a barrel roll.

At the restart, the closely bunched field gave Red Bull drivers on the faster soft the chance to move up after a quiet race at the tail end of the points positions.

Sebastian Vettel led his young team-mate, before the Australian made use of the DRS-zone to move past the world champion in to turn one.

We were in unfamiliar territory with Red Bull in this race; first the team instructed Vettel to let his team mate through in the first stint as he was on the faster tyre at the time, then in the final stint Ricciardo showed himself as the faster of the two as he passed the world champion and set about chasing the Force india duo, taking fourth from Hulkenberg before quickly hunting down Perez, eventually ending the race less than a second behind and taking his first points for Red Bull with a good drive from thirteenth place on the grid.

It was his first points finish of 2014 and nothing less than he deserved after a sensational start to his Red Bull career.

Vettel was unable to take fifth place from Hulkenberg, the two countrymen completing the top six.

After running third and fourth earlier in the race, the Williams pair eventually came home in seventh and eighth with Massa getting the better of Bottas.
They headed the Ferrari pair of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, who completed the top ten.

Hamilton has the trophy tonight and Rosberg is gutted to have lost to his old friend, especially after the safety car seemed to have given him an open goal.

But, if it’s not too much of a cliché, Formula 1 was the winner in this race. Against a backdrop of carping and criticism about it being “Formula Boredom” it was one of the most exciting races for a generation.

And with Rosberg and Hamilton in this kind of mood and no team orders from Mercedes, there is much to look forward to in the coming races.

Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Race, 57 Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h38m42.743
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1.085s
3. Sergio Perez Force India +24.067s
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +24.489s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India +28.654s
6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +29.879s
7. Felipe Massa Williams +31.200s
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams +31.800s
9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +32.500s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +33.400s
11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +41.300s
12. Romain Grosjean Lotus +43.100s
13. Max Chilton Marussia +59.900s
14. Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1m02.800s
15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham +1m27.900s
16. Jules Bianchi Marussia +1 lap
17. Jenson Button McLaren +2 laps

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1

Slightly off topic, but… I read that Denis Jenkinson and Alan Henry told Senna that they considered a great Grand Prix driver to be one who wins 10% of all his races. You don’t have to win one of your first ten, but eventually that has to be the ratio, and Senna agreed that was a good system. Sunday was the 900th F1 Grand Prix. So, Michael Schumacher has won more than 10% – of all the Grand Prix in the 65 year history of the category.

2

thanks to ros brawn, nigel stepney, rory byrne and rubens barrichello.

3

Good point!

4

coulthard said, ‘how is hamilton managing to keep rosberg behind?’ white brundle simply said, in an uninspired voice, ‘brilliant’ driving.

i wonder what murray walker thinks of this race. has he seen one as good? am sure he’d be in a good position to refer us to good examples to look at on youtube.

that was an optical orgasm indusing race!

5

When all said and done the worrying thing for Hamilton is that Rosberg was faster than him. Yes he won the battle but will he win the war??

Rosberg is easily the quickest driver he has gone up against since Alonso, be interesting to see if he’s quicker in China.

6

I can’t help but feel that this should be more worrying for Rosberg than Hamilton. On a weekend where he was more comfortable in the car when it counted, he was only able to win the battle for pole but not when it was most important on Sunday.

Rosberg won’t be faster on every weekend and at Bahrain, Hamilton showed he has the fight in him to make up for slight deficits in pace.

7

Kimi and Alonso. Because they did not just stop the car and walk away. I guess they wanted to.

8
Stuart Harrison

Wow, so many comments!

For me, it was fascinating to see such close racing without tyre degradation getting in the way. If you’d been 0.3 seconds behind your team-mate for more than a few laps last year, your tyres would have given up. This year it seems not to be the case and the racing has improved dramatically as a result.

Definitely one of the best races for a very long time. “Bore-rain” no more.

9

Too right, aerodynamics have been the ballgame for too long now; drivers can finally show what they’re capable of in cars that require great throttle control.

10

What a fantastic race! In my mind, there was only one thing that went horribly wrong;

Why were the world feed cameras so fixated on the midfield battles?? Yes, of course there were good battles up and down the field, but when you have positions 1 and 2 equally as thrilling I would have liked to have seen more of it… a lot more! They would only switch to Nico and Lewis after a pass attempt was nearly finished. Pure travesty!

Please F1, show the leaders more often!

11

“Please F1, show the leaders more often”

In this case, yes, but for years when Vettel was out in front all on his lonesome we were saying show us what’s happening down the field, so maybe it sank in.

12

Random 79, you said it right there: “Vettel was out front all on his lonesome…” THAT was why there was no point ‘showing the leaders’. There was only a ‘leader’. In Bahrain, the TV cameras had a RACE – as opposed to a ‘drive’ – on their hands and we could certainly have done with more camera time.

It was initially edge-of-my-seat and then eventually standing-on-my-toes-directly-in-front-of-my-tv exciting!

My appreciation of Rosberg went up by many degrees as he came out of the car and playfully ‘charged’ Hamilton.

Bahrain 2014 was a win for F1, for Mercedes and for Hamilton. Honorable mention, Rosberg.

13

This race certainly has thrown the whole ‘Lewis-gangsta rappa’, ‘too focused on dog and celebrity’ out of the window. It has also discarded the ‘Nico-thinker’ away too. I wonder what angle the media will attack Lewis from now? They’ve had 5 years of used material, they must be running out of ideas now. haha

14

does it require intellegence to keep a teammate on a faster set of tyres behind over a period of 10 laps on a circuit with so many places to overtake?

can anyone explain to me how hamilton did that?

16

+1

Great Post…..

17

They’ll find something, you can bet on it.

“Why is he not smiling” “He looks off” “Prima donna” “Not focused” …..

18

Well done lewis

Consummate drive by lewis, he was under the cosh for the last 10 laps or so. Rosberg heaped the pressure on him. Yet lewis denied rosberg any clear space to get him by.

Rosberg maturity has really amazed me, rosberg was full of smiles and gave lewis pat on the back despite the defeat in bahrain GP

However Rosberg needs to be very mindful of the chances. Rosberg should have won in bahrain. Late SC and softer tyres in last stint of the race transmitted some advantage in favour of rosberg over lewis, yet the chance has sliped through his hands. Rosberg need to remain more clinical and needs take his chances. Otherwise lewis will easy bag the WDC

Kudos to mercedes as well who let the pilots to race for the victory on track, rather than imposing any coded messages. Lewis and Nico can continue to battle out in this fashion to fight for WDC. This is will be too tight to call. Lewis is still the favourite over Nico. Yet nico will have his say for sure in the WDC battle

19

… such a thriller.. NO comments … to be continued …

20

Great race indeed. Brilliant performance from both Mercedes drivers. By rights Rosberg should have won at the end but Hamilton showed perfect defensive driving; I have little doubt that many other drivers would not have been able to keep 1st place.

It’s clear though that this Mercedes is more dominant than the best Red Bull years of 2011 and 2014. They were up to 2s/lap faster at one point I think! It’s just a good job they have two closely matched drivers who are allowed to race. Those who think Hamilton will have an easy run to the title need to think again, even though I think he should win out in the end.

And a great battle behind, which would have still been good even without the SC (what was Maldonado thinking?!).

It was great the race was able to fly in the race of the talk from the big heads who’s teams are struggling. What is it with this sport always trying to pull itself apart?! The message should be celebrating the achievements of the sport and the incredible brains of those involved to design such complex technology and how well they’ve done when everyone thought most would be unreliable at the beginning of the season. And also to get across the benefits other industries will eventually feel through the lessons learned in meeting the challenge.

It’s not about F1 being green per se (no one can honestly believe that) but about using resources cleverly to gain the competitive advantage. Efficiency is always a good a thing and regarding fuel conservation: those that have a good engine and package that’s efficient don’t have to worry about it so much. If you don’t have a lean engine, the job is to make it better rather than cry and try to dumb the technology down because it’s too difficult for them. Mercedes has proved the challenge can be met! They are ahead mainly because they’ve worked hard to develop the best energy recovery system. It would be easy to say, here have double the fuel but then where’s the challenge. But I guess in terms of fan interest it depends on whether you’re interested in the technological challenge or not. But that challenge a core element of F1 in my opinion.

Ferrari wanted engines to be a dominant performance factor (when before they complained of “It’s all aero, aero!” when their wind tunnel was weak). Now they’ve got their wish but they haven’t done the best job so now they’re complaining again. Same with Red Bull and Renault. Sour grapes. They need to acknowledge the work Mercedes has done and knuckle down and focus on their issues rather than trying to twist things their way through politics and bad mouthing the sport. It’s just how Red Bull said it’s up to the other teams to catch us up with aero and exhaust blowing development.

It’s mental how badly Formula 1 can PR itself. It’s too negative too often. I guess that’s what happen when money dominates…

Anyway, looking forward to the rest of the season even if it could be a 1988 dominance. Will Mercedes win every race? I don’t think so, and this was a strong Mercedes track; one that was rear limited too, whereas China will be front limited so teams such as Williams may fair better there…

21

Congratulations to Mercedes, HAM and ROS, a great display of hard racing and sportsmanship.

To all at Red bull, maybe you now understand why you get booed….

RIC, fantastic effort 😀

22

tealeaf’s a bit quiet, I’m betting a bit worried about him!

23

I got a feeling that there was an order. Arguments below.

1. Hamilton is Merc’s advertisement cow and they [Merc] would put all bets on him [Ham] for better marketing buzz.

2. Hamilton is paid significantly more than Rossberg, hence Merc wants better return of those money.

3. Bernie favored Hamilton for 2014 like he [Bernie] favored Vettel before. There is some scenario behind the F1 show. F1 is more show & rumors than sport.

4. Rossberg had a chance to win psychologically. He was on better tyres than Hamilton and could attack and overtake. Apparently he gave up after Lowe’s call. So Rossberg lost the most important race – psychological. After this he is transforming to Massa. From now he is broken. Get ready for “Nico, everybody is faster than you”.

24

Bernie did not favour Lewis for 2014, he favoured Nico. There are plenty of articles on this. However, yes I think Nico will have to play mind games with Lewis. I doubt Lewis will take the bait though. After all he has been through many battles of mentality throughout his career.

25

To anyone still moaning about F1 after this race, get lost. Seriously that race left me buzzing for ages. I even watched the highlights a couple of times.

I also loved the team principle meeting. I normally find them a bit boring yet this week, it was great.

26

Just wondering, If Vettel is in Merc now, who will catch him by the dominance Merc has?

He will lap the whole feild twice..

27

Rubbish. If Vettel was in the Mercedes a teammate would keep him honest maybe even him.

Take your pick from Alonso,Rosberg,Di Resta,Hulkenburg,Hamilton,Kubica, or Raikkonen

And my money would be on ANY of those drivers over Vettel in the same car.

28

Just wondering if Ricciardo was in the Mercedes, who would catch him?

He would lap the field three times…..

29

Glad that Lewis admits that Nico had a faster setup after quali.

30
Mike from Colombia

A consolotation prize for anti-Hamilton “fans”.

31

And unfortunately there’s a lot of those….. 😀

32

Amazing race. Best since Button’s win in Canada. Just what the sport needed.

The only downer of there being so much wheel to wheel racing was hearing all the drivers whining over the radio. It reminded me of footballers appealing to the referee to get other players booked. It seems like they’re so insulated from real racing in F1 that when it happens they think it’s against the rules. Just grow a pair and race I say.

Huge respect to Mercedes for letting their drivers race to the flag. That was a classic battle that we’d have missed out on if Lowe had told them to hold position. I hope this approach continues for the whole season. I don’t mind if Merc do win every race if we see a fight like that each time.

My last comment is that I hope Mercedes at some point this season recognise the contribution made by Ross Brawn to this success. It was very much him who put in place all that was needed to achieve what they are likely to achieve this year. It feels somewhat unfair that he was pretty much forced out before being able to enjoy the fruits of his hard work. I don’t think it will happen but I’d love Merc to invite him to a race and (assuming they win) allow him to collect the constructors trophy.

33

What a race? Great way to silence the nay sayers! Great racing throughout the field. I can’t remember being so excited during a race!

Well done F1!

34

I have said this before and now again: It is fights that we want, not simply overtake for christ’s sake!

People kept saying “we want more overtake”, when they actually meant they want fights. An overtake is simply what happens when a faster car overtakes a slower car. Happens all the time even when cars lap backmarkers.

Fights is what we saw with HAM and ROS, constant fighting for places.

So improve the race so that drivers can fight, not merely overtaking!

35

Amen to that bro. I absolutely *hate* the way races are hyped with “…this track should produce a lot of overtaking”.

If seeing cars pass each other without a fight is thrilling for you, go for a picnic along the banks of the M25 and keep your eyes on the fast lane – providing there’s not a traffic jam you’ll get more than your fill!

36
kenneth chapman

i really did expect the ‘new’ rosberg to do a bit better yesterday. i have always thought that he was an easy beat and didn’t have the ‘mongrel’ element needed to make it to the very top.

as an armchair observer it seemed to me that he was not learning about where he could/couldn’t get the pass done. he repeated the same move on more than one occasion and on top of that hamilton was quite prepared to muscle him off the track. how hamilton escaped the stewards i’m not sure but he did get away with it.

i’m a firm believer that if you want to get a desired result you don’t continue the same move expecting something different to occur.

as a further foot note, the sheer size of the net gain mercedes have at the moment, something to the order of 2.5 secs per lap at bahrein, is daunting to say the least. how any of the others hope to whittle that down in any substantial manner is akin to urinating into a force five gale!

nevertheles an entertaining race especially the last ten laps.the FIA should discard the fuel flow meters, give them another 10kg and lets see where we go from there.

37

Ferrari were woefully slow on the straights. Their engine (or power unit) is clearly lacking punch.

Can they make changes to improve it during the season following homologation, or are they now locked in to that spec for the entire season? I recall reading no further changes, which if true, doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season, no matter how good their other updates are.

38

At time of reading, 574 comments. For me that confirms that most agree it was a cracking race (even if Gutierrez hadn’t been Maldonadoed).

The inter-team battles have been fascinating thus far. Hoping for more of the same.

Even with Merc reaping the reward of their superior car,I’ll not be missing 1 minute of this 2014 season.

39

Great race and Hamilton did really well to fight off the bad luck of the safety car. He’s bested teammates such as Alonso before, no one would have got past him yesterday.

Also good to see Ricciardo prove that Vettel is not a top driver, by beating him easily.

40
Kimi is Finish

What a race….reminded me of many races in the seasons past….like 2013 before the tyre change, 2012, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006….Yeah it was good but rosberg made it good by not getting it done on the 8 or 9 chances he had to win it.

41

KRB and C63, I just re-read my comments, and I’m not really sure how you view them as anything but factual. Basically I say that MB have a spaceship with warp drive, a grid that spent a billion and I’m not sure value for dollar is there, that Lewis was hardly going to lose this after first lap and SC only made that finish possible. Not sure any of that is off much really.

Seriously, if FIA approached this other way around I think we may get more. Example, “hey, we’re gonna spend a billion on a new formula. Proposals for ideas please to get most value for your dollar.” Would be interesting. To hear 2015 cap rule is gone and Todt sounding disappointed after making the grid spend this for what we have is funny a bit.

42

Bit Ironic saying MB spending Billions when Red Bull been doing just that for 7 years not 3 AND own 2 teams in F1. Pot + Kettle= Black thanks Sebee

43

Billion is the three engine makers and all teams on this new formula we have.

44

a source for the ‘billion’ please

45

Well, any regulation change was going to mean more money for the teams, as the manufacturers would look to recoup their R&D costs.

F1 had to change … Renault wanted the turbo’s or threatened to leave, and the same with Mercedes. So instead of the usual Ferrari threat to leave F1, it would’ve been F1 leaving, with a Ferrari spec-series left behind.

The cost is big, for sure, but it is more front-loaded. Seeing as these reg’s are set to run to 2020, that’s 7 years to average the costs over. Plus the new reg’s are solely responsible for Honda bringing their hefty wallet back into the game. Maybe others will follow suit, we can only hope.

Not sure the cap rule is gone. Looks like negotiating gambits to me. Until the final deadline passes, there’s still hope.

46

“I’m not really sure how you view [my comments] as anything but factual”

“MB have a spaceship with warp drive”

47

You people don’t have warp drive yet?

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