Viernes, 26 May, 2017

Bahrain a 'challenging weekend,' says Lewis Hamilton

10:00am 10:00am
Montrelle Montesinos | 21 Abril, 2017, 16:47

Sebastian Vettel claimed the outright lead of the Formula One championship by winning a tense Bahrain Grand Prix, despite a late charge from Lewis Hamilton.

"We just have to make sure we keep it going".

Vettel admitted after qualifying that the gap to the Mercedes drivers left him feeling "down" as he was happy with his auto, and after taking victory he suspects the good handling of his vehicle played a part in his strong race performance. "Personally it's hard, but what I have to find out is why we didn't have the pace today". Losing points for a team, particularly when you could have won the race, is definitely painful but I gave it everything I could.

"I think there would have been a possibility", he said.

"Sebastian was in my blind spot so I didn't know where he was", Hamilton said.

"It's small percentages now", he said of the difference between success and second.

"The auto was a dream today ... the last half of the in-lap with the fireworks & the track lit up, I just thought I love what I do", he added.

Verstappen asked his team to match that strategy and he came in on the next lap.

The safety vehicle appeared on track after 18-year-old Canadian newcomer Lance Stroll, suffering his third retirement in three races, turned into Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard left the pits.

Hamilton, who had been so dominant in China last weekend, was gracious in defeat but vowed to fight back. Hamilton slowed as he entered the pits, seemingly to back Ricciardo up as he waited for Bottas to clear the Mercedes pit box, but the stewards took a dim view.

With clean air ahead Mr. Vettel built up an unassailable lead and the win put daylight between he and Mr. Hamilton in the title fight: 68 to 61 after 3 rounds.

When the race began in earnest again on lap 17, Hamilton burst straight past Ricciardo into third while Vettel brilliantly defended the corner twice to fend off Bottas.

There was some frantic action behind the leaders, with Fernando Alonso battling it out in midfield.

Alonso could be heard on the team radio complaining about the complete lack of power his auto had and eventually retired at the death of the race.

Hamilton accepted it was his mistake although he appeared confused as to why he had been penalised. Vettel was braver on the brakes and passed Hamilton around the outside.

Near the end of the Bahrain GP, Hamilton had good pace on Vettel, but the gap was just too wide and there was the penalty to consider as well.

By lap 47 he was past Bottas, delivering a psychological blow to his teammate who let him by with a lift of the throttle at Turn 14, and continued to press on in pursuit of Vettel.

"It's the second time I've double stacked and lost out", Hamilton said. His teammate Stoffel Vandoorne did not even start because of engine failure.