Sebastian Vettel finished in first place in the Bahrain Grand Prix, his second win in a row. Although the team’s attention went to an injured mechanic after an accident in the pitlane during Kimi’s second stop.
Q1 usually ends without drama for the top teams, but not this time. Max Verstappen crashed out in his Red Bull, while Hamilton already had a 5-place penalty for changing his gearbox. Things looked pretty good for the Ferrari team and qualifying ended in the best way possible, a Ferrari front row lockout. Seb in pole position and Kimi in P2 just like in Hungary 2017. Bottas and Ricciardo started on the second row.
Both cars launched from the grid towards turn 1, but Bottas managed to squeeze in between the cavalcade. More drama further back, as Hamilton and Verstappen touched wheels resulting in a puncture and DNF for Verstappen. While Ricciardo suffered a painful DNF from an engine failure. Meanwhile Vettel controlled the race lead. Mercedes surprised with a one-stop strategy for Bottas, and Ferrari changed strategy for Vettel, meaning he had to do 39(!) laps on soft tires. He did a beautiful job at nursing the tires home and winning the race. He later admitted the tires were totally destroyed and he thought Bottas was going to win. Raikkonnen stayed on the two-stop strategy, but there was a problem at the rear left.
Shockingly, the green light came on with only 3 tires replaced and Kimi had to retire. To make things even worse, the mechanic who was waiting with the new wheel was run over and broke his leg. He has been treated at the hospital and is making his recovery, no word on when he’ll be back in the pits. The Ferrari team was fined $ 50.000 for releasing a car in an unsafe condition resulting in injury.
An emotional race for Scuderia, pure joy at one end but anger and disbelief on the other side. Next up: China GP this weekend!