Sebastian Vettel has earned his second checkered flag of the season with back-to-back victories after holding off Hamilton once again. Vettel was able to hang on to the lead in what was a dramatic race from beginning to end.
The drama played out on the track and pits at Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen has a mishap in the pits that saw one of Ferrari’s mechanics getting his leg broken during a tire chance. Hamilton was able to capitalize on that to earn a podium finish, and Max Verstappen saw his race come to an end shortly after Hamilton bounced from ninth to third as a result of the mishap.
The race could have been a little better for Team Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas almost passed Vettel on the opening lap but was blocked by Vettel. The win earned Vettel, who was driving his 200th race in F1, his 49th F1 victory.
Speaking on the last five laps, Vettel said,
“The last five laps were really difficult. I thought Valtteri would catch me. I nursed the tires and it worked, but only just.”
Vettel too the checkered flag in the season opening race in Australia two weeks ago. Vettel’s nerves on edge as Bottas was chasing up the rear and with the speed he was getting out of his car, Vettel new he would eventually pass unless he was on the mark.
Commenting on the push by Bottas, Vettel mentioned,
“I was doing the maths in the car: 10 laps to go, with that pace he’s going to catch me. I just really tried to keep it as clean as possible.”
As for Lewis Hamilton, he is trailing the point’s race by seventeen only two races into the season. It has been since1982 that the same driver won the first two races of a season and with Bottas looking for a new contract next year, his 8th place finish in Australia was a disappointment but he made up for that this weekend.
“I knew there would be a chance at the end. But it wasn’t quite enough. Being second with such a close margin is extremely disappointing.”
Both Red Bull drivers saw the weekend come to an end with both going out of the race. However, the feeder team for Red Bull, Toro Rosso saw its driver, Pierre Gasly earning a 4th place finish. The race took a sad turn when Raikkonen pitted for new tires, and the crew failed to perform to standards by incorrectly fitting a rear tired, and with Kimi Raikkonen hot to get back into the race, he ran over one mechanic’s leg resulting in it being broken.
It was lap thirty-six that the incident took place. In defence of Kimi, he got the green light to leave the pit even though the crew was still trying to get the left rear tire on. As Raikkonen pulled off, he ran came into contact with the mechanic’s leg. This saw the mechanic knocked to the ground and Raikkonen running over his leg.
The Finnish driver stopped several meters after the accident, removed his steering wheel and returned to the garage in frustration. The error cost Ferrari a fine of 50,000 euros, and a further 5000 for the same mistake during the practise session on Friday.
When the race got restarted, it was Vettel out front in the lead, Raikkonen in second and Bottas in third. Hamilton was well done in ninth after having been penalized for changing a gearbox when unauthorized.
Bottas got the upper hand on Raikonen and took over second. Hamilton managed to gain three positions passing Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg and Sebastian Ocon. As lap 57 came, Hamilton had improved to fourth place and with the end in sight, managed to take over third and earn another podium finish, his second of the season.
The next race of the Formula 1 season will be held in China at the Shanghai International Circuit. It will be interesting to see if Vettel can keep up his moment or if Mercedes and Hamilton will take regain their advantage and begin winning races. Either way, you can be sure Formula 1 betting sites will be favouring the German to be at the top.