Vettel wins Bahrain F1 thriller, Bottas finishes second

Vettel wins Bahrain F1 thriller, Bottas finishes second

For Vettel, the pole position was enjoyable, but the performance of the auto was surprising.

Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole position ahead of team mate Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari locked out the front row in qualifying for Sunday's Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas was third, and out-qualified Hamilton in the process, but was 0.166 seconds off the pace of Vettel.

Earlier, despite his victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the four-time champion Vettel arrived in Bahrain on Thursday to play down hopes that it will be a straightforward task to win again on Sunday. Valtteri Bottas and his Mercedes took third.

But it was not all good news for Ferrari as Vettel's team-mate Finn Kimi Raikkonen failed to finish after colliding with a mechanic at a pit stop.

It could have been even better for Mercedes.

Raikkonen was the fastest driver during practice, but Vettel pulled out all the stops late in qualifying to be 0.143s ahead of his teammate.

What that would do though, is force Vettel to stay out until the end on a set of Soft tyres which really shouldn't have been able to cope.

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"Pace wise it has been good this weekend but I wanted to win so we can not be fully satisfied". Hopefully we'll see more overtaking than at the first round in Melbourne two weeks ago. Although the German driver looked steady behind the wheel, his mind was racing nearly as fast as Bottas' Mercedes behind him.

"It is disappointing when you get so close but I have to say the last three laps my tyres started to go off".

"When you get to a hot circuit it's really hard to keep the temperatures low in the tyres and that's something they've always been good at". You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of either, and you can then watch the race live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.

With just over five minutes remaining and the track temperature dropping, the green light glowed for a second time. "I am happy", he said. "But it wasn't quite enough", Bottas said.

Over at Red Bull, things took an early turn for the worse as Max Verstappen locked up and slammed his vehicle into the wall at Turn Two.

The injured mechanic has been taken to hospital for treatment. Hamilton has two wins on the 5.412-kilometer circuit while Vettel has topped the podium on three occasions, including previous year.

Raikkonen's vehicle came to a halt a few meters later and he took off the steering wheel and dejectedly threw it into the cockpit. He got out and helped stewards wheel it back to the team garage.

Ferrari were fined 50,000 euros ($61,385) for lack of safety.

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As the sun set, drivers prepared on the grid for their showdown under floodlights.

An error from Vettel put Raikkonen on provisional pole, but the German responded well with his final attacking lap to secure his 51st career pole and first since Mexico last season.

Lap 1 tussles saw Lewis Hamilton, who started P9, versus Max Verstappen, who made a flying start from 15th place.

Raikkonen got passed on the first corner by Bottas, but Vettel held his ground. He pulled over on the side of the track because of an electrical failure, prompting the safety auto to come out. Verstappen suffered a rear-left puncture after making contact with Hamilton as he tried to pass the Briton, and limped back to the pits. He resumed the race but abandoned shortly after.

"It was a bit unfortunate", Verstappen said of the crash. "Feeling sorry for all the fans that support me. Better luck next time in China".

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault ahead of the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly and the two McLarens of two-time champion Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

The German marque have taken pole position for the past five years, but face a tall order to win the race this year. "I started ninth so third is not that bad".

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