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Winners and Losers - Bahrain

20 Apr 2015

Kimi Raikkonen wasn't getting carried away, but second-place in Bahrain ended his podium drought and also marked the first time he has beaten new Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel. He wasn't the only man with something to cheer though: Sergio Perez returned Force India to the points; Felipe Massa and Daniil Kvyat scrapped their way into the top 10; and Romain Grosjean kept up Lotus's strong recent form. On the other hand, this was a race of mixed blessings for McLaren, and one to forget for Toro Rosso...


Lewis Hamilton, P1
Nico Rosberg, P3

Hamilton largely had it his own way at the head of the field, managing his tyres and his lead throughout - and escaping one tricky moment on the 16th lap when he emerged from the pits perilously close to the duelling Rosberg and Vettel. A third win from four races puts him nicely in the championship lead as the paddock heads back to Europe.

With Hamilton assured out front, it was Rosberg who bore the brunt of the Ferrari challenge, having to pass Vettel and Raikkonen several times on track. Though he did so with aplomb, he and Mercedes were always conscious of Raikkonen's late threat as Ferrari used an alternative strategy to the soft-soft-medium plan Rosberg, Hamilton and Vettel had followed. Raikkonen duly closed rapidly, but just as Rosberg prepared to defend his second place his brakes faded and he ended up handing the place over. Third does at least keep him in the game, and ensures Mercedes still have a healthy points lead.


Kimi Raikkonen, P2
Sebastian Vettel, P5

When Rosberg was able to catch and pass both Raikkonen and Vettel within the first nine laps, it seemed that Ferrari's challenge was over. Vettel remained strong, but not strong enough to truly challenge - and it wasn't until they switched Raikkonen to a soft-medium-soft tyre strategy that they got one car back into the game. The Finn was very fast on his mediums even when his three main rivals were on softs, and after leading when the others pitted, he fought back dramatically in his final stint on softs. He was catching Rosberg when the German's brakes faded and handed him second place, but just ran out of time to challenge Hamilton.

Vettel, meanwhile, fought hard but struggled for rhythm or confidence in his SF15-T's rear end. An off-track excursion in Turn 14 when under pressure from Rosberg on the 35th lap obliged him to pit a third time to have the front wing replaced, and thereafter he was unable to mount a serious challenge to Bottas's fourth place.


Valtteri Bottas, P4
Felipe Massa, P10

Williams lost a chance of better points when Massa's FW37 stalled on the grid, consigning the Brazilian to a fight back from a pit-lane start - which wasn't helped when Maldonado hit him early on and caused fairly significant aerodynamic damage. Bottas, however, drove a great race and maximised his points haul by steadfastly refusing to be intimidated by Vettel's presence in his mirrors.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, P6
Daniil Kvyat, P9

Ricciardo had a lonely race in which he couldn't do anything about the Bottas/Vettel fight ahead, but was equally untroubled by Grosjean behind. But he was lucky at the end, given that his Renault engine expired as he exited the final corner of the last lap. Kvyat had a tough race but executed it well to move up from his lowly grid position to score a brace of points with ninth.


Romain Grosjean, P7
Pastor Maldonado, P15

Grosjean was happy to take another seventh place as Lotus's campaign gathers strength. Despite starting out of position and being given a five-second penalty for not lining up properly on the grid, Maldonado drove well and was also in the hunt for points when his anti-stall activated during his second pit call on lap 41. That stalled the engine, dropping him down to an eventual 15th place finish - which was at least the first time he has seen the chequered flag this season.

Force India

Sergio Perez, P8
Nico Hulkenberg, P13

Perez drove a strong and aggressive two-stop race and claimed more valuable points at a circuit where he scored a podium last year. Hulkenberg's chances were doomed when he couldn't conserve his tyres as well, forcing him to make three pit calls.


Felipe Nasr, P12
Marcus Ericsson, P14

Ericsson was well in the hunt for points early on, but a serious delay with his left front wheel during his second pit stop ruined his race. Nasr had a big scrap with Massa and Maldonado, but dropped back with a momentary loss of power mid-race.


Fernando Alonso, P11
Jenson Button, Did not start

McLaren lost Button even before the start. His energy recovery system showed further signs of the electrical trouble that had dogged his car all weekend, and though Honda felt they might just have got it repaired in time they took the decision that the risk of further damage wasn't worth it.

Alonso drove the wheels off his MP4-30, but narrowly missed out on scoring McLaren-Honda's first points since 1992, finishing just 3.9s behind Massa's Williams.


Will Stevens, P16
Roberto Merhi, P17

They weren't quick, but once again the Marussias were at least reliable. Stevens had the measure of Merhi all weekend and led his team mate home as the last two finishers, two laps down.

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz, Retired lap 30
Max Verstappen, Retired lap 35, electrics

Too Rosso had a horrible race. Sainz was penalised five seconds even before the start for failing to go fast enough during the reconnaissance laps, and later retired when he intimated a wheel had worked loose following his second stop. Verstappen didn't last much longer before his STR10, already delayed by a tardy first stop, was claimed by an electrical fault. The result drops Toro Rosso behind Lotus and into seventh in the constructors' championship.