F1 2018: Vettel leads Ferrari front row after Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

  • F1 2018: Vettel leads Ferrari front row after Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

F1 2018: Vettel leads Ferrari front row after Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

A Ferrari team mechanic was taken to the hospital for treatment after being struck by Kimi Raikkonen's auto after a botched tire change during the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly was ninth in his own Honda-powered Toro Rosso together with Fernando Alonso, a three-times victor at Bahrain, rounding out the best 10 in his own McLaren.

Verstappen was automatically eliminated from the fight for the top 10, and a Dutch company made up both the racer "the McLaren" Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandorn, Brandon Hartley at Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez ("Force India)".

Starting ninth on the grid due to a five-place penalty, Hamilton survived contact with Max Verstappen on Lap Two before executing a sublime triple overtake on Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

"I'll try and eke out every last bit of power and strength from this vehicle", Hamilton said.

"I thought that was checkmate because we need to come in again". Three-tenths covered the Ferraris, the Mercedes and Ricciardo's Red Bull in P5 heading into the final lap showdown.

Raikkonen and Vettel finished half-a-second clear of their Mercedes rivals in practice, and Vettel, while pleased with his team's progress, expressed caution over Friday's times.

Even before news broke of Hamilton's penalty here late into the Bahrain night, the 33-year-old Englishman already appeared to be playing catch-up. It has since been revealed that an offline tool with a bug caused Mercedes to believe that Hamilton was safe in the lead when Vettel pitted under the virtual safety vehicle.

Valtteri Bottas was the faster of the two Mercedes but still 0.023s adrift of Raikkonen after losing a chunk of time to his fellow Finn in the middles sector of the lap.

His hopes of chalking a 3rd Bahrain win on Sunday have been taken a hit, with all the Briton place to shed five puts on the grid for the unscheduled gearbox change in his Mercedes.

Hamilton came to Bahrain knowing he was in for a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, so he needed to be on his game - with a ideal auto - to minimise the damage and give himself the best chance in the race.

Meanwhile, Vettel was maintaining his lead out front, and Hamilton was busy making his way up the order.

But he could only manage fourth, failing to improve his time on his final lap and leapfrogged by Bottas. Hamilton then pitted, also for mediums, which left both Mercedes on a one-stop strategy and Ferrari requiring another stop each.

Vettel led from Bottas and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the early stages.

It was a poor error from Ferrari, which was fined 50,000 euros ($61,500) for an unsafe pit release.