Vettel takes Bahrain GP pole in Ferrari one-two

Vettel takes Bahrain GP pole in Ferrari one-two

Vettel takes Bahrain GP pole in Ferrari one-two

The Briton soon set his sights on Magnussen ahead, making the pass one lap later, with Gasly falling into his clutches the lap after that, putting up not much of a fight to keep the defending world champion back. Second, the sweet spot on their auto from Australia had suddenly disappeared.

"I feel good now, but tomorrow is a different story and it is a long race, but the vehicle is quick so that usually helps". With different strategies and tyre choices, the entire race became completely unpredictable right until the chequered flag. With both Mercedes cars going until the end of the race, the question was whether both Vettel and Raikkonen would be able to make their tyres last. The mechanic waiting to fit the new one had his back to the light and would have been unaware that it had turned green and had no time to step out of the way as the 38-year-old pulled out of the pits.

Ferrari was also fined 5,000 euros ($6,140) for the same error during practice on Friday. Two laps later, Raikkonen also came in for a Ferrari pit-stop that elevated Hamilton to second.

Although the German won the season-opening Australian GP, he stated after the race that he lacked a "bit of confidence" in his SF71H. Hamilton had qualified 4th but a grid penalty for gearbox change dropped him down to 9th place.

His three wins last season all came after he had led from the start.

Bottas was the next in, but in a surprise move he took on the medium compound, the slower but more durable of the three tyres available this weekend.

Behind him and Gasly, Magnussen took fifth ahead of Hulkenberg and Alonso, who spared McLaren's blushes with a superb drive after a awful performance in qualifying, trounced by the Toro Rosso using the Honda engine McLaren rejected as not good enough previous year. But of course, for Red Bull Racing's Honda power dreams for 2019, the Bahrain Grand Prix result would be a positive one.

Stoffel Vandoorne was eighth to make it the second consecutive double points finish for McLaren while Alfa Romeo Sauber-Ferrari got a points scoring finish thanks to Marcus Ericsson who was ninth.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was relieved more than satisfied after seeing Bottas and Hamilton finish on the podium. None of them saw him come from behind or have to overtake mid-race or oversee a strategic change to achieve victory. Sergio Perez and Brendon Hartley were slapped with a post-race penalty for a rare offence. By the time I did get past them the guys were 15 seconds ahead, so really the race was lost in those opening laps. This was not before he spun twice in two races and brought a premature end to his qualifying session.

Hamilton delivered a brilliant comeback drive from ninth on the grid to complete the podium, but there was heartbreak for Red Bull as Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen retired for separate reasons within minutes of the race starting.

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