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Sakhir stats - Raikkonen ends 27-race podium drought

19 Apr 2015

A mid-race switch of strategies and a superb late charge lifted Kimi Raikkonen to second place under the Bahrain floodlights, ending the longest podium-free run in the Finn’s F1 career.

Raikkonen had not reached the rostrum since the 2013 Korean Grand Prix which was a full 27 races ago (he competed in 25 of those) when he was still racing for Lotus. Rather fitting then that the Bahrain podium was his 27th for Ferrari (78th overall) and his first since rejoining the Prancing Horse at the beginning of 2014.

Incidentally, Raikkonen already held the record for the most podium finishes in Bahrain, and has now increased his Sakhir tally to seven - though he’s still yet to reach the top step.

The 2007 world champion also notched the race’s fastest lap for the 41st time in his career, moving him level with Alain Prost for a tie of second on the all-time list. 

In front of Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton maintained his fantastic start to the season by registering his third win in four races. The Mercedes ace now has 36 race wins to his name - four fewer than Sebastian Vettel, who came home fifth in Bahrain, and five less than his childhood idol Ayrton Senna.

Having led 49 of the race’s 57 laps, Hamilton has now led more than 2,000 laps in his F1 career - 2,005 to be precise - becoming just the sixth man in history to reach such a milestone. The others, in case you were wondering, are Michael Schumacher (5,111), Senna (2,987), Alain Prost (2,684), Vettel (2,484) and Nigel Mansell (2,089).

The final podium slot in Bahrain went to Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg who started and finished in third position. In fact, the German has the unique honour of being the only driver this season to have finished every Grand Prix in exactly the same position he’s started from.

Further back, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Force India’s Sergio Perez scored season’s best results, finishing in fourth and eighth respectively, as did Fernando Alonso who came home 11th and was only 3.9s away from recording McLaren-Honda’s first points finish since 1992.

The other McLaren of Jenson Button fared less well however, with mechanical gremlins preventing him from even taking the start. That’s the second time in four races that McLaren have failed to have both of their cars take the start. The last occasion before that was 14 years ago, when gearbox issues put paid to Mika Hakkinen’s chances in the 2001 French Grand Prix.  

A final word must go to Pastor Maldonado who reached the chequered flag for the first time this season, albeit down in 15th after a lengthy mid-race pit stop dropped him down the order. With Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean picking up his second consecutive seventh place finish in Bahrain, the Venezuelan will be determined to register his first points of the season next time out - and where better to do it than in Spain, scene of his famous triumph in 2012.