Formula 1: Sebastian Vettel Wins His Second Successive GP, Survives Mercedes Onslaught At Bahrain

| April 9 , 2018 , 12:04 IST

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel managed to win the Bahrain Grand Prix 2018 with a 0.6-second gap between him and the cruising Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas on Sunday. This is the first time in 14 years that Ferrari has won the two opening races of a Formula 1 season.

If his first win in Australia two weeks back was luck, this one was down to sheer skill and perseverance from the Ferrari driver who displayed an incredible character and technique to manage a softer tyre compound till the end of the race.

As the lights went out for the start in Bahrain where Ferrari had the advantage of having both the cars in the front-row, it was Bottas from third who climbed into the second ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

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Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull who momentarily lost his fourth place to Toro Rosso-Honda’s Pierre Gasly managed to get it back in Turn Four. His teammate Max Verstappen who had crashed out of the qualifying session, and started 15th was already on charge and alongside Lewis Hamilton who was starting from ninth due to gear-box change grid-penalty.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso also had a blistering start as he climbed up the ranks and into the top ten in the opening lap.

However, bad luck struck Red Bull. It was unanimously accepted in Paddock on Saturday that Red Bull has the fastest car in race-pace and they would be there in front fighting for the win with Ferrari and Mercedes. But, an exaggerated overtake by Max Verstappen on Hamilton caused him to get a puncture. He limped his car home but the gearbox was toasted because of this incident and he had to retire.

Meanwhile, his teammate Ricciardo, who was cruising in the fourth place trailing Raikkonen, saw his car completely shut down. It was an electronics failure that led to the car being stopped and a dismal race day to be forgotten for the Red Bull team.

Bahrain being a heavy tyre-wearing circuit, Vettel pitted to get an undercut and maintain track-position ahead of Bottas. He switched from Supersofts to Softs.

Bottas who followed Vettel in after a lap, changed from Supersofts to Mediums, causing Ferrari to panic.

With the harder compound, Bottas could see out the race and maintain his pace, whereas Vettel would’ve needed to pit or else his softer compound of tyre would’ve lost grip.

Kimi Raikkonen also retired due to a pit-stop error. After a subdued race, last time out this weekend saw a frantic race where overtakes were galore and many positions changed hands.

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With only a few laps remaining, Bottas mounted his attack on Vettel closing him down lap after lap and was on his neck in the final lap. He even dove in down the inside of Vettel on the longest straight of the circuit, but Vettel just held on, squirming around the circuit trying to conserve his tyres and prevent a puncture.

Bottas was behind Vettel as the two drivers took the last corner of the last lap, where the German driver’s resistance paid off and Ferrari had taken two wins out two in the 2018 season. This was the first time since 2011 Vettel won the first two races of an F1 campaign.

The surprise of the weekend was Toro-Rosso’s Pierre Gasly who finished fourth, the highest classification the team has received in a long time.

The Formula 1’s ‘Engineered Insanity’ action resumes next weekend as the teams will hit the ground running China, from April 13-15.