Nico Rosberg has led team mate Nico Rosberg to the chequered flag to record Mercedes’ fourth one-two victory of the year. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel comfortably beat Kimi Raikkonen for the final podium position.

Hamilton started the race on pole position, however experienced a slow getaway off the line, allowing Rosberg to take the lead while the championship leader dropped to sixth position behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull.

While Ricciardo had managed to maintain position at the start of the race, his team mate Max Verstappen also had a poor start and dropped to 12th position behind Pascal Wehrlein’s Manor.

It didn’t take long for Hamilton to dispose of Ricciardo for fifth position as his Mercedes cruised passed the Australian on the main straight. Next was Valtteri Bottas’ Williams.

This proved to be a greater challenge than the Red Bull as Williams’ Mercedes power unit caused Hamilton a headache on the straights, taking the Briton 10 laps to pass the Finn for fourth position, using too much of his soft tyres in the process.

Rosberg had extended a comfortable lead over the two Ferraris of over six seconds while Hamilton was catching Raikkonen for third.

Williams kicked off the first round of pit stops with Bottas pitting on lap 15 to dispose of his super softs for the soft compound.

Raikkonen followed suit a lap later and opted to run another set of super softs as did Vettel on lap 17, confirming the Scuderia would be running a two-stop strategy, while Mercedes stayed out on their soft tyres for a longer stint to run a one-stop strategy.

After the first round of pit stops, Hamilton was up to second position and 15 seconds behind leader Rosberg, as Ricciardo and Verstappen had pitted for softs.

Despite using half the life of his tyres in the battle with Bottas, Hamilton managed them throughout the stint and reported that they were fine, as he lapped the circuit 0.8 seconds off Rosberg’s pace.

Rosberg was the first of the two to pit on lap 25 to put on the medium compound to run to the end of the race, briefly handing Hamilton the lead before he too pitted for the mediums.

The battle for fifth between Bottas and Ricciardo continued all race as both drivers attempted to use their second pit stop to their advantage. Bottas dived into the pits on lap 31 and bolted on a set of softs, while Ricciardo spent eight laps longer on his set of softs and opted for the super softs to see him to the end of the race.

Once the Ferraris had completed their mandatory second pit stop to use the soft tyres, Hamilton was up to second and gaining time on Rosberg lapping a second a lap quicker than his German team mate.

Hamilton closed the gap to 10 seconds before he out-braked himself into the Turn 1 chicane on lap 41, seeing him lose over two seconds of the time he gained.

Ricciardo had found Bottas again on track and was on the fast super soft tyre, it didn’t take the Australian long to pass the Finn with a brave move into Turn 1, out-braking the Williams for a clean pass into fifth position.

His team mate Verstappen had a quieter race finishing in seventh ahead of Sergio Perex in the Force India, while Felipe Massa finished in the points after starting 11th ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who rounded out the top 10.

Romain Grosjean was the first of the lapped cars in 11th while Jenson Button split the Haas pair as he finished ahead of Esteban Gutierrez in 12th.

Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr were the first of the retirements as Nasr edged Palmer out of the first chicane on the first lap causing both to crash.

Wehrlein was forced to stop his Manor on track mid-way through the race, while Daniil Kvyat also retired due to technical problems in his Toro Rosso.

Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas 

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Josh Kruse

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