Bahrain GP 2017

APRIL 16, 2017

Race Notes - Vettel wins Bahrain

Podium, Bahrain GP 2017
© RV Press


By Mark Karp

Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari won the Bahrain GP, 6.6 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes GP in second, and 20.3 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas in third in the second Mercedes.

Hamilton, after being handed a five-second penalty, stormed back after Vettel in the closing stages, setting fast lap after fast lap - but it was not enough to catch the Ferrari, who have now won two of the three first races.

The race is Vettel's 44th career victory.

Kimi Raikkonen (22.4s) in the second Ferrari finished in fourth, followed by Daniel Ricciardo (39.3s) in the Red Bull in fifth, Felipe Massa (54.3s) in his Williams-Mercedes in sixth, Sergio Perez (62.6s) in the Force India-Mercedes in seventh, Romain Grosjean (74.8s) in the Haas-Ferrari in eighth, Nico Hulkenberg (80.1s) in the Renault in ninth and Esteban Ocon (95.7s) in the second Force India in the final points scoring position in tenth.

As night falls, the drivers prepared for the start - Bottas taking his first F1 pole yesterday, with his team mate Hamilton alongside on the front row. Vettel and Ricciardo lining up on row two, Raikkonen and Max Verstappen on row three, Hulkenberg and Massa on row four and Grosjean and Palmer rounding out the top ten.

Before the start Vandoorne's power unit is not working correctly and he will not start today's race in his McLaren.

Most drivers are expected to make a one-stop strategy in the race.

All drivers starting on super soft tyres, except Ericsson starting on soft tyres.

The weather is cooler than the previous days and the wind is blowing sand as the grid clears. At the appointed time, the drivers make their formation lap and line up on the grid - the lights go out and the race begins.

Bottas takes the lead into turn one, Vettel makes a fast start and takes second ahead of Hamilton Verstappen and Ricciardo.

Later in the lap Daniil Kvyat runs wide, but continues.

On lap 2 Bottas leads Vettel by half a second, with about the same gap back to Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Massa, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Ocon in tenth.

Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m36.716s.

On lap 6, Mercedes tells Bottas, "so getting a little bit of overheating now, but not significant" - Vettel continues to pressure the Finn.

On lap 8 Raikkonen passes Massa into the first corner to take sixth place.

Vettel and RIcciardo are chasing Hamilton in third.

On lap 9 Lance Stroll pits and changes to soft tyres.

Verstappen tells the team, "we are quicker than them but I get stuck."

Kevin Magnussen pulls off the track with a power unit problem.

Bottas is complaining about the his rear tyres - the team comfirms that the tyre pressure is high.

On lap 10 Vettel pits for more super soft tyres and rejoins in 12th place.

On lap 11 Verstappen says "I think we need to do something like Ferrari", and then pits. After rejoining Verstappen locks up at turn 4 and goes into the barrier, saying "brake failure".

On lap 13 Raikkonen pits.

Stroll in stopped on the track, and says he was hit on the side. The replay shows Stroll turned in and hit Carlos Sainz, who had just rejoined from the pits.

The safety car is deployed and many drivers pit. Bottas takes another set of super softs, Ricciardo, Hamilton and Massa on soft tyres.

On lap 15, behind the safety car Vettel leads, ahead of Bottas, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Marcus Ericsson, Perez and Grosjean in tenth place.

On lap 17 the race restarts and Vettel leads, Bottas pressuring the Ferrari, Hamilton passes Ricciardo for third.

Raikkonen passes Ricciardo, then Massa Ricciardo as well. Perez passes Hulkenberg for seventh.

On lap 19 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m34.503s.

Massa gets past Raikkonen to take fourth place.

Palmer passes Kvyat for 12th place.

At lap 20 Vettel leads Bottas by 2.4 seconds, followed by Hamilton (3.7s), Massa (8.3s), Raikkonen (9.1s), Ricciardo (11.2s), Perez (12.6s), Hulkenberg (16.4s), Grosjean (17.1s) and Ocon (18.0s) in tenth place.

Hamilton is given a 5-second penalty by the stewards for slowing Ricciardo while entering the pitlane.

On lap 24 Raikkonen is battling to get past Massa and passes him into the first corner to take fourth.

Joylon Palmer gets past Kvyat for 11th place, Fernando Alonso now chases Kvyat.

Alonso tells the team, "300 metres behind me and they overtake me on the straight - I've newer raced with less power in my life."

On lap 26 Vettel leads Bottas by 6 seconds. Hamilton catches Bottas and the Finn lets his team mate through, as he struggles with his rear tyres.

Ricciado passes Massa for fifth place at turn 1.

On lap 30 Kvyat dives down the inside of Palmer at turn 1 and takes the place back.

Bottas pits from third and switches to a set of soft tyres, rejoining in seventh.

At lap 31 Vettel leads Hamilton by 4.8 seconds, followed by Raikkonen (16.5s), Ricciardo (22.6s), Massa (25.7s), Perez (29.0s), Bottas (29.8s), Hulkenberg (36.8s), Ocon (40.1s) and Kvyat (52.4s) in tenth place.

Vettel tells his team, "starting to struggle a bit with the tyres."

On lap 33 Vettel pits from the lead and switches to soft tyres and rejoins just in third, just ahead of Ricciardo.

Bottas sets fast lap at 1m34.087s. Ericsson makes his first pit stop and switches to super soft tyres - he runs in 15th.

Vettel passes Raikkonen for second place.

At lap 35 Hamilton leads Vettel by 14.5 seconds, followed by Raikkonen (16.7s), Ricciardo (22.0s), Bottas (22.8s), Massa (28.6s) and Perez (32.6s) in seventh.

Vettel sets fast lap at 1m34.004s.

On lap 37 Vettel sets another fast lap at 1m34.291s.

Raikkonen pits and switches to soft tyres and rejoins fifth.

Hamilton leads Vettel by 12s - but Hamilton will have to take a five second penalty at the finish.

On lap 39 Grosjean psses Kvyat to take eighth. Raikkonen sets fast lap at 1m33.767s. Ricciardo pits and takes super soft tyres.

At lap 40 Hamilton leads Vettel by 9.5 seconds, followed by Bottas (19.1s), Raikkonen (36.8s), Ric (46.0 Massa 38.5 Perez 42.4 Grosjean 48.8 Kvyat (55.3 and Hulkenberg (66.3s) in tenth place.

Ricciardo sets fast lap at 1m33.748s.

Hamilton pits from the lead for another set of soft tyres - and takes his five-second penalty - he rejoins in third.

Ricciardo sets another fast lap at 1m33.495s.

Hamilton asks the team why they put him on soft tyres, and the team responds they think the soft is a better choice.

Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m32.962 seconds.

At lap 45 Vettel leads Bottas by 10.1s, followed by Hamilton (15.6s) and Raikkonen (25.7s).

Hamilton sets another fast lap at 1m32.887s. Hamilton is lapping 1.4s quicker than Vettel.

Kvyat and Ericsson are battling for 13th place.

On lap 46 Hamilton in closing in on Bottas in second place.

Hamilton sets another fast lap at 1m32.798s.

Hamilton dives down the inside of Bottas and takes over second place.

At lap 48 Vettel leads Hamilton by 11.4 seconds. Hamilton is still lapping faster than Vettel, and with nine laps left is trying to catch the Ferrari.

At lap 50 Hamilton has closed the gap to Vettel to 8.8 seconds.

On lap 52 Ericcson pulls to the side of the track with a gearbox failure.

At lap 53 Vettel leads Hamilton by 6.1 seconds, as Vettel clears a series of backmarkers.

On lap 55 Alonso slows with an engine problem.

Crossing the line with one lap to go Vettel leads Hamilton by 6.2 seconds.

At the flag Vettel wins ahead of Hamilton and Bottas.