Sebastian Vettel: "Very Happy" But "The 'Big Day' Is Tomorrow"

Glen Norman
April 10, 2018

Last year's pole position victor Valtteri Bottas settled for the third place on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton will have to do what no Formula One driver has ever done to win Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix after an unscheduled gearbox change left the Mercedes driver facing a five-place grid penalty. With back-to-back wins, Ferrari now consolidates its position at the top, with Mercedes coming in second in the constructors' standings.

Bahrain GP starts at 8.30pm IST on April 8.

Verstappen pitted and re-joined, but his race was over when, like Ricciardo, he stopped and retired. He was nine seconds behind third-placed Raikkonen and 14 off the lead. The iceman's chances of taking a podium were crashed, after a pitstop incident left a Ferrari mechanic hurt. The Finn also hit and injured one of his mechanics as he pulled away.

Kimi Raikkonen
GettyKimi Raikkonen did not finish the Bahrain Grand Prix

Vettel held the lead right from the start, while Bottas starting third, was quick to steal P2 from Raikkonen going into Turn 1.

At the very least it promised an exciting finish that came to fruition as Vettel's softer tyres inevitably neared the end of their life in the closing laps.

Ferrari's evening got even better when Hamilton finished behind Bottas, his teammate.

The top three soon broke away from the rest of the pack, while there was plenty of action going with the remainder of the grid.

The Red Bullers are not sleeping either and although Verstappen is favoured, Daniel Ricciardo is more than capable of pulling it out of the hat. But he sustained too much damage after puncturing his left rear tire.

He got back to the pits and had the tyres changed, but parked up shortly after with a differential problem.

"I go when the light is green and I don't see what happens behind", said Raikkonen, who stopped his vehicle in the pitlane straight after the incident and retired from the race. "Our plan worked but just, Bottas had a bit of a sniff but ran out of laps".

"It feels like a dark cloud but it's not", said the 33-year-old after the race in Melbourne.

Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso, no match for the Mercedes, fell to Hamilton on lap eight as the British driver moved up to fourth and his lap times were mighty impressive on the harder soft tyres - with the team clearly opting for a one-stop race.

Sixth is the highest the four-times champion can start Sunday's race - which has never been won from lower than fourth on the grid - even if he sets the quickest time in qualifying.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault ahead of the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly and the two McLarens of two-time champion Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. Brendon Hartley, facing a 10 second stop-go penalty for colliding with Sergio Perez on the opening lap, stayed out longer and fell all the way to the back of the field after his stop and penalty.

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