Sebastian Vettel continues early domination of 2018 Formula One season

By @saihoops on
Sebastian Vettel, 2018 Formula One season, Bahrain Grand Prix
Formula 1 F1 - Bahrain Grand Prix - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - April 8, 2018 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel celebrates winning the race as Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton looks on Reuters / Ahmed Jadallah

Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel seems primed to win his fifth Formula One world championship after another dominating performance at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday. After clinching pole position in Saturday's qualifying session, Vettel lead through the entirety of the 57 laps to win the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Though Vettel enjoyed a comfortable lead through most of the race, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas nearly caught up to the German during the final moments. In what boiled down to a strategic battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, Bottas used a fresher set of tires to attack Vettel during the closing stages. In the final lap, Bottas closed in on Vettel's lap but couldn't make a move on Turn 1 and had to settle for second place.

"Obviously, this is a great way to start the season and it wasn't expected. Obviously Australia was a different race and if you compare these two races, here we had the pace and won on our own. So, I think it's been much better, but it was a very tough race. It took a while for the adrenaline to go, but for the next week we are not sure where we are going to be. It is difficult to predict with everything changing so much," an elated Vettel told the media after the race.

It is the first time since 2004 that Scuderia Ferrari has won the opening two rounds of a new F1 season. Vettel has opened up a 17-point lead over reigning F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who finished in the podium Sunday despite a rough qualifying session that saw him start the race at ninth place.

"It was so close in the end, it's a shame I couldn't win. When it's so close, you start to think about every lap and every corner after the race, trying to figure out if there is something you could have done better. It's very close and it's going to be an interesting season. We still have work to do, especially for conditions like here in Bahrain. I think we can see some positives, but the main thing for us is to really learn from this weekend," an optimistic Hamilton said after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 2018 Formula One season will now move to the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese Grand Prix (April 13 - 15). A year ago, Lewis Hamilton held off Sebastian Vettel in a thrilling finish to prevail at Shanghai, in what was the second race of the 2017 season. Hamilton would eventually win his fourth Formula One world championship and third with Mercedes F1.