Ferrari’s Vettel Clinches Second Victory in Bahrain
Sebastian Vettel’s continued in brilliant form in the second race of the season by winning the Bahrain GP. Having qualified on pole with teammate Kimi Raikkonen alongside him, it gave the team a much needed boost in terms of strategy for a race win.
Ferrari switched Vettel to a one-stop strategy midway after it became clear he would lose out to Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton if pitted again. The four-time world champion managed to eke out a remarkable 10 laps from his expired Pirelli tyres.
“These tyres were done. They were done for the last 10 laps,” admitted Vettel. “We diverted and I tried to nurse the tyres as much as I could. It worked, but just. Fortunately, Valtteri ran out of laps,” said the German.
Vettel took the chequered flag after warding off Bottas, who finished just 0.6 behind. Hamilton rounded off the podium after starting ninth on the grid, after a five-place drop for a gearbox change and after a clash of wheels with Max Verstappen.
Raikkonen, however, retired from the race after a terrible pit-stop, in which a mechanic suffered a horrendous double leg break. To make matters worse, the team has been fined €50,000 for releasing Raikkonen’s car ‘in a manner endangering team personnel and causing injury’.
Both Red Bull drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen, retired in the opening laps of a forgettable weekend. Ricciardo’s car lost complete power on the straights when chasing Raikkonen. Pierre Gasly finished a well-earned fourth place for Toro Rosso-Honda. It was Honda’s best finish since returning to F1 four years ago.
Kevin Magnusseen of Team Haas put a dismal Australian GP behind them to take fifth place, followed by Niko Hulkenberg of Renault. Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne of McLaren continued their climb back up with respectable 7th and 8th place finishes.
Marcus Ericsson of Sauber and Esteban Ocon of Force India rounded off the top 10 finishes.
Vettel, who holds a 17-point lead in the championship and helped claim Ferrari’s first back-to-back wins at the start of a season since 2004, is looking for a hattrick of wins come Shanghai next weekend.