The Bahrain GP provided drama from start to finish, but it was a race to forget for Red Bull after both its drivers retired in the opening laps. Daniel Ricciardo stopped with a suspected electrical problem as team-mate Max Verstappen collided with Lewis Hamilton and suffered a puncture. The pair, unsurprisingly, blamed one another with Verstappen claiming he gave Hamilton room. The Briton disagreed and was heard describing the Dutchman as “such a dickhead” in the pre-podium room, a comment race winner Sebastian Vettel defended.
Sergio Perez and Brendon Hartley also had races to forget. The pair were penalised 30-seconds each for a formation lap transgression and then on the opening lap they made contact. Perez spun and Hartley was handed a second penalty.
On the other side of their respective garages things were rosier! Esteban Ocon scored Force India’s first point of 2018 in tenth place, but it was Pierre Gasly who probably had the greatest race of his short career. Starting fifth, the Frenchman crossed the finish line in fourth to hand Honda their best result in the hybrid era and Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost is confident there’s more to come.
Kimi Raikkonen looked set for a podium finish until a disastrous pitstop ended with a Ferrari mechanic in hospital! Francesco Cigarini broke his leg in two places when he was hit by the left-rear wheel, but is recovering well. It was a costly error in monetary terms too as the FIA fined the team.
Sebastian Vettel, however, eased Ferrari’s pain a little with a brilliant drive to take back-to-back wins from the opening two races. The four-time champion admitted victory was on the edge as Valtteri Bottas chased him down, finishing just 0.699 adrift.
Haas enjoyed their joint best result with Kevin Magnussen taking home ten points from sixth place, making up for their disappointment in Australia. McLaren meanwhile were urged to raise their game by Fernando Alonso despite a double points finish.
Vettel now leads the standings with a 17-point advantage over Hamilton with Bottas in third. Alonso holds fourth place and McLaren are third in the Constructors’ Standings with a two-point lead over Red Bull.
The next race is this weekend when Formula 1 heads to Shanghai for round three, the Chinese Grand Prix.