Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel is holding on to his current year lead with another victory at Bahrain. Ferrari on their part are showing that their current engine is able to match the Mercedes powerplant, with both the cars starting on row one. Rivals Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton have kept the battle alive by taking a double podium second and third.
The race began with Bottas managing to pull off a great start, getting ahead of Raikkonen by the first corner, Hamilton on his part navigating the chaos of the cars and coming out a few positions up from his penalty spot on the fifth row.
The first few laps saw the two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen retiring, with Ricciardo’s system shutting off while Verstappen went through a collision with Hamilton on a misjudged corner, a blown rear tyre and having to limp back into the pits for a change, only to pull off a lap later.
By the time Vettel pulled in for his tyre change to soft tyres, Bottas took the lead, being chased down by Raikkonen, with Hamilton trying to stay out to get into a better spot. When Bottas came in and took on medium tyres, it became obvious that Mercedes were looking at a single stop strategy. Hamilton followed suit, putting pressure on the Scuderia. Raikkonen’s pit stop became a tragedy, with his rear tyre mechanic being dragged as he sprinted off – on a mistimed green signal. Raikkonen stopped his car immediately and retired from the race.
Vettel was now sitting out in front on soft tyres, which he stayed on for 39 laps, managing to stave off the challenge from Bottas, while Hamilton didn’t have enough time to catch up. In the process Hamilton managed to keep the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly off the podium. The Honda powered car managed to surprise many with its performance in this race.
Post race Vettel said, “Obviously, this is a great way to start the season and it wasn’t expected. Obviously Australia was a different race and if you compare these two races, here we had the pace and won on our own. So, I think it’s been much better, but it was a very tough race. It took a while for the adrenaline to go, but for the next week we are not sure where we are going to be. It is difficult to predict with everything changing so much. In China it will be a different track and a different challenge, but we have to improve our car and work on it. We still need to improve the balance. However, if we should have a similar feeling like here, then I think we should be in a good shape.”
On his part Bottas lamented, “It was so close in the end, it’s a shame I couldn’t win. When it’ s so close, you start to think about every lap and every corner after the race, trying to figure out if there is something you could have done better. But I feel like I did a good race, I didn’t make any mistakes and I gave it everything I had. I didn’t try the Medium tyres before the race, but it went well and we managed to do a really long stint. Only in the last three laps I started to struggle with the tyres and once I got close to Sebastian everything got more difficult.”
2018 Formula 1 Drivers
|Car No||Name||Team||2018 season||2017 season|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||37||200|
|33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||18||168|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||12||0|
|31||Esteban Ocon||Force India||1||87|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India||0||100|
|28||Brendan Hartley||Toro Rosso||0||0|
2018 Formula 1 Teams
|Team||2018 season||2017 season|
|Red Bull Racing||55||368|
|Toro Rosso Honda||12||53|
|Force India Mercedes||1||187|
2018 Formula 1 Races
|Australia||25/03/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Bahrain||04/04/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton|
|China||15/04/2018||Daniel Ricciardo||Valtteri Bottas||Kimi Raikkonen|