Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sped to his third Formula One victory after just four races so far this season at the spectacular Bahrain Grand Prix.
Held under lights in the evening, the falling track and ambient temperatures provided a close high-speed battle, where mixed tactics led to a variety of tyre strategies.
Two stops were expected for most of the drivers (even though a three-stopper was theoretically faster) due to the problem of passing cars in traffic. But the pace of the medium tyre, which worked extremely well in the falling track temperatures, allowed more drivers to make use of the faster strategy and opened up several options.
The top four finishers all chose a two-stop strategy, with Hamilton opting for a soft-soft-medium tyre combination, while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen made use of a strong middle stint on the medium tyre to claim second place from Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg on the penultimate lap.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli tyres, commented: “It was a very competitive race with plenty of overtaking and good pace from both compounds. There was a big mixture of strategies, featuring both two and three stop options, with a highlight being the alternative two-stop strategy chosen by Kimi Raikkonen, using the medium tyre during the middle stint.
“This opened up the question of which tyre he should use for the final stint, with some people thinking that the medium tyre would be better suited to the falling temperatures. However, the way he drove his final stint, and the fastest lap that he set on the soft compound, fully justifies the decision and contributed to a very exciting finish.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office