Lewis Hamilton apologises for pit-lane error in Bahrain Grand Prix

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He added: "We will regather as a team and come back fighting".

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix to go seven points clear at the top of the Formula One standings on Sunday, with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton staging a late charge to finish second after picking up a time penalty. "We'd like to give each of them equal opportunity at the start of the race". A demoralizing drought for such a fiercely proud team, certainly, but this year promises to be different.

"It was a really great day", Vettel said.

Vettels 44th career win puts him in command, heading into the Russian GP in Sochi in two weeks time. "I just wish with these cars we could follow closer so we could have done more together", he said.

Mercedes' pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas struggled for pace with a tyre pressure issue on Sunday while it is accepted Ferrari have a general advantage in high temperatures - where the relationship between vehicle and tyre alters. It was his 11th podium. Finishing fourth in the chaos, was Ferrari's Finn Raikkonen, who was another target to team strategy.

Hamilton has won 54 races while Bottas, who was previously at Williams, has yet to triumph.

Over the years, nothing changes.

Vettel produced a gutsy drive, having started from third, behind Hamilton and fellow Mercedes man Valtteri Bottas who was on pole.

“The pit lane was really my fault so apologies to my team, ” Hamilton said. "Losing points for the team is definitely painful".

It was another shocking weekend for McLaren whose star driver Fernando Alonso had to retire due to auto trouble.

But moments later, the Dutchmans brakes failed and he drifted across the track and into the wall, his race over. Sainz was emerging from a pit stop and his Toro Rosso vehicle hit Stroll's Williams auto from the side on Lap 13, forcing both out of the race.

"Yes guys, that's what I'm talking about", whooped the German, who was helped by a safety vehicle after an aggressive early pitstop.

Valtteri Bottas admits being asked to allow Lewis Hamilton past him in the Bahrain Grand Prix was "a hard thing to accept" but the right call from Mercedes. Hamilton lost just under five seconds behind his team-mate while the team vacillated over ordering Bottas to let the three-time world champion past. He initiated an overtaking maneuver on Hamilton going into Turn 1 and then proceeded to chase Bottas.

Twice Bottas let triple champion teammate Lewis Hamilton through to try and take on Vettel, an attempt that ultimately proved in vain as the Briton ended up second and Bottas third.

Hamilton and reigning world champion Nico Rosberg, now retired, fought hammer and tongs for titles but that was in seasons when Mercedes were largely unchallenged.

McLaren's nightmare continued with Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne failing to start and Fernando Alonso retiring on the final laps but classified 14th.

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