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No one expected an easy win but Ferrari's spectacular victory was definitely the unexpected moment of the season. Sebastian Vettel won the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix under trying circumstances, while Lewis Hamilton came in a grudging second, flanked by Valtteri Bottas who came in third.
While Ferrari claimed to have the faster car in the race, Mercedes was completely assured that Lewis Hamilton was a faster racer. Vettel's win comes despite lagging behind initially, while Hamilton suffered some time damage due to his later entrance to the pit stops, a feat that earned him a five-second penalty. This race also saw Mercedes finally ask Valtteri Bottas to move over and let Lewis Hamilton by in order to secure a definite position for the team, but 12 seconds in nine laps was too big a task and he took second. Red Bull's Max Verstappen crashed out after 11 laps with brake failure or else he might have been part of the end drama as well.
Vettel made use of a well-timed and considerably early pit stop, a move that gave him an edge over the other players. The crucial moment was when Hamilton slowed down in front of Ricciardo on the way into the pits on lap 13 was made because he was behind Bottas, who was also coming in, and he wanted to give himself time to have his tyres changed straight after his team-mate and not lose a place to the Australian. 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.
The question on everybody's mind after the race, though, will Mercedes finally choose one driver to back the title? When asked this, team boss Toto Wolff clarified, "We don't like that. At all. It is not what we have done the past couple of years. But the situation is different now. So, it needs a proper analysis what it means and where we are. We'd like to give each of them an equal opportunity at the start of the race. We owe it to them. Then you see what we did in the race. We made the call. We made the call twice."
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