Start, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Vettel holds Bottas back for victory in 200th race

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix summary

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Sebastian Vettel won the 200th race of his Formula One career after soaking up pressure from Valtteri Bottas in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver came under strong pressure after the team scrapped plans for a second pit stop and left him out until the end of the race on what they described as “Plan D” on the radio. He crossed the finishing line less than seven tenths of a second ahead of Bottas, who made an unsuccessful attempt to pass the Ferrari as the final lap began.

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Bahrain Grand Prix in pictures
Lewis Hamilton recovered from ninth on the grid to take third place after emerging from the midfield scrap early in the race. Like Bottas he switched to the medium compound, making a single pit stop as Mercedes tried to put Ferrari under pressure.

Ferrari brought Kimi Raikkonen in for a second pit stop but he never made it back onto the track. He was released from the pits before his left-rear tyre had gone on and has to stop in the pits. The team is yet to confirm details of the condition of a mechanic who was knocked to the floor by the car as it left.

Raikkonen’s demise promoted an elated Pierre Gasly to fourth place for Toro Rosso. Gasly finished 12 seconds clear of Kevin Magnussen, who ran wide after tangling with his rival following a restart from a Virtual Safety Car period early in the race.

The VSC period was triggered by the sudden demise of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull, which suffered a total electrical shutdown. It came moments after the team’s other car suffered a puncture in a collision with Hamilton. Max Verstappen later retired from the race with damage.

Both McLarens reached the top 10 in the race again, Fernando Alonso seventh ahead of his team mate, and one place behind Nico Hulkenberg. Marcus Ericsson took his first points of the season with ninth for Sauber after an audacious early pit stop, while Esteban Ocon claimed the final point for Force India.

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix reaction

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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111 comments on “Vettel holds Bottas back for victory in 200th race”

  1. YellowSubmarine
    8th April 2018, 18:12

    Not much hunger or bite to Bottas, is there? Not even much of a bark. That car needs a more committed driver.

    1. Yeh, I felt this was the case. He started his attack far too late.

      The fact that both C4 (Webber and S Wolf) thought that if it was Hamilton, he would have made the pass speaks volumes. Maybe it is just me misreading the Fin, but not enough attack!

      Fun race though, enjoyed it.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        8th April 2018, 18:24

        I don’t understand why you are against Bottas. As soon as the team told him to go flat out, he did. If the team had told him to do this just 1 lap earlier, things could have been different. It won’t have been Bottas who hold back, that will have been the team. When he got going, the speed gap was simply huge. The team just didn’t let him attack early enough. Bottas was catching incredibly quickly and you could see as soon as the dirty air started to affect him. Mercedes suffers in this area. Given Mercedes thought Ferrari would be far quicker, the fact that he was far better than Kimi and this close to Vettel was not bad at all. Even though their strategy will have been better, I just think Vettel did a better job than Bottas. But Bottas still had a very solid weekend. Certainly better than Hamilton.

        1. Also on C4, Toto Wolff mentioned they could see Ferrari & Vettel saving fuel and preparing well for that fight, and they too had to safe some fuel, so it wasn’t really possible to let Bottas go for it sooner, so I feel you are quite right @thegianthogweed, even though my feelings say Hamilton in that position would have had more of a chance @mach1

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            8th April 2018, 19:11

            I also think Hamilton may have had more of a chance if he was in Bottas’s place, But I’m not convinced Hamilton will have if he started P4. Bottas had a really good start compared to Hamilton if I’m honest. And Botts is usually very good at defending in the race. He showed this in the first stint here last year even when he was slow.

        2. Exactly right @thegianthogweed. If they had told him to turn up his engine and push like they did Hamilton, Bottas would surely have won the race. Begs the question why they didn’t.

          Even if doesn’t prove that that they were mostly concerned about Hamilton over Vettel, it proves that Bottas is way too trusting a team player. Hamilton would never have listened to the “wait till his tyres go off” talk, we’ve seen that before. It usually always pays to go for chances early anyway.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            9th April 2018, 21:25

            @balue
            Well, lets also remember that when Hamilton said “I’m going for it” when he was stuck behind Vettel in Australia, he made a mess of it and went wide. Maybe Bottas didn’t want to take such a risk. Even though his tyres were better than vettel’s, they were still old and the Mercedes is not good in dirty air. You could clearly see he lost down force when he was close to Vettel. The straight was about the only place he could have done it. He got so close on the last lap that I think he could have got Vettel if he’d been released 1 lap sooner.

            People also need to remember that Mercedes will not have expected this race to be a 2 – 3 finish from the start of race day. Bottas certainly looked better than Kimi and the 2 red Bulls retired. Even with Bottas not managing a win, the team have to admit they were lucky to even get the points they did. Red Bull could have been really strong here. Also, it seemed Ferrari were just better. So even taking the strategy into consideration, Bottas being 0.6 seconds off winning is not bad at all. If Mercedes are stronger in other races, I still expect Bottas to win a few this year.

    2. My thoughts as well…. He can be quick at times, but not often enough.

    3. His contract expires this season but it was a good bounceback after Melbourne. But he should have gotten that win. Mercedes are more forgiving than Red Bull or Toro Rosso at least when it comes to drivers so he should be fine… for now. But if he continues to be consistently off Lewis and not performing, I can see him being replaced.

      1. Imagine RIC in that car, or God forbid…VER. They would have won that race going away.

        I like Bottas, but he just doesn’t have that same edge.

        1. Ric maybe, but Ver, umm no, he is still too sharp with lots of edges… he needs to learn to see real gaps vs ambitious ones…

      2. The win was not his to take. Ferrari were on it today, and so was Vettel. Bottas took advantage of Kimi’s weak start off the dirty side of the grid, and that was the best he could’ve done, barring a failure or screw up by Vettel or Ferrari.

    4. Totally. There are only a handful of drivers who can soak the pressure of raising their game in dire times. And today, combined with similar results in past, shows that Valtteri Bottas is’nt one of them. I do hope he raises his game, but opportunities like these don’t just lurk around. I think Mercedes is getting ever so clearer race by race on whether they should keep Valtteri from next season onwards
      .

    5. If Merc would have selected a more competitive, aggressive driver it would have been a different outcome.
      Hamilton wanted a good driver, not a great one as a teammate he got his wish.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        8th April 2018, 20:13

        If Mercedes hadn’t made Bottas limit his pace for as long as they did, it very likely will have been a different outcome. Did you not notice the different in speed when they told Bottas to push? Basically a second a lap until he hit the time gap where dirty air usually starts affecting them. It wasn’t as bad as Australia, but Bottas’s tyres were pretty old. Certainly not like Vettel’s but driving in dirty air will make a huge difference and looses a lot of downforce. With old tyres, this can be really hard. And we had one of the closest finishes in quite a while. Just 0.6 seconds. If Mercedes had allowed Bottas to flaw it 2 laps sooner, it is extremely likely he will have had Vettel. And Bottas the good driver beat the great driver in qualifying this weekend and I wouldn’t actually say his race was any better than Bottas either if I’m honest. He only really had to overtake much slower cars and the 2 Red Bulls and 1 Ferrari retired. Bottas overtook a Ferrari and finished really close to the other and he had clearly not been showign his true pace the whole time. I partially blame the team for not letting him push sooner. Given how long Vettel’s tyres were lasting shows they really should have let him try earlier on.

    6. I’ll be happy to see Ricciardo in a Mercedes.

      1. Actually I don’t. Danny Ric is ok racer but bad in qualifying. I think he can manage any better than Bottas to be honest.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          9th April 2018, 21:33

          I don’t see how Ricciardo is bad in qualifying. As he heavily out qualified Kvyat in 2015. And Kvyat showed to basically be evenly matched to Sainz last year in this area as well as the year before actually. Does this mean that if Ricciardo is bad in qualifying, Sainz is terrible as he wasn’t really better than Kvyat?

          I just think Ricciardo is very good and Verstappen is also very good and often has an outstanding lap on several occasions.

  2. The Toro Rosso pitwall + garage 😃

  3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    8th April 2018, 18:16

    I think the whole paddock is laughing hard at Vettel’s comments that his tyres were gone for the last 10 laps! It’s nice to see Vettel having a sense of humor during the race and sharing that with the rest of us. I hope he didn’t actually mean that the tyres had degraded and he’d lost all grip because those tyres could have run another 60 laps the way he was pirhouetting on them through the corners…

    1. @freelittlebirds Nice intel. Did a pink unicorn tell you that?

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        8th April 2018, 18:26

        No but at least I watch the race – did you see how Vettel passed the Mercedes when Lewis’ tyres were gone?

        It’s comical to think that Vettel’s tyres were in worse shape that Bottas’. Vettel let him make up the distance because he knew that the Mercedes passing the Ferrari was a funny joke that only people on this forum and Vettel like to tell.

        1. @freelittlebirds Yes, F1 is full of examples of drivers letting others come close to toy with them. You do realise that every drivers wet dream is pole to flag uncontested, right?

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            8th April 2018, 19:00

            @flatsix ok, just listened to the podium interviews – Vettel and Bottas were joking about it. They both know that Vettel was full of baloney and was in full control as Vettel mentioned a few times.

          2. No need arguing with @freelittlebirds. He doesn’t have a clue. SV’s tires were gone, well done to him for getting the win.

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            8th April 2018, 19:15

            @sjzelli well, your argument is that Vettel’s tyres were gone but he still managed to fend off the allegedly faster car for 3 laps in 6 DRS zone while only allowing it to come side-by-side once. As Vettel laughed, I think there’s little point in arguing with you. Once the tyres go, you don’t keep off a Mercedes for 3 laps…

          4. Look @freelittlebirds, everyone (from the teams to Will Buxton) day he drove 40 laps on tires designed to do 20-25. He never set a foot wrong (as did both VB & LH). So take your rhetoric elsewhere

          5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            9th April 2018, 13:20

            @sjzelli yes, you’re obviously right – Ferrari made a decision to go all the way after 20 laps and Seb was able to nurse the tyres in the last 20 laps (after forcing them for 20 laps) and not only that but make them look new in close-up shots although we all know they were obviously off the cliff. Not only that but he still managed to hold off a Mercedes for 3 laps without the car losing grip on a single corner.

        2. @freelittlebirds

          It’s comical to think that Vettel’s tyres were in worse shape that Bottas’. Vettel let him make up the distance because he knew that the Mercedes passing the Ferrari was a funny joke that only people on this forum and Vettel like to tell.

          The only joke is your statement, but somehow I sense you’re dead serious.

      2. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        8th April 2018, 19:38

        Hahaha to the pink unicorn. That’s funny

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        8th April 2018, 18:31

        @j3d89 well, I’m still crying from all the laughing, if that’s what you mean. It was pretty hilarious – now, if he had slightly lost grip, he would have sold it but that car was planted better than the Mercedes so I think Vettel won but not really by defending against Bottas or against Lewis.

        Still a victory for Ferrari but only marginally better than Australia’s. If the tyre had degraded, they would have also lost this one but Vettel, again, got ly lucky that the tyre didn’t degrade as expected. He could have ended 3rd easily…

        For all the luck that Vettel has, Raikonnen seems to have an equal amount of bad luck…

        1. @freelittlebirds

          Car being planted? Yes he didnt overdrive like Bottas and Hamilton locking up over and over again but thats how a pro drives.

          Why dont you take a look at when Vettel passed Hamilton on fresh tyres and you can compare that to his driving at the end. If you still belive he could go 60 more laps you are truly clueless.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            8th April 2018, 19:05

            @rethla you mean that the Ferrari passed the Mercedes on the DRS catching up out of the corner? Yeah, I did see that but I’ve also been saying that the Ferrari is the supercar of 2017 and 2018 and it appears I’m again proven right and many of you wrong :-)

            You should watch the last few laps again and see which car had more grip. They actually showed Vettel’s rear tyres as they showing the distance to Bottas – they are supposed to take a beating at Bahrain and they looked in great shape. Also look at Vettel’s ability to stay ahead of Bottas. If he was going slow then Bottas could have passed him on the inside or outside using his superior grip… Did you see that?

            Nope you didn’t because his tyres were in fantastic shape and, as Seb said, he was in full control and was simply messing with Mercedes.

          2. @freelittlebirds I mean the pass you reffered to but the actual pass wasnt important but rather the driving up to it and just flying away from Hamilton after it. That was a planted Ferrari. His driving at the end was super careful, he struggled every acceleration but managed to keep Bottas out of DRS long enough to not give him anything but one rushed attack.

            Bottas was just a few tenths over 1sec behind Vettel for a long time and eventually had to use his saved up overtaking energy to get withing DRS range, that ment he had no “partymode” left for the actual overtake. Had Vettel lapped just 1-2tenths slower or made just one lockup like Bottas and Hamilton he would have been in big trouble.

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            8th April 2018, 19:56

            @rethla how could you tell that Vettel struggled on every acceleration?

            Are you suggesting that once the tyres are gone, a driver can simply drive carefully and keep everyone behind?

            I usually see cars with superior tread make quick work out of cars with worn tyres which are visibly unstable compared to the other car. You can usually tell if a car is struggling because it’s not staying planted but it seems I’m wrong about that.

          4. @freelittlebirds

            The car is not staying planted if the driver is over agressive. You can usually see that from lap one if you watch Verstappen.

            When the tires are gone the drivers have to brake earlier, make wider turns and balance the throttle more. You can see Bottas catching up with way more agressive lines behind Vettel but it turns out he was to agressive.

          5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            8th April 2018, 20:14

            @rethla we are talking about Vettel’s tyres going totally off and are we still suggesting on this forum of all places that the car would not be stable if that happened? I’d understand if I asked my son that question and I’m getting the answer here but I’m perplexed that F1 fans have trouble understanding that. Most sensible folks obviously believe that the tyres were in great shape in the last few laps and maybe just didn’t give the confidence that Vettel wanted with a Mercedes behind BUT they did the job.

            When a car’s tyres are going off or a car has new tyres compared to a car with old tyres, usually they are all over the other car – coming from inside, outside (everywhere). It’s literally almost like a lion attacking an elephant in most cases.

            Obviously Vettel defended well and drove well but his tyres were in great shape – they looked great from the camera 2 feet away and his car drove well.

            Your point about Verstappen is right – I’ve been wondering about his car from Australia and I’m very upset that the experts at Sky Sports haven’t mentioned it once. The Red Bulls have always been very surefooted on the track and Max’s car seems very loose especially the rear. I don’t think it’s because he’s too aggressive
            (he’s always been aggressive) with it, I think the new chassis is less stable either by design or by accident.

          6. @freelittlebirds
            What are you even talking about?

            Vettels tyres was in a bad shape and Bottas was slightly better, Vettel managed to hold off by what seems like a very tiny but calculated margin. It was a spectacular drive from Vettel and one of the few impressive drives Bottas has managed. Mercedes pushed Ferrari into an risky onestopper and went from locked in 2nd place to a very serious shot at P1 by the end. A brilliant strategy by Mercedes and Ferrari almost dropping the ball in a race they should control from start to end.

            A car equipped with tyres in the condition that Vettel had when he passed Hamilton would be driving 8s around Vettel at the end just like you describe with a lion and elephant…

    2. WOW. That’s exactly how fake news is fabricated.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        8th April 2018, 19:07

        @makana you should be telling Vettel that about his tyres, not me:-)

        1. There’s no way the tyres were gone completely as Hamilton did more distance on full fuel and a qualifying run on his. They sure weren’t fresh but looking at the laps and how Ferrari were on the super softs he easily had 10-15 more laps before dropping off the cliff.

    3. maybe he did an undercover 2nd pits-top and no one noticed it?

    4. How do you describe a set of used tires that are 1 second slower per lap? Vettel outqualified Bottas so theoratically Vettel’s tire disadvantage for the last 5 laps was greater than 1 second / lap. 1 second / lap in F1 monetarily is about the difference of highest paid driver to Sirokin who brings money to the team, or the difference between Ferrari and Force India.

      1. I’m of the opinion that Vettel’s tires were indeed nothing he could have used to fight VB with, and had VB only a few more laps, a pass would have happened, which is basically what both SV and VB agreed after the race. I think SV just did a remarkable job not faltering on tires that were barely performing…couldn’t possibly have been there for him after that amount of mileage. No, in a fight with VB, and certainly once in VB’s dirty air, SV wouldn’t have stood a chance. I think even if SV had a back marker to deal with in those last few laps, VB would have gotten him.

  4. Good Race from Vettel and Bottas. Feel sorry for Kimi and the Mechanic. Good Recovery by Lewis too.

    Big Congrats to Honda and Gasly.

    So to Sum it we are starting to see it was never a Honda issue. The Problem was McLaren all along. The performed poorly when Mercedes was their engine in the new Turbo Era. Then the Honda Saga and Now Renault. With 3 engines and poor performance lets give it to the McLaren team. Feel Sorry for Alonso.

    Who knows !!! We might see a Red Bull Honda by as early as Next Year.

    1. The Problem was McLaren all along.

      I don’t think it’s that simple. Both Honda and McLaren seem to have improved from last year.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard

        I don’t think it’s that simple. Both Honda and McLaren seem to have improved from last year.

        Ahhh yes, McLaren have improved from “having the best chassis” last year, to CLEARLY not having the best chassis this year. Well done lads…..well done. ;)

        1. @asanator A racing team is just the chassis. Not the engine, and definitely 100% not the results they get with the combination of the two.

    2. It was never all a Honda issue or all a mclaren issue. The problem was shared. Honda lacked the power and fuel efficiency. Mclaren lacked the pitstop practice and the packaging.

      Honda has developed their engine over the winter and it is on the level it should be now. You seriously don’t think they’re still running last year’s engine do you?

      Toro Rosso were nowhere in Australia and now they’re suddenly the fourth fastest team? And mclaren go from being almost on Renaults pace in Australia to a whole second behind in qualifying in Bahrain? I think this track really suited the Toro Rosso and didn’t suit the Mclaren at all. The next few races will show whether this assumption is right or not.

      Mclaren did have the expected race pace though

      1. Not to mention that the Honda engines failed to finish about a third of their races last year. Honda have certainly improved this year.

        1. Well, this is Gasly’s second engine. Not taking anything away from him or Honda. The kid was just sublime, benchmark weekend for him.

    3. @tmax You had me until your drivel about ‘never a Honda issue.’ You can take 3 full seasons of disappointment, add one good race for Honda in their fourth season back, and make that conclusion? Bizarre and one-sided. You obviously just don’t like McLaren.

  5. great win by VET but Mercedes is really good on Medium. they were testing them quite a lot in Barcelona and now is paying off.

    about the injured mechanic, first my best wishes. second, it’s quite interesting that FIA puts a lot of safety on the cars (halo the latest example) but that initiative is not replicated within the boxes where there are far more people working.

    1. How many mechanics have died in the pits over the last 50 years vs drivers on the track? This might answer your question.

      1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Belgian_Grand_Prix#Mechanic_safety_and_chaotic_first_race

        but still, I’m talking about the risk of injuries. there are far more of this minor accidents in the pit lane than in the racetrack.

      2. Well then let’s wait until one dies and we start thinking about their safety! Right?

        1. Giunti – You sir are a moro of the highest order.

    2. Ferrari would’ve been at least as good as Merc on the medium tyre (if not better), IMO.

      It has nothing to do with Merc extensively using the medium compound during the Barcelona testing sessions because you can’t really compare the wet and very cold conditions experienced in Catalunya one month ago with the typical Bahrain’s dry and hot ones.

      1. Although it might explain their underperformance on the softer compounds.

  6. Neil (@neilosjames)
    8th April 2018, 18:19

    Very weird race, that… whole weekend, actually. The formbook from Australia was about as much use as Ricciardo’s electrics.

    1. Yes, it looked like some Russian dropped an EMP device in RIC’s lap. The whole car just shut down. Has anyone checked to see if Sirotkin’s mechanics have GRU ties and some plutonium in their backpack? 🤔
      Lewis should be careful of his tea.

    2. I suspect that but for the electrical failure Ricciardo would have got a good place finish. The on board camera and RT were still working, so I’m guessing this wasn’t a complete electrical failure.

  7. Great race. Finally some action and overtaking! Congrats to Vettel and Ferrari :)
    Good job McLaren, great drive from Toro Rosso Honda and Pierre Gasly. Sauber looks more confident too.
    It’s gonna be great season…

  8. The power of dreams! Honda is finally released from that GP2 chassis. So embarrassing for McLaren in front of their owners.
    Didn’t I start a bet this season that would make me delete my account if McLaren wouldn’t get overtaken by STR?
    Oh hey…. yea that was me. Game on. See you in China.
    Enough of that… now..

    Well, we can definitely call Bottas second class driver. That was ridiculous. Vettel was lighting the rears up like it was an illegal street race you see your nephews watching on a cartoon on a Saturday morning. He had the fastest lap, that car was able to do it, he didn’t deliver. Again.
    And Verstappen calling that Hamilton’s fault. So…. this is where we are eh? You try to overtake the best engine on a track like Bahrain, even need to dodge a McLaren and go extremely deep… this even in the single laps, with the widest cars in history, and the guy decides ”nah, I am allowed to get left a car length”, stewards decides that as well, so… kid needs a wake-up call. You’ll never win the WDC in this way.

    1. Quarts so embarrassing for mclaren? Sure their Quali pace was embarrassing but they were where they expected to be in the race.

      Alonso P4 in the drivers championship and mclaren P3 in the constructors championship

      1. If the owners forcefully fire Dennis and give the $600m project away to a junior team and come to your country and your own GP, so that you, the owners can finally see McLaren fight and that bloody Honda suddenly is way ahead of you on merit….and equals the best result in all your years. That.. is… embarrassing.

        1. equals and betters it in two races* to say it without an edit button.

  9. Hey @keithcollantine
    I want to give a HUGE shoutout to ESPN (@ESPNF1 on twitter) for fixing their coverage and to @MothersPolish over on Twitter for making it possible. We were VERY vocal last week about how they blew the coverage and we need to be just as vocal now that they’re fixing it.
    Come on American F1 fans, show the support.

    1. Oh, they did @daved? Very happy for everyone that is depending on their coverage to read that, last race was a disaster from what I heard.

    2. I agree – fantastic!!!
      NO commercials!!! First time I have seen a F1 race without commercials!
      Great job ESPN!

      1. Yep excellent job ESPN, I’ll even wear my cap again,, lets hope it will continue and wasn’t just an olive branch to atone for the first race screw ups.

  10. YellowSubmarine
    8th April 2018, 18:38

    And Verstappen….that Banzai driving can’t get him too much success, surely he should know that by now? Love the attitude, but he does need to use the grey matter every now and then.

    1. Max has great potential but he has to grow up quite a bit. As Lewis said in the post race, right now he’s driving like a d ick

      😱

      1. He’s always drove too aggressively and doesn’t seem to learn.
        I think part of his problem (other than his dad) is he is being hailed as the next Senna by Red Bull and the media and therefore thinks others should yield. He is a one man wrecking ball.
        Sainz isn’t as fast but at least finishes races. Wonder if Red Bull is starting to have doubts about him.

        1. To make matters worse for Max Gasly is looking like the next F1 sensation. The way he drove what some would call a weak Honda was impressive to say the least.

  11. Bold move by Ferrari after risky tire strategies have backfired on them twice in recent years. But I guess they did not have a choice and eventually Vettel made it stick with an extraordinary drive.

    1. @d0senbrot

      Exactly what i was thinking. It was a nailbiter to the end watching if the Pirellis would let Vettel down yet again or if it would finally pay off.
      Very good job by Mercedes pushing him into that situation despite looking off pace the first half of the race.

  12. Honestly, when will the teams learn not to repeat the same type of errors that Haas and Ferrari have been doing over the two most recent races?

  13. @jerejj
    Im gonna assume theres an entire division at Maranello crunching 24/7 to work out exactly what is wrong with the Ferrari wheelnuts this season. 3 race ending incidents in 2 races and even more incidents in the practice sessions is a disaster.

    1. You know Haas is not Ferrari right? On top of it they did say it was human related not mechanical.

      1. @f1andy83
        Its Ferrari wheelnuts and whetever they say about human error the statistics speaks it painfully clear language.

        1. What you are saying makes no sense.

          1. So you think 3 race ending incidents + more in practice in just two weekends is normal freakaccidents?
            Very well if you do but i still think they are all fired up about it at Maranello.

        2. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
          9th April 2018, 0:15

          Probabilty doesn’t work that way

  14. When, if ever, did a driver win the first two races of the season and not take the title?

    1. vettel won last year the first 2 and lost the title, because the mercedes was too strong after the season break cuz most of the circuit were power dependent with fast cornering where the long wheel base did the job, thats why ferrari increased a bit the wheel base, theyre not as long as mercedes but theyre not too short like last year, lets see what happens

      1. No, he won the 1st and 3rd races. China was 2nd race last season and Hamilton won there, albeit slightly fortuitously.

        I’m looking back at the records and can’t see it ever happening since the 1980s but will keep looking!

        1. 1982 was the last time. Prost didn’t win again all year and finished 4th.

          1. Also ’79, ’76, and ’73.

    2. Was thinking about this too, it bodes well for vettel, he has more chances than hamilton statistically with such a start.

      However much will be dictated by reliability, last year it favoured hamilton, 2016 rosberg, and performance, last year overall mercedes was the quickest car and red bull was only competitive halfway into the season, this year mercedes seems only slightly better or they’re even (track dependant) and red bull seems as fast as ferrari from the start, just so far everything goes wrong for them (verstappen’s little problem + spin, ricciardo’s red flag penalty in australia, verstappen’s power surge problem in qualifying, puncture in the race, ricciardo’s mechanical failure), as soon as they don’t have issues, hopefully already next week in china, I see them giving troubles to ferrari and mercedes.

  15. Answer is 1982 – Prost won the first two races with Rosberg (Keke) taking the title with just that 1 win!

    China will be crucial, if Mercedes can’t beat Ferrari there I think it’s Vettels for the taking, barring major development.

    Cooler in China, should help.

    1. Season is long. What I have gathered from the first 2 races is that for Hamilton and Merc its not time to worry just yet. It seems clear to me that on outright qualy and race pace- Merc is ahead of Ferrari. I expected Ferrari to walk the GP but it seems Merc had the stronger package here thanks to the mediums. Kudos to Vettel for making hay while the sun shines but I think eventually over the course of a season Lewis and Merc will have enough to reel them in. Don’t forget reliability still has a big part to play yet.

  16. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    8th April 2018, 19:42

    Today kind of sums up why I love F1. Great action, drama, a great end with Bottas chasing down Seb, it has my mind thinking what could have been if Bottas waited till turn 3, just an awesome race. After 2018 Melbourne with the halo I was like, this might be a different Formula 1 from this day on but today was a hell of a race and confirms why I’m an F1 fan.

    1. Yeah I agree – you get a race like that and no-one cares about the engines or the halo!

  17. A race of recurring themes. Vettel did what he does best, Bottas missing the killer instinct, Hamilton great recovery lives to fight another day, Raikkonen his typical bad luck, Red Bull typical reliability problems in the desert, and Max showing that the wins in Mexico and Malaysia were simply flukes.
    Stepping over and over again over the limit in a competitive car gets you the odd victory. 2 self immolated crashes in 2 races show that he is not championship winning material just yet. When he will have a 100+ points deficit he will win again.

    1. @philby

      Call me superstitious, but coincidences are a lot: a problem for verstappen is also his link with kvyat, think about it, when stuff goes wrong for kvyat it goes right for verstappen.

      Remember how unlucky verstappen was last year with reliability while kvyat was still driving? He gets demoted, malaysia, no reliability issues for verstappen, best car of the race at the same level as ferrari, raikkonen DNS, vettel started from the back, overtook hamilton, won with 10 sec gap.

      Austin, kvyat goes back to race, has a relatively good race, comes home 10th and scores the last point of his career, verstappen has a good comeback drive but loses 3rd place with a penalty when he’d have passed raikkonen even if he hadn’t cut the corner slightly.

      Mexico, kvyat is fired from toro rosso, verstappen tangles with hamilton, doesn’t get a puncture, vettel shortly thereafter tangles with hamilton, has to change front wheel and hamilton gets a puncture; later in the race 4 out of 6 renault powered cars have mechanical problems, 1 survives towards the bottom I think, and verstappen wins with 20 sec margin.

      Now kvyat is a development driver at ferrari, and I’m not even sure if firing him would work, cause it’s not red bull doing that.

      Don’t forget also verstappen won in spain 2016 when he was promoted to red bull and kvyat demoted to toro rosso and mercedes tangled with each other, retiring in a season where they won every race they didn’t have problems with.

      1. Front wing* for vettel ofc.

  18. Seems it was an exciting race. Unfortunately the only moment I switched I saw that mechanic being ran over and this my favourite driver out, so switched the channel again!

    The poor luck that Kimi and that poor fellow had :(

  19. Must say that Ericsson isn’t so bad even thou he is a pay driver.

    1. Hes the most underrated driver on the grid. People who cant read anything but the point summary of the championship just hates him.

  20. Vettel and Hamilton were brilliant, as they generally are.
    Bottas… not even tried a late brake? Nothing? Toto’s face after the race said it all, the win was there…
    Really happy for the Toro Rosso guys, and great drive from Ericsson.

    1. Bottas is a number 2, no way around it. He’s not bad, he will get some poles and victories because he drives a Mercedes, and he will have occasional great drives, but he’s not in the same league as Vettel and Hamilton.

      1. Totally agree. I even think that this is the way mercedes prefer it as they really don’t want a repeat of the Hamilton / Rosberg situation.

    2. I think Hamilton did nothing special last weekend. Was slower in quali than Bottas. Had also very careful and bad start. Had all the luck in Verstappen crash. Did ok recovery afterwards but was lucky that RIC and RAI went out of the race.

      I think that BOT did last weekend better job than HAM although he should have try pass harder Vettel. This reminds me last year Brazil GP where HAM did excellent recovery run from the back and was 1 sec/lap faster than RAI but still couldn’t pass him in the last laps. It seems to be extremely difficult to pass slower Ferrari if you have old tyres too.

      1. HAM didn’t get a bad start he actually had a good one, but was very cautious coming up to the 1st turn and made sure he stayed in the race, some of the other cars around him took more risks than he was prepared to do, until i saw him pass 3 cars in one overtake.

        I was looking forward to seeing HAM battle both the RBR’s but was denied the opportunity. Maybe next time…

  21. Bottas showed no ‘killer instinct”…

  22. Well looks like ferrari have the pace to match mercedes this year; similiar to last year – depending on the tracks.
    – However looks ferrari has the edge at high speed tracks due to better engine, while mercedes looks to have a better chassis, so will likely be ahead on high downforce tracks like monaco

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