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Latest News
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Vettel fires shots in Desert Duel

Pascal Wehrlein finally got his Sauber debut in Bahrain, his car the first on track during Q1 in the 14th running of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Grosjean was having serious braking problems again, this time locking up twice into the first corner and going very deep, wrecking the tyres and the lap.

Sainz, Vandoorne, Perez, Ericsson and Magnussen all dropped in Q1, Sainz stopping on a flying lap that would have got him into Q2 due to a power loss.

Alonso's Q2 was cut short when his power unit died, leaving the Spaniard 15th. The Indy 500 couldn't come soon enough for the double world champion. It seemed both McLarens would be in the race on their 3rd unit of the season – a season in which only 4 units can be used without penalty.

Kvyat, Stroll, Wehrlein and Ocon fell between 11th and 14th, while Hulkenberg put in a late lap to go 5th ahead of both Red Bulls. His teammate just snuck into the top 10.

Bottas outqualified Hamilton for the first time in 2017, as well as taking his first ever pole, Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Massa, Grosjean and Palmer completed the top 10.

Vandoorne's McLaren was pulled off the grid with about 10 minutes to go before the race start, a power unit problem seemingly ending his day. That further compounded the lack of units left for McLaren.

Bottas led from Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Massa, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg. Kvyat ran wide and fell out of the points, then dropped to last while barely keeping the car from spinning into the wall.

It took until the start of lap 8 for Raikkonen to re-take Massa for 6th, now a fair way off the train of the top 5 cars.

Stroll was the first driver to pit, replacing flat-spotted tyres on lap 8.

Kevin Magnussen seemed to suffer a failure of some kind, the Haas grinding to a halt.

Vettel stopped on lap 10 while Bottas was complaining of rear tyre wear. The theory was obviously for Vettel to pull off the undercut, but it did commit the 4-time champion to a 2-stop strategy. Verstappen promptly asked Red Bull if he could make the same move to try and clear at least Hamilton, and Red Bull agreed immediately. Ocon was also in, rejoining just ahead of Stroll. Verstappen, however, promptly had a brake failure and was lucky to hit the wall fairly slowly. Raikkonen pitted on lap 12, losing a second and a half compared to his teammate.

Stroll then got hit by Sainz, both cars retiring and bringing out the Safety Car. A flurry of pit stops resulted in Vettel leading Bottas, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Ericsson, Perez and Grosjean. However, it may not have been as simple as that, as Hamilton went under investigation for potentially slowing Ricciardo in the pit entrance.

Hamilton resumed 3rd on the restart, Massa taking 4th shortly afterwards and Raikkonen seeing a chance also. It seemed the soft tyres weren't warming up as well as the now 5 cars ahead on supers. Behind the Red Bull, Perez took 7th from Hulkenberg with the same tyre advantage.

Hamilton received a 5 second penalty for “driving unnecessarily slowly” against Ricciardo. Stroll/Sainz were then put under post-race investigation.

Raikkonen again managed to pass Massa into the first corner, this time taking 4th place from the Williams.

Kvyat launched a move on Palmer from a long way back, still managing to take 11th. Palmer did clip the back of the Toro Rosso though, breaking a front wing element off and disabling DRS for everyone. Kvyat failed to keep the position and lost a lot of ground to the Renault.

Mercedes seemed to order Bottas aside so that Hamilton could chase down Vettel. It seemed Hamilton wasn't stopping again, while Vettel and Bottas both were.

Palmer again got mugged by Kvyat, and again it ended in contact but this time no damage was done. Alonso also managed to take advantage of the off-line Renault.

Bottas pitted again on lap 30, switching finally to the soft tyres to try and get to the end. Vettel made the same stop on lap 33. Raikkonen stopped also a few laps later, slipping behind Bottas and Ricciardo.

Hamilton was getting radio messages suggesting he was also on a 2-stop strategy. This suggested Mercedes had given up hope of a win. Indeed, Hamilton pitted on lap 41, taking his penalty and then new tyres. He rejoined behind Bottas in 3rd. Behind him Ricciardo's stop had put him behind Raikkonen once more.

Bottas let Hamilton through with 10 laps to go.

Ericsson's Sauber ground to a halt with gearbox failure just 5 laps from home.

Alonso snatched a brake and dropped behind Kvyat, sacrificing 12th place. The sole McLaren then decided to have power issues, putting itself out of commission for the 3rd straight race.

Despite a resurgent Hamilton, Vettel won from the Brit and Bottas. Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Massa, Perez, Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Ocon completed the top 10. Wehrlein, Kvyat and Palmer completed the runners with Alonso heading the retirees ahead of Ericsson, Sainz, Stroll, Verstappen, Magnussen and the non-starting Vandoorne.

The investigation concerning Sainz and Stroll resulted in a 3 place grid penalty in Russia for Sainz.

 

Tufty


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