Lewis Hamilton dominated the Bahrain Grand Prix from start to finish, while Kimi Raikkonen prevented a Mercedes one-two.
But, the story of this race was the battle for second, and Raikkonen showed remarkable poise and steel to make up a 19-second deficit and prevent Mercedes taking another one-two.
Raikkonen was 1.1 seconds behind Rosberg with two laps to go and overtook him on the outside after Rosberg went far too wide on a turn, prompting jubilant cheers in the Ferrari garage. Rosberg said he lost his brakes at that moment.
Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, was left to rue running wide into the sand in trying to overtake Rosberg, a mistake which cost him valuable time as he was forced to pit and change his damaged front wing.
Vettel had started the day second on the grid, but has conceded further ground on Hamilton in the early drivers’ standings after he failed to get past Williams’ Valtteri Bottas in the final stages and had to settle for fifth.
Although the race lacked the thrilling drama of Hamilton’s battle with Rosberg last year, that will be of little concern to the Briton, who racked up a second straight victory on this circuit.
It was Raikkonen’s seventh podium in Bahrain, with the Finn runner-up now on four occasions, but with this his first top-three finish since the 2013 Korean Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas in a Williams finished fourth, holding off the challenge of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth in a Red Bull with the engine blowing up as he left the last turn, while Romain Grosjean in a Lotus was seventh, ahead Sergio Perez (Force India), Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) and Felipe Massa, who started last from the pits after an electrical problem with his Williams.
Pastor Maldonado – DNF
Maldonado’s car appeared to stall as he just entered the pits for a stop, and he coasted into his box. Thick smoke was pouring from his overheating brakes.
Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz – DNF
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz has just pulled off with what looked like a wheel problem following a pit stop.
“Feeling something strange in the car,” the Spaniard tells his team on the radio.
Following just few laps, Verstappen force to retires, joining team-mate Sainz Jr. on the sidelines
Felipe Massa’s struggling
Pat Symonds, Williams technical director, speaking from the pit wall: “Massa has a problem. He was hit by Pastor Maldonado early in the race and has got some floor damage which was confirmed at the pit stop. He is struggling on down force at the moment.
“Our target is fourth place, but with the way Raikkonen is going on the prime he has a performance advantage on us.” (Images © Mercedes, Ferrari)