It was a less smooth race for Hamilton. The Briton made a poor getaway from the dirty side of the track and was passed by Vettel on the run to turn one. He hung on to the Ferrari in the first stint but a slow first stop widened the gap to the German. A second similarly slow stop hurt him again but he pushed hard to claw back time over Vettel and a regulation third stop saw him emerge ahead of Vettel and on fresher, medium tyres. Hamilton closed to within nine seconds of Rosberg in the closing stages but, controlling the pace, Rosberg was always comfortable as he headed towards the flag and 25 points that put him 20 points adrift of Hamilton after five races.
"It's a fantastic weekend," said Rosberg afterwards. "Everything worked out on Saturday and Sunday. It all came together. I’m very happy. At one point I thought maybe, who knows, maybe Sebastian can keep Lewis behind, which on the one side isn’t good for the team, but in terms of my points, it’s always a compromise, for my points that would have been better. Seven points is better than nothing and a fantastic team result to be first and second, especially after the two and a half week break. Everybody brought upgrades here but still we’re dominating in such a way and that’s fantastic to see and more than at the last race.
Hamilton, meanwhile, said his race had been a successful case of “damage limitation”: “I had quite a poor start. Been a long time since I had such a poor start. I tried my best to recover and it was then just trying to fight. Unfortunately this track isn’t very good for overtaking. It’s the worst. It’s impossible to follow. I did enough in the first stint. I had a very long pit stop and then had to do it all again but at the end on t a three stop had enough to get by. Grateful to get points for team but it was damage limitation.”
Sebastian Vettel: "All in all, I think third is the best we could do for the pace we had. I don’t think there’s anything wrong, it think it was just something coming together and maybe this is not the best week end for us in terms of competitiveness, but I believe it’s probably more down to conditions rather then something being wrong with the car. For some reasons we didn’t find the same rhythm of the last two events, but I’m sure that in a couple of races we’ll come back stronger. In terms of strategy, we went for two stops because we thought it would have been the best choice for the race: we have to be fair and accept the fact that Mercedes was the best team today. I think we’re going in the right direction. We know that there is a gap, but we’re fighting very hard to close it. Unfortunately we didn’t make a big step this race, but I’m pretty confident we’ll make it soon”.
|1||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1h41:12.555|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||+ 17.551|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 45.342|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Williams||+ 59.217|
|5||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+ 1:00.002|
|6||Felipe Massa||Williams||+ 1:21.314|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+ 1 Lap|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||+ 1 Lap|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||+ 1 Lap|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||+ 1 Lap|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||+ 1 Lap|
|12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber||+ 1 Lap|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India||+ 1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+ 1 Lap|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||+ 1 Lap|
|16||Jenson Button||McLaren||+ 1 Lap|
|17||Will Stevens||Marussia||+ 3 Laps|
|18||Roberto Merhi||Marussia||+ 4 Laps|