Bahrain Grand Prix as it happened

Text and video highlights of the Bahrain Grand Prix, where Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton has won brilliantly.

6 April 2014 Last updated at 14:01 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 19:45: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton makes it two in a row, holding off a determined Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. Mercedes make the most of their speed advantage to stretch their lead in the constructors' standings, while Hamilton and Rosberg blitz away from the chasing pack in the drivers' championship.

    The likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams, Force India and McLaren will catch up. But will they do so in time? They've got 16 races to go. Next stop China. Until next time, it's goodbye from me. Night.

  2. 19:42: 

    If you can't wait until 22:00 BST, why not watch a shortened highlights video right now? We've also got footage of Esteban Gutierrez's spectacular roll after Pastor Maldonado T-boned him. Watch them both on the F1 pages.


    Sauber: Good news! @EstebanGtz has completed all medical checks and everything is fine. He has been released from the hospital.

  4. 19:38: 

    And don't forget that our highlights show is on BBC Two at 22:00 BST. I promise you, it's the perfect way to end the weekend.

  5. 19:33: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's race report. Keep an eye out on the website for all the news and reaction from the Bahrain paddock. It's also worth keeping across the BBC F1 Twitter feed @bbcf1 and checking out our grand prix gallery on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  6. 19:29: 

    We've got 12 days until the next grand prix, which takes place at China's Shanghai International Circuit. First practice starts at 03:00 BST.

  7. 19:27: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    The celebrations continue in the Bahrain paddock, with Lewis Hamilton enjoying a champagne shower. Judging by the advantage they currently hold over the rest of the field, the team better put a bigger order in for the bubbly stuff.

  8. 19:25: 
    Pedro de la Rosa

    Nico Rosberg's fastest lap in Bahrain - 1:37.020 - might be almost six seconds slower than Pedro de la Rosa's race lap record set in 2005 but we think you'll agree it was anything but taxi driving. De la Rosa's record stands at 1.31.447.

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "Sergio Perez told me he thought about giving it all up at times last year. Way to go fella!!!! Must have been that lucky photo."

  10. 19:20: 

    The teams' work in Bahrain is not over yet. They will have two days of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit next week in what is the first of four in-season tests this season.

  11. 19:15: 

    Red Bull's reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel was less pleased with his afternoon's work. "Daniel proved that there was a little bit more to get from the car today," says Vettel. "I couldn't really get to that bit, so I'm not so happy with my day.

    "For some reason we seemed to be really slow on the straights, and not just against the Mercedes. Merc has a stronger package, so there's work ahead of us."

  12. 19:13: 

    "It was an awesome race," says Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo after he moved from 13th on the grid to fourth, less than half a second behind third-placed Sergio Perez. "The car came to me as the race went on and I was happy with how I moved up through the pack, so a good day.

    "It was good fun to race Sebastian, it was hard but fair and we left each other room. That's what we want from each other and we discussed it beforehand, we're racers and that's what we enjoy doing."

  13. 19:09: 
    Esteban Gutierrez

    Pastor Maldonado has been given a five-place grid penalty for the next race in China for causing the crash which sent Esteban Gutierrez into a spectacular roll. The Lotus driver has also been given three penalty points on his super-licence.

  14. 19:05: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Victory in Bahrain is a good omen for Lewis Hamilton. Six of the nine drivers to have won the Middle Eastern race have gone on to win the drivers' championship in the season they saw the chequered flag at Sakhir.

  15. 19:00: 

    Before the race, Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo criticised the new efficiency-based F1 for being like "taxi driving". After that fast and furious race, thanks to the likes of Mercedes, Williams, Force India and Red Bull especially, I think he has been proved well and truly wrong.

  16. 18:55: 
    Esteban Gutierrez and Pastor Maldonado

    We've got a 90-minute highlights show coming up for you at 22:00 BST on BBC Two and believe me, you are not going to want to miss it. It was comfortably one of the most thrilling races - with a real ding-dong for the lead - that I've seen in a very, very long time.

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    David Bell: Wouldn't like to be working for #BBCF1 picking highlights to a time limit for that race.

    Michael Cowlishaw: That was the best Grand Prix I've seen for a long time! And the cars sounded great too!

    Peter March: Best GP for a while. More of the same please. Back to the drawing board for the other teams

    Stuart Lüssi: Great F1 race. Brilliant racing from Hamilton and Rosberg. Good to see some racing from the Red Bulls too.

  18. 18:50: 

    Previous winners in Bahrain: 2013: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull; 2012: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull; 2011: cancelled; 2010: Fernando Alonso, Ferrari; 2009: Jenson Button, Brawn; 2008: Felipe Massa, Ferrari; 2007: Felipe Massa, Ferrari; 2006: Fernando Alonso, Renault; 2005: Fernando Alonso, Renault; 2004: Michael Schumacher, Ferrari.

  19. 18:45: 

    The Bahrain Grand Prix gets the thumbs up from former Red Bull driver Mark Webber. "Was a good old GP that," he tweets.


    McLaren: Our boys push @JensonButton's car in. #BahrainGP

  21. 18:40: 

    Secondly, FIA president Jean Todt says Formula 1 will improve the sound of its new engines, but dismissed demands from Ferrari and Red Bull for rule changes.

    Todt, the head of motorsport's world governing body, said he could "not just listen to all the influential people".

    He added: "Do you hear [championship leader] Nico Rosberg complaining? Did you hear [world champion] Sebastian Vettel complaining last year? Those doing well aren't complaining, those that aren't, are."

  22. 18:36: 

    Away from the racing, there are a couple of bits of news worth drawing your attention to. The first is that two new teams are likely to be on the starting grid next season, according to Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.

    Gene Haas, one half of Nascar's successful Stewart-Haas Racing team, is thought to be keen to join Formula 1. Another newcomer could be Serbia and Germany-based StefanGP, run by former Hispania and Midland boss Colin Kolles.

    Read the full story on the F1 pages.

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    Rian Hoskins: Formula 1 has become boring has it? There was a real race for the lead and possibly the most exciting race Bahrain has ever held.

    Pogba: This must be the most exciting race in the past 4 seasons...#redbull can eat their heart out...

    Lauren Carradice: There were places where I could barely breathe, my heart was racing at double speed, but well done Hamilton....WOOOOOO!

  24. 18:31: 
    Sergio Perez

    Force India find themselves in the unusual position of second in the constructors' championship, 67 points behind Mercedes. McLaren are third, one point behind, with reigning world champions Red Bull eight further back.

  25. 18:25: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    So just to reiterate, this is Lewis Hamilton's 24th career victory, moving him level with Mercedes' only previous world champion Juan-Manuel Fangio for 10th on the all-time list.


    Force India: We add another page to the history of our team. Belgium 2009, Bahrain 2014. What an amazing race! #FeelTheForce

  27. 18:20: 

    Despite the safety car, Mercedes still finished 22.9 second clear of the field. That's some advantage, more than Sebastian Vettel enjoyed during his most dominant years.

    But the key here is that there are two drivers fighting at the front, not just one running off into the distance. Today, we saw a real battle for the lead, one that went on and on and on.

    That is great for the sport and reminds me of 1989 when McLaren's Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna fought all-season long for the title. We've got the makings of a brilliant championship fight, folks.


    Mercedes: It's absolutely official: #F1 2014 kicks ass! Incredible, just incredible from start to finish! #RaisingTheBahr

  29. 18:15: 

    That was an example of good clean racing, where team orders weren't necessary. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg knew what was at stake and while Hamilton squeezed Rosberg once or twice, it was fair. Hamilton will be delighted to have won his second successive race, Rosberg will be motivated to get Hamilton back next time out in China.


    Lotus: What a race! Both cars to the flag & more steps forward.

  31. 18:13: 
    Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton

    Nico Rosberg retains the championship lead, but he is now just 11 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Rather impressively, Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India is third on 28 points, with Fernando Alonso fourth on 26 and Jenson Button fifth, three points further back. Check out the full standings here.

  32. 18:10: 

    Williams' Felipe Massa, who finished seventh: "The biggest problem we had in the race was the safety car, it destroyed our strategy. It was not great.

    "The start was amazing, I managed to get past a lot of cars, the pace was OK and I was fighting but the result at the end was not the right one. I think we need to analyse where we were supposed to finish. We were fighting until the end which is good for us."


    Sauber: According to first checks in the medical center @EstebanGtz is ok. Precautionary examinations will follow in the local hospital.

  34. 18:07: 

    It's party time in the Mercedes garage, with the music pumping and various team members taking pictures on their phones with the trophy. The fizzy non-alcoholic drink has also been distributed in clear plastic cups.

    Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez

    Force India's Sergio Perez, who finished third: "It has been a while since my last podium, it is very special for me. It is only my third race with the team but a very good one."


    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, who finished second: "I strongly dislike coming second to Lewis, I have to say that but it was definitely the most exciting race I have ever raced in my whole career. I think today was a day for the sport, we put on a fantastic show and I will be back to win here next season."


    Race winner Lewis Hamilton: "It's great to see that we have such a great following here, I am so grateful to the team for getting us up here and this is my first win here in Bahrain which is nice.

    "It was really exciting, Nico drove fantastically well, it was so fair but it was so hard to keep him behind me, I was on a real knife edge at the end but just managed to take it."

  38. 17:57: 

    AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson is this week's choice for the podium interviewer...

  39. 17:55: 

    Sergio Perez is having a wonderful time up there, spraying his team down below the podium with the fizzy non-alcoholic drink and then tips the rest on Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

  40. 17:54: 

    Lewis Hamilton accepts the trophy for his first Bahrain Grand Prix victory and then hoists it above his head.


    Mercedes to Lewis Hamilton: "Well done today Lewis, great driving. You had us all going there for a second mate.

    Hamilton replied: Thanks for everyone this weekend, we didn't quite the pace though so let's work on that."

  42. 17:53: 

    1) Hamilton 2) Rosberg 3) Perez 4) Ricciardo 5) Hulkenberg 6) Vettel 7) Massa 8) Bottas 9) Alonso 10) Raikkonen

    11) Kvyat 12) Grosjean 13) Chilton 14) Maldonado 15) Kobayashi 16) Bianchi 17) Button

    DNF: Magnussen, Gutierrez, Ericsson, Vergne and Sutil.

  43. 17:51: 

    It's all smiles in the pre-podium room, with Lewis Hamilton recalling a race between himself and Nico Rosberg from the early days in Italy when he chased down Rosberg for most of the race and then stole the victory right at the death.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    On Sergio Perez's third place finish: "It was well deserved, he drove superb all weekend. It is a big, big boost for him, his speed and commitment today has been absolutely faultless on the track."

  45. 17:48: 
    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg runs (playfully, I think) at Lewis Hamilton like a bull and then pats him on the back. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez takes in the love from his Force India team. Great drive from the Mexican.

  46. 17:47: 

    A bit of sarcasm from Fernando Alonso when he punches the air as he crosses the line to finish a very disappointing ninth, one place ahead of Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

  47. 17:46: 

    Force India score only the second podium in their history as Sergio Perez takes third, 22.9 seconds behind second-placed Nico Rosberg.

  48. 17:45: 

    We're being treated to a spectacular fireworks display as Lewis Hamilton punches the air in celebration. That's his 24th grand prix win, bringing him level with the great Juan-Manuel Fangio.

    Bahrain GP

    Lewis Hamilton wins the Bahrain Grand Prix.


    Force India: Start of the final lap for @SChecoPerez in P3! #FeelTheForce

    LAP 57

    We're onto the final lap with Lewis Hamilton leading by 1.014 seconds from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

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    Beth Broders: Impressive from @MercedesAMGF1 definitely deserve to dominate and win these races

    Kyle Johnson: If Hamilton says he has no power then post two fastest laps in a row i'd love to see him with power

    Adeel Ejaz: Anyone calling this predictable is either mad or just down right stupid! This is the best race I've seen in past few seasons!

    LAP 56

    Jenson Button is crawling around in the McLaren. It looks like a double retirement for the team from Woking. Meanwhile, there's a humdinger of a battle between Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel for sixth. Massa gets through, but Vettel won't give in and fights back on the cutback.

    LAP 55

    Will Sergio Perez be able to hold onto the final podium spot in the Force India or will Daniel Ricciardo hunt him down? Three laps remaining. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, leads Nico Rosberg by one second.


    Mercedes: Something good on the box? #F1 #RaisingTheBahr

    LAP 54

    There's great racing elsewhere, too, with Daniel Ricciardo passing Nico Hulkenberg for fourth. Great race from the Australian who started 13th.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Rosberg has the better tyres, they have the same car and he's got a lot of anger in his belly and I don't see how Lewis Hamilton can hold him off for the rest of the race.

    "They are continuing with their wheel to wheel racing and it's the first time we have seen them have to race to the maximum because they are racing against each other. How is Hamilton doing this and keeping Rosberg behind him?"

    LAP 53

    I've not seen racing for the lead like this in years. Nico Rosberg tries a bold move down the inside into Turn One, but he outbrakes himself and Lewis Hamilton simply cuts back and retakes the position. Hamilton is driving out of his skin, but you sort of feel Rosberg will eventually get through.

    LAP 52

    Nico Rosberg launches another attack into Turn One but Lewis Hamilton defends again! They're side-by-side into the next few corners with Rosberg trying another move into Turn Four. But Hamilton does what he's done all race, squeeze him out off track by taking the racing line. Rosberg will be fuming.


    Sebastian Vettel: "I'm really really slow in the straights. losing out a lot."


    Mercedes: Fastest lap for @LewisHamilton, on the medium tyre too! Something tells us he wants this one!! But so does @nico_rosberg... #TooTense #F1

    And just to prove the point, @nico_rosberg takes over fastest lap duties! Unbelievable stuff! #F1 #RaisingTheBahr

    LAP 51

    Nico Hulkenberg is having a few technical problems which explains why he has dropped off the back of his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez in third. Daniel Ricciardo is all over the back of Hulkenberg, with Vettel lurking just behind. The two Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas are not too far away either. We're in for a grandstand finish here.

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    Hayley Rose: Sick of Maldonado causing dangerous incidents. Get him out of F1!

    Luke: Maldonado's bumper car style has probably cost Hamilton the race - it has closed the 13 second gap & now he has the slower tyres

    Ian Dunsmore: Maldonado should be black flagged for that. That's what happens when F1 drivers are picked because of finance rather than talent

    LAP 50

    Nico Rosberg brings the lead down to 0.8 seconds as he sets the fastest lap of the race. He'll have DRS now. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo passes Red Bull team-mate and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel into Turn One for fifth. The Australian has been a revelation so far this season.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Crucially Hamilton was half a second quicker than Rosberg in that last lap so Rosberg must have made a mistake in the final sector."

    LAP 49

    Lewis Hamilton was half a second quicker than Nico Rosberg on that last lap to open up a one-second lead over his Mercedes team-mate. Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado has been given a 10-second stop-go penalty for crashing into Esteban Gutierrez.

    LAP 48

    The Mercedes already have a six second lead over the rest of the field. Their dominance is incredible. Felipe Massa is up to seventh, with Valtteri Bottas eighth. Jenson Button down to ninth.


    Lewis Hamilton: "I've got no power."

    LAP 47

    Jenson Button is going backwards as first Sebastian Vettel and then Daniel Ricciardo get past the McLaren for fifth and sixth respectively.

    LAP 47

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are side-by-side once more but once again, Hamilton firmly shuts the door on his Mercedes team-mate. Cracking stuff in Bahrain.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Same message to both drivers from Paddy Lowe and they can't really do any more than ask the boys to play nice but that doesn't mean they can't race!"

    LAP 46

    Will the Mercedes drivers play nice? The safety car is coming in at the end of this lap so not long until we find out.


    Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe to both drivers: "With 10 laps left to race, can we just make sure we bring both cars home."

    LAP 46
    Bahrain GP

    We're still under safety car conditions. The collision between Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez will be investigated after the race.

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    Blade: I think this race will go down in history books as one of the highest number of takeover manoeuvres ever! Very exciting indeed

    Danie; PJ: Love the British fans saying it is more exciting this year despite it being arguably more predictable.

    Matthew Thomas: This safety car is exactly what Rosberg needed! It has neutralised Hamilton's lead. And it also bunches up that battle for third

    LAP 45

    So Lewis Hamilton leads from Nico Rosberg with Sergio Perez third and Nico Hulkenberg fourth. Jenson Button is fifth, with Sebastian Vettel sixth and Daniel Ricciardo seventh. Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso complete the top 10.

    LAP 44

    The safety car is still out, with Lewis Hamilton leading the field around. The 2008 world champion is going to have his hands full trying to keep Nico Rosberg at bay as there are still 13 laps to go.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    On the Gutierrez/Maldonado incident: "I think it was just an unfortunate racing incident. I don't think there was any malice in it but we will have to wait and see what the stewards have to say about it."

    LAP 43

    McLaren's Kevin Magnussen pulls off the track and retires from the grand prix.

    LAP 42

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both pit. Hamilton takes on the mediums, Rosberg the softs. The field will close right up now, with Rosberg the man who will have the advantage as he'll have the quicker tyres and will no longer have to make up that deficit. What a climax we have in store.

    LAP 42

    For only the second time in the history of the Bahrain GP, we have a safety car. The good news is that Esteban Gutierrez has climbed out of the car and looks unhurt.


    Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez following his summersault after contact with Maldonado: "Wow, what was that!"

    LAP 41

    Esteban Gutierrez gets T-boned by the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado coming out of the pits at Turn One. On contact, Gutierrez gets spun upside down, bounces off the top of the air box and lands the right way up. Big accident that.

    LAP 40

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg clock the exact same lap time - 1:40.120. The gap is 9.7 seconds. Valtteri Bottas is third, 46 seconds adrift, with Sergio Perez fourth and Nico Hulkenberg fifth.

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    Matthew Thomas: Hulkenberg, Perez, Bottas, Massa and Button all deserve a place on that podium. they've all got a point to prove.

    Jonathan Rose: Who cares about noise when you have epic battles like we are seeing in Bahrain. This is how F1 should be!

    Andy Davies: The cars might look a bit silly up front and sound rubbish but this is the best racing for years!

    LAP 39

    Williams' Felipe Massa pits for the final time and takes on the medium tyres. He rejoins 10th. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton leads by 9.7 seconds from Nico Rosberg with 18 laps remaining.

    LAP 38

    Daniel Ricciardo passes Kimi Raikkonen and then Kevin Magnussen to climb up to 11th.

    LAP 37

    Caterham's Marcus Ericsson has pulled off to the side of the track and is out of the grand prix.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "I think that shows exactly the problems Ferrari are having when Alonso is unable to do anything to prevent Force India overtaking him."

    LAP 36

    It's embarrassing for Ferrari at the moment. Sergio Perez simply drives around Fernando Alonso for eighth place. The Spaniard can do nothing to respond.


    Lewis Hamilton's race engineer: "OK Lewis, we are safe on fuel, so no more lift and coast, no more lift and coast." Hamilton: "I heard you, man, I'm just looking after my tyres."

    LAP 35

    Sergio Perez pits from third while Felipe Massa passes Daniel Ricciardo for what is now seventh.


    Mercedes: Forgive us for going all nerdy, but what a race we've got here! Epic battles throughout the entire field, that's what #F1 is all about!

    LAP 34

    So Lewis Hamilton leads from Nico Rosberg, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas, who puts a move on Daniel Ricciardo for seventh. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa passes Kimi Raikkonen for ninth.

    Bahrian GP

    It's a little quieter up front between the Mercedes for now, as Hamilton uses the softer of the two tyre compounds and Rosberg the harder. But brace yourself for more duelling towards the end of the race, as Rosberg tries to reel Hamilton back in.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Up front Hamilton seems to have found some sort of speed on his tyres, that's a full seven tenths faster that Rosberg."

    LAP 33

    Kimi Raikkonen is going backwards, with Daniel Ricciardo making his way through and Valtteri Bottas following suit a few corners later.


    Nico Rosberg's race engineer: "So Nico, the pace between the prime and the option is closer than we expected."

    LAP 32

    Lewis Hamilton leads by 8.5 seconds from Nico Rosberg, with Sergio Perez, 25 seconds further back.

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    Ben: This is some exciting stuff...great..amazing racing..who said this is taxi driving..

    Rich Skelding: This is BRILLIANT there is some actual racing happening in F1

    Oliver Farrugia: Great race by Mercedes. Fantastic to see Williams once again battling with leaders - amazing race.

    LAP 30

    Felipe Massa pits, as does Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean. Meanwhile on track, Valtteri Bottas passes Daniel Ricciardo for eighth, but then he has to take avoiding action to stop hitting Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari. Ricciardo regains the place and Bottas rejoins.

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    H Hussain: Can't remember a race where so many team mates are racing each other. Great stuff!

    Matthew Thomas: Interesting to see the different strategies at play for the Mercedes cars. Hamilton not pulling away as much as he would like

    Kevin H: How much do drivers on the same team know of their partners tactics? Is Hamilton going to know the exact details of Rosberg's?

    LAP 29

    With so much action further down the field, it's easy to forget the Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton leads by seven seconds from Nico Rosberg. Remember, Hamilton is on the soft tyres while Rosberg is on the mediums. So Hamilton will have to use the slower medium tyres later in the race.

    LAP 28

    Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez side-by-side through Turn Five! This is brilliant stuff from Perez, who pulls the move off to take fifth. Nico Hulkenberg sniffs a chance and uses his DRS to get in the slipstream and passes Massa into the following corner using the cutback. Massa did his best, but the Force Indias are just too quick at this stage of the race. Perez third, Hulkenberg fourth and Massa fifth.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "This is really a question now of whether Hamilton can prolong the life of these tyres to give him a good long run on them."

    LAP 27

    Nico Hulkenberg complains about Felipe Massa's bold defence, but we've not heard from the stewards to say they are investigating just yet. So Massa trails Nico Rosberg by 17.8 seconds, with Sergio Perez just 0.6 seconds behind. Hulkenberg is a further 0.4 seconds adrift.


    Marussia: Jules battling hard with his #MR03 after that coming-together but pushing hard. Determined to bring it & a mountain of data home in Bahrain.

    LAP 26

    Nico Hulkenberg nips out of the slipstream and tries a move down the inside of Felipe Massa, but Massa defends bravely and Hulkenberg has to back out of it. That allows the German's Force India team-mate Sergio Perez to have a run at him and the Mexican takes full advantage for fourth.

    LAP 26

    Valtteri Bottas, who is really holding up Williams team-mate Felipe Massa, asks his team if he can box. The team aren't out in the pits, but he's pitting anyway!

    LAP 25

    Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are having a great battle. Unfortunately for both of them it's only for ninth. Vettel uses DRS to good affect and breezes past the Finn to take the place.

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    Istvan Simon: Racing on all fronts in Bahrain, both in front & at the back. Looks like we need more night races to see that. LOL!

    Andrew Melia: @LewisHamilton and @nico_rosberg brilliant but fair wheel to wheel racing.

    Samantha Mee: What a battle for first between Rosberg & Hamilton! Who says #F1 is boring!?

    Suz Hu: True racing from @MercedesAMGF1 boys @LewisHamilton & @Nico_Rosberg! It's what the drivers *&* fans want. #F1 #BahrainGP

    LAP 24

    Felipe Massa tells his team that Valtteri Bottas' is "losing his rear tyres". What will Williams do here? They need to make a call, because both Force Indias are waiting to pounce just behind. Nico Hulkenberg is the leading force India, with Sergio Perez just behind. It's so close between third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

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    Paul Stockton: Hamilton and Rosberg allowed to just keep fighting wheel-to-wheel at the front - other teams take notice.

    Daniel Stuchbury: Isn't it great for Vettel to be told that his team mate is faster than him. Love it.

    Adeel Ejaz: This is awesome racing! This is exactly what we want! Thank you @MercedesAMGF1 for this! Love the new #F1!

    LAP 23

    Jean-Eric Vergne and Adrian Sutil retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix. Meanwhile, up front, Felipe Massa is putting pressure on his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the battle for third. This could get tasty. Massa is clearly quicker at this phase of the race.


    Nico Rosberg's race engineer: "So, Nico, this will be a long stint on prime tyres."

    LAP 22

    Nico Rosberg pits from the lead. As expected the team fit the medium tyres and send him on his way. The German rejoins well behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The Briton will need to put the hammer down to build a gap while the soft tyres are at their freshest.

    LAP 21

    Mercedes are in a race of their own, but the wheel-to-wheel racing is likely to be put on hold until the final stint now, as Nico Rosberg will struggle to fight Lewis Hamilton as he will be on the slower, more durable tyre once he has stopped. Valtteri Bottas is best placed of the rest in third, 30.3 seconds adrift.

    LAP 20

    Lewis Hamilton dives into the pits from the lead, releasing Nico Rosberg into the lead. It's a super slick stop from Mercedes, who fit Hamilton with the soft tyres and send him on his way. We then hear from Rosberg's radio that he will stay out for two more laps and then pit for the mediums. So we've got a split strategy for Mercedes.


    Mercedes: Who said #F1 2014 was boring? Have some of that!! Great racing from both @LewisHamilton & @nico_rosberg, epic skills! #RaisingTheBahr

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "This is brilliant, brilliant stuff by the Mercedes drivers. This is not looking after tyres, this is looking after number one and that is the guy sat behind the steering wheel."

    LAP 19

    THIS IS AMAZING! Nico Rosberg has a stab down the inside into Turn One and this time he makes it stick. Lewis Hamilton can't fight back this time, but it's not over. Hamilton tucks into the slipstream of his team-mate and then attacks into Turn Four. They're side-by-side through the corner, neither will give up, but Hamilton has the inside line and retakes the lead.


    Nico Rosberg: "What he did was not on!"

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Not only did he retake the lead, that is the equivalent of a smack in the face as Hamilton crossed in front of Rosberg."

    LAP 18

    Lewis Hamilton is starting to struggle on these tyres. Nico Rosberg launches an attack down the inside into Turn One. Hamilton gives him the corner and takes a wide line so that he can cutback. The Briton cuts across the German to hold position.

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    Cameron McIlroy: Seeing Hamilton win more will be much better than seeing Vettel win all the time, definitely my favourite for the title.

    Steph Moore: Would be great to see Massa and Williams on the podium, great driver, great team.

    Ethan Lee: Jenson has a real chance for a podium on his 250th race.

    LAP 17

    Lewis Hamilton is maintaining the gap to Nico Rosberg. It's currently 0.8 seconds. Sergio Perez pits from third, while Felipe Massa has pitted, too. It's not worked out well for the Brazilian as he's now behind his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

    Bahrain GP

    Despite Sergio Perez's massive lock-up into Turn One, the Mexican is having a storming race for Force India in third. Who says the Bahrain GP doesn't spring surprises?

    LAP 16

    Sebastian Vettel obeys team orders and lets Daniel Ricciardo through. The German then tells his team that they should pit now as the rear tyres are gone.


    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo: "We are going to have to something about this, we need to decide what to do."

    Sebastian Vettel's race engineer: "Sebastian can you let Ricciardo past, he is faster than you."

    LAP 16

    The incidents between Jules Bianchi and Adrian Sutil is being investigated by the stewards. Meanwhile, we could be seeing some team orders at Red Bull...

    LAP 15

    Daniel Ricciardo is putting his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel under pressure in the battle for sixth.


    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel: "My DRS is not working anymore."

    LAP 14

    Adrian Sutil pulls off the track in the Sauber after not one but two clashes with Jules Bianchi. The Marussia doesn't come off too well either. Both cars managed to get back to the pits, though.

    LAP 13

    Valtteri Bottas sets the fastest lap in the Williams are pitting for new boots. The Finn is currently 14th.


    Force India: MAGNIFICENT! @SChecoPerez passes Massa for P3 and then defends fiercely the position! #FeelTheForce

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Credit where credit is due it has been a fabulous performance by Perez. He has had a feisty drive so far which will be good for confidence after a difficult start to the season."

    LAP 12

    Super move from Sergio Perez to pass Felipe Massa for third. Early days yet, of course, but the Force India is looking good for a podium here.

    LAP 11

    Good pressure from Daniel Ricciardo on the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen in the battle for 11th. Magnussen defends well, but Ricciardo pulls off the cutback around the outside of the McLaren.

    Bahrain GP

    Looking back at the start, Hamilton appeared to launch off the line better than Rosberg, and by the first corner he was close enough inside for the German to have to give him the space for the overtake.

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    Bishop Yinkus: I sense a podium finish for Massa today and it will save us another ugly scene of letting your team mate pass from Williams

    Matthew Thomas: How annoyed must Alonso be, that Ferrari have not provided a fast enough car since 2010?

    Steven Jones: Hamilton needs to win. Could control this season if he wanted. This season is much better though. Instead of Vettel every week :)

    LAP 10

    Jenson Button chucks his McLaren down the inside of Valtteri Bottas into Turn One for fifth. Bottas tries to fight back, but Button has the racing line. Nico Hulkenberg sniffs a chance, too, and manages to slip past the Finn. The Williams driver is down to seventh.


    It's a very early stop for Adrian Sutil, who pits his Sauber to ditch the more durable medium tyre for the soft tyre.


    Pastor Maldonado passes Esteban Gutierrez for 14th place. Meanwhile, the two Mercedes are lapping in the high 1m40s while the chasing pack are in the mid-1m42s.

    David Coulthard, BBC F1 co-commentator in Bahrain

    "Great performance by Sebastian Vettel so far, he is on the slower tyres than everyone else, some one second per lap, but he is still managing to hustle the cars in front of him."


    Sebastian Vettel is currently running 10th, 0.8 seconds behind the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkionen. His Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo is 12th, with Kevin Magnussen splitting the reigning world champions.


    Mercedes: Fastest lap from @LewisHamilton but @nico_rosberg remains in the DRS zone: play nicely boys... #RaisingTheBahr


    Nico Rosberg's race engineer: "Remember Nico, we have the alternative strategy which we're going to do. That means you need to go longer on this stint."


    Lewis Hamilton's race engineer: "Look after the left front - looks like we have a little more understeering than the other car [Rosberg]."


    Felipe Massa is coming under pressure from Sergio Perez's Force India in the battle for third. The gap is just 0.7 seconds. Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, is hanging on top the pair in fifth with Jenson Button not too far behind.

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    Emma Christian: Would love a podium finish for Massa, happy enough to see him ahead of Ferrari.

    Boo: Hamilton to win then Rosberg then Bottas f1 prediction.

    Edson Madeira: Great start by Mercedes, Hamilton aggressive as ever.


    Nico Hulkenberg passes Fernando Alonso for seventh place into Turn One. "I didn't have the power," says Alonso. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton extends his lead to 1.290 seconds.


    Force India: Looks familiar? Nico battling Alonso for the third race in a row! #FeelTheForce


    Nico Hulkenberg is to eighth from 11th and is no pressurising Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race to extend his lead to one second.


    It's bad news for Jean-Eric Vergne who has a right-rear puncture. The Frenchman suggests over team radio that it was a Lotus who hit him. "Absolutely mental," says the Toro Rosso driver.


    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen: "Magnussen hit me again!"


    Mercedes: Lights out and away in Bahrain! Great start from @nico_rosberg but an even better one from @LewisHamilton! P1/P2 through T1/2! Game on!

    David Coulthard, BBC F1 co-commentator in Bahrain

    "That was an incredible display from both of the Mercedes cars, Rosberg was trying to see how kind his team mate was going to be going into the first bend and he found out just how much Lewis Hamilton wants to win this."


    Nico Rosberg fights back at Turn four, trying to go around the outside, but Lewis Hamilton holds firm and gives his team-mate the squeeze to hold onto the position. Further back, it's a brilliant start for Felipe Massa, two-times a winner in Bahrain, who is up to third from seventh.

  159. 16:05: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Lewis Hamilton gets a superb start and is running neck-and-neck with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg into Turn One. The Briton brakes the latest and successfully makes the corner of the take the lead of the Bahrain Grand Prix!

  160. 16:04: 

    They've all lined up perfectly on the grid. Let's do this.

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    Charlie: Come on Lewis

    Jorge Luis Boscan: Waiting for a great race from Massa today, always happy to see him ahead of Ferrari

    Jack of all Trades: I hope Lewis doesn't allow one of the Merc powered cars behind him to get in front at start otherwise its going to be a long afternoon.

    James Allen, BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "It's a psychological battle for supremacy between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton."

  163. 16:00: 

    Nico Rosberg leads the field away from the grid for the formation lap. Lewis Hamilton is slow away, but soon catches his Mercedes team-mate. Encouragingly, everyone gets away cleanly.

  164. 15:58: 

    Everyone in the top 12 is starting on the soft tyre, apart from reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who has chosen the medium tyre. Interesting choice from the German.

    Talking of Vettel, in 2012, Bahrain was the German's first victory of the season. It proved to be his only triumph in the first 13 races that year. However, he still went on to win the title.

    The view from the grid

    Williams: On the grid P3 - this is Valtteri's view! #bahrain

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "McLaren got a bit bristly on Saturday when it was pointed out to them they were in danger of being the slowest Mercedes-powered car, and their claims of gains in competitiveness over last year were questioned. Jenson Button pointed to the 'facts' that they are second in the constructors' championship and already have a podium finish, which eluded them throughout 2013. But he did admit later that 'if people are just looking at qualifying here, yes, it doesn't look too impressive', but adding: 'If you look at the first two races, the first race we beat all of the cars you've just mentioned, and the second race we only got beaten by one. So I don't think we're doing too badly.'

    "Racing director Eric Boullier conceded: 'We don't want to be the last Mercedes team and we can't be happy being seventh and ninth and having two Williams and one Force India and both Mercedes in front of us.' But Boullier insisted the base of this year's car was 'driveable' and that McLaren had a better understanding of its aerodynamics than last year. 'We are a little bit down on downforce,' he said. 'We will just catch up and put everything in place to catch up. So there is massive improvement compared to last year.'"

  167. 15:55: 

    Just a reminder of the grid ahead of the first Bahrain night race, which will be contested over 57 laps.

    1) Nico Rosberg 2) Lewis Hamilton 3) Valtteri Bottas 4) Sergio Perez 5) Kimi Raikkonen 6) Jenson Button 7) Felipe Massa 8) Kevin Magnussen 9) Fernando Alonso 10) Sebastian Vettel

    11) Nico Hülkenberg 12) Daniil Kvyat 13) Daniel Ricciardo* 14) Jean-Eric Vergne 15)Esteban Gutierrez 16) Romain Grosjean 17) Pastor Maldonado 18) Kamui Kobayashi 19) Jules Bianchi 20) Marcus Ericsson 21) Max Chilton 22) Adrian Sutil*

    *Ricciardo has a 10-place grid penalty for unsafe release in Malaysia, Sutil has a five-place penalty for impeding Grosjean in Bahrain qualifying


    Mercedes: Finishing touches applied to the @MercedesAMGF1 in-garage cinema: got your popcorn ready? #RaisingTheBahr #F1

  169. 15:54: 

    Fernando Alonso, who won in Bahrain on what was his Ferrari debut in 2010, but has since finished seventh and eighth, looks super relaxed as he climbs into his Ferrari ahead of the start. The Spaniard is the only driver to have completed every racing lap ever held in Bahrain at 505.

    Not long now, there's just over five minutes until the formation lap.

    Pastor Maldonado

    Lotus: A little drive-through the pit lane for @Pastormaldo on the way to the grid. Countdown to the race... excited?

  171. 15:53: 

    Mercedes look to have the top two positions locked out, meaning everyone else will have to battle over the final podium place. Valtteri Bottas is very well-placed to be the man to take advantage after he equalled the best qualifying performance of his career with third.

    "A podium would be such a great reward," said Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams. "Everyone at Grove has worked so hard at improving what they can do to contribute to the overall performance. But the field is so tight at the moment. One key area we have really improved on is our pit stops. We did six of the best pit stops we have ever done in Malaysia. The worst stop they did was three seconds, so I'm proud of them."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "Force India have looked competitive all weekend, especially on race pace, and could be in with a real chance of finishing best of the rest behind Mercedes. After two difficult races, Sergio Perez shone in qualifying with fifth place - it's worth recalling that Bahrain was arguably his best race of a generally underwhelming season at McLaren last year. But Nico Hulkenberg over-reached himself in qualifying at Turn 11 - the corner where Perez had been quicker than him all weekend - and will start down in 11th. Expect some feisty racing in the opening laps from him. The two cars ahead of him are driven by no less than Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, but neither have anywhere near as much power as the Mercedes engine in the Force India."

  173. 15:51: 

    The chances of seeing a safety car in Bahrain are remote, largely because there is so much run-off. It has only appeared once, for three laps at the start of the 2007 race after a first lap crash involving Jenson Button and Scott Speed.


    Force India: Helpful reminder from Race Control - 0% chance of rain in the session.

  175. 15:50: 

    Don't forget to check out our BBC Sport Facebook page for all the best behind the scenes pictures from the Bahrain Grand Prix paddock.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    McLaren racing director Eric Boullier on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "The pace of Mercedes is very difficult for us to catch up, it's not nice to be sixth and eighth on the grid we would much rather be further up the grid and challenging at the front.

    "We would like to get a good start and we think we are in a position to do that. I would love to give the podium to Jenson on his 250th race and we will try our best to do that."

  177. 15:48: 
    Nico Rosberg

    Pole man Nico Rosberg is deep in conversation with one of the Mercedes team. The German looks pretty relaxed, but there must still be some pre-race butterflies, even if this is his eighth season in Formula 1. Can he secure his second win in three races?

    BBCF1 talking Senna with Rubens.

    BBCF1: #BBCF1 talking Senna with Rubens.

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    JayeJacobs&JianLove: Come on Alonso!! Go go Fernando! And come on Oxford! Let's retain the title!

    Kayleigh Gray: Podium for JB today please :) #Jenson250 @McLarenF1

  180. 15:42: 

    Sebastian Vettel has led the most laps in Bahrain with a total of 146. But I think it'll surprise you to hear that Felipe Massa is next up on the charts, having led 102. The Brazilian, who swapped Ferrari for Williams this season, triumphed in 2007 and 2008. He has qualified on the front row four times and started fourth on the grid last year.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "Kimi Raikkonen out-qualified team-mate Fernando Alonso for the first time since rejoining Ferrari this season, but the Spaniard's car was affected by a problem that cost him time on the straights. Like the Red Bulls, Alonso will find making up ground against the Mercedes cars difficult, and is hoping to make up some ground at the start. The Ferrari has not been great off the line so far this season, but Alonso said: 'There is room to improve there. We have been testing some new things this weekend and we are in a little better position I think. I have confidence we can do a good start and first lap and hopefully that puts us in a position to go with the group of the leaders and have an easy race.' He admits, though, that there 'will be a threat coming from behind - Vettel, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo. So it's going to be a tough race. We need a good start and strategy and if the pace is good enough we can still take some points which is probably the goal for this weekend.'"

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra: "I am supporting Ferrari but I have so many friends in the paddock I go to see people everywhere.

    "It's a fantastic competition [between Hamilton and Rosberg] because it's obvious they have the best cars but they also give everything. Lewis is a fantastic driver but Nico is very clean and he is using the car very well.

    "I don't know who will win. It's very diff at the moment because the reliability of the cars is not the best but obviously Mercedes are up there but as I am supporting Ferrari a win for Kimi Raikkonen would be nice."

  183. 15:37: 

    One of the talking points in the build-up to today's race was the team orders row at Williams. Felipe Massa refused to move over for Valtteri Bottas in Malaysia with the team saying later that it was a mistake asking him to do so.

    "We didn't cover ourselves in any glory," said Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams. "We said we made a mistake, we weren't prepared and we didn't handle it in the way we would have liked. We spoke to the drivers have come up with operational procedures so when the situation arises again, we know what we're doing. We want our drivers to race, but we want to make sure we get the best results we can as a team.

    "Valtteri needs to be the one who can overtake Felipe and not Felipe being the one to move out of the way. Both are hungry to prove something and it's fantastic to have two drivers like that. They have been great this week. There are no hard feelings, no animosity. I'm grateful they have reacted the way they have. There's lots of love in the team."

    Romain Grosjean

    Lotus' Romain Grosjean: Gym and stretching session with Dave under the sun this morning before going to @BAH_Int_Circuit ! #r8main #F1

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "Both Red Bulls are out of position on the grid here. Daniel Ricciardo drops to 13th as a result of his penalty, and Sebastian Vettel starts 10th, alongside old rival Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, after problems with the car in qualifying, among them a gearshift problem and issues with the power-unit that were influenced by his out-of-character spin into the gravel at Turn Two in final practice. Red Bull have a fast car - second only to the Mercedes - but the problem for Vettel and Ricciardo is going to be passing anyone with a Mercedes engine. But Vettel did not sound too concerned. 'It depends who I have to overtake,' he said. 'It's always possible. I hope I find the right strategy to make sure I can use the pace of the car. Once we are in free air, we should be fine. But it's a bit easier to be in free air when you start from pole than 11th.'"

  186. 15:33: 

    Red Bull, the reigning world champions, may well have a car that is strong through the corners but on the straights, they're mixing with backmarkers as their Renault engine is down on power compared to its rivals.

    In Australia, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were 17th and 18th quickest through the speed traps. In Malaysia, the duo were slowest of all.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "For the local Bahrainis, they're more comfortable coming out to watch the racing at night as it gets so hot here during the day. For the drivers, it's cooler in the cockpit and the tyres are more manageable."

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcf1

    Dan Millard: Bahrain looking amazing under the lights, hoping for a great race and battles at the front as well as further down the field!

    Davjaks: Would love to see Bottas win for Williams.

  189. 15:30: 

    The pit lane has opened its doors, which means drivers can leave their garages and start their journey to the grid to take up their starting slot.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "Williams finally delivered on their pre-season promise here at Sakhir, with Valtteri Bottas qualifying fourth, which becomes third on the grid following Daniel Ricciardo's 10-place penalty for an unsafe release from a pit stop in Malaysia last weekend. Williams have had an air of confidence about them in Bahrain, limiting their on-track running, sure they have a good set-up from their successful pre-season test.

    "With Bottas' team-mate Felipe Massa starting seventh, the team are hopeful of a good haul of points. This is former Ferrari engineer Rob Smedley's first weekend with the team as head of vehicle performance. It was, as he said, 'a good day to start off my time at Williams.'"

  191. 15:28: 
    David Coulthard, Lee McKenzie and Claire Williams

    Williams had a strong qualifying, with Valtteri Bottas starting third and Felipe Massa seventh.

    "We've had a good first two rounds in Melbourne and Malaysia and to get the result in qualifying yesterday, in the dry, was fantastic but it's all about the race," Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams told the BBC's Inside F1 programme. "It's about what we can achieve off the back of some good positions."

    Williams have made several changes to their staffing, bringing in Pat Symonds and Rob Smedley. The changes seem to be bringing dividends.

    "It's not just one thing," added Williams. "It's a combination of different elements. The staff have seen the changes made by senior management and fed off that change and we now have a team which is performing at the best of their capabilities."


    Williams' Valtteri Bottas: Nice to finally start from good position for the race! Third on the grid, great job by @WilliamsRacing yesterday. Lets have a good one today!

  193. 15:26: 

    Sauber's Adrian Sutil has been given a five-place grid penalty and received two penalty points on his super-licence for holding Romain Grosjean up in an "unsafe manner" during qualifying.

    The German will start at the back of the grid, having qualified 18th. He impeded Grosjean in the closing stages of Q1, forcing the Frenchman off track.

    Also, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo will start 13th, having qualified third, as a result of a penalty for an unsafe release at the last round in Malaysia.

    The Lotus Team

    Lotus: A lovely afternoon in the paddock. Meanwhile, indoors, the more pressing matter of queuing for lunch ahead of the race.

  195. 15:24: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton has never won in Bahrain. But should he do so this year, it would be his 24th career victory, moving him level with Mercedes' only previous world champion Juan-Manuel Fangio for 10th on the all-time list.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "Lewis Hamilton had appeared through practice to have carried his momentum from Malaysia into Bahrain, but Rosberg closed up on Saturday and beat him in qualifying, with Hamilton saying the car balance had gone away from him a little. 'I need to be smart to work out the changes I can do to optimise the race pace,' he said on Saturday evening, before heading back to work out what he can do to the car to enable to challenge Rosberg for victory in the race."

  197. 15:22: 

    1) Nico Rosberg 2) Lewis Hamilton 3) Valtteri Bottas 4) Sergio Perez 5) Kimi Raikkonen 6) Jenson Button 7) Felipe Massa 8) Kevin Magnussen 9) Fernando Alonso 10) Sebastian Vettel

    11) Nico Hülkenberg 12) Daniil Kvyat 13) Daniel Ricciardo* 14) Jean-Eric Vergne 15)Esteban Gutierrez 16) Romain Grosjean 17) Pastor Maldonado 18) Kamui Kobayashi 19) Jules Bianchi 20) Marcus Ericsson 21) Max Chilton 22) Adrian Sutil*

    *Ricciardo has a 10-place grid penalty for unsafe release in Malaysia, Sutil has a five-place penalty for impeding Grosjean in Bahrain qualifying

    McLaren celebrate in Bahrain

    McLaren: #Jenson250 team photo in front of the McLaren garage ahead of @JensonButton's 250th GP... Congrats JB! #BahrainGP #F1

  199. 15:19: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button will contest his 250th Formula 1 race today, making him the fifth driver to do so after Riccardo Patrese, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli.

    He won the 2009 race for Brawn GP, but that has been the one highlight. The Briton hasn't finished on the podium in any other race since the venue's debut in 2004.

    He does, however, arrive in the Middle East with the longest active finishing streak, with his last retirement coming in the 2012 Korean grand Prix, 26 races ago.


    Sauber: Pitstop training - Take 1 #Celebrat10n 10year #anniversary @BAH_Int_Circuit

  201. 15:17: 

    Nico Rosberg took the lead in the drivers' standings for the first time in his career when he won in Australia. He retained it after Malaysia, although Lewis Hamilton cut it from 25 to 18. Fernando Alonso is third, one point behind Hamilton, with Jenson Button fourth, a further point adrift. You can see the full standings here.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "Nico Rosberg took a bit of a beating in Malaysia last weekend at the hands of Lewis Hamilton, but cerebral driver that he is, the German has pored through his team-mate's data from Sepang to see what he can learn. 'Definitely analysed everything because I was lacking a bit of pace in Malaysia,' Rosberg said. Understood a lot of things we can do better but there are still a couple of question marks. I had a good run on Friday with high fuel so I am confident, definitely.'

    "Rosberg did not trouble to hide his delight at beating Hamilton to pole for the first time this year. 'It's always exciting to beat my team-mate, because he is such tough competition,' Rosberg said. 'He is always on it. So it is really a good battle. I enjoy being ahead and really dislike being behind. There are no points for qualifying. It gives me a small advantage because I have that little better starting position with a bit more grip on the clean side but there is a long way to go in the race.'"

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Mercedes know they have a winning formula, the whole package is working well. There is just the question of which of the drivers will take the spoils. Nico was able to rise to top in qualifying, but the race is today. Lewis has never won her before and he'll want to tick that box."

  204. 15:15:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    James Allen and Allan McNish will be your commentary team on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, with Jennie Gow in the pit lane. They'll be on air from 15:30 BST and you can listen by clicking the link at the top right of the page.

  205. 15:12: 
    Fernando Alonso with fans

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso took time out to sign autographs for fans after finishing 10th fastest in qualifying on Saturday.

  206. 15:10: 

    Today's question is simple. Who do you think will win the Bahrain Grand Prix? Will Nico Rosberg lead from start to finish? Can Lewis Hamilton get ahead of of his Mercedes' team-mate? Can Valtteri Bottas star from third on the grid in the Williams? Tweet @bbcf1 using the #bbcf1 hashtag or texting 81111 (UK only).

  207. 15:07: 
    Kimi Raikkonen

    Formula 1 hits a major milestone this weekend as Bahrain hosts the 900th event in the history of the World Championship. The first race was held back in 1950 at Silverstone.

    It's also the first night race in Bahrain. Initially, it was changed to mark the 10th anniversary of the race but now it seems the floodlights - all 495 of them - are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

    The race will be contested over 57 laps with the start time set for 18:00 local time, three minutes after sunset, which is 16:00 BST.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "For all Mercedes' domination of the start of the 2014 season, this is the first race at which the two cars start together on the front row. And it promises greatly. Nico Rosberg edged Lewis Hamilton in qualifying on Saturday, but both men are determined to win. There are, as Hamilton put it, 'no rules of engagement', other than to be 'sensible and respectful'. 'We're here to race, to entertain, to give you an exciting show,' Rosberg said. 'We owe the viewers and fans that, so there will be definitely be lots of racing.' Bahrain's first night race, where 495 floodlight towers somehow make even this most unprepossessing of circuits look attractive, starts with great promise."

  209. 15:03: 
    Nico Rosberg

    An oasis of light in the desert darkness of night. Welcome to the battle of the Mercedes, welcome to Sakhir, welcome to the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix.

  210. 15:00: 
    Nico Rosberg

    The pendulum swung back in Nico Rosberg's favour on Saturday as the Mercedes driver took pole position for today's Bahrain Grand Prix. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton, winner of the last race in Malaysia, had dominated the weekend, coming out on top in all three practice sessions.

    But on his final lap in qualifying, the Briton made a mistake which ended his hopes of a hat-trick of pole positions. Instead, Rosberg, who set the fastest lap on his debut at the track in 2006, starts in P1 in Bahrain for the second successive year.

    Hold onto that place and he'll extend his lead in the drivers' standings to at least 25 points. Hamilton, though, will hope to have something to say about that in the race.

FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2015

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 43
2 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 40
3 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 33
4 Brazil F Massa Williams 20
5 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 12
6 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 10
7 Finland V Bottas Williams 10
8 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 9
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 6
10 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 6
11 C Sainz Toro Rosso 6
12 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 4
13 Russia D Kvyat Red Bull 2
14 Mexico S Perez Force India 1
15 France R Grosjean Lotus 0
16 Great Britain J Button McLaren 0
17 R Merhi Manor Marussia F1 0
18 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Spain F Alonso McLaren 0
21 W Stevens Manor Marussia F1 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

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