Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the 2017 Formula One Bahrain Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel managed to edge out Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton to secure victory on Sunday in a thrilling 2017 Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix.
Vettel produced a gutsy drive, having started from third, behind Hamilton and fellow Mercedes man Valtteri Bottas who was on pole. He initiated an overtaking maneuver on Hamilton going into Turn 1 and then proceeded to chase Bottas.
A little help also came from strategy and a series of blunders by other drivers. An early pit stop saw Vettel drop down the field but then Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen crashed on lap 12, due to suspected brake failure. A lap later, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz crashed into Williams’ Lance Stroll shortly after leaving the pits. (Sainz was later given a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Russia.)
The safety car came out, after which the two Mercedes drivers pitted for fresh tires. Here, Hamilton made a mistake of driving too slowly and was given a 5.0-second penalty for hindering Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
After the safety car period, Vettel came out on the lead, but was sitting on soft tires and would need a new set before the end of the race. Once Vettel pitted for the final time on lap 33, Hamilton was back in the lead. However, the Briton needed his own new set of tires and pitted too for the final time on lap 41. He also sat out his time penalty at this point.
2017 Formula One Bahrain Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
After exiting the pits, Hamilton reduced a 19.0-second gap with Vettel to just 5.8 seconds by the 54th lap. However, it was not enough to catch Vettel who would go on to win the race 6.66 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
Bottas finished third approximately 20.0 seconds back. Bottas struggled with oversteer at the start of the race, deemed to be due to low front tire pressure. He moved over for his faster teammate on lap 29 and stayed in third to the end. Fortunately for Mercedes he was able to hold off Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen who finished fourth.
Ricciardo slowed in the second half of the race but still managed to finish fifth. He was followed by Williams’ Felipe Massa in sixth and Force India’s Sergio Perez in seventh. Eighth, ninth and tenth spots went to Haas’ Romain Grosjean, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Esteban Ocon, respectively.
It was another shocking weekend for McLaren whose star driver Fernando Alonso had to retire due to car trouble. His teammate Stoffel Vandoorne failed to start the race also due to car trouble.
In the 2017 Drivers’ Championship, Vettel now sits in the lead with 68 points. Hamilton is second with 61 points and Bottas is third with 38 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari leads with 102 points versus the 99 of Mercedes and 47 of Red Bull. The next race on the calendar is the Russian Grand Prix in a fortnight.
Hit the next page for the full results of the 2017 Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix.