Vettel revels in rewards of Bahrain 'Easter hunt'

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Vettel revels in rewards of Bahrain 'Easter hunt'

Sakhir, Bahrain - 16/04/17 - Pit crew and mechanics surround Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel in the pit lane.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, right, steers his auto during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, April 16, 2017.

Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix is over and there's a new man leading the pack - to the delight of a former Mercedes driver.

"Valtteri didn't make any mistakes".

Lewis Hamilton thanked Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas after the Briton was allowed to take second place from the Finn late in the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Fighting talk from Ferrari, at long last.

The three-time world champion said the penalty was a setback, but that his Mercedes may not have been fast enough to overhaul the triumphant Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

Bottas started from pole for the first time in his career at the Bahrain GP 2017, amusing because at this time a year ago Bottas and Hamilton collided on lap 1.

"We finally have a competitive auto to count on and it is important to recognize the speed with which we implemented the developments", Marchionne said.

"The auto was really incredible to drive", Vettel said.

"A really great day", Vettel said on the podium, as per Sky Sports. It doesn't mean that Lewis Hamilton has lost his mojo: he was three-hundredths shy of Bottas' time, which equates to about six feet behind.

Hamilton's Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas was third, after starting on pole position for the first time in his career.

"We are quicker than them but I'm stuck", Verstappen lamented, the Dutchman was still running fourth.Yellow flags flew on lap 9 after Magnussen stopped on the track with a technical issue in his Haas. Massa also passed Raikkonen dropping the Ferrari to 7th.

Bottas made a clean start but Hamilton was beaten for pace by Vettel, who overtook him heading into the first corner.

Hamilton added: "The pit lane was my fault so apologies to the team. Losing points for the team is definitely painful".

Three rounds in there has been nothing to suggest that the destiny of the 2017 drivers' championship will be anything other than a see-saw battle between Hamilton and Vettel.

Ironically, Hamilton then exited the pits behind Ricciardo before spearing past the Red Bull when the race resumed following a crash between Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz. The 19-year-old Verstappen climbed out and kicked the barriers in frustration.

The safety auto came in at the end of Lap 16, with Vettel leading the field to the green flag.

Bottas came in for the soft rubber on lap 31 and came out in seventh by which point Vettel was just under five seconds ahead of Hamilton and with the British driver catching him Ferrari pitted the German on lap 34 for the soft tyres.

Hamilton's race, already compromised by Vettel passing him off the start for second place, unraveled further when he drove "unnecessarily slowly" as he came in for his first pit stop.

Hamilton came in for a tire change soon after and took his time penalty.

Bottas admitted the instruction to concede second place was a tough one to take.

He said: "Congratulations to Seb".

McLaren endured another miserable race weekend with Stoffel Vandoorne unable to start the race due to engine problems and Fernando Alonso making his annoyance clear over team radio.

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