F1 2016: Rosberg triumphs in Bahrain GP
Nico Rosberg took his second straight win of the season and his fifth since Austin last year. The German finished 10.2 seconds ahead of Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen and 30.1 seconds ahead of his teammate and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton. For Kimi, it was his fifth second place podium and seventh overall in Bahrain.
In an incident-filled race that threw many surprises, the drama unfolded at the installation lap itself with four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettels Ferrari blowing its engine and failing to make it to the starting grid. That came as a blow to Ferrari, as this was their second consecutive retirement after Kimi at the season opener.
Reigning Champion, and pole-sitter Lewis botched up at the start leading him into a blind-spot where he made contact with Valtteri Bottas, while going into turn one. The incident on being investigated lead to the stewards penalising the latter with a drive-thru penalty.
Out of the two Mercs in front-row, Rosberg managed the perfect start and built on the lead from start to finish. In the closing laps the lead did drop down to 6.5 seconds between Kimi and him, but the Ferrari couldnt catch up after being caught in back marker traffic. However, it is also to be noted that Kimi had a bad start sliding from fourth to seventh due to a clutch problem, else he would have been close to sealing his maiden win of the season.
Red Bull Racings Daniel Ricciardo finished in fourth place for the second consecutive time in two races, which has now propelled him to an interesting third place in the Drivers standings. Ricciardo might have shown consistency, but the surprise package was Haas Romain Grosjean who followed him in fifth place. The Frenchman displayed unprecedented overtaking skill to secure his fifth place finish.
For a new team which is still finding its place in the pecking order, Haas has definitely proved its not in the back-marker lot, or mid-field. Their current performance and pace has propelled them to a place between the front-runners and upper mid-field, making them the dark horses this season. Grosjeans points from the first two races have placed him in fourth place in the drivers standings and the team fifth in the constructors standings.
Max Verstappen finished sixth ahead of parent team Red Bull Racings Daniil Kvyat. The two Wiliams drivers, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas followed in eighth and ninth respectively. The duo were followed by Stoffel Vandoorne who scored his first point in his debut race in F1. Being flown in to replace the injured Fernando Alonso, and given the lack of experience, the GP2 champion displayed the best of his race-craft to round up the top ten finishes of the race.
With two races into the season and 19 more to go, Rosberg leads the drivers standings with 50 points followed by Lewis with 33 points and Ricciardo in third place with a total of 24 points. In fourth place there is a tie between Kimi and Grosjean both having 18 points each. Vettel follows them in fifth place with 15 points, but he trails 35 points behind Rosberg.
The interesting shuffle on he drivers standings is an indicator how close the field is and the unpredictable results the season is capable of throwing up further in the year. The race in Bahrain might not have been interesting at the front but the action-packed sequences in the mid-field were the entertaining elements of the day. The next race weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit in China is scheduled from April 15-17,2016.