Vettel beats Hamilton to win in Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel claimed his second victory of the 2017 Formula 1 season in the Bahrain Grand Prix, assisted by a five-second time penalty for Lewis Hamilton.

The Ferrari driver crossed the finishing line 6.660 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who had slashed his advantage from twenty seconds after making his second pitstop, while pole sitter Valtteri Bottas had to settle with third.

Bottas held the lead at the start, with Vettel making a better getaway than Hamilton to draw alongside him on the run to the first corner and then sweep around the outside on turn-in to run second.

Vettel then pressured Bottas in the early laps, the Mercedes driver struggling for rear grip thanks to high rear tyre pressures caused by a faulty generator used to help set them on the grid, with Hamilton just behind and keeping the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo just behind him.

With Hamilton eventually slipping out of DRS range of Vettel, the Ferrari driver became the first of the frontrunners to stop on lap ten and committed to a two-stop strategy by taking a second set of super-softs.

Verstappen followed Vettel into the pits a lap later, but suffered a brake problem on his outlap and went off at Turn 4, his race ending in the barrier.

The safety car was deployed on lap 13, when Williams driver Lance Stroll was hit by Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso.

Sainz had just made his first pitstop, but closed rapidly under braking for Turn 1, hitting Stroll’s from the side as the Williams took the apex.

The contact put both out of the race, and triggered a series of pitstops that allowed Vettel to take the lead.

Mercedes had to pit both Bottas and Hamilton under the safety car, with both having slow stops lasting just over six seconds, and Ricciardo able to emerge from the pits between them.

Hamilton, who knew he would have to queue behind his Mercedes team-mate, slowed on the entry to the pitlane thereby delayed Ricciardo, leading to a stewards’ investigation and subsequent five-second penalty.

Vettel led from Bottas at the restart on lap 17, with Hamilton jumping Ricciardo for third on the run to the first corner, followed on the run to Turn 4 by Williams driver Felipe Massa.

Bottas, who opted for super-softs at his previous stop, made his second pitstop to take softs 13 laps later, emerging seventh behind Sergio Perez and quickly moving ahead of both the Force India and Massa to run fifth.

While Vettel gradually extended his lead to over six seconds from Bottas, Hamilton chased his team-mate before taking second place up the inside into Turn 1 on lap 27.

At that point, Vettel had a 6.3 seconds lead, but Hamilton had cut that advantage to just under four seconds when the Ferrari driver pitted for softs at the end of lap 33.

Vettel emerged from the pits in third place, 17 seconds behind Hamilton and three behind Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Three laps later, Vettel passed a compliant Raikkonen. At that point, he was 15.5 seconds behind Hamilton on the road, but in real terms just 10.5 seconds thanks to Hamilton’s penalty.

Vettel had closed to just 9.5 seconds behind Hamilton on the road when the Mercedes driver made his second stop with 16 laps to go, including a five-second hold to serve the penalty, and returned to the track on soft rubber.

Hamilton re-emerged in third, 10.5 seconds behind second position Bottas, with Vettel twenty seconds clear, but with fresh softs he had a significant pace advantage of the two cars in front.

It took Hamilton just five laps to catch and pass Bottas, diving up the inside of his team-mate at Turn 13.

At that point, Vettel’s advantage was 13 seconds, and although Hamilton was able to lap faster than the Ferrari he never got within five seconds of the leader.

Bottas had a comfortable advantage over Raikkonen, and even though the gap was just two seconds at the flag he was never under serious threat.

Raikkonen started fifth and was shuffled back to seventh behind both Verstappen and Massa at the first and fourth corners respectively, but recovered to fourth.

He passed Massa shortly after the restart following the safety car, finishing 16.8 seconds ahead of Ricciardo.

Massa was best of the rest outside of the big three teams, with Force India driver Sergio Perez finishing seventh despite starting P18.

After a good first stint, Perez jumped to seventh under the safety car and maintained control of the position to the end on a two-stop strategy.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean claimed his first points finish of 2017 in eighth place, making his second pitstop before Nico Hulkenberg to undercut his way past the Renault driver.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon finished P10 for the third race in succession, with an advantage of 24.2 seconds over Sauber returnee Pascal Wehrlein, who held off Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso’s attacks in the closing laps of the race.

Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was the final driver running at the finish in P13, with McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, who was part of a close three-way battle with the pair for much of the race, classified P14 despite pulling into the pits with two laps remaining.

Marcus Ericsson retired the other Sauber in the closing stages of the race, while Haas driver Magnussen also joined Sainz, Stroll and Verstappen on the retirements list on lap nine when he pulled off with a mechanical failure.

Stoffel Vandoorne was unable to start the race thanks to what is suspected to be a problem with the MGU-H on his Honda engine.

So a fantastic result for Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion leads the drivers’ standings over his rival by seven points. As for Ferrari, this result showcase the pure speed and can genuine challenge Mercedes for the championship.

Bahrain Grand Prix race results, after 57 laps:
1    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    57    1h33m53.374s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    57    6.660s
3    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    57    20.397s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    57    22.475s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    57    39.346s
6    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    57    54.326s
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    57    1m02.606s
8    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    57    1m14.865s
9    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    57    1m20.188s
10    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    57    1m35.711s
11    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    56    1 Lap
12    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    56    1 Lap
13    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    56    1 Lap
14    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    54    Not running
–    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    50    Gearbox
–    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    12    Collision
–    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    12    Collision
–    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    11    Brakes
–    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    8    Electrical
–    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    0    Not started

Drivers’ standings:
1    Sebastian Vettel    68
2    Lewis Hamilton    61
3    Valtteri Bottas    38
4    Kimi Raikkonen    34
5    Max Verstappen    25
6    Daniel Ricciardo    22
7    Felipe Massa    16
8    Sergio Perez    14
9    Carlos Sainz    10
10    Romain Grosjean    4
11    Kevin Magnussen    4
12    Esteban Ocon    3
13    Nico Hulkenberg    2
14    Daniil Kvyat    2
15    Pascal Wehrlein    0
16    Antonio Giovinazzi    0
17    Jolyon Palmer    0
18    Stoffel Vandoorne    0
19    Fernando Alonso    0
20    Marcus Ericsson    0

Constructors’ standings:
1    Ferrari    102
2    Mercedes    99
3    Red Bull-Renault    47
4    Force India-Mercedes    17
5    Williams-Mercedes    16
6    Toro Rosso-Renault    12
7    Haas-Ferrari    8
8    Renault    2
9    Sauber-Ferrari    0
10    McLaren-Honda    0

9 thoughts on “Vettel beats Hamilton to win in Bahrain

  1. Bahrain Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Sebastian Vettel has a clear lead in the drivers’ championship after winning a tense 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton on Sunday. A late charge from Hamilton wasn’t quite enough to prevent a splendid Ferrari victory, as his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas took third.

    Kimi Raikkonen was fourth for Ferrari, with Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull’s only finisher in fifth, team mate Max Verstappen having retired early with brake failure. Felipe Massa secured sixth for Williams, from Force India’s Sergio Perez and Haas’s Romain Grosjean. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Esteban Ocon completed the top ten.

    From third on the grid, Vettel jumped Hamilton’s Silver Arrow going into Turn 1 at the start, then chased polesitter and early leader Bottas as the three of them were joined by the Red Bulls of fast-starting Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in a high-speed train.

    Vettel and Ferrari gambled on going for the undercut with an early pit stop on lap 10, and it worked well for them. They were followed by Verstappen and Red Bull doing likewise next time around. But as Vettel recovered in 12th place, Verstappen crashed in Turn 4 on the 12th lap, due to suspected brake failure.

    A lap later Carlos Sainz, leaving the pits after a stop in his Toro Rosso, collided with the side of rookie Lance Stroll’s Williams as the Canadian turned into Turn 1 – a misdemeanour which subsequently earned Sainz a three-place grid drop for the next round in Canada.

    The safety car was deployed, leaving Mercedes no alternative but to pit both their drivers at the same time. That meant stacking Hamilton behind Bottas, and while trying to give the Finn’s crew time to service him, Hamilton came in so slowly that he was deemed by the stewards to have hindered the following Ricciardo, and was handed a five-second penalty that would prove very costly.

    The safety car promoted a surprised Vettel to the lead, but on soft rubber as his main rivals (bar Ricciardo) had opted for more supersofts, Hamilton soon repassed the Australian’s Red Bull when the track went green on the 17th lap, and closed in on Bottas who was struggling with oversteer. He dutifully moved over to let his faster team mate go by in Turn 1 on the 29th lap, setting up another Vettel versus Hamilton encounter.

    The Ferrari driver pitted again, for softs, on the 33rd lap, putting Hamilton into the lead. He held it until the 41st lap, as Vettel closed in, then pitted for another set of softs – and to take his time penalty. Once again he caught and passed team mate Bottas, and a blistering series of fastest laps cut the deficit to the Ferrari from 19 to 5.8s by the 54th lap. But thereafter Hamilton eased back, finishing 6.6s adrift after a day of valuable damage limitation.

    The unhappy Bottas hung on to complete the podium, two seconds ahead of Raikkonen’s Ferrari, with Ricciardo slumping after the safety car to finish fifth, well behind the second Finn but equally a long way ahead of Massa’s Williams.

    Perez drove brilliantly to take seventh for Force India, heading a happy Grosjean in his Haas and Hulkenberg, whose own feisty performance earned himself and Renault their first points of the year.

    Ocon took up his usual reservation of 10th place in the second Force India, but Pascal Wehrlein might have felt as deserving of the final point after a great comeback for Sauber confirmed that he is now fully fit again. He took 11th after outfoxing Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat on the last lap. The Russian had been involved in one of the race’s best battles, with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. Palmer dropped back after damaging his front wing on the Toro Rosso, while the Spaniard’s Honda-powered car again let him down in sight of the chequered flag. It was a bad day for the Woking team with yet another suspected MGU-H failure preventing team mate Stoffel Vandoorne from starting.

    Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson joined the retirements late in the race, and besides Sainz, Stroll and Verstappen, Kevin Magnussen stopped early due to electronics issues in his Haas.

    So after his 44th career victory, Vettel leads the championship table with 68 points to Hamilton’s 61, with Bottas now third on 38 from Raikkonen on 32, Verstappen on 25 and Ricciardo on 22.

    Mercedes still lead the constructors’ stakes, with 109 points to Ferrari’s 100, with Red Bull on 47 ahead of Force India on 17, Williams on 16, the luckless Toro Rosso on 12, Haas on 8 and Renault on 2.

  2. Race winner Sebastian Vettel admitted that the start was the main “upset” key in beating Mercedes. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Sebastian Vettel said it was crucial to his Bahrain Grand Prix victory bid to “upset” the Mercedes Formula 1 team by getting between its cars at the start.

    The Ferrari driver took his second win of the season at the Sakhir track, jumping Lewis Hamilton for second at the first corner, and getting ahead of Valtteri Bottas for the lead by being the first frontrunning car to make a pitstop.

    Vettel then had to fend off a late-race charge from Hamilton, who was chasing him down from 20 seconds adrift after a final pitstop that included a five-second penalty for the Mercedes driver for slowing Daniel Ricciardo at the pit entry under safety car conditions.

    “It was crucial for us to get between them to not allow them to get in front and pull away and do their thing – upset them a bit,” said Vettel.

    “We all had more or less the same start, and Lewis stuck with Valtteri so I could take a risk under braking and get the move done [around the outside of Turn 1].

    “After a couple of laps, I was on Valtteri’s gearbox for the first stint and not falling back too much. It was a good start – pace was key today to win.

    “In the final stint we had quite a decent gap, plus the safety margin of Lewis’s penalty.

    “I tried to control the gap – he was very fast when he came out, I expected him to be quicker but not that quick.

    “He was closing in, when I faced traffic I lost a lot of time, but when he faced it he lost time, too.”

    Vettel admitted after qualifying that the gap to the Mercedes drivers left him feeling “down” as he was happy with his car, and after taking victory he suspects the good handling of the SF70H played a part in his strong race performance.

    “From yesterday to today you cannot change anything, from Friday to Saturday we did a bit,” he said.

    “I had a good feeling yesterday so I was a bit surprised by how big the gap was.

    “I had a good feeling because Friday was a bit mixed [when he topped both practice sessions], we improved it for Saturday, and thought it would stay like that.

    “The team has done a really, really great job, we need to make sure we keep it going and keep enjoying it.

    “The factory has come alive – hopefully the success in the last few races helps us.”

  3. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton received a five-second penalty for holding up Daniel Ricciardo. The three-time champion admitted the pit entry penalty was “completely my fault”. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Bahrain GP runner-up Lewis Hamilton has taken the blame for the five-second penalty he picked up in the race for slowing down too much under the safety car.

    Hamilton was running second between teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo on lap 13 when the race was neutralised for a collision between the Williams of Lance Stroll and the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz.

    With Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel having pitted earlier and looking a major threat, Mercedes was forced to call in both its drivers under the safety car.

    And as Hamilton stood to lose time behind Bottas during the Finn’s tyre change, the three-time champion backed off significantly on pit entry so as to slow Ricciardo.

    But a slow stop for Bottas meant Hamilton dropped behind the Red Bull anyway, and while he made quick work of Ricciardo on the restart, he subsequently picked up a five-second penalty.

    “The pitlane [situation] was really my fault, so apologies to the team for losing time there,” Hamilton said on the podium, the Briton having eventually finished 6.6s behind race winner Vettel.

    He reiterated his stance in the post-race press conference: “Completely my fault with the safety car. I didn’t know if I could catch up Vettel but the penalty made it twice as hard.

    “Apologies to the team, but we still got good points for the team and still had a great fight.”

    Despite the sanction, Hamilton ended up finishing clear of pole-sitting teammate Bottas, who had been struggling to match the Brit’s pace in the latter stints.

    Bottas had complied with a mid-race request to allow Hamilton through as Vettel was pulling away – and, likewise, didn’t put up much of a fight when his teammate charged past after making a late-race pitstop.

    “Big thanks to Valtteri for being a gentleman,” Hamilton said on the podium.”

    Asked about the team’s request to let Hamilton through, Bottas admitted: “Honestly, as a racing driver, it is maybe the worst thing you want to hear, but that’s how it is.

    “For sure I did it because there was potential for Lewis to challenge Seb, but it didn’t happen. Personally, it is tough, but that is life.

    “I didn’t have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons why.”

  4. Valtteri Bottas has admitted it was hard to accept being asked to move aside for Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton not once, but twice during Sunday’s 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Bottas, who started from pole and led the early stages of the race, let Hamilton by for strategic reasons around mid-distance, and then again 10 laps from home when it became clear that the Briton was the team’s best chance of catching race leader Sebastian Vettel.

    “As a racing driver it’s the worst thing you want to hear, but that’s life,” said Bottas after coming home third. “I understand the team completely on that. They had the opportunity at the end of the day to get some extra points for the team and fight for the victory.

    “So yes I see the point, but still it’s tough when you’re on pole and trying to win a race. But I’m definitely a team player so I wouldn’t say no to that [team order].”

    Despite being on pole for the first time in his F1 career, Bottas’s Sunday did not begin well. A generator problem on the grid meant the team were unable to bleed his tyres properly and he started the race with higher pressures than he would have liked.

    “In the first stint it was quite a big issue for sure,” he said. “Sebastian and Lewis were putting quite a lot of pressure and I couldn’t control the race. I had to try and build a gap but there was no grip to build it. Then I had to really take everything out of the tyres and the tyre life was shorter.

    “We were also a bit unlucky with the safety car pit stop – it was a bit slow, so I lost a place to Sebastian. And then in the second and third stint still the pace wasn’t there and the car didn’t feel as it did yesterday, so we’ll have to find out what the problem was.”

    As to whether he could have finished ahead of Hamilton had he not obeyed team orders, Bottas was suitably circumspect in his response.

    “I think there would have been a possibility,” he said. “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.”

    Source: Formula1.com

  5. Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen says his “awful” run through the first few corners of the Bahrain Grand Prix has served to overshadow what otherwise was a race with a lot of positives.

    Raikkonen, who qualified more than three tenths down on teammate Sebastian Vettel on Saturday, slipped from fifth on the grid to seventh early on.

    As Vettel went on to win the grand prix, Raikkonen eventually recovered to fourth – and the Finn says he was happy with the behaviour of his SF70H in the race, even despite the “disappointing” outcome.

    Raikkonen finished over 22 seconds behind Vettel.

    “I think the car was working pretty nicely and, to be honest, I expected that. Not much complaints on that side,” he said.

    “[I had a] sh*t start and then an awful first few corners because of that. Obviously, after that, played catch-up…

    “A lot of good things, in a way, happened but obviously the end result is still disappointing, in my book at least.

    “Overall feeling [is] a lot better and I feel that I can go fast but obviously the start didn’t help.”

    Raikkonen, who was stuck behind the Williams of Felipe Massa early on but got the move done on the eighth lap, feels he was then unfortunate to end up behind the Brazilian again thanks to the timing of the safety car.

    “I got reasonably quickly past Massa – then I was a bit unlucky with the safety car and lost a place again back and then tried to get past him again, and obviously at that point I was a bit behind,” he said.

    “He [Massa] seemed to be very fast in certain places and already first time around was quite tricky to pass him, it felt a bit more difficult the second time.

    “I managed to pass him in the end but it just takes a long time, they’re usually very fast in a straight line, Williams.”

    Summing up the race, Raikkonen added: “The first lap obviously was not the ideal position, and the safety car… it’s unfortunate how it went, we had some good speed.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  6. Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo “geniunely thought” he could win. Motorsport.com provides the story.

    Daniel Ricciardo thought Red Bull was in contention to win the Bahrain Grand Prix in the first stint, when he and Formula 1 teammate Max Verstappen were keeping up with the leaders.

    The two Red Bulls challenged the top three cars of Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton during the opening stint, with race leader Bottas leading a five-car train as he struggled with incorrect tyre pressures.

    But the team’s race unraveled after that, with Verstappen crashing out with brake failure after making a pitstop, and Ricciardo struggling for grip after the safety car period that came shortly after his teammate’s off.

    “It was a race of two halves really,” said Ricciardo. “At the beginning I genuinely thought we had a chance to win.

    “That stint was looking very competitive and I could see Valtteri was struggling.

    “I was at the tail end of the front pack and I could see everyone else in front of me – they were sliding and looked like they were struggling more.

    “It was easy for me to stay there and I was looking after my tyres, so at that point I was thinking it could be on today, not only for a podium but for a win.

    “The safety car worked for me in that we jumped up to third but it wasn’t so good for our tyres and that’s where we lost a lot of ground.

    “Even once we settled into a pace and the chaos settled we fell back and I was struggling with grip at the front and rear.

    “We never really got that [soft] tyre working for us today.”

    Team boss Christian Horner put Ricciardo’s difficulties down to problems getting the soft tyre up to temperature, and he said by the time the Australian switched back to the super-softs for his final stint, “fifth place was the best that we could achieve”.

    Verstappen, meanwhile, praised his team’s strategy for making an early pitstop, even if his race didn’t last much longer after that call.

    “I could keep up with the leaders, the car was performing really well and the pace was good,” said Verstappen.

    “We made the right call with the pitstop to try and undercut the two Mercedes but then the rear brakes failed on lap 12 and it was over.

    “There are definitely positives to take away from today – the car was working a lot better there than the past two races so it’s just an unfortunate ending as we could have scored some really good points.”

  7. Yet again, the double world champion Fernando Alonso was very vocal in his feelings regarding a lack of Honda power. Motorsport.com has the details.

    McLaren’s Fernando Alonso declared he’s “never raced with less power in my life” during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    The two-time world champion, who this week revealed he will skip the Monaco Grand Prix to race in the Indy 500, could not hide his anger as he was overtaken in Bahrain while battling for midfield positions.

    He eventually retired with a handful of laps remaining, but took to the radio to broadcast his anger over his lack of power from the Honda engine.

    Alonso: “How they can overtake me? 300 metres behind me, and they overtake me on the straight, I’ve never raced with less power in my life.

    Alonso: “[BLEEP] he was, what, 300 metres behind us on the straight?”

    Engineer: “Fernando, we are considering Plan B, how are the tyres?”

    Alonso: “Do whatever you want, man.”

    Alonso: “Engine, engine problem. Box. Out.”
    Car slower than previous races

    After the race, Alonso was calm in post-event interviews – but did admit that he felt his car was less competitive than it had been in the opening races in Melbourne and Shanghai.

    “We didn’t enjoy that fight because we were losing too much ground on the straight,” Alonso told NBC. “I think we were close to the points at some parts of the race, but we never had the pace we did in China or Australia, we were a little bit slower today, so we need to keep improving.

    “I think it’s going to tough in Russia as well, because power is quite important there. We know what it the weakness of the package.”

    After teammate Stoffel Vandoorne failed to start due to an MGU-H failure – which had afflicted Alonso in qualifying – Fernando added: “Stoffel had so much bad luck this weekend, and not being able to even participate, it’s amazing.”

  8. Valtteri Bottas’s lack of pace in the opening stint of the Bahrain GP was the result of running the incorrect Formula 1 tyre pressures because a Mercedes generator broke on the grid.

    The Finn started on pole position and held the lead at the start but his lack of performance meant he was unable to make a gap and came under intense pressure from Sebastian Vettel.

    “Our generator broke on the grid and we couldn’t bleed Valtteri’s tyres so we were starting with the completely wrong tyre pressures on his car,” said Mercedes chief Toto Wolff. “We knew he would be struggling.”

    Bottas, who ultimately finished third, said the higher tyre pressures made it feel like he was driving on marbles.

    “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 out of the anticipated window for the start. “Already then, everyone is targeting to be on the Pirelli minimum and that is already too high.

    “So everything more than that is worse and worse. The effect was basically just felt like a big overheating, it felt like on marbles the rear tyres. They were just not working like they are supposed to.

    “They are overheating from the surface, from a smaller part of the tyre – your balance limited and the traction is poor.”

    After he made his first pitstop, Bottas was able to challenge Vettel for the lead at the restart, but couldn’t make it stick.

    After that early battle with Vettel in the second stint, Bottas continued to struggle for pace and was at a loss to explain it.

    “Stint two and three, there is no explanation why the rear end wasn’t working,” he said. For me, it wasn’t normal. “I was running out of all the tools with the diff and with the brake bias, trying to cure the oversteer.

    “When the tyres were new, they were OK, but very quickly when you rise up with the surface temperatures, it gets more and more tricky. It was a strange race for me missing so much pace – it’s not so easy for me to explain.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  9. Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the next round in Russia after race stewards deemed him ‘predominantly to blame’ for the crash that eliminated him and Williams’ Lance Stroll from Sunday’s race in Sakhir.

    Sainz and Stroll collided at Turn 1 at the start of lap 12, with the Toro Rosso driver, who had just left the pits, spearing into the side of the Williams as it rounded the right hander.

    Sainz was quick to point the finger of blame at Stroll for the collision, suggesting the rookie had turned in on him, but the stewards saw things otherwise.

    “Video evidence showed that car 18 [Stroll] was on the normal racing line,” read a statement from the FIA.

    “Car 55 [Sainz] left the pit lane and made a very optimistic attempt to pass car 18 into the corner. The stewards decided that the driver of car 55 was predominantly to blame for causing the collision…”

    Stroll described the coming together as ‘ridiculous’ and said that a change of fortune can’t come soon enough.

    “I saw Sainz coming out of the pitlane, I was 50 or 60 metres in front of him in the braking zone, and was already turning in and he drove into my side,” explained the Canadian, who has now retired from each of his first three Grands Prix.

    “There is not much else to say, as I have just seen the video and it was ridiculous. I think the race wasn’t going badly. I had a bad start and lost a couple of positions, but boxed early and had a really good beginning to the stint on the soft tyres.

    “I am just disappointed and hope my luck turns round sometime soon. I can be frustrated, but it won’t get me anywhere. On the bright side there are many races to go.”

    As well as his three-place grid drop, Sainz was awarded three penalty points on his license, bringing his total for the 12 month period to seven. If a driver accrues 12 penalty points in a 12-month period they will have their Super Licence suspended for one race.

    Source: Formula1.com

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