Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the 2018 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has now won the first two rounds of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship thanks to his strong performance on Sunday at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Mercedes-AMG's Valtteri Bottas crossed the line second, just 0.699 seconds behind, while fellow Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was third, 6.512 seconds behind.
It was a closely contested battle right down to the final corner and the win came courtesy of a well thought out strategy and the abilities of Vettel who managed to make a set of soft tires last 38 laps no less, on a track that is far from accommodating.
Vettel started on pole alongside teammate Kimi Räikkönen. Bottas was right behind them in third, while Hamilton despite qualifying fourth had to start from ninth on the grid due to a gearbox penalty.
Bottas quickly jumped pass Räikkönen at the start of the race and shortly after the virtual safety car was deployed when Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen had a puncture as a result of a coming together with Hamilton while trying to overtake going into a turn. Verstappen sustained some damage to his car and ultimately retired. Sadly his teammate Daniel Ricciardo also retired at the start, due to electrical issues.
2018 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Approaching the halfway point of the race, most of the drivers came in for a tire change. There was trouble when Räikkönen, running in third at the time, pulled away from his stop as a mechanic on the left rear wheel was knocked over, suffering a couple of fractures as a result. Räikkönen's race was over at this point and Ferrari later received a fine for the incident.
Out on track, Bottas pursued Vettel for 20 laps, and with fresher tires the Mercedes driver closed in on his Ferrari rival. Hamilton was also a short distance behind. Bottas eventually closed the gap to Vettel within a second and took one last attempt at overtaking at the start of the final lap but Vettel never gave him room, even though his tires were pretty much finished at this point.
A surprise fourth place finish was that of Toro Rosso rookie Pierre Gasly. It was power unit supplier Honda's best result after three disastrous years with former client McLaren. Meanwhile, Haas' Kevin Magnussen made an impressive run to round out the top five.
Vettel now leads the 2018 Drivers' Championship with 50 points. Hamilton is second with 33 points and Bottas is third with 22 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari leads with 65 points versus the 55 of Mercedes and 22 of McLaren. Teams now head to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix on this weekend.
Hit the next page for the full results from the 2018 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.