Vettel beats Hamilton in Bahrain thriller

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel beats the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas to win for the second time in three races as Nico Hulkenberg scores his and Renault’s first points of the season.


Vandoorne fails to start

McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne will not start the Bahrain GP due to power unit issues. Vandoorne, who had been due to start 17th but due to reportedly having the same MGU-H issues that affected him earlier in the weekend.

Tyre choice

Every driver will start on either old or new Supersoft tyres except from Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who will start on the Soft compound tyre.


The lights go out and away Valterri Bottas goes, leading as Lewis Hamilton has some wheelspin off the start and gets jumped by Sebastian Vettel round the outside into turn 1. Kimi Raikkonen loses places to Max Verstappen and Felipe Massa of the start and the first lap. The biggest gainers off the start are Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez as both have made up 5 places into 11th and 13th. Lap 7, Raikkonen is still behind Massa in 6th and 7th places. Raikkonen finally overtakes the Brazilian into turn 1 on lap 8 and now up into 6th place.

Lap 9, Kevin Magnussen pulls over at turn 8 near a marshal post. His race is over. Lap 10, Sebastian Vettel pits from 2nd place and switches over onto the Supersoft tyre. He drops to 12th but in clear air. A brave move by Ferrari to pit Vettel. Lap 12, Max Verstappen pits. He was right up behind Lewis Hamilton and being held up. He goes onto the Supersoft tyre and rejoins in 11th. The yellow flags are out and it’s Verstappen! He is in the gravel trap at turn 4. The replay shows brake failure could be the suspect. Lap 13, Kimi Raikkonen pits and goes onto the Supersoft tyre. Lap 13, Lance Stroll has stopped at the exit of turn 1. There is debris scattered across the track as Stroll says on team radio “I was hit from the side.”

The replay shows Carlos Sainz Jr coming out of the pits and trying to make an audacious move on the inside of Stroll. Stroll was on the outside and turned in for turn 1 with Sainz hitting the right side of the Williams car. Sainz has pulled over and both their races are over, the Safety Car has been deployed. Valterri Bottas now leading the race pits on lap 14 along with Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo. Bottas pits and switches onto the Supersoft tyre along with Hamilton and Ricciardo going onto the Soft tyre. In all of this, Sebastian Vettel now leads the race.

So Sebastian Vettel leads ahead of Valterri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa. A replay shows Hamilton and Ricciardo coming into the pits. Hamilton looks to be going slower than normal under the SC. A valid reason for this could be as Mercedes had to pit Bottas and Hamilton, a gap would have to be built to allow Bottas to make his pit-stop  and Hamilton to follow without delay. Lap 17, the Safety Car comes in with Hamilton overtaking Ricciardo before turn 1. Massa follows, overtaking Ricciardo with Raikkonen doing the same into turn 12. Ricciardo is struggling to get heat into his Soft tyres.

The Stewards have given Lewis Hamilton a 5 second time penalty for driving unnecessarily slow in the pit entry. He can take that at his pit-stop or at the end of the race. The incident between Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz will be investigated after the race. Sebastian Vettel and Valterri Bottas need to pit again as the Supersoft tyres will not go to the end. Lap 24, Kimi Raikkonen overtakes Felipe Massa again into turn 1 and up into 4th place. Lap 27, Hamilton is right behind Bottas who is now nearly 5 seconds behind Vettel. Bottas lets Hamilton past before turn 1 as he obeys the Mercedes orders. So the gap from Vettel to Hamilton is 6 seconds with Bottas 1.2 seconds behind his team-mate. Lap 29, Ricciardo overtakes Massa into turn 1 and up into 5th place. Lap 31, Bottas pits onto the Soft tyre. He rejoins in 7th after pitting from 3rd.

Lap 32, Romain Grosjean pits. In a bid to undercut Nico Hulkenberg, Grosjean has pitted early onto the Soft tyre. Lap 32, Valterri Bottas overtakes Sergio Perez into turn 14 and up into 6th place. Lap 33, Sebastian Vettel pits, the gap between Hamilton and Vettel was reducing. Vettel goes onto a set of Supersoft tyre and rejoins in 3rd. Lap 34, Bottas overtakes Felipe Massa for 5th place into turn 1. Lap 36, Vettel overtakes Kimi Raikkonen before turn 1 and is now up into 2nd place. Lap 37, Bottas now overtakes Ricciardo and is now up into 4th place. Sergio Perez pits along with Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso with Perez and Alonso switching to the Soft tyre with Hulkenberg onto the Supersoft tyre.

Lap 38, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa pit with both drivers switching to the Soft compound tyre. Lap 40, Daniel Ricciardo pits switching to the Supersoft tyre. Lap 42, Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead and takes his 5 second time penalty. He drops to 3rd place but on the Soft tyre. Sebastian Vettel leads ahead of Valterri Bottas by 10 seconds with Hamilton 4 and a half seconds behind Bottas. Lap 47, Bottas moves aside and lets Hamilton passed into 2nd place. Lap 50, Vettel is now lapping Jolyon Palmer and Marcus Ericsson with Hamilton rapidly closing in behind. Lap 52, Ericsson has a problem as he slows and comes to halt before turn 4. Lap 54, Vettel leads with a 6.7 second gap to Hamilton. Fernando Alonso’s race is over as he reports a issue with his engine. Vettel wins after 57 laps ahead of Hamilton and Bottas.

Race Results

1.Vettel  2.Hamilton  3.Bottas  4.Raikkonen  5.Ricciardo  6.Massa  7.Perez  8.Grosjean  9.Hulkenberg  10.Ocon  11.Wehrlein  12.Kvyat  13.Palmer  DNF Alonso, Ericsson, Sainz, Stroll, Magnussen  DNS Vandoorne.

Race stats

  • Sebastian Vettel’s victory was his third in Bahrain, and the 44th win of his career.
  • Valterri Bottas finished 3rd after securing his first ever pole position. He becomes the 5th Finnish driver to do so. He also scored his 11th podium finish.
  • Sergio Perez recovered from a unfortunate qualifying session which left him 18th. He finished 7th and with teammate Esteban Ocon in 10th, it was a double points finish for Force India.
  • Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg scored their first points of the year in 8th and 9th.
  • Lance Stroll has now failed to finish any of the 3 races this year. Out of all the racing laps, Stroll has only completed 52 laps.

Drivers Championship

  1. Sebastian Vettel 68pts
  2. Lewis Hamilton 61pts
  3. Valterri Bottas 38pts
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 34pts
  5. Max Verstappen 25pts
  6. Daniel Ricciardo 22pts
  7. Felipe Massa 16pts
  8. Sergio Perez 14pts
  9. Carlos Sainz Jr 10pts
  10. Romain Grosjean 4pts

Constructors Championship

  1. Ferrari 102pts
  2. Mercedes 99pts
  3. Red Bull 47pts
  4. Force India 17pts
  5. Williams 16pts
  6. Torro Rosso 12pts
  7. Haas 8pts
  8. Renault 2pts
  9. Sauber 0pts
  10. McLaren 0pts




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