Vettel wins tense Bahrain Grand Prix for Ferrari

Bahrain Grand Prix Circuit overview of what the Formula One drivers will be facing

A pitman receives medical assistant following an accident during the pit stop of Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in Manama on April 8, 2018.

With the floodlights blazing overhead, Sebastian Vettel started his 200th Grand Prix with a successful launch from pole position when the race lights went out.

Mercedes, however, seemed on course for a one-two from Bottas and Hamilton when Vettel chose soft tires for his second stint, which indicated he would need a second pit stop.

"I was making the maths inside the vehicle and with 10 laps to go, that pace, he's going to catch me".

The team had a double disappointment to contend with when Max Verstappen also had to retire following a collision with Hamilton.

Vettel now leads Hamilton by 17 points after two of the 21 races. It meant retirement for Raikkonen. Gasly's performance comes at a time when Red Bull Racing could be looking at Ricciardo's replacement for 2019. He quickly passed Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon, and on lap 6 also got the jump on Kevin Magnussen's Haas for fifth. But Vettel's evening under the floodlights turned out to be nowhere near as straightforward as that.

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"Which one of those Italians, for example, do you think fears most to be the one who fumbled the pit-stop on a leading Ferrari?" Although the German driver looked steady behind the wheel, his mind was racing nearly as fast as Bottas' Mercedes behind him. While Bottas pitted two laps after Vettel, for Medium tyres, Hamilton held the lead briefly.

This follows the €5,000 ($6,100) penalty the team received Friday after Raikkonen left a pit stop during practice without one of his wheels being properly attached. He would have faced a challenge from Kimi Raikkonen late in the race but the second Ferrari retired following an incident in the pit lane.

Raikkonen was eventually forced out of the race following the terrifying incident.

Vettel would continue the charge for victory, now the lone Ferrari, with both Mercedes drivers trying to catch up. His tyres were fresher and his vehicle was faster, yet Vettel defended his position and kept the W09 in his mirror, and crucially, just out of DRS range right until the end. Bottas drew within six seconds of the Ferrari, while a frustrated Hamilton professed himself bewildered by what was required of him 12s further back in third place.

By the eighth lap Hamilton - who overcame a 25-point deficit to beat Vettel to the title previous year - had passed Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly, who finished an impressive fourth for Toro Rosso. A tally of 65 points sees Ferrari in the lead of the Constructors championship, with Mercedes second with 55 points and McLaren third with 22 points.

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