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Vettel Gives Ferrari Big Win In Bahrain

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 16 2017

Sebastian Vettel put Ferrari on the top step of the podium Sunday at the F1 race in Bahrain. (File photo)

Ferrari’s Formula One renaissance raced forward on Sunday as the Italian team’s Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix by 6.660 seconds over Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton.

The enabled Ferrari to break a tie in the driver standings between the German Vettel and Britain’s Hamilton and spurred Vettel to dance around like child on his birthday while doling out mass hugs to team personnel.

“I love what I do,” he said giddily from the podium.

The victory was the second of the season for Vettel, who also won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

“The car was really amazing to drive,” Vettel said. “Lewis was a threat towards the end and with the traffic you never know.”

The finish might have been much closer at the end had Hamilton not been issued a 5-second penalty for entering pit road too slowly during a safety car stop.

“Completely my fault with the safety car,” Hamilton said. “You are supposed to have a five-second gap and I think I had a four-second gap. Just a misjudgment from myself. Apologies to the team but I tried the best I could to recover it and we still got good points for today.”

After three races the Scuderia Ferrari driver leads the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship by seven points (68-61) over Hamilton. Ferrari moved to a three-point lead in the manufacturer standings (102-99) over Mercedes.

The win was the 44th of Vettel’s career and this third in Bahrain but his first while driving a blood-red Ferrari.

Finishing third Sunday was Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fifth.

For the second straight race, the Haas F1 Team secured a point-paying result as driver Romain Grosjean delivered an eighth-place finish at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

 Grosjean started ninth in the 57-lap race around the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn track and held his position amid the always chaotic start, a lap-16 restart and two pit stops.

After his final stop at the end of lap 32 where Grosjean swapped his Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires for a new set of Yellow softs, he used the fresh rubber to overtake the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat for eighth on lap 38. Grosjean maintained the spot through the checkered flag to take his first point-scoring finish of the year.

“It was a pretty good race,” Grosjean said. “I made a decent start and my first stint was pretty good, but it was tough to stay behind the Renault. Then we had the bad luck with the safety car, as we’d pitted just before. I saw (Sergio) Perez come out and I thought, ‘How did he come out in front of me when he’d been 10 seconds behind?’ He gained 12 seconds with the safety car and that cost a position. At the restart I struggled a little bit with the top speed. But, eventually, we made the right strategy call and pushed on the good laps with some great overtaking maneuvers. So, here we are, P8. It’s good to be here scoring points.”

 Teammate Kevin Magnussen didn’t have the opportunity to vie for points. After rising from his 20th-place starting spot to 15th, Magnussen’s race ended after eight laps when an electronics issue cut his car’s power supply, forcing him to pull off at turn eight. Magnussen finished eighth the week before in the Chinese Grand Prix.

 Grosjean’s eighth-place effort was his fifth top-10 finish in six career Formula One starts at Bahrain. Grosjean finished fifth in last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix for what remains Haas F1 Team’s best result in 24 Formula One races.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 16 2017
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