Vettel marks 200th race with thrilling win

Vettel marks 200th race with thrilling win

Valtteri Bottas was third fastest for Mercedes behind the two Ferraris, but ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton who has a five-place grid penalty after an overnight gearbox change and starts from ninth. With back-to-back wins, Ferrari now consolidates its position at the top, with Mercedes coming in second in the constructors' standings.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - APRIL 07: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Williams Martini Racing FW41 Mercedes on track during final practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 7, 2018 in Bahrain, Bahrain.

Both have won four championships and, this season, are battling to secure an historic fifth title.

The pitcrew member was tasked with fitting a new left rear tyre to Raikkonen's vehicle but, following a problem with the removal of the wheel already on it, he was still in position and had not moved when Raikkonen was released. As the Finn pulled away, he collided with the mechanic who suffered a leg injury and was subsequently rushed to hospital, while Raikkonen retired from the race.

Raikkonen was the only driver to lap in the 1:29 bracket.

The gap dipped below five seconds heading towards the final 10 laps, and suddenly Vettel's lead began to quickly diminish.

Fresh from victory at the Australian GP a fortnight ago, the Ferrari driver triumphed at Sakhir, while Mercedes duo Bottas and Lewis Hamilton claimed second and third respectively.

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The top three soon broke away from the rest of the pack, while there was plenty of action going with the remainder of the grid.

Over at Red Bull, things took an early turn for the worse as Max Verstappen locked up and slammed his auto into the wall at Turn Two. But he sustained too much damage after puncturing his left rear tire. While he had the tyres changed, a differential problem had him stop shortly after ending his run.

The incident forced Raikkonen's retirement from third place because it is forbidden to return to the track with tyres of different compounds on the auto.

Bottas finally pitted after 21 laps, in a 3.8 seconds stop for medium tyres that were expected to see him complete the race - while both Ferrari ran on softs.

"It feels like a dark cloud but it's not", said the 33-year-old after the race in Melbourne. None other than Gasly in the Toro Rosso, who was just 1.371 seconds behind the pole of Vettel.

"It worked, just! If you manage to get the win in these conditions, it makes it better". Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly continued his good weekend form, recording a ninth-best time.

Force India's Sergio Perez was also eliminated, along with Alonso, McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne and Verstappen, who took no part in the second segment of qualifying following his crash.

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