F1 2018: Sebastian Vettel claims Bahrain GP pole


Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel won for the second time in as many races Sunday but the Italian team's victory was overshadowed after one of its mechanics suffered a broken leg when he was hit by Kimi Raikkonen's auto during a pit stop at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

After Bottas took pole for Mercedes previous year, it was Sebastian Vettel who triumphed and extended his championship lead. In an ironic twist, Red Bull's feeder team Toro Rosso had arguably the result of the day - with French driver Pierre Gasly driving superbly to finish a career-best fourth.

Vettel's win pushed him up to 50 points in the drivers' standings, 17 ahead of Hamilton, with Bottas third on 22 points.

"Wow!" screamed Vettel as he crossed the line.

At the very least it promised an exciting finish that came to fruition as Vettel's softer tyres inevitably neared the end of their life in the closing laps.

"I was doing the maths in the auto: 10 laps to go, with that pace he's going to catch me", a relieved Vettel said.

"The vehicle feels OK, but we still need to find some pace, especially for a single lap", Bottas said.

"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. I had nothing under control!" he said. "The goal is damage limitation". "I started ninth so third is not that bad". Ferrari said the mechanic was taken to the hospital for treatment with a broken leg.

Meanwhile, Red Bull endured a disastrous evening as Daniel Ricciardo's vehicle suffered a loss of power on the opening lap while Max Verstappen's RB14 was severely damaged after a collision with Hamilton's Mercedes.

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.

Alonso was eventually culled after Q2, while Renault snatched two top-ten spots along with Gasly and Esteban Ocon in the Force India.

The race began with temperatures falling from 29 and 35 degrees Celsius respectively for air and track.

The decision to change Bottas and Hamilton to the medium compound when the four leading drivers pitted around the 20th lap looked to be a stroke of genius.

The lead trio held station for several laps, only really disrupted when Vettel caught the longer-running Hamilton - who had risen from ninth - and had to wait to clear the Mercedes.

Ferrari's pit system showed a green light to Raikkonen, indicating he could exit the pits, despite mechanics not having changed his left rear wheel. This was after the red flag delay generated through Verstappen's accident and resultant clean-up, but none of the top five drivers improved in the final five minutes once the session restarted.