Mercedes' Rosberg took the flag 10 seconds clear of Ferrari's
Kimi Raikkonen after an incident-filled Sakhir race, making it his
fifth win on the trot with a dominant victory.
Lewis Hamilton dropped to ninth on the opening lap after Turn 1 contact with Valtteri Bottas, but in a damaged car Lewis fought his way back to secure a final podium place. The second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel failed to start after a suspected engine failure on the formation lap.
As Hamilton and Raikkonen made poor starts, Rosberg sped into the lead. Raikkonen kept the pressure up as they both ran the supersoft Pirelli tyres on which they had qualified before switching to softs.
Hamilton, with time to make up after being half spun in the first corner by an over-enthusiastic Bottas, switched to mediums on his first stop, as he embarked on yet another 2016 damage-limitation race.
Raikkonen got close to Rosberg at times, but never close enough. They each switched back to supersofts in their second stops, as did Hamilton, but it was clear the race laid between Rosberg and Raikkonen.
Hamilton, who had been breathtaking on the mediums as he matched the leaders, took softs for his final stint and for a while closed in, but the first-lap damage to his car was too limiting and he finished a distant third.
Rosberg lead the world championship with 50 points to his team mate’s 33, with fourth-placed Daniel Ricciardo, now third overall for Red Bull, on 24 after another fast and fighting race.
With an open tyre choice, Romain Grosjean and Haas again proved stars, the Frenchman surviving one scare with a long pit stop to take an excellent fifth. As a result, he is ahead of Vettel in the championship, and equal with Raikkonen on 18 points.
In 10th place Stoffel Vandoorne fulfilled all his promise on a day when team mate Jenson Button’s McLaren let him down, to score the final point on his debut for the Woking team after a swift and intelligent performance.
After starting from the pit lane Kevin Magnussen had battles throughout his afternoon on his way to 11th for Renault, leading home Marcus Ericsson who was mighty on mediums for Sauber as he held off one of the race’s other young stars, Pascal Wehrlein who drove the supersoft-shod wheels off his Manor in the closing laps as he hounded the blue and yellow car.
The 2016 qualifying format may still be a contentious issue, but the choice of three tyre compounds really has spiced things up and created a great race with battles throughout the field for the 57 laps.
First Grand Prix - 2004
Number of Laps - 57
Circuit Length - 5.412KM
Race Distance - 308.238KM
Lap Record - 1:31.447by Pedro De La Rosa (2005)
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