Vettel's Bahrain GP win underlines that Ferrari can challenge Mercedes

Vettel's Bahrain GP win underlines that Ferrari can challenge Mercedes
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Published April 17th, 2017 - 06:30 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Vettel beat Hamilton for first place in Australia while finishing second behind him at the second race in China.
Vettel beat Hamilton for first place in Australia while finishing second behind him at the second race in China.

Sebastian Vettel took just three races in 2017 to almost double his victory tally from his previous first two seasons at Ferrari, indicating that the Scuderia has emerged as a serious challenger to world champions Mercedes.

Sunday's win in Bahrain was his second of the campaign after the season-opener in Australia, adding to the three victories he claimed in his debut season at the famed team in 2015.

And while Ferrari failed to make the top of the podium last year they are now back with a vengeance and spot-on team tactics.

"We are happy. This team demonstrates braveness, determination and a bit of craziness," team principal Maurizio Arrivabene told Sky TV.

Vettel beat Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton for first place in Australia while finishing second behind him at the second race in China.

On Sunday, he won from third place on the grid behind the Mercedes' of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton - thanks to passing Hamilton at the start and an early pit stop.

Things weren't quit as smooth for Mercedes as Hamilton had to serve a five-second penalty for being too slow in the pit lane, and Bottas struggling with his car all race long - failing to add a maiden victory to his first career pole the previous day.

Vettel admitted he was slightly concerned trailing Mercedes by almost half a second in qualifying Saturday but added that "something deep down told me that we have a good car and we can do well.

"Right from the start I could feel we were quick," he said of the race where he captured his 44th career victory.

Hamilton staged a late comeback with fresher tyres but ran out of laps to lose out by 6.6 seconds and was left to congratulate Vettel.

"I tried my hardest to catch up but it was a long way to go. I gave it everything I could. Ferrari did a great job. We will regather as a team and come back fighting," he vowed.

Both had entered the race tied on 43 points in the championship but now Vettel is seven points ahead again on 68 to Hamilton's 61 - with the fight to continue in a fortnight in Russia.

"It's a long year," Vettel said after three of 20 races. "The team has done really a great job, we just need to make sure we keep it going."

© 2017 dpa GmbH

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