Sebastian Vettel has won the Bahrain GP 2017, his second straight win of the season after Shanghai. He also takes the lead in the championship standings, while Ferrari now tops the constructors’ standings. Hamilton led Bottas home to give Mercedes a double podium. The duo worked hand in hand and at one point swapped positions, with Hamilton moving ahead. The Brit suffered a 5s penalty which ultimately cost him a P1 finish despite the brilliant strategy by the team.

Bahrain GP 2017 Results

1. Vettel – Ferrari
2. Hamilton – Mercedes
3. Bottas – Mercedes
4. Raikkonen – Ferrari
5. Ricciardo – Red Bull
6. Massa – Williams
7. Perez – Force India
6. Grosjean – Haas
9. Hulkenberg – Renault
10. Ocon – Force India

Bottas started from pole for the first time in his career at the Bahrain GP 2017, funny because at this time last year Bottas and Hamilton collided on lap 1. McLaren had power unit issues which forced Vandoorne out of the race even before it started. The P17 grid slot thus became empty. Drivers started on supersoft tires besides Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who started on softs.

The start was smooth for Bottas as he managed to hold onto P1, while Hamilton lost second to Vettel. Verstappen managed to jump both Raikkonen and Ricciardo for fourth place behind Hamilton. Massa also passed Raikkonen dropping the Ferrari to 7th. Kvyat had moved up to P10 but a wide moment threw him back to P18.

The top three were in for an early race, with Bottas having to constantly fend off Vettel, who in turn was heavily bombarded by Hamilton behind. No one was having it easy. Raikkonen managed to get past Massa on lap 8 and now had a tough job of catching up with Ricciardo. The top 5 were covered by only 2.5s, but Ricciardo had a 4s over Raikkonen.

“We are quicker than them but I’m stuck,” Verstappen lamented, the Dutchman was still running fourth.Yellow flags flew on lap 9 after Magnussen stopped on the track with a technical issue in his Haas. He became the second retirement of the day.

Vettel was the first among the leaders to pit, picking up a set of new supersofts on lap 11. He rejoined in 12th but managed to wade his way up to 8th. Vettel pitted too and picked up the same set of tires, rejoining in P11 behind Perez. Drama followed on lap 13 when Verstappen crashed out at Turn 4, apparently his brakes failed.

More drama followed when Stroll stopped at Turn 1 saying somebody had hit him. And even more yellows when Sainz stopped in his Toro Rosso…and the safety car was out. Bottas, Hamilton and Ricciardo used this moment to pit, but the Brit lost his place due to queueing delays, Ricciardo jumped him in the process.

With the dust settled and the safety car still running, the top ten comprised of Vettel, Bottas, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Ericsson, Perez and Grosjean. Hamilton and Ricciardo were now on softs, they did not have to stop again unlike Vettel and Bottas.

Retired already after 15 laps were Sainz, Stroll, Verstappen, Magnussen and Vandoorne. Hamilton was under investigation for holding Ricciardo at the pit entry, while trying to create space for Bottas to enter.

Upon restart, Bottas and Vettel went at it hard with the Ferrari barely managing to hold on to P1. Bottas settled for P2 after a tight squeeze while Hamilton passed Ricciardo for third during that shebang. The top 3 were only covered by 3s after 19 laps, while Massa was 6s behind the leader in fourth.

Hamilton was then handed a five seconds penalty for holding Ricciardo at the pit entry. Raikkonen managed to pass Massa on the grid straight with the help of DRS on lap 24. The Ferrari was now fourth behind Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel in P1.

“300 meters behind me and they overtake me on the straight…I’ve never raced with less power in my life…” that was Alonso complaining over the radio. The Spaniard was back in 13th place, some 37s behind the leader.

Bottas pitted on lap 31 after a strained run on supersofts, he emerged in P1 behind Perez on new softs. Meanwhile, Hamilton had eaten away Vettel’s gap to 3.9s by lap 32.

Vettel made his second stop and switched to softs, Hamilton moved to P1 and the new order changed to Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Ricciardo, Bottas and Massa.

Raikkonen allowed Vettel to pass on lap 36, the Finn would then pit two laps later. With the dust settled, Vettel was now 12s behind Hamilton, Bottas was third while Ricciardo and Raikkonen lay fourth and fifth respectively.

“Important to close the gap to Vettel – Lewis has a 5-second penalty but is yet to stop” Mercedes told Bottas. Given the end of race traffic, Hamilton was likely to move slower giving Vettel a chance to close the gap, not to mention the Brit still had 5s to serve.

Hamilton pitted on lap 41 where he served his 5s penalty, he then emerged in third and clear of Raikkonen. So Vettel now led the race away from Bottas, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Massa – all on softs bar Ricciardo who was on supersofts. By lap 50 Vettel had caught up with traffic, and Hamilton seized this opportunity to trim Vettel’s lead to 8.9s.

Double yellows on lap 52 after Ericsson pulled over at the side of the track. It was over for the Sauber driver. Trouble in paradise for Alonso on lap 56 after the McLaren suffered engine problems forcing the Spaniard to retire. Meanwhile, Vettel went ahead to win the Bahrain GP 2017, his second consecutive win of the season.

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