Mercedes gives team orders to Bottas

The 27-year-old Finn had started the race from his maiden pole position, but lacked competitive pace and struggled with his rear tyres on his way to finishing third behind Ferrari's victorious Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton.

The 2017 Formula One World Championship is shaping up to be one of the most keenly fought in recent years after Sebastian Vettel produced a commanding performance at Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Previous year was the first, and to date only, no-start of Vettel's Formula One career, with the auto breaking down on the formation lap at the desert circuit, but Sunday proved an evening to savour. "And then in the second and third stint still the pace wasn't there and the auto didn't feel as it did yesterday, so we'll have to find out what the problem was".

The team did, after all, see Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finish in second and third place, respectively.

Heading into this race, Vettel and Hamilton were level with a win each, but the latter's second victory of the season and 44th of his career puts him in command.

Vettel said his win was built on a crucial early move when he split the two Mercedes at the start of the race, moving from third on the grid to second.

Lewis Hamilton has apologised to his Mercedes team after he admitted he was at fault for the pit-lane blunder which cost him a shot at victory in Bahrain on Sunday. Today, I lost a position at the start - exclusively my fault - and then you've got the time lost in the pit lane. "I was oversteering all through the race". Hamilton, who won in China last weekend, crossed the finish line 6.6 seconds behind.

For his MercedesAMG teammate there was also disappointment, as he was unable to convert his 1st F1 pole into a 1st win.

"I know that gap that was there doesn't just come from driving".

"We finally have a competitive auto to count on and it is important to recognise the speed with which we implemented the developments demanded for each new race". I think the first race was still a high, the second race was still a high and then this one was a little bit of a dip.

The task of making up 20 seconds in 16 laps was ultimately too great a task.

"I don't know the exact amount but it was more than one PSI", said Bottas of the extent to which the tyre pressures were wrong for the start.

Daniel Ricciardo's running for Red Bull came to a premature end when he stopped at Turn 1 during the afternoon due to a power unit issue, limiting him to 45 laps, while Romain Grosjean went fourth for Haas. "But I'm definitely a team player so I wouldn't say no to that [team order]". Sainz was got two penalty points.

  • Loretta Pittman