Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel beat both Mercedes to victory in Bahrain despite Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton starting on the front row of the grid.
- Bottas registered his first pole position in F1.
Although he also faced the prospect of having to move aside twice for teammate Lewis Hamilton, Bottas reckoned that the Sakhir weekend showed he was getting more on top of the Mercedes vehicle - which gives him reason to feel can still challenge for the title.
But in terms of pure racing, he was denied the chance to try and fend off Hamilton and keep second place for himself. He initiated an overtaking maneuver on Hamilton going into Turn 1 and then proceeded to chase Bottas. Ferrari then had Vettel pit early on to put him on the super soft tires which ended up being the strong choice in the long run. Fernando Alonso retired one lap from the end, while his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne did not even start because of engine failure.
When Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz Jr. ended up making contact with each other, it was the Mercedesdrivers who pitted. "Ferrari had the right pit stops at the right time, did everything right and deserved to win". Exclusively my fault. Then you get the time lost in the pit lane. But since he impeded Daniel Ricciardo while doing this, he was handed a five-second penalty.
When the race began in earnest again on lap 17, Vettel brilliantly defended the corner twice to fend off Bottas.
Mercedes have won the last three drivers' and constructors' titles but are now facing their biggest challenge of the V6 turbo hybrid era.
Here, with the help of Opta, we take a look at some of the standout stats following the Bahrain GP.
Bottas was struggling by now, the tyres on his Mercedes overheating.
Hamilton came in with 15 laps left - and took his time penalty. When the British driver finally pitted, his vehicle was also shod with soft tyres, and he came out of the pitlane in third place.
"Our vehicle is obviously good; it is just how we use our tyres in the race - particularly when it is a bit warmer - that is a big question mark for us". The Finn would have to remain content with third.
Vettel completed the 57 laps of the 5.4-kilometer (3.4-mile) track in 1 hour, 33 minutes, 53 seconds, for his third win in Bahrain after success with Red Bull in 2012 and 2013.
Behind the top four it was Ricciardo in fifth, Massa in sixth, Perez in seventh, Grosjean in eighth, Hulkenburg in ninth and Ocon in the Force India taking the last point. People will be like "you finished second, you should be happy", but that's not why we exist.
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