Sebastian Vettel beats Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain Grand Prix.
Ferrari beats Mercedes hectic and thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix. Vettel’s win gives him a seven-point lead over Hamilton in the championship.
Hamilton was penalised five seconds for driving slowly on pit entry to hold up Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and his hopes were hit in Bahrain.
It was served at his second and final pit stop, Hamilton rejoined in third place.
Following the rejoin, team-mate Valtteri Bottas was ordered to let Hamilton by so he could chase Sebastian Vettel, but 12 seconds in nine laps was too big a task and he took second.
Why a well driven Ferrari can beat Mercedes.
Who was the quickest car?
Ferrari calms it was them while Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton was the fastest. And the world champions may well feel this was a race that got away from them.
However, the best race of the season, in which all three so far have been good, underlined one key fact – Ferrari are absolutely competitive and they and Mercedes are in a titanic struggle for the championship.
As this season progresses, Vettel and Hamilton will probably lead their teams.
Yes Ferrari can beat Mercedes providing the race strategy is aggressive and the pit-stops faultless.
The Ferrari could so easily have won the first three races rather than two. Equally, Hamilton could have won them all too. It’s that close.
Mercede’s Bottas found out what’s it’s like to get in the ring for 94 minutes with two multiple champions. They are brutally and relentlessly fast and he left Bahrain with a better experience of his car.
Also, I believe it was still a good weekend for him, breaking through the glass ceiling of his first pole position and leading the first 14 laps.
We were informed that his tyres were over pressured from the start, but he still didn’t have enough rear grip and pace after two pit-stops and fresh boots. He will keep improving, learning and growing in confidence and I believe he will win a race or two this year.
Hamilton was given a penalty for impeding Daniel Ricciardo into the pits during the Safety Car because he had to be stacked up and wait for Bottas to finish his pit-stop. That’s the priority service which pole position and getting a good start buys you.
The regulations prevent you from blocking and ‘holding the shirt’ of others because your team has decided to pit both cars close together. It’s not fair, so the penalty was. Whether that five-second penalty and waiting behind a slightly delayed Bottas prevented Hamilton from winning we’ll never know, it would have been extremely close but I suspect Vettel had it covered up front despite the Safety Car once again negating some of his early pit stop advantage, just as it did the week before in China.
However I doubt it thrills him much on this occasion, Hamilton moves past Alain Prost into second place for F1 career podiums with 107 appearances, although it’s still some way to Michael Schumacher’s 155.
The fans will feel refreshing to see Ferrari on the front hoof when it comes to forcing the race strategy. Well for one car anyway, Kimi Raikkonen appears to me to be second priority, not helped by his poorer grid position, starts and pace compared to the championship leader in the sister car.
Kimi sounds and looks frustrated, and he’s taken over Vettel’s role as Mr Grumpy on the radio. With some public admonishment from his bosses, he’s going to need to turn this around in the next few races if he wants a team shirt for 2018.
Surprisingly, Mercedes look a little flustered by Ferrari seizing the initiative in strategy and having the more comfortable race car.