Sebastian Vettel Secures Second win of 2017 at Bahrain Grand Prix

Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, Chris Soulsby looks at Sebastian Vettel's second win of 2017 and 44th race win of his career.

After Lewis Hamilton claimed the 53rd race win of his career in China, Formula 1 returned this weekend for the 13th running of the Bahrain Grand Prix. The Friday practice sessions saw Sebastian Vettel on top for Ferrari, while Max Verstappen was fastest just before qualifying on Saturday. In qualifying, Valtteri Bottas claimed his first Formula 1 pole position, and started the race in first place. With cars being closely matched out on track throughout the race weekend, the race in Bahrain was far from decided, with it being virtually impossible to predict who would win the third race of the season.

Sebastian Vettel Secures Second win of 2017 at Bahrain Grand Prix

The race in Bahrain started cleanly, with Valtteri Bottas getting a great start from pole position while his team mate, Lewis Hamilton, experienced a lot of wheel spin when the lights went out, meaning that he was jumped by Sebastian Vettel into turn 1. The top three positions remained the same until Vettel pitted onto the supersoft tyres with the aim of performing the undercut strategy in order to take the lead from Bottas. This left Mercedes leading the race in first and second place. Following the deployment of the Safety Car after a collision between Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz Jr, the Silver Arrows then pitted, double stacking their drivers and fitting the soft tyres to both cars.

After the two Mercedes pitted, Vettel moved into the lead and maintained the position until he later pitted for the final time in the race, fitting the soft tyres. After the two Mercedes cars pitted later for the final time in the race, Vettel once again took the lead, and drove hsi Ferrari home to a fatastic 44th victory of his career.

Lewis Hamilton followed Vettel across the line in second place, six seconds behind the Ferrari. In the final stages of the race, Hamilton was considerably faster than Vettel, and closed in. If Hamilton had not been awarded a five second time penalty for impeding Daniel Ricciardo in his first pit stop of the race, the gap would have been much closer, but it is still difficult to imagine Hamilton beating Vettel, with the Ferrari seeming like the superior car out on track.

Valtteri Bottas followed Hamilton home in third place, marking his second podium in three races. Although Bottas led the race initally, the pole sitter had extreme overheating of his rear tyres caused my high tyre pressures. This result places Bottas third in the Drivers Standings, 30 points behind Vettel who currently leads. For this reason, many questions have been asked regarding Bottas’ place at Mercedes, and if he will carry out the role as the ‘second driver’, being secondary to Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line in fourth place in the second Ferrari after starting in fifth place. Raikkonen spent the much of the race battling with Felipe Massa, and began closing in on Bottas for third place, but was not able to challenge to finish on the podium.

Daniel Ricciardo was the highest finishing Red Bull of the day, finishing in fifth place after losing a lot of time during his stint on the soft compound tyre early in the race. He started in fourth.

Felipe Massa once again impressed for Williams, finishing in sixth place after starting in eighth. Sergio Perez followed Massa across the line in seventh place for Force India after qualifying down in 18th place. Although Massa was faster over the course of one lap, the race pace of the Force India was very impressive, making them arguably the fourth best team of the race.

Romain Grsojean finished in eighth place for the Haas F1 Team, securing his first points finish of 2017. Also finishing in the points for the first time in 2017 was Nico Hulkenberg who crossed the line in ninth for Renault. Esteban Ocon crossed the line in the final points paying position, finishing in tenth place for the third race in succession.

On his return to Formula 1, Pascal Wehrlein finished in 11th place, just missing out on a points finish for Sauber. Daniil Kvyat followed Wehrlein across the line in 12th place for Toro Rosso, narrowly missing out on 11th after attempting an overtake on the final lap of the race. Jolyon Palmer was the final finisher of the race down in 13th place after starting in 10th place for Renault, damaging his front wing in a collision with Kvyat which resulted in a loss in front end grip.

The Bahrain Grand Prix saw a number of retirements through technical issues and through accidents.

The race weekend was once again difficult for McLaren, with neither of their drivers finishing the race for the second weekend in succession. Stoffel Vandoorne failed to make it to the grid for the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix after a PU issue with his Honda power unit while Fernando Alonso retired for the third race in succession after having an engine issue in the last lap.

Also retiring from the race was Marcus Ericsson for the second time in three races after having a gearbox failure for Sauber.

Carlos Sainz Jr and Lance Stroll retired after damage sustained in a crash. Stroll took a normal racing line going into the first turn while Sainz aimed to perform an ambitions overtake on the rookie when leaving the pit lane. This ultimately failed, with Sainz running into the side of the Williams, punching a hole in the sidepod of his car. As a result of the accident, Sainz as been handed a penalty and will be dropped by three places after qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen also retired for Red Bull Racing, having brake failure after pitting for supersoft tyres early on in the race, aiming to undercut Lewis Hamilton.

Kevin Magnussen also retired for Haas F1, stopping out on track.

As for driver of the day for the Bahrain Grand Prix, there are multiple candidates, including Sergio Perez for Force India, Felipe Massa, and Nico Hulkenberg. However, my driver of the day is Sebastian Vettel, who performed a stunning performance in the race, starting in third place and getting the race win for 44th time in his career.

Results from the Bahrain Grand Prix:

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 25 points
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 18 points
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 15 points
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 12 points
  5. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 10 points
  6. Felipe Massa, Williams, 8 points
  7. Sergio Perez, Force India, 6 points
  8. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 4 points
  9. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 2 points
  10. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1 point
  11. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 0 points
  12. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 0 points
  13. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 0 points
  14. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Ret
  15. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Ret
  16. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, Ret
  17. Lance Stroll, Williams, Ret
  18. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Ret
  19. Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, Ret
  20. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Ret

Drivers Standings after the Bahrain Grand Prix:

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 68 points
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 61 points
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 38 points
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 34 points
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 25 points
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 22 points
  7. Felipe Massa, Williams, 16 points
  8. Sergio Perez, Force India, 14 points
  9. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 10 points
  10. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 4 points
  11. Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 4 points
  12. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 3 points
  13. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 2 points
  14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 2 points
  15. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 0 points
  16. Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, 0 points
  17. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 0 points
  18. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 0 points
  19. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 0 points
  20. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 0 points
  21. Lance Stroll, Williams, 0 points

Constructors Standings after Bahrain Grand Prix:

  1. Ferrari, 102 points
  2. Mercedes, 99 points
  3. Red Bull Racing, 47 points
  4. Force India, 17 points
  5. Williams, 16 points
  6. Toro Rosso, 12 points
  7. Haas F1, 8 points
  8. Renault, 2 points
  9. Sauber, 0 points
  10. McLaren, 0 points

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