Formula One: Vettel fends off Bottas to Bahrain win

Formula 1: Sebastian Vettel wins Bahrain GP ahead of Valtteri Bottas with Lewis Hamilton in third

Sebastian Vettel clung on for his second victory of the season in an enthralling Bahrain Grand Prix, but celebrations will be tempered by an injury to a Ferrari mechanic. Hamilton's five-place grid penalty is because he needed a gearbox change on Friday.

Ahead of Verstappen will be Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. This left Verstappen with a puncture, forcing him to limp back to the pit lane, with the Dutchman retiring a couple of laps later.

Daniel Ricciardo lines up in fifth for Red Bull, but his team-mate Max Verstappen - expected to be a contender for pole here - saw his ragged start to the new campaign continue after a 140mph shunt.

The racing continued to flow, with Hamilton in the thick of it.

Magnussen was quickly passed for P5, which turned to P4 once Gasly was dealt with.

Vettel now leads Hamilton by 17 points after two of the 21 races.

This is effectively McLaren's second home race given their financial ties with the Bahraini royal family, but the guests which squeezed into the team's hospitality suite were provided with little fanfare as Alonso qualified a torrid 13th. Ferrari pitted Vettel early with soft compound tyres, while Bottas came into the pits two laps later to change to the harder medium tyres.

Vettel leads the championship on a flawless 50 points, 17 ahead of Lewis Hamlton. He re-emerged in P3 place with Hamilton inheriting the lead from his teammate.

Vettel initially going for a two-stop strategy, chose to change strategies and manage his soft tyres right till the end in a bid to fend off Bottas who was quickly catching up with his fresher and harder compound tyres at the final stages.

With margins tight between Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes, Vettel suggests the next race in China may be just as tough. A mistake at Turn 1 allowed Bottas to further close, setting the stage for a grandstand finish.

While both the Mercedes machines were aiming to get to the end of the race with just that one stop, the Ferraris it seemed would need to pit a second time. As Raikkonen pulled away, his rear left tire hit Cigarini's leg, knocking him to the ground.

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Ferrari said the mechanic on the left rear wheel, named only as Francesco, had been taken to hospital with a suspected shin bone and fibula fracture. Ferrari has been fined 50,000 euros by race officials for an unsafe release.

And although Mercedes recovered to finish second and third on Sunday, Bottas was unable to pass Vettel for the lead.

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

Hamilton, meanwhile, was picking his way up the order, soon moving into sixth place after heading down the main straight alongside Nico Hulkenberg, Alonso and Esteban Ocon, overtaking them into Turn 1.

Sebastian Vettel scored his 49th career victory. The Swede was one of four drivers who made a single-stop strategy work, the other three being Vettel, Bottas and Hamilton - the podium finishers. It was Magnussen who would have to taste defeat, with Gasly retaining fourth position, and showing early signs of a very strong race.

There were also celebrations at Sauber, with Sweden's Marcus Ericsson finishing ninth for his first points since 2015 and the Swiss team's first of the season, but gloom at Williams whose drivers finished last.

"I came on the radio with 10 laps to go and said I had everything under control - that was a lie!"

"He knew that was his place to defend and I was maybe going to try something there so... gutted". I was doing the maths in the vehicle and thought he was going to catch me.

"It doesn't matter how good things are unfortunately if you don't finish or score points", he said. I had to nurse the tyres.

"It worked, just! If you manage to get the win in these conditions, it makes it better".

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