Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Ferrari handed big fine for Raikkonen unsafe release

Race winner Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel won a thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton Credit GETTY
Gerardo Duncan | 10 April, 2018, 20:17

Instead, the two Finns were left to battle amongst themselves for second place in the early running, with the Mercedes man coming out on top.

Both Red Bulls failed, with Max Verstappen retiring moments after Daniel Ricciardo, facilitating Hamilton's transition from ninth on the grid to the podium.

The racing continued to flow, with Hamilton in the thick of it.

Nico Hulkenberg was eighth for Renault ahead of Force India's Esteban Ocon and team mate Carlos Sainz.

Magnussen was quickly passed for P5, which turned to P4 once Gasly was dealt with. Now in the lead but yet to pit, Hamilton was similarly eyeing a one-stop strategy. With the VSC on track, Verstappen managed to crawl back into the pits.

Vettel led right from the start.

Reigning champions Mercedes, who were clearly fastest two weeks ago in the season-opening race in Australia, had only enough in hand to qualify on the second row of the grid.

After seeing the Scuderia give Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen the soft tyre, Mercedes opted for the longer-lasting medium compound.

Vettel now leads Hamilton by 17 points after two of the 21 races. Mercedes used that as the trigger to call in Hamilton for his single stop and switch to medium tyres, rejoining in fourth place behind Raikkonen. The Frenchman was lapping with a damaged vehicle and held up the faster Haas before pitting himself.

Saturday's pole was the 51st of Vettel's career and third in Bahrain.

Kimi Raikkonen was called into the pits to change tyres and despite his left rear tyre not being on properly, he was released from the pit box on a green light.

The problem with the left-rear was that the soft compound tyre was still attached to the vehicle, whereas the other three had already been switched to Supersofts, but because of the delay, the mechanic was caught by Raikkonen and thrown to the ground.

Ferrari later tweeted that the mechanic, named only as Francesco, likely sustained a "shinbone and fibula fracture".

They were fined 5,000 euros after Raikkonen was sent out of the pits with a loose wheel in Friday practice. "Communication is really hard when you are trying to catch Vettel". With his elbows firmly out, Verstappen lunged underneath Hamilton at the opening bend but did not account for Fernando Alonso who was hogging the apex.

There were also celebrations at Sauber, with Sweden's Marcus Ericsson finishing ninth for his first points since 2015 and the Swiss team's first of the season.

"My thoughts are already on the world championship".

"These tyres were done, done, in the last 10 laps", a jubilant Vettel told his team over the radio after he took the chequered flag.

"That was a lie".

"I tried to keep it as clean as possible".

"First run in Q3, I was very happy and then I tossed it away in the last corner. Our plan worked but just, Bottas had a bit of a sniff but ran out of laps", said the four times champion.

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