Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Bahrain Grand Prix 2018: Kimi Raikkonen On Top For Dominant Ferrari

Bahrain Grand Prix 2018: Kimi Raikkonen On Top For Dominant Ferrari

Ferrari looked strong, with Raikkonen and Vettel setting the pace as cooler temperatures and nightfall matched the conditions for today evening's race.

Vettel whooped with joy as he crossed the finish line, although his team's celebrations were more low-key than usual following the mechanic's hospitalization. Hamilton stopped a lap later, swapping his soft tyres for mediums.

On the podium, the German said: "I think I came on the radio with 10 laps to go saying everything was under control".

"The red cars were too quick so we're not happy with that", Bottas said.

"Tomorrow is going to be one of the hardest races for us in some time", he added. I tried to keep it as clean as possible.

Hamilton came to Bahrain knowing he was in for a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, so he needed to be on his game - with a ideal vehicle - to minimise the damage and give himself the best chance in the race. "It meant that I spent the beginning of the second session searching for the balance of the vehicle", Verstappen said. "It was damage limitation".

"I started ninth so third is not bad at all", said the Briton.

But it was not all good news for Ferrari as Vettel's team-mate Finn Kimi Raikkonen failed to finish after colliding with a mechanic at a pit stop.

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Pierre Gasly exceeded expectations by finishing sixth on the timesheets for Toro Rosso and there was huge disappointment for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne 13th and 14th respectively. Hulkenberg, Force India's Esteban Ocon and Sainz completed the top 10.

After a near-certain victory in Melbourne was lost due to a software malfunction, Lewis Hamilton will be looking for redemption this week in what will be his 100th start for Mercedes.

But Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo took only a couple of laps to reset the clock on that statistic in Bahrain. He pulled over on the side of the track because of an electrical failure, prompting the safety auto to come out.

Vettel pitted after 19 laps, passing the lead to Bottas, and rejoining fourth.

Reigning champions Mercedes, who were clearly fastest two weeks ago in the season-opening race in Australia, had only enough in hand to qualify on the second row of the grid. "But just. There wasn't the end of the straight Valtteri had a bit of a sniff but fortunately he ran out of laps".

Vettel, the victor in Australia, will be hopeful of benefiting from Hamilton's mishap and extending his championship lead.

Raikkonen came in for his second tire change of the race after 36 of 57 laps of the 5.4-kilometer (3.3-mile) desert circuit, but the left rear tire was not secured properly.

"Unfortunately we couldn't fix the box within the six race cycle so need to take a fresh one, incurring the grid penalty". Unaffected, Vettel pushed to make the most of an emergency one-stop strategy, resisting Bottas all the way to the flag.

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