Vettel takes pole position at Bahrain GP, Hamilton struggles

10 April, 2018, 20:18 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Fernando Alonso locks

Sebastian Vettel holds off Valtteri Bottas to win the Bahrain Grand Prix on his 200th Formula 1 start.

Bottas was closing the gap on Vettel as his tyres faded and closed to within two seconds of the German going into the final laps. The German driver who has four world championship titles under his belt set a time of 1min 27.958sec to claim his 51st career pole after a close battle with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

"It is positive in a way with Melbourne a pretty bad first race of the season".

And Hamilton said the team were simply lacking pace compared with their Maranello rivals.

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He had earlier told his team that everything was under control but that, he recognised later with a smile, was not the reality.

"I was making the maths inside the vehicle and with 10 laps to go, that pace, he's going to catch me". Really happy I got the second run and got it clean.

Bottas finally pitted after 21 laps, in a 3.8 seconds stop for medium tyres that were expected to see him complete the race - while both Ferrari ran on softs.

Raikkonen topped the leaderboard just ahead of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel by 0.011 seconds. None other than Gasly in the Toro Rosso, who was just 1.371 seconds behind the pole of Vettel.

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Ferrari had been hit with a 5,000 euro ($6,100) fine Friday after Raikkonen left a pit stop during practice without one of his wheels being properly attached.

A botched Kimi Raikkonen pit stop saw the Finn released too early, his left-rear wheel striking the leg of the mechanic, who was immediately taken to hospital.

Red Bull suffered an terrible start to the race as Max Verstappen picked up a puncture after clipping Hamilton, while Daniel Ricciardo managed just two laps before stopping on the track. Verstappen suffered a rear-left puncture after making contact with Hamilton as he tried to pass the Briton, and limped back to the pits. "I believe the auto has the potential we need".

Frenchman Pierre Gasly was ninth in his Honda-powered Toro Rosso with Fernando Alonso, a three-times victor in Bahrain, rounding out the top 10 in his McLaren. With Toro Rosso powered by the Honda power unit that drew such criticism from McLaren over the past three years, Gasly took to team radio after the race to mock Alonso by echoing his statement in Australia by saying: "Now we can race!" He promptly repeated the move on the Haas of Kevin Magnussen a lap later.

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Force India's Sergio Perez was also eliminated, along with Alonso, McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne and Verstappen, who took no part in the second segment of qualifying following his crash. But they finished a lap down. There were also celebrations at Sauber, with Sweden's Marcus Ericsson finishing ninth for his first points since 2015 and the Swiss team's first of the season.

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