Mercedes picked up where it left off in 2015, locking down the front row with Lewis Hamilton on pole and Nico Rosberg next to him. Ferrari occupied Row 2, Sebastian Vettel ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) started fifth and Felipe Massa (Williams) sixth. A second formation lap ran after Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) brought his car to a stop just short of the starting grid.
Vettel and Raikkonen moved into P1 and 2 at the start, Rosberg claiming third as Hamilton dropped to sixth. Vettel pitted from the lead during Lap 14 and put on his second set of supersoft option tires, coming out in third but ahead of Rosberg. Vettel passed Hamilton for P2 two laps later.
The safety car deployed during Lap 18 (of 57) following a spectacular collision between Esteban Gutierrez (Haas) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren), both of whom walked away. The red flag waved before the end of the next lap. Vettel led Rosberg and Raikkonen at the restart. Raikkonen retired in flames in Lap 23, pulling into the pits before full ignition. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) moved into third.
Vettel pitted from the lead again during Lap 36, but difficulty changing the left front cost him a few seconds and he slotted in P4 ahead of Massa. The subsequent Top 3 was Rosberg, Ricciardo, and Hamilton. Ricciardo pitted from third during Lap 42, putting on supersofts. Rosberg led Hamilton and Vettel.
Vettel went off track on the last turn of Lap 55, but retained third. The Top 3 remained in place to the end, followed by Ricciardo and Massa. US-based Haas F1 scored points in its world championship debut, Romain Grosjean finishing sixth.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 25
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 18
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 15
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – 12
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 10
Romain Grosjean (France), Haas-Ferrari – 8
Nico Hulkenberg (Germany), Force India-Mercedes – 6
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 4
Carlos Sainz, Jr. (Spain), Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 2
Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 43
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 15
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Bottas) – 14
Red Bull Racing (Ricciardo, Kvyat) – 12
Haas-Ferrari (Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez) – 8
Force India-Mercedes (Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez) – 6
Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Sainz, Verstappen) – 3
Next event: Bahrain Grand Prix – Apr. 1-3, 2016