Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won a hectic and thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton’s hopes were hit by a penalty for gamesmanship.
Mercedes’ Hamilton was penalised five seconds for driving slowly on pit entry to hold up Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Serving it at his second and final pit stop, Hamilton rejoined in third place.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was ordered to let Hamilton by so he could chase Vettel, but 12 seconds in nine laps was too big a task and he took second.
Vettel’s win gives him a seven-point lead over Hamilton in the championship.
It was not completely clear who had the quickest car – Ferrari argued it was them; Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton was the fastest. And the world champions may well feel this was a race that got away from them.
But the best race of the season, in which all three so far have been good, underlined one key fact – Ferrari are absolutely competitive and they and Mercedes are in a titanic struggle for the championship.
Hamilton and Vettel look like the men who will fight it – Bottas is not yet on Hamilton’s level and Kimi Raikkonen was again relatively anonymous, a poor start leaving him a long way behind but recovering to take fourth place ahead of Ricciardo.
Verstappen may well have been in the fight, too, on a relatively positive weekend for Red Bull, who have hopes of joining the fight at the front before too long, reports the BBC.