Sunday, 19 April 2015

Three wins in four race's for Hamilton as Mercedes continue podium run

(Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team)

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Lewis Hamilton made it three wins in four Grand Prix as the reigning world champion took victory in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix. 

The double champion had a near miss however as although he won the race he suffered a brake by wire issue one and a half laps from the end due to overheating brakes and ended the race just 3.380S ahead of Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Speaking following the race Hamilton stated:

I'm really happy with that. ?It doesn't matter who it's against - you always try to beat everyone. But it's great to have a fight with Ferrari as well as Nico. Mercedes has been the best team on the grid for the last year or so but Ferrari are pushing us really hard now. It definitely wasn't an easy win. It was close when I came out of the pits after the first stop and the battle behind me was intense. I had a bit of a slow stop which reduced my gap and when I was braking into T1 I saw them right there in my mirrors! From there I felt like I had it pretty much under control. I had to back off at the end with the traffic and the brakes but luckily for me the effect wasn't as great as for Nico. I have to say a big thanks to everyone back at the factories and here at the track. The car was really nice to drive this weekend and they've done a great job. ? They won't be 100% happy I'm sure as Kimi took points from us today. But it's still a good haul of points and I know we'll work even harder to do better at the next race. That's what motorsport is all about and that's why we go racing - to fight with other teams.

Hamilton’s team mate Nico Rosberg had a mixed race as he was passed by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen into T1 only to retake third place from the Finn a few seconds later. He had a great fight with Sebastian Vettel and was unfortunate to suffer the same brake by wire issue that Hamilton had towards the end of the race.

Kimi Raikkonen showed great pace to close a 9 second gap to Rosberg in the pit-stop phase and took advantage of the faster Option to close the gap to and then overtake Rosberg for second place. Rosberg has been consistently on the podium this season and has picked up two 2nd place and two third place finishes from the opening four races and is currently in second place in the championship 27 points behind Hamilton.

Speaking following the race, Rosberg stated:

I felt very good in the car today and had a really exciting race. I was able to recover from my poor start with some overtaking manoeuvers on the red cars and I also tried to catch Lewis. But he also had good speed today so it was impossible to get by him. At the end it was very disappointing that Kimi got me, but I had no chance to defend my position with a brake-by-wire problem in the last two laps. I just went straight on at Turn One and that allowed him past, which was a shame. Anyway, we will investigate this now and with Lewis' win we still got a strong result for the team once again, so I look forward to the next races with this great car.

Mercedes Executive Director (Business) Toto Wolff commented on the team’s performance saying:

That was not an easy afternoon for us today but we must be happy with P1 and P3 after we had a number of big challenges during the race. First of all, we saw that the changes we made to the car after a tough Friday practice seemed to be the right ones: we were the quickest car on both types of tyre and Nico had the performance to battle past both Ferraris on pure pace. Out front, Lewis drove a very controlled race: he was pushing hard but able to pull out the gaps he needed at every point to take the win. A third win in four races and a super job. And tonight, we saw Nico at this best: this showed any doubter what a fantastic, aggressive driver he is. He did everything right today but it was clear that it would be a big fight in the final laps, after Kimi ran a long and competitive middle stint on the Prime tyre. Then just as we were getting to the decisive moment, he suffered a brake-by-wire failure into Turn One on lap 56. That meant he was basically a passenger as he ran wide and Kimi was able to sneak past. Without that, I think he was driving so well that he would have kept the Ferrari behind – but he had no weapons to defend. Overall, that is our eighth podium from the first four races and a super job from the team. We have three weeks to the next race and we will get our heads down, use them wisely and come to Barcelona in even stronger shape.

Following their fourth double podium finish of the season the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team head to the Spanish Grand Prix, the opening race of the European leg of the season in three weeks at the top of the Constructors championship on 159 points, 52 ahead of Scuderia Ferrari who are in second place.

Speaking following the race Mercedes Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe stated:

A great result but a disappointing one at the same time, as the one-two was within our grasp. Lewis had a fantastic race – pushing at all times and leaving nothing on the table. On Nico’s side, he drove superbly with several great manoeuvers on the Ferraris. P3 doesn’t reflect how well he drove today but unfortunately, at the end, the traffic didn’t fall well for him and then there was a problem with the brake-by-wire system which sent him deep into Turn One. It had been a concern for a while in the race and it just didn’t quite hold off until the flag. It was a shame for Nico and for the team and, of course, we’ll be looking at the reasons behind it. Overall, though, a double podium is never an easy thing to achieve, so a good day although not a perfect one.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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