- Valtteri Bottas sets DHL Fastest Lap in the Bahrain Grand Prix
- The Mercedes driver posts the fastest race lap for the fourth time in his career
- Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo jointly lead the 2018 DHL Fastest Lap Award
Valtteri Bottas sets DHL Fastest Lap in Bahrain
The Grand Prix of Bahrain once again provided a magnificent spectacle under floodlights. Sebastian Vettel prevailed in his 200th Grand Prix, lifting the winner’s trophy just as he had in the season opener in Australia. The Ferrari driver leads the championship after two rounds with maximum points.
It was, however, a hard-earned victory, as he had to fend off a challenge from Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages of the race. Vettel ultimately won by the narrow margin of 0.699 seconds ahead of runner-up Bottas.
While Vettel’s crew fitted the soft tires for the last stint, Bottas opted for the medium compound which showed less sign of wear as the race progressed. The Mercedes man consequently managed to reduce the gap to Vettel until he was right on his tail, but despite DRS, he was unable to get past.
Earlier in the race, on Lap 22 and shortly after his only pit stop, Bottas set the DHL Fastest Lap with a time of 01:33.740 on fresh mediums, thereby confirming his strong early-season form.
"It was so close in the end, it's a shame I couldn't win. When it's so close, you start to think about every lap and every corner after the race, trying to figure out if there is something you could have done better", said Bottas. "But I feel like I did a good race, I didn't make any mistakes and I gave it everything I had. I didn't try the Medium tyres before the race, but it went well and we managed to do a really long stint. Only in the last three laps I started to struggle with the tyres and once I got close to Sebastian everything got more difficult."
Vettel’s fastest race lap was 1:34.453, which puts him in a modest P7 in this particular category. The second-fastest lap was posted by Lewis Hamilton. Bottas’s Mercedes team-mate staged an impressive charge through the field from P9 on the grid to finish third. Somewhat surprisingly, the third-fastest lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix went to Haas driver Romain Grosjean.
Fastest laps: FORMULA 1 2018 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
- 01 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes): 1:33.740 - on lap 22
- 02 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 1:33.953 - on lap 51
- 03 Romain Grosjean (Haas): 1:34.053 - on lap 47
- 04 Fernando Alonso (McLaren): 1:34.168 - on lap 47
- 05 Kevin Magnussen (Haas): 1:34.237 - on lap 29
- 06 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari): 1:34.337 - on lap 22
- 07 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 1:34.453 - on lap 21
- 08 Sergey Sirotkin (Williams): 1:34.563 - on lap 42
- 09 Nico Hülkenberg (Renault): 1:34.667 - on lap 50
- 10 Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso): 1:34.689 - on lap 44
History: DHL Fastest Laps in the FORMULA 1 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
Bottas’s fastest race lap of 1:33:740 was more than two seconds shy of the record at the Bahrain International Circuit. This continues to be held by Pedro de la Rosa who set a time of 1:31.447 in 2005. This fastest race lap posted by the former McLaren driver still stands today.
However, Sebastian Vettel set a new absolute track record in qualifying. The Ferrari man claimed pole position with a time of 1:27.958. No driver has ever gone faster in the history of Formula 1 in Bahrain.
Bottas and Ricciardo equal first in the DHL Fastest Lap Award
For Bottas, this was the fourth DHL Fastest lap of his career, which puts him in 56th place on the all-time leaderboard in this class. The Mercedes driver now shares the lead in the 2018 DHL Fastest Lap Award with Daniel Ricciardo, who was the fastest man on the track in the season opener in Australia.