With Bahrain in the bag, Hamilton guns for 3rd title
DEFENDING world champion Lewis Hamilton made light of brake problems and a seamless switch from champagne to rose water on Sunday, after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix to extend his lead in this year's Formula One title race.
The 30-year-old Briton, who was embroiled in controversy after squirting champagne on the victors' podium in China a week earlier, celebrated in a more muted style this time, but still soaked himself and the shirts of a few bystanders.
It was a measure of Hamilton's success that, after a flawless drive to his third win in four races this year, he remained in control after opening up a 27-point lead ahead of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.
Starting from the 42nd pole position of his career, Hamilton led from lights to flag - apart from two spells around the pit stops - to claim the 36th win of his career.
The Mercedes driver came home 3.3sec clear of Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, who stole second ahead of 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, with Hamilton just hanging on to win.
"I'm gunning for a third title," a beaming Hamilton said after the race. "The Ferraris gave us a run for our money here and it was difficult to look after the tyres out there.
"But I was able to pull through and we need to keep pushing now, as I know we will."
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff confirmed: "We lost the brakes on both our cars. Lewis lost his during his final lap."
Hamilton's victory lifted him to 93 points in the championship, giving him a clear lead ahead of Rosberg on 66 points, with Vettel third on 65. Mercedes lead the constructors' championship with 159 points, ahead of Ferrari on 107 and Williams on 61.