Bahrain F1 Grand Prix 2014 Results: Winner, Final Standings and Reaction
Bahrain had already seen just how dominant the Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had been in the qualifying sessions, and another front-row lockout gave both the best possible start to proceedings.
Straight from the off, the power of the Mercedes engine was clear as the race settled into a familiar pattern over the first few laps.
Adrian Sutil, who had already been given a five-place grid penalty after the FIA deemed the Sauber driver to have held up Lotus’ Romain Grosjean in an unsafe manner during qualifying, was also part of an incident being investigated after a coming-together with Jules Bianchi on Lap 14.
Although he crawled on for a couple more laps, Sutil eventually retired early.
As the battle began to heat up, there was little to separate Rosberg and Hamilton, and they were neck and neck just before pitting, first the German pinching a lead only to have it taken back again by an eager Hamilton.
The battle for third place in the mid part of the race was something to behold as Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez all found themselves locked together and looking for that glimmer.
Shared by Sky Sports F1 on Twitter, a stunning crash on the 41st lap saw Esteban Gutierrez flipped over by Pastor Maldonado as the latter came out of the pits a little too quickly.
Sauber F1 Team on Twitter shared a statement regarding Gutierrez's condition: "According to first checks in the medical center, [Esteban] is ok. Precautionary examinations will follow in the local hospital."
As the latter part of the race approached, some great battles began to emerge as team orders appeared to have been abandoned.
Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were going hell for leather in the battle for fourth, whilst at the head of the pack, Rosberg broke just too late on Lap 53 as he took Hamilton on the inside, only for the Englishman to immediately move back in front again in a fine manoeuvre.
It was a lead he kept despite the constant pressure right until the end from Rosberg to take his second Grand Prix of the season.
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Full results per Formula1.com:
Updated Driver Standings
Here's the drivers' standings after the third race of the 2014 season, per Formula1.com:
|3||Nico Hulkenberg||German||Force India-Mercedes||28|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||German||Red Bull Racing-Renault||23|
|9||Sergio Perez||Mexican||Force India-Mercedes||16|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Australian||Red Bull Racing-Renault||12|
Updated Team Standings
Here's how the constructors' championship looks after the third race of the 2014 season, per Formula1.com:
Brian Johnson of AC/DC compared the post-race podium speeches. Speaking to winner Hamilton first, courtesy of the Sky Sports 2 (UK) broadcast, he asked if the Englishman had enjoyed a race he thought was one of the finest for years.
I'm very grateful for the team to get us up here. [..] Yeah it was exciting, Nico drove fantastically. I built a gap that was ok, but I was on a real knife edge.
Nico Rosberg gave a quite definite response when asked for his take on proceedings:
I strongly dislike coming second to Lewis, it's really not something I enjoy doing. [...] I hope we were able to give you all a great race. [...] I'll be back net race to take the win
Third-placed Sergio Perez was ecstatic with another podium finish:
It's been a while since my last podium. It's very special for me. [..] The strategy was very close for us [..] we just managed to keep going, but one more lap.
Winners in Bahrain
Mercedes, with another one-two finish, continue to dominate the sport this season.
Their winning margin of 22.9 seconds over third-placed Sergio Perez of Force India evidences just how hard it will be for anyone to catch them during this Formula One season.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was a loser last time out, but very definitely a winner in Bahrain.
Third place in qualifying after an electric practice session, the Red Bull driver only found himself 0.866 seconds behind second placed Hamilton. However, a 10th-place penalty for an unsafe release last weekend in Malaysia, per BBC Sport, saw Ricciardo's challenge over before it had begun.
A stunning drive, outlining the Australian's skills throughout, saw him almost make the podium, finishing a hugely creditable fourth.
Losers in Bahrain
Esteban Gutierrez of Sauber-Ferrari can feel very hard done by in this race.
Lap 41 saw the end of his Grand Prix after he was dramatically flipped over by Pastor Maldonado.
The latter came out of the pit lane just a little too fast and hit the Sauber side. Gutierrez had done little wrong up until that point but thankfully managed to get up and walk away.
Sebastian Vettel's struggles continue. Despite a reasonable drive from his point of view, his car is so far off the pace of the Mercedes that you can't see how the German is going to force his way back into this Championship.
He could clearly be heard on the team radio suggesting he was "really, really struggling" on the straights.