Vettel holds off late Hamilton charge to win Bahrain GP

Vettel regains championship lead with 2017 Bahrain GP win

Things could have been a lot different for Hamilton and Vettel at the Bahrain Grand Prix had the Brit not got a five-second penalty for slowing down unnecessarily in the pit.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits that it was hard to make a call on team orders that favored Lewis Hamilton only three races into the new season.

"We finally have a competitive vehicle to count on and it is important to recognise the speed with which we implemented the developments demanded for each new race".

In Bahrain, the Briton recognised he could have put himself in a much better position to win.

Hamilton is current on 61 points in the drivers' championship, seven behind Vettel, with Bottas in third place on 38 points. "We need to improve the auto and our knowledge about the tyres so we can be in a better position in the next race".

Hamilton was catching the German on every lap but ultimately ran out of time and finished nearly seven seconds behind.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas was third after starting from the pole for the first time.

Hamilton and Bottas rounded out the podium for Mercedes with the pole victor finishing 20 seconds down on Vettel thus failing to convert his maiden F1 pole into a win.

After the safety vehicle period, Vettel came out on the lead, but was sitting on soft tires and would need a new set before the end of the race. Today, I lost a position at the start - exclusively my fault - and then you've got the time lost in the pit lane. Hamilton lost a position to Vettel at the start, but his race really started to unravel when he received a five-second penalty for holding up Daniel Ricciardo in the pit lane under the Safety Car. Hamilton, who won in China last weekend, crossed the finish line 6.6 seconds behind.

For his Mercedes teammate there was also disappointment - the Finn unable to convert his first F1 pole into a long-overdue first win.

"We finally have a competitive vehicle to count on and it is important to recognise the speed with which we implemented the developments demanded for each new race".

By the halfway point, Vettel's lead was six seconds over Hamilton, who had just passed Bottas. He was not happy with his McLaren car's performance, though, saying "I've never raced with less power in my life" over the radio.

Bottas finished third approximately 20.0 seconds back. Max Verstappen, who was strong in the previous race, did not finish after an issue with his brakes in lap 11.

"I believe before pit entry that was fine, but here, where he's not going quick, I believe that's why he got the penalty".

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