A track temperature of 120 as the cars circulated to take the grid promised to tax the new design in the second race of the season. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) started on pole for the second straight race, with teammate and Race 1 winner Nico Rosberg taking the grid in P3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), who finished out of the points in the first race after winning nine straight to close 2013, started next to Hamilton on the front row, posting a rainy qualifying time 0.55 sec slower. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) started P4.
Sergio Perez (Force India) dropped out before the start with this car stuck in fourth gear.
Rosberg took second from Vettel on the start, with Daniel Ricciardo taking third from his Red Bull teammate during Lap 2. Vettel regained the spot in the next few laps.
10 laps in, Hamilton had stretched his lead to 5.4 sec. Vettel pitted on Lap 24. Rosberg came in one lap later and Hamilton stopped from the lead during 16. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) assumed the top spot pending his first pit stop, but Hamilton retook the lead on track.
By Lap 25 (of 54), Hamilton had extended his lead to 10 sec. Vettel came in for his second stop during Lap 32, with Rosberg and Hamilton following in one-lap intervals. Following the pit stops, Vettel closed to within 1 sec of Rosberg. Rain began to fall on the back stretch during Lap 36.
On Lap 47 the Top 5 was Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Hulkenberg, and Alonso. All of the Top 3 still needed to pit to put on their first set of hard tires, with Vettel coming in first on Lap 50, and Rosberg and Hamilton following in one-lap intervals. Hamilton’s lead stood at nearly 18 sec before his final stop.
Alonso closed onto Hulkenberg’s tail during Lap 52 and took P4 one lap later.
This remained the running order at the finish.
Valtteri Bottas (Williams) charged from P18 at the start to finish eighth, but couldn’t make it past teammate Felipe Massa, who ignored team orders to let him pass.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 43
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes - 25
Fernando Alonso (Spain), Ferrari – 24
Jenson Button (Great Britain), McLaren-Mercedes – 23
Kevin Magnussen (Denmark), McLaren-Mercedes – 20
Nico Hulkenberg (Germany), Force India-Mercedes – 18
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Red Bull-Renault - 15
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 14
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland), Ferrari – 6
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes - 6
Team standings (teams earning points)
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 68
McLaren-Mercedes (Magnussen, Button) – 43
Ferrari (Alonso, Raikkonen) – 30
Williams-Mercedes (Bottas, Massa) – 20
Force India-Mercedes (Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez) – 19
Red Bull Racing-Renault (Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo) - 15
STR-Renault (Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniil Kvyat) – 7
Next event: Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix – Apr. 4-6