Vettel wins in Bahrain
May 12 2017 , 12:00 am
Sebastian Vettel has a clear lead in the drivers’ championship after winning a tense 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton on Sunday. A late charge from Hamilton wasn’t quite enough to prevent a splendid Ferrari victory, as his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas took third.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth for Ferrari, with Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull’s only finisher in fifth, team mate Max Verstappen having retired early with brake failure. Felipe Massa secured sixth for Williams, from Force India’s Sergio Perez and Haas’s Romain Grosjean. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Esteban Ocon completed the top ten.
From third on the grid, Vettel jumped Hamilton’s Silver Arrow going into Turn 1 at the start, then chased polesitter and early leader Bottas as the three of them were joined by the Red Bulls of fast-starting Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in a high-speed train.
Vettel and Ferrari gambled on going for the undercut with an early pit stop on lap 10, and it worked well for them. They were followed by Verstappen and Red Bull doing likewise next time around. But as Vettel recovered in 12th place, Verstappen crashed in Turn 4 on the 12th lap, due to suspected brake failure.
A lap later Carlos Sainz, leaving the pits after a stop in his Toro Rosso, collided with the side of rookie Lance Stroll’s Williams as the Canadian turned into Turn 1 – a misdemeanour which subsequently earned Sainz a three-place grid drop for the next round in Canada.
The safety car was deployed, leaving Mercedes no alternative but to pit both their drivers at the same time. That meant stacking Hamilton behind Bottas, and while trying to give the Finn’s crew time to service him, Hamilton came in so slowly that he was deemed by the stewards to have hindered the following Ricciardo, and was handed a five-second penalty that would prove very costly.