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Fighting talk from Ferrari after Vettel wins Bahrain GP

To make matters worse he was then slapped with a five-second timed penalty for driving too slowly into the pits.

While Hamilton was able to carve into Vettel's lead with fresh tires at the end after serving his penalty, the Ferrari driver held on to take his second win of the year and fifth for the Scuderia, reclaiming the drivers' championship lead in the process.

Vettel, to that point, had stuck his auto right behind Bottas and wasn't letting him create any separation.

While Bottas led he was not pulling away from the chasing pack.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen had already crashed out by then, blaming brake failure after he trekked across the gravel into the tire barrier on lap 12.

The safety auto 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. He held off a late charge from Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, and he outraced Valtteri Bottas from beginning to end to take the race.

The first safety vehicle of the race came out when Lance Stroll's race ended.

Surprisingly Mercedes did not bring in either Bottas or Hamilton to cover off Ferrari's strategy, but Red Bull did with Verstappen. Given the end of race traffic, Hamilton was likely to move slower giving Vettel a chance to close the gap, not to mention the Brit still had 5s to serve. Mercedes took the opportunity to pit Bottas and Hamilton from first and second, but in doing so was forced to double stack its cars in the pit lane.

The top three were in for an early race, with Bottas having to constantly fend off Vettel, who in turn was heavily bombarded by Hamilton behind. "I was oversteering all through the race". But with the penalty adding an additional five seconds to Hamilton's race time if he did not make another stop, even if Vettel finished behind the Mercedes on the road he only had to be within five-seconds to secure victory.

The four-time world champion might need to brush up on his geography skills though.

But this unenviable accolade should go to Carlos Sainz - a man we've come to expect very good drives from.

"We lost a lot of points, especially at the moment with the state the auto is, we should have taken a lot of points, and a bit unfortunate", the Dutchman said.

SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) - Sebastian Vettel is back on top of the Formula One standings and his Ferrari team is bursting with ambition again. Verstappen followed Vettel's line and jumped Ricciardo and Raikkonen into fourth, with Massa also getting ahead of the Ferrari at Turn 4 and holding it up for the opening eight laps. That led to a fearful Mercedes instructing the Finn to let quicker teammate Hamilton pass, which he did without complaint.

Last time out in China, Vettel pitted early only to get caught out by a Safety Car that left him down in sixth.

The former Williams driver duly obliged with Hamilton now in pursuit of Vettel and his lead.

Pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas finished third in his Mercedes, on a day when the Finn struggled.

He eventually got back past Felipe Massa's Williams but the Australian couldn't help but feel disappointed at the outcome.

Sergio Perez continued his impressive start to the season by finishing seventh for Force India, while Esteban Ocon was P10 for the third race in a row, meaning the team has scored points with both cars in all three races so far this season. "Losing points for the team is definitely painful".

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