Hamilton pulls away after three wins in four races

Sun Apr 19, 2015 5:30pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix for the second year in a row on Sunday with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen back on the podium to deny Mercedes another one-two finish under the floodlights.

The Briton's flying pole-to-flag victory at the desert track was his third win in four races this season and 36th of his career.

The 30-year-old increased his lead over Rosberg in the standings to 27 points, with the Briton now having 93 points to the German's 66 as the championship heads back to start the European season.

"I am gunning for it," Hamilton told triple world champion Jackie Stewart, doing the podium interviews, when reminded that he could also be a three-times champion by the end of the season.

"The Ferraris gave us a real good run for our money, and out there it was really difficult to look after the tyres in these conditions," he added after spraying the fizzy rose water that replaces champagne in Bahrain.

He did so with less reckless abandon than in China last weekend, when photographs of him aiming a jet of fizz in the face of a hostess triggered a controversy and accusations of sexist bullying.

"Fortunately I was able to keep the car together, keep the tyres as healthy as possible and got it through... I think we showed that Mercedes are still the best," said Hamilton.

Unlike last year, when he beat team mate Nico Rosberg from second place on the grid in a wheel-to-wheel battle, Hamilton was untroubled by the German who finished third after fighting the Ferraris.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates winning the Bahrain Grand Prix with the trophy in Sakhir April 19, 2015. Action Images via Reuters / Hoch Zwei