F1: Vettel & Ferrari take Championship Lead after Bahrain GP Victory

Posted April 17, 2017

Sebastian Vettel moved into a clear lead in this year's world championship on Sunday (Apr 16) when he claimed a well-judged victory for Ferrari in the Bahrain Grand Prix for his second win of the season.

Vettel stopped on lap 33 for his second change of rubber to allow Hamilton to take the lead of the race.

But Nico Rosebrg seems perfectly happy watching Formula One with his feet up on the sofa and behind a TV screen as he reflected on the early scrap in the race between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Bottas started from pole for the first time in his career at the Bahrain GP 2017, amusing because at this time previous year Bottas and Hamilton collided on lap 1.

Hamilton backed off significantly on pit entry to avoid having to wait behind Bottas in the pits, but held up Ricciardo in the process.

But the team's race unraveled after that, with Verstappen crashing out with brake failure after making a pitstop, and Ricciardo struggling for grip after the safety auto period that came shortly after his team-mate's off. Vettel pitted early, on lap 11, as the team went aggressive, looking to the undercut and taking another set of the supersoft rubber. Bottas was told not to put up a fight to his oncoming teammate - not that he could - freeing Hamilton up to chase Vettel. However, Verstappen crashed out due to a brake failure the next lap.

A slow stop for Bottas delayed Hamilton slightly anyway and he dropped behind the Red Bull, and was then hit with a five-second penalty for delaying Ricciardo.

Pole-sitter Bottas came home third after struggling on supersoft tires in the middle part of the race, with Kimi Raikkonen closing in but having to settle for fourth after losing time behind Felipe Massa at the start.

Hamilton was the new race leader, but with more than 20 laps to go, a time penalty still to take, and with Vettel on new tires, it was a precarious lead. To stop teams gaining an advantage in such circumstances, drivers must remain within five seconds of the vehicle in front under the Safety auto, and as Ricciardo almost went into the back of Hamilton as the entered the pit lane, Hamilton exceeded that limit and was hit with a five-second penalty.

"It was not a good day; we had an issue with the tyre pressures at the start", said Bottas. Verstappen followed Vettel's line and jumped Ricciardo and Raikkonen into fourth, with Massa also getting ahead of the Ferrari at Turn 4 and holding it up for the opening eight laps.

The delay for Bottas ensured Vettel led behind the Safety Car, but the leading pair were on supersoft tires compared to softs for Ricciardo and Hamilton behind.

Upon restart, Bottas and Vettel went at it hard with the Ferrari barely managing to hold on to P1.

The victory was Vettel's second of the season after the four-times World Champion won the opener in Australia.

"Congratulations to Seb and thank you to Valtteri for being a gentleman out there", he said on the podium. Trouble in paradise for Alonso on lap 56 after the McLaren suffered engine problems forcing the Spaniard to retire.

"Lewis had to try, which I understand, but personally it is tough".