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Vettel holds off late Hamilton charge to win Bahrain GP

Vettel holds off late Hamilton charge to win Bahrain GP

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton said he felt deflated after finishing second in the Bahrain GP behind the Ferrari of eventual victor Sebastian Vettel.

"I think it's going to be one of the closest ones (championships), if not the closest I've personally ever experienced and I'm looking forward to this fight, not only with Sebastian but the other guys as well who are still gonna be in amongst it". Ferrari did a better job. Hamilton lost a position to Vettel at the start, but his race really started to unravel when he received a five-second penalty for holding up Daniel Ricciardo in the pit lane under the Safety Car.

"We don't like that at all", said Wolff, when asked about the possibility of changing Mercedes' rules of engagement. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen took fourth place, while the lone Red Bull of Ricciardo took fifth. "I apologise to the team for losing that time there..." "I would have had to defend hard and that could have meant some risky situations, but like I said the team thought he had the chance to catch Sebastian possibly, and we tried it".

Vettel came in for new tyres on lap 11, prompting Red Bull's Max Verstappen to pit on the next lap. Despite continued positive progress with top ten qualifying performances from Nico H├╝lkenberg and Jolyon Palmer on Saturday, both drivers finished lower than they started in the 57-lap race as they struggled with race pace.

This was Vettel's 44th race victory taking his overall championship points to 68, seven points more than Hamiltons's. "All I can say is that I gave it everything I could".

Ferrari made a decision to bring Vettel into the pits for an early stop on lap 10.

A decisive moment in the race came a lap later when the safety vehicle was deployed for a collision at Turn 1 between Williams' Canadian rookie Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz. "We need to improve the vehicle and our knowledge about the tyres so we can be in a better position in the next race".

"It is great to know we have a strong vehicle and be able to fight for wins", the four-time champion said.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the Finn's hopes of a first win had been hit even before the start when a problem with a generator on the grid left him with the wrong tyre pressures.

Hamilton was catching the German on every lap but ultimately ran out of time and finished nearly seven seconds behind. I had to try and build a gap but there was no grip to build it.

The safety vehicle came out, after which the two Mercedes drivers pitted for fresh tires.

For most of the remainder of the race, Vettel held a commanding lead.


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