Sebastian Vettel holds off Valtteri Bottas to win Bahrain Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel holds off Valtteri Bottas to win Bahrain Grand Prix

This weekend we go to a desert in the Middle East, maybe for another pleasant surprise at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel will start his 200th grand prix, the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix, from pole position.

With Hamilton hampered by that five-place grid penalty, he and Mercedes opted to run the softs in Q2, giving him an alternative strategy as he will start the race on that tyre.

"But I will do all I can to do something and get a result". "But it wasn't quite enough", Bottas said.

The New Zealander's auto will be fitted like Gasly's for the rest of the weekend. Valtteri Bottas and his Mercedes took third.

"It's disappointing for us not to be on the front row", Bottas said.

Hamilton has to take a five-place grid penalty for changing a gearbox on Friday. Raikkonen was given the signal to leave the pits when only three of his tyres had been replaced.

The race will be on Sunday, April 8. "As you saw a couple of weeks ago in Australia, as you saw many times over the past years ... you never really know what happens".

A frustrated Vettel finally burst past the defensive Hamilton, on his original tyres, to re-gain the lead on lap 26.

Hamilton's Mercedes team revealed that the British driver suffered a hydraulics leak at the curtain raiser in Melbourne, adding that he was even fortunate to finish the race.

Watch Kimi Raikkonen

That put him a whopping 0.525 seconds clear of second-placed Max Verstappen, with his Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo a further 0.059 seconds adrift in third.

It was a clumsy error from the 20-year-old Verstappen. We are happy with how the vehicle was responding, how the front end was responding - you can also see it in the result. He span his auto after pushing too hard early on in Melbourne two weeks ago and finished sixth.

Joining the Frenchman in elimination were the Sauber pair of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc, the latter spinning out on the final corner, plus Williams pairing of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll.

New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley complained about damage to his left front wing and soon find out why: he had hit a bird.

It is Ferrari's first pole in Bahrain since Felipe Massa topped the timesheets in 2008 and ended a stranglehold over qualifying for the race by Mercedes-GP.

McLaren became the major casualty of Q2 as both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne missed out the top 10 shoot-out, and also faced the fact that they were out-qualified by both Toro Rosso cars. So who grabbed the place you'd have expected Verstappen to fill in the race?

McLaren entered the season with high hopes after switching to Renault engines, following three troublesome seasons with Honda.

Earlier, Raikkonen posted the fastest time in the third and final practice. Hamilton's Mercedes, too, is no longer as dominant as it was early in the turbo-hybrid era.

"Who were those people on the left-hand side?" the British driver asked. "When they told me the pace of Valtteri at that time I was thinking there was no way to do that".

The day belonged to Vettel though.

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