Seven things you missed from the Bahrain Grand Prix
Apr 17 2017
A couple of hours after Vettel had held off his Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to win an exciting Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday - the German driver's second victory in three races - Ferrari's chairman spoke with new-found confidence. "Happy for all you guys at merc that Valtteri is going well", tweeted Nico Rosberg, whose decision to retire after winning the 2016 world title led Bottas to Mercedes this season.
Hamilton accepted the blame for his race-wrecking penalty, imposed by the stewards after the Mercedes deliberately held up Ricciardo.
Mercedes, who won the race previous year with Rosberg, have taken five successive poles in Bahrain.
It dropped him to 12th, but by the time the rest of the pack had pitted behind the safety vehicle following a coming to gather between the Williams of Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz, he was sitting pretty at the front. Hamilton remained third with the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo also in company, with just three seconds covering the top five through the opening phase of the race. Hamilton, who won in China last weekend, crossed the finish line 6.6 seconds behind.
Ferrari eventually made the call for Vettel on Lap 33, timing the stop perfectly so he emerged from the pits ahead of Ricciardo and with only teammate Raikkonen ahead on-track in the gap to Hamilton.
Verstappen crashed out of the race on lap 12 with brake failure and as Vettel charged through the field, Mercedes were thrown a potential lifeline when Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Canadian rookie Lance Stroll of Williams collided at Turn One. That ended the race for both drivers.
Pole-sitter Bottas came home third after struggling on supersoft tires in the middle part of the race, with Kimi Raikkonen closing in but having to settle for fourth after losing time behind Felipe Massa at the start.
"The vehicle was really wonderful to drive", Vettel said. It is his second win this season, having taken the flag in Australia and his 44th career victory.
He said: "It was a real shame because the target today was a lot lot higher". To stop teams gaining an advantage in such circumstances, drivers must remain within five seconds of the vehicle in front under the Safety auto, and as Ricciardo almost went into the back of Hamilton as the entered the pit lane, Hamilton exceeded that limit and was hit with a five-second penalty. On lap 36 Vettel caught Raikkonen and the Ferraris traded position, giving Vettel a clear road to hunt down Hamilton who was still in the lead.
Romain Grosjean was unable to repeat Haas' charge to fifth from 2016, but scored his first points of the year by finishing P8 for the American team.
Vettel pitted again on lap 34, while Hamilton, who had been steadily eating away at that advantage, later served his penalty after being fitted with soft tyres.
After taking responsibility for that slow entry into the pits, Hamilton said: "Congratulations to Seb and thank you for Valtteri for being a gentleman out there. I've never raced with less power in my life..." that was Alonso complaining over the radio.