Sebastian Vettel thought Valtteri Bottas had him at 'checkmate' in final laps

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel got his season off to a flyer with a first-place finish in Australia

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel got his season off to a flyer with a first-place finish in Australia

Vettel held off the cost of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas to take victory in his 200th grand prix, however the event was soured after a member of Raikkonen's pit crew was taken to a medical heart after an incident throughout lap 36 of the race. "I've lost two races now", said the four-time title-winner. It worked, but just.

New Zealand's Brendon Hartley battled to 13th for Toro Rosso.

The German, victor previous year on this circuit, lapped the 5.4-km Sakhir track in a time of one minute 27.958 seconds on Saturday, edging Raikkonen by a margin of 0.143 seconds. This resulted in the mechanic at the area of the wheel to get hit hard by the accelerating Ferrari and he had to be rushed to the hospital while Raikkonen was forced to retire.

"These tyres were done, done, in the last 10 laps", a jubilant Vettel told his team over the radio after he took the chequered flag.

Ferrari has also been handed a significant fine of 50,000 Euros for the unsafe release, with the FIA saying the team released the auto in a risky manner that put personnel into peril. He was instructed to leave his marks after a green light was issued, but his left-rear tyre was still to be fitted.

Raikkonen's vehicle came to a halt a few meters later and he took off the steering wheel and dejectedly threw it into the cockpit.

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As the sun set, drivers prepared on the grid for their showdown under floodlights. "I started ninth so third is not that bad". Hamilton was low down after incurring a five-place grid penalty for an unauthorised gearbox change.

"I was trying to get every lap and corner ideal to catch him but it was just not quite enough. He drove into my left rear and gave me a puncture and also destroyed the diff". However moments later he, too, was ordered to pull over and park by the side of the track, completing an absolute disaster in the desert for Red Bull. He pulled over on the side of the track because of an electrical failure, prompting the safety auto to come out.

The pit window came into play by lap 16 and Gasly managed to hold on to his P5 ahead of Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Alonso. On lap four the race resumed, and it was Hamilton who would take centre stage as he started his comeback.

"A very disappointing weekend", Verstappen said. He quickly passed Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon, and on lap 6 also got the jump on Kevin Magnussen's Haas for fifth. Hamilton then made his only stop on lap 27, taking the medium tyre and emerging still in fourth but looking to go to the end.

"I was making the maths inside the auto and with 10 laps to go, that pace, he's going to catch me".

Now he needs to start winning again - starting in Shanghai.

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