THE British National Anthem echoed out across Bahrain as Lewis Hamilton mounted the podium and lifted the winner’s trophy for the third time this year.
In a race which saw him stretch a five second lead twice, Hamilton’s luck nearly ran out on the last lap as a breaking problem with the Mercedes threatened to let the blood thirsty Raikkonen pounce.
A fantastic second half of the race for Raikkonen in the Ferrari had already seen him hunt down and devour Nico Rosberg, who over-shot a corner on the penultimate lap allowing Kimi through.
In the first half of the race, it was Sebastian Vettel in the other prancing horse that was battling with Rosberg for second and third, but after a costly pit stop to have his nose section changed, it was the best Vettel could do to finish fifth.
With the Torro Rosso’s of Sainz and Verstappen suffering a double DNF, and Button not even qualifying in the McLaren, the only challenger to the Mercedes and Ferrari teams was the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, where a powerful and defensive drive saw the Finn hold on to fourth place ahead of Vettel.
The Formula One circus now heads west, as May 10 sees the first of two European races. Alonso, Sainz, and Merhi will feel at home as Spain hosts the Pirelli Gran Premio de Espana, before moving on to Monaco on May 24.