F1 2016: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton after botched start in Bahrain
Reigning world champion trails in third to see his Mercedes team-mate take his fifth Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg claimed his fifth consecutive Grand Prix win in Bahrain yesterday, as his Mercedes team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, fluffed the start for the second race in a row and had to settle for third place.
The reigning world champion started in pole position, just as he had in Australia, but could not hold onto his advantage after colliding with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner.
"The world champion had reached into the dressing-up box to arrive for the Bahrain Grand Prix clothed in the exotic white Arab dress of his hosts but crept away from the Sakhir circuit in the desert like a nomad in search of refuge," says Kevin Eason of The Times. "Twice now in this fledgling season, Hamilton has been the fastest man in F1 and twice he has been beaten by Nico Rosberg."
Hamilton has certainly been milking his celebrity in recent months, but it appears he has yet to master the new single-clutch starts introduced by F1 this year. "If you plan to rob a bank imminently you should look beyond Lewis as your getaway man," writes Paul Weaver of The Guardian.
For Rosberg, it was a routine victory and his fifth in a row since Hamilton clinched the 2015 title in Texas.
"Rosberg was never challenged, strolling ahead into the distance, but the German did not put a foot wrong," writes Daniel Johnson in the Daily Telegraph. "He did all he had to do, no more, no less. Although his 16th victory does bring up one unwelcome statistic: he is now tied with Sir Stirling Moss as the most successful driver never to win the world championship."
His easy victory was helped in part by the travails of Sebastian Vettel, who should have been third on the grid but did not even start the race after his engine failed on the formation lap. Jenson Button did not last much longer before his McLaren died.
In his absence, rookie team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, filling in for the injured Fernando Alonso, claimed tenth place while US outfit Haas continued their excellent start to life in Formula 1 with a fifth-place finish for Romain Grosjean.