Sebastian Vettel took a large lead in the 2017 Formula 1 Driver's Championship after winning Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix over Mercedes-AMG Petronas' Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton was catching the German on every lap but ultimately ran out of time and finished nearly seven seconds behind.
The safety auto came out, after which the two Mercedes drivers pitted for fresh tires.
"With Lewis we never saw it actually".
Vettels 44th career win puts him in command, heading into the Russian GP in Sochi in two weeks time. "We made the call twice". Scuderia Ferrari also cruised to 102 points while their closest rival Mercedes have 99 points from the three races. "I had a good feeling yesterday and after a couple of laps (today) I thought everything was making sense".
Hamilton, who has been upbeat about the battle of champions and the fight his Mercedes team have on their hands, appeared more subdued as mechanics cleared the Bahrain Grand Prix paddock. It was his 11th podium. Seb and Lewis were putting pressure on and I couldn't control the race or build a gap. Hamilton, who was on the Soft tire rather than the red sidewall Supersoft, soon proved to be quicker then Bottas and the Fin received team order to let him past. "I know that gap can not come from driving, so I'm sure we'll find some reason for why I struggled more than Lewis". "It didn't start out the best, but the pit lane was really my fault and so apologies to the team for losing the time there", Hamilton said. "I tried my hardest to catch up".
I didnt have enough pace today and we have to find the reasons why, the Finnish driver said.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel beat the two Mercedes in Bahrain, reassuring president Sergio Marchionne that the Italian team's resurgence really is true.
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Hamilton is current on 61 points in the drivers' championship, seven behind Vettel, with Bottas in third place on 38 points.
At the start Vettel jumped into second place, with Hamilton slipping down to a third.
"When I faced the traffic I lost a lot of time but then obviously he [Hamilton] had to face traffic as well".
Vettel refused to get drawn into talk about a title challenge. "Ferrari had the right pit stops at the right time, did everything right and deserved to win".
"Without the penalty he could have still won the race", he said, but also acknowledged Ferrari had called their strategy well.
"If you look at the 20 races a year ago, you could say there were a handful that were not flawless". The incidents were coming fast, with 18-year-old Lance Stroll hit from the side on lap 13 by Carlos Sainz Jr.
Hamilton chased Vettel all the way to the end but was ultimately hampered by a mistake earlier in the race.
So far, Ferrari and Mercedes have been matching each other's pace, but Hamilton still feels that a few small changes need to be made. However, Vettel was able to overtake Hamilton before the first turn and held strong. This allowed Hamilton to take position from his team-mate.