TWO WINS IN A ROW: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg celebrates winning the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit. Image: AFP / Mohammed Al-Shaikh
Sakhir, Bahrain - Nico Rosberg consolidated his lead in the 2016 drivers world championship in emphatic fashion on Sunday when he seized a well-judged victory for Mercedes in a dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix.
Making the most of his team-mate and defending champion Lewis Hamilton's misfortunes, the 30-year-old German grabbed the advantage at the start and then controlled the 57-laps race all the way to the chequered flag.
Second win of 2016
It was his second win this season after Melbourne, his fifth in succession and the 16th of his career, enabling him to double his points tally this season to 50.
Pole-sitter Hamilton, who had a slow start and then another turn one collision, fought back from eighth on the opening lap to finish third, separated from his team-mate by the familiar figure of Kimi Raikkonen.
It was the eighth time the Finn, who finished second for Ferrari, 10.2 seconds adrift of Rosberg, had claimed a podium finish at the Bahrain GP.
Vettel suffered engine failure
Raikkonen was left to fly the flag for Ferrari after his teammate Sebastian Vettel's Bahrain hopes ended in a cloud of smoke as his car's engine packed up on the warm-up lap.
The four-time former world champion was well placed in third on the grid to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes on the front row.
Hamilton, who was 30 seconds behind in third, is now second in the title race with 33 points ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo on 24.
Ricciardo finished fourth for Red Bull, for the second race in succession, ahead of Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who secured a fine fifth for the new American Haas team, and sixth placed Dutch teenager Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso.
Russian Daniil Kvyat finished seventh in the second Red Bull ahead of Felipe Massa of Williams, Valtteri Bottas in the second Williams and Belgian debutant Stoffel Vandoorne who took a point in his first race with McLaren, filling in for Fernando Alonso.
2016 Bahrain Grand Prix result:
1. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes) 1hr 33min 34.696sec,
2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) at 10.282sec,
3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 30.148,
4. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull) 1:02.494,
5. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) 1:18.299,
6. Max Verstappen (NED/Toro Rosso) 1:20.929,
7. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Red Bull) 1 lap,
8. Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams) 1 lap,
9. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams) 1 lap,
10. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren-Honda) 1 lap,
11. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Renault) 1 lap,
12. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber) 1 lap,
13. Pascal Wehrlein (GER/Manor) 1 lap,
14. Felipe Nasr (BRA/Sauber) 1 lap,
15. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Force India) 1 lap,
16. Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India) 1 lap,
17. Rio Haryanto (INA/Manor) 1 lap