Vettel holds off late Hamilton charge to win Bahrain GP

Bottas beats Hamilton to take pole position at Bahrain GP

Bottas beats Hamilton to take pole position at Bahrain GP

Sebastian Vettel stormed to his second win of the 2017 Formula 1 season with a controlled display in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix that saw him jump both Mercedes drivers and take Ferrari to the top step of the podium.

It robbed the fans of a grandstand finale to this particular race, Vettel ultimately keeping Hamilton at arms length with Bottas coming home third ahead of Finnish countryman Raikkonen.

The stewards, however, agreed with the view of Red Bull's team principal Christian Horner, who described the tactic as "a bit naughty", and Hamilton was duly punished.

The renewed optimism is in contrast to previous year, when Ferrari did not even win a race and where Vettel drew more attention for his frustrated outbursts during actual races rather than his driving. Mercedes took advantage of the Safety Car to swap tyres - Bottas onto another set of supersofts and Hamilton onto soft tyres thus opening the door to a one-stop strategy - but had to double stack which allowed Ricciardo to leapfrog Hamilton. Bottas moved out of the way at Turn 14 with 10 laps remaining to allow his teammate to chase the win, but despite Hamilton closing a gap of almost 20 seconds after his stop to just five at one stage, Vettel managed the gap to secure the win.

But this unenviable accolade should go to Carlos Sainz - a man we've come to expect very good drives from.

It was a steady start from Hamilton, but Vettel showed greater bravery on the brakes and passed his championship rival round the outside to move into second place.

A dejected Max Verstappen steps out of his Red Bull Racing vehicle after suffering brake failure in Sunday's race.

Hamilton's race was hampered after receiving a five-second time penalty for impeding Daniel Ricciardo in the pit lane, forcing Mercedes to get creative with its strategy.

Fourteen drivers were classified but Fernando Alonso bookended a miserable day for McLaren by stopping three laps from the end. "Lewis was a threat towards the end and, with the traffic, you never know", said Vettel, who also won the season-opener in Australia.

He said: "It was a real shame because the target today was a lot lot higher".

He passed the Australian on track then served his penalty in his stop, before passing Bottas in the final stint and ending up 6.6 seconds behind race victor Vettel. As I said, losing points for the team, particularly when you could have potentially won the race is painful, but it is what it is. With the dust settled, Vettel was now 12s behind Hamilton, Bottas was third while Ricciardo and Raikkonen lay fourth and fifth respectively.

The new rubber did the job for Hamilton, though, as he immediately set a flurry of fastest laps and began to lap over one second per lap quicker than Vettel at the front.

Hamilton came in with 15 laps left - and took his time penalty.

The 2017 Formula One World Championship is shaping up to be one of the most keenly fought in recent years after Sebastian Vettel produced a commanding performance at Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

"It made it twice as hard as it was going to be", Hamilton said.

"But that's how it is and although I didn't like it for my personal race, I am a team player and I understand".

He said: "Congratulations to Seb".

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