Sebastian Vettel marks 200th race with thrilling Bahrain GP win

Rob Smedley speaks to Martin Brundle

Rob Smedley speaks to Martin Brundle

Raikkonen was given the green light to exit the pits too early after stopping for fresh tyres and collected the Scuderia crew member as he took off.

The four-time ex-champion, on severely-worn tyres, came home narrowly ahead of Valtteri Bottas and the Finn's Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in a nail-biting finish to an intriguing contest.

The strategic showdown between Ferrari and Mercedes was foreshadowed on Saturday (Apr 7), but Red Bull Racing was expected to figure strongly in race permutations; however, both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were eliminated from the race in the opening laps.

Vettel now leads Hamilton by 17 points after two of the 21 races. Red Bull had more trouble, with Daniel Ricciardo's auto stopping at the side of the track too, which meant that the team had a double retirement.

The pit window came into play by lap 16 and Gasly managed to hold on to his P5 ahead of Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Alonso. The Dutch driver had done brilliantly to jump from 15th on the grid, and fought with Hamilton on the inside heading into turn one.

"Which one of those Italians, for example, do you think fears most to be the one who fumbled the pit-stop on a leading Ferrari?"

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg spent the race keeping a ferocious Fernando Alonso at bay, the Spaniard nonetheless salvaging points for McLaren after a hitherto disappointing weekend. Raikkonen was given the green light to go but it was an unsafe release and, as he pulled away, his vehicle hit one of the mechanics. The mechanic was immediately attended to by the medical team and was taken to the hospital, while Kimi stopped in the pit lane ultimately retiring from the race.

The two Red Bulls retired from the race after Daniel Ricciardo stopped on track on lap two and Max Verstappen was forced to park his vehicle three laps later.

This left Bottas as the lone driver to challenge a rapidly fading Vettel.

Another master strategy call from the Mercedes pit wall sold Ferrari on a two-stop race while the Brackley team's intention all along was dual one-stop races utilising the medium compound until the end (remember, this year's medium tyre is a degree softer but still longer-lasting than the compounds below it).

While Vettel's win in Australia could be attributed more to luck than strategy, his win in Bahrain was thanks to his sheer talent and determination. Vettel was nearly overtaken by Bottas on the last lap but made a crucial blocking move and won by only 0.6 seconds for his 49th career win. His tyres were fresher and his auto was faster, yet Vettel defended his position and kept the W09 in his mirror, and crucially, just out of DRS range right until the end. Hamilton, who voiced his frustrations over the radio on several occasions, completed the podium in third place, 8.5 seconds behind the front pair. Pierre Gasly benefited from the issues among the top three teams to finish fourth in his Toro Rosso. Williams is the only team that is yet to score a championship point.

Recommended News

  • Arsenal Thrash Ahmed Musa's CSKA In Europa

    Arsenal Thrash Ahmed Musa's CSKA In Europa

    Five minutes later Ramsey produced a bit of magic, volleying a pass from Ozil with his heel beyond goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. The Italian club was not to be denied, though, as substitute Felipe Anderson and Ciro Immobile added two late goals.
    Donald Trump once again won't attend White House Correspondents' Dinner

    Donald Trump once again won't attend White House Correspondents' Dinner

    Bush and Bill Clinton, according to the Pew Research Center . "I'm very excited to come here and ruin your evening in person". President Trump has repeatedly clashed with California over policy, particularly around the environment and immigration.
    Losses lengthen after March jobs data jolt

    Losses lengthen after March jobs data jolt

    Economists say annual wage growth of at least 3 percent is needed to lift inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent target. ADP, which calculates based on its own payroll services, had predicted a net gain of 241,000 jobs in March.
  • Guardiola, Klopp know

    Guardiola, Klopp know "anything can happen" in Europe

    During the two matches in which Lahoz has refereed at the Etihad Stadium, he has awarded three penalties to... Many times we have created a lot of chances in a short period. "Maybe next year, but soon it will happen".
    Lula to surrender after police standoff

    Lula to surrender after police standoff

    Lula da Silva left office with a 90% approval rating but was questioned by police about the corruption allegations in March 2016. Throughout his speech, the crowd, mostly wearing the red of his Workers' Party, chanted for him not to surrender.
    Valverde: Messi Is The Best

    Valverde: Messi Is The Best

    We have to go for it, knowing the difficulty, which is great, but the challenge is nice, let's see if we can compete there. Brazilian Legend Pele claims fellow countryman Neymar is more like Lionel Messi than Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Court reserves decision on Salman Khan's bail plea till Saturday

    Court reserves decision on Salman Khan's bail plea till Saturday

    Also, filmmaker friend Sajid Nadiadwala cancelled the success bash of his film "Baaghi 2" after the superstar was sentenced. The big budget entertainer is scheduled to be shot in Spain, Poland, Portugal, Malta, Abu Dhabi, besides Punjab and Delhi.
    O2's 4G network to receive big boost after recent spectrum auction

    O2's 4G network to receive big boost after recent spectrum auction

    Telefónica also scooped 40 MHz of 2.3 GHz spectrum which is available to use immediately for existing 4G services. Ofcom said the final company involved, Airspan Spectrum Holdings, did not win spectrum in either band.

    McGregor Blasts UFC After Being Stripped of Lightweight Title

    Conor McGregor has responded in typically no-nonsense style to the news that he is to be stripped of his UFC lightweight title. White also says Rose Namajunas was also on the bus and was very shaken up in the incident - she nearly broke her hand.
  • President Trump visiting southern West Virginia

    President Trump visiting southern West Virginia

    And, of course, he reminisced about his 2016 electoral victory in the Mountain State. It is not clear who the "they" in this statement are.
    Dallet Elected To Wisconsin Supreme Court

    Dallet Elected To Wisconsin Supreme Court

    Her conservative opponent, Michael Screnock , is a longtime ally of Walker's who tried to paint Dallet as a liberal activist. Several voters in the state said they were motivated to vote against Screnock because of his NRA support.
    Four people killed in university shooting in Turkey's Eskisehir

    Four people killed in university shooting in Turkey's Eskisehir

    The university's rector Hasan Gonen confirmed to CNN-Turk television that four people had been killed. The motive for the attack was not immediately known.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.