Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Vettel triumphs in Bahrain as Hamilton pays penalty

Vettel triumphs in Bahrain as Hamilton pays penalty

Lewis Hamilton was beaten to victory by Sebastian Vettel at the Sakhir circuit and compromised his race by incurring a five-second penalty due to slowing in the pit lane but also lost time behind his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, while Mercedes considered whether to let Hamilton pass.

"It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium with Seb", said Marchionne.

That dominance did not look under threat after qualifying, however, with Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton seemingly enjoying a distinct pace advantage as they achieved a front-row Mercedes lock out.

Meanwhile, Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda believed that Hamilton could have won the race had he not earned the penalty.

"Congratulations to Kimi too on a good race", he added.

"Lewis was a threat towards the end and, with the traffic, you never know", said Vettel, who also won the season-opener in Australia.

"I know that gap that was there doesn't just come from driving".

Bottas made a clean start but Hamilton was beaten for pace by Vettel, who overtook him heading into the first corner. Right after the start I could feel that "yeah, we're quick, we can have a word".

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First place Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany receives the trophy after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix, Aprill 17, 2017. "I know that gap can not come from driving, so I'm sure we'll find some reason for why I struggled more than Lewis".

"The pit lane was really my fault so apologies to my team", Hamilton said.

"Today, I lost position at the start".

While Hamilton, and Mercedes, were working on 2017, Vettel was already testing the 2018 tyres on Tuesday before returning to the present rubber on Wednesday. It's a moment of realization that if you don't react, you're going to lose the race.

Both Mercedes drivers pitted at the same time, which cost the team time as they had yet to finish with Bottas before Hamilton had arrived. Obviously, a very hard race.

After the safety auto, Vettel came out in the lead where he remained after the next round of pit stops, despite an epic fight back from Hamilton after serving his penalty.

SAINZ PENALIZED: Spanish driver Carlos Sainz received a three-place grid penalty for the next race after stewards ruled that he crashed into Canadian Lance Stroll in the Bahrain race. On that occasion, Hamilton would edge Rosberg in a thrilling wheel-to-wheel fight where they somehow managed to avoid colliding with each other, though later incidents between the two that did result in contact eventually led Mercedes to step in and warn the drivers about their conduct.

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