‘A really great day’ as Vettel takes the flag in Bahrain


Manama, Bahrain - Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday to go seven points clear at the top of the Formula One standings, with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton staging a late charge to finish second after picking up a time penalty.

Hamilton’s Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas started on pole position for the first time in his career, and ended up third.

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Sebastian Vettel dances on the podium after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. Photo: Hassan Ammar, APSebastian Vettel takes the chequered flag to win the Bahrain Grand Prix. Photo: Andrej Isakovic, ReutersLewis Hamilton is attended to by the Mercedes crew in the pits in Bahrain. Photo: Andrej Isakovic, ReutersSebastian Vettel celebrates with the Ferrari mechanics after winning Bahrain Grand Prix. Photo: Hamad I Mohammed, ReutersValtteri Bottas, right, joined winner Sebastian Vettel and second-placed Lewis Hamilton on the Bahrain podium. Photo: Luca Bruno, AP

The victory was Vettel’s second of the season after the four-times world champion won the opener in Australia. Hamilton, who won in China last weekend, crossed the floodlit finish line 6.6 seconds behind. Vettel’s 44th win lifted him to 68 points, with Hamilton second on 61.

“Yes guys, that’s what I’m talking about,” whooped Vettel, who was helped by the safety car being deployed after his first pit stop with the Mercedes duo still out, as he took the chequered flag.

“It was a really great day. It was on the last half of the out-lap, when all the fireworks were going off, that I was like ‘I love what I do’,” he said.

Hamilton’s race was further compromised by a five-second penalty for driving unnecessarily slowly at the pit lane entry when he did come in, a deliberate move to create a gap, with Bottas ahead in the queue.

The Briton served the penalty at his second stop, frustration evident from his shaking helmet, before charging back and taking more than one second a lap out of Vettel’s advantage before running out of time.

“The pit lane was really my fault... I tried really hard to catch up, but there was a long way to go,” said Hamilton, who thanked Bottas for his gentlemanly conduct in letting him through twice.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said Bottas’s hopes had been hit even before the lights went out on the grid when a problem with a generator left the Finn starting with the wrong tyre pressures.

“From then on, we were on the back foot,” he said.

Bottas kept the lead for the opening laps, with Vettel getting ahead of Hamilton into the first corner for second and then taking over after the pit stops.

“It was a great team effort today, and I felt like we are quick. I tried to put Valtteri under pressure. But the early pit stop worked,” said Vettel. “Lewis obviously was a very big threat again towards the end... but the car was a dream today.”

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth, with Daniel Ricciardo fifth for Red Bull and Brazilian Felipe Massa sixth for Williams on the 75th birthday of team founder Frank Williams.

Mexican Sergio Perez finished seventh for Force India, his 13th successive points finish, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean eighth for Haas.

Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg was ninth for Renault, that team’s first points of the year, and French rookie Esteban Ocon bagged the final point for Force India.

McLaren’s nightmare continued, with Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne failing to start and Fernando Alonso retiring on the final laps but classified 14th.


1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1:33:53.374

2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes +6.660s

3 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes +20.397

4 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari +22.475

5 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull +39.346

6 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams +54.326

7 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India +1:02.606

8 Romain Grosjean (France) Haas +1:14.865

9 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Renault +1:20.188

10 Esteban Ocon (France) Force India +1:35.711

11 Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber +1 lap

12 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso +1 lap

13 Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault +1 lap

14r. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren +3 laps

r. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber +7 laps

r. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso +45 laps

r. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams +45 laps

r. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull +46 laps

r. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas +49 laps

r. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren +57 laps

Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton - 1:32.798, lap 46.
Points Standings - Drivers

1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari - 68

2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes - 61

3 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes - 38

4 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari - 34

5 Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - 25

6 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - 22

7 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams - 16

8 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - 14

9 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - 10

10 Romain Grosjean (France) Haas - 4

11 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas - 4

12 Esteban Ocon (France) Force India - 3

13 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Renault - 2

14 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - 2


1 Ferrari - 102

2 Mercedes - 99

3 Red Bull - 47

4 Force India - 17

5 Williams - 16

Toro Rosso - 12

7 Haas - 8

8 Renault - 2

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