Vettel triumphs in Bahrain as Hamilton pays penalty

Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who incurred a penalty that ensured he finished second behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the Bahrain Grand Prix, has issued an apology to his Mercedes team, saying it was a complete "misjudgment" from him.

The Finnish driver secured his maiden Formula 1 pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix but on race pace and strategy he reached the chequered flag in third place behind victor Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

"Then, the final stint, obviously we had quite a decent gap plus the safety margin of Lewis' penalty - which I wasn't sure why but it didn't matter at that point - and I just tried to control the gap to Valtteri, maybe pulling away a little bit and at that point just controlling the gap".

Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari was in fourth, while Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull finished in fifth.

The three-time world champion took his penalty at his second stop with 15 laps remaining and rejoined in third, 18 seconds behind Vettel.

The Ferrari garage took the first big chance of the race when Vettel went in for an early pit on Lap 11, said the report.

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"It's the second time I've double stacked and lost out", Hamilton said.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said such orders were "a call you don't like to make", with the team's two drivers officially assured of equal terms and treatment despite their track records. The auto was really wonderful to drive and I could control the race in the end.

"Beyond that the tyre never really came good, I was on [Filipe] Massa's pace and we know we're quicker than that, so it was a unusual chain of events from the beginning of the race". So I know the race pace in there - this weekend also in qualifying. The Finn was notably disconsolate after the race, which saw him claim his second podium finish. I was looking after my tyres, so we were in a really good position.

Asked by Motorsport whether he feels more or less confident in his abilities at Mercedes following his hard race, the Finn replied: "I think more", adding: "This weekend was nice that I could perform a bit better in qualifying, so definitely from Australia, China and here, I feel I can get more out of the vehicle in qualifying".

Mercedes have had things all their own way in the last three Formula One seasons but start the two-day test in Bahrain on Tuesday with plenty to consider. He initiated an overtaking maneuver on Hamilton going into Turn 1 and then proceeded to chase Bottas.

"I don't know what happened to them but I was expecting them to be faster in the race", said Vettel.

  • Lawrence Cooper