Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has won two of the first three races in Formula One in 2017 with his comfortable victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix, holding off the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the podium.
Bottas had won pole position for the race with his teammate Hamilton next to him on the first row, but it was Vettel who had the best start of the trio as he darted in front of Hamilton and slotted behind Bottas. The trio stayed that way for the next 11 laps until Vettel came in first for a pit and a series of incidents – highlighted by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen’s brake failure sending him into the wall – meant that a virtual safety car came out and kept Vettel in the lead ahead of Bottas and Hamilton.
From there it was merely a tire selection and pit stop timing race – which became crucial when Hamilton was assessed a five-second penalty after intentionally slowing down while waiting for Bottas’ car to be serviced in the pit ahead of him. In the end, the penalty wound up not being a factor as Vettel eventually by more than a five-second margin.
With the victory, Vettel retains the lead in the 2017 driver standings with 68 points to Hamilton’s 61 points after three races.