Nico Rosberg has stolen a march on Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the early stages of the 2016 F1 World Championship after the German made it two wins out of two races in Bahrain at the weekend.
In almost a repeat of the season-opening race in Australia, it was Hamilton who qualified on pole but Robserg who took victory as the defending champion made a poor start, which included an early collision. and struggled to recover, allowing his team-mate to cruise to a dominant victory.
Speaking after his fifth straight Grand Prix win, Rosberg said: “I would like to thank the team for giving me a great car to win this race.
“I made a good start and was able to control the pace at the head of the field. I knew that after Lewis had encountered some troubles I should be able to maintain the pace at the front, but I had to keep my eye on Kimi (Raikkonen) who I knew was quite close behind.”
Rosberg took victory by 10 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen with Hamilton well adrift in third position.
The Briton commented: “This was another difficult week for me, but I am happy to have finished third despite having issues. This again is one of those races that you can be thankful of scoring a good result, even when things have not gone as well as hoped.”
Having won the three final races of the 2015 season, Rosberg has now become only the eighth man in F1 history to win five successive races.
He added: “A Grand Prix victory is very special, and every race win means so much. I’m enjoying my driving just now, and I’m lucky to be part of the amazing Mercedes family.”
Max Verstappen finished sixth for the part Bicester-based Toro Rosso team.
The young Dutch racer, who’s finished in the points in both races so far this year, said: “I had a good race and enjoyed racing under the floodlights here in Bahrain.
“As in Australia, the Ferrari power of my Toro Rosso car felt good and I’m looking ahead to the next race.”
Carlos Sainz Jr., driving the second Toro Rosso was a retirement from the race after showing strongly during the opening stages.
Bahrain proved to be a difficult weekend for Silverstone-based Sahara Force India as Nico Hulkenberg finished 15th with Sergio Perez a place further back.
Hulkenberg said: “This was not a good weekend for us. We have to be positive, and after good free practice performances look ahead to the next race in China.”
Alfonso Celis drove one of the Force India cars during Friday’s Free Practice session.
The Mexican will drive for the team a number of times this year, having performed well during pre-season testing in Spain in March.
The F1 circuit now moves to China next week.