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Formula One: Vettel fends off Bottas to Bahrain win

10 April, 2018, 20:47 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Formula One: Vettel fends off Bottas to Bahrain win

Despite arriving in the pit lane successfully for a tire swap, Verstappen too retired, on lap 5.

Ferrari set the pace all weekend in Bahrain.

Vettel had led from pole position, with Bottas slotting into second place at the start from third on the grid, but ended up having to battle the Mercedes pair alone.

It is against the regulations for a vehicle to have a mismatched set of tyres, which is why Raikkonen was instructed to stop in the pitlane.

Vettel followed up his win at the season-opening Australian GP two weeks ago by staging a nerve-wracking rearguard. In fact, his race craft and defence from a charging Bottas was a good reminder of why Ferrari and the Paddock hold him in high regard. It was more consistent on one lap but also in the race.

Bottas used his longer-lasting compound to effect by closing down Vettel during the closing stages and began the final lap within a second of his rival, though was unable to produce an overtaking chance, and came home as runner-up.

Mercedes started the Grand Prix on the back foot. The four-time world champion said the question was unfair and also compared the Formula 1 drivers to footballers, complaining that every time they swear they are not picked up on it. "That was the original plan, but we diverted again and tried to make them last and to nurse them as much as I could". Vettel would have none of it, saying: "Well, they had less [sic] races in 1982".

Bottas was the first silver auto to pit, switching straight to the medium-compound tyre on lap 20.

But despite having a quick auto, Ferrari had to contend with only one vehicle finishing the race. During a routine pit stop, Raikkonen's auto was released too early and hit one of the team's mechanics as he accelerated away.

This is not the first time that Ferrari has struggled with Raikkonen's pit-stops following an earlier fine due to an unsafe release for Raikkonen in practice. "Obviously Australia was a different race and if you compare these two races, here we had the pace and won on our own".

But it was a close run thing at the end as Bottas in the Mercedes closed up to Vettel's tail, but despite an nearly half hearted effort to pass the Ferrari on the last lap Vettel hung on to take the win. To save his seat from Ricciardo or Esteban Ocon, Bottas will definitely need to do more, if not repeat performances like Bahrain. After a slow start, Hamilton picked his way back through the field, overtaking three cars at once on lap 6, before a one-stop strategy moved him up to third. Frenchman Pierre Gasly converted Honda-powered Toro Rosso's strong qualifying placing into a dream result by finishing fourth.

He stopped for a new set of tyres but his race was over - like that of Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who stopped on the side of the track after an electrical shutdown meaning the virtual safety auto had to be deployed.

"I am sorry for Kimi who could certainly have finished on the podium", Marchionne said.

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