F1 2017: Sebastian Vettel wins Bahrain GP


A bold early pit stop paid off for Vettel, a week on from a similar strategy in China falling foul of the safety auto.

Ferrari have won two out of three races so far this season to lead the constructors' championship and it is Sebastian Vettel, not Lewis Hamilton, who tops the drivers' standings.

"It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium with Seb", said Marchionne.

Motorsport fans may be thrilled to have a Formula One championship worthy of the name once more but title holders Mercedes want to know why rivals Ferrari can get more out of their tyres and are considering implementing more team orders.

"After a winter of massive regulation change, we have been in the hunt for race wins at every weekend and that is the big positive for us".

"Congratulations to Kimi too on a good race", he added.

With Bottas leading a tight train of five drivers early in the race, Vettel opted for the undercut, pitting for new super softs on Lap 10, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen following suit from fourth place shortly after.

Seb and Lewis were putting pressure on and I couldn't control the race or build a gap. I completely understand the team's view.

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Bottas had started on pole for the first time in his Formula 1 career and while he held the lead until the first pit stops, he struggled for pace throughout the race. "I just didn't have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons for that", he said.

But moments later, the Dutchman's brakes failed and he drifted across the track and into the wall, his race over.

Vettel produced a gutsy drive, having started from third, behind Hamilton and fellow Mercedes man Valtteri Bottas who was on pole.

However, as his later sets of tyres were pressured correctly, Bottas is unsure why the rest of his race was so hard.

Hamilton chased Vettel all the way to the end but was ultimately hampered by a mistake earlier in the race.

"The pit lane (incident) was really my fault so apologies to the team for losing the time there ... but I gave it everything I could".

He went on to pass the Australian before serving his penalty during his second pit stop before finally passing Bottas in the closing laps and finishing behind Vettel. The incidents were coming fast, with 18 -year-old Lance Stroll hit from the side on lap 13 by Carlos Sainz Jr., forcing the safety auto to come out.

But it already seems to be the case that Mercedes may have to declare Hamilton as its No. 1, something which head of motorsport Toto Wolff is not relishing.