MANAMA: Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in this year’s title race on Sunday (Monday in Manila) when he drove to a near-flawless victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old Briton, starting from the 42nd pole position of his career, led from lights to flag apart from two spells around the pit-stops to claim the 36th win of his career and his third in four races this year.
Hamilton came home 3.3 seconds clear of Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari who stole second ahead of Nico Rosberg when the second Mercedes driver suffered a braking problem on the penultimate lap.
It had seemed that the 29-year-old German would hold off Raikkonen’s late challenge, but both Mercedes lost their brakes in the final laps, Hamilton just hanging on to win.
Hamilton’s victory lifted him to 93 points in the championship, giving him a clear lead ahead of Rosberg, on 66 points.
Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams finished fourth after resisting a late attack from German Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth for Red Bull, his engine blowing up as he crossed the line ahead of Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus and Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India.
After another sweltering day at the Sakhir Circuit, the race began as the floodlights replaced the sunshine with a calm Hamilton making a perfect departure from the 42nd pole position of his career.
With 15 laps to go, Hamilton led Rosberg by nearly five seconds and Raikkonen, clocking fastest laps, was adrift by 18 seconds in third.
The Finn cut into Rosberg’s advantage as the laps unfolded with Hamilton staying ahead of them both as the leading trio cut their way through lapped traffic on the closing laps.