Published: Sun, April 08, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Hamilton: Ferrari engine mode as good as ours

Hamilton: Ferrari engine mode as good as ours

Minor edits. Adds photos.

Kimi Raikkonen said there was nothing he could do about losing pole position to Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain after hitting traffic in the closing stages of Q3.

Last year's polesitter Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes AMG F1 was third quickest, just 0.023 seconds slower than his Finnish compatriot while defending champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest just under 0.1 seconds slower than Bottas. Hamilton starts ninth because of a grid penalty.

Hamilton's setback in his bid to overhaul Vettel's early-season lead in the title race - following his victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix - was confirmed by the International Motoring Federation (FIA), the sport's ruling body.

"I've got the softer tyre so I should be able to go longer [before pitting]".

It was a similar outcome on Hamilton's second hot lap but, a few seconds later, Vettel reported that something "quite bad" happened to his auto at Turn 11 and 12. "The auto has been excellent all weekend". "You need to lay it out and say "this is our situation, how can we achieve success for Formula 1, how can we cap costs, how can we achieve a sustainable business model", without having any hardship on anybody".

Ferrari's evening got even better when Hamilton finished behind Bottas, his teammate.

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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 flawless vehicle - to minimise the damage and give himself the best chance in the race. "Hopefully Lewis can come through the field".

Drivers must use gearboxes for six consecutive races before being allowed a new one. Hamilton has two wins on the 5.412-kilometer circuit while Vettel has topped the podium on three occasions, including previous year.

It was a clumsy error from the 20-year-old Verstappen. He span his vehicle after pushing too hard early on in Melbourne two weeks ago and finished sixth.

Verstappen will line up 15th, Romain Grosjean 16th, with Sauber's Marcus Ericsson 17th, Williams' Sergey Sirotkin 18th, Charles Leclerc 19th, while Lance Stroll put the second Williams down in 20th. Gasly's team-mate Brendon Hartley qualified 11th. He'd done enough to make it into Q2, however.

The Woking-based team had hoped that ditching Honda engines and switching to Renault power would boost their results and help them challenge for podiums. Gasly (Toro Rosso), 6. Friday's practice sessions also offered encouraging signs with Raikkonen heading Vettel in a Ferrari one-two at the top of the time-sheets.

Hamilton expressed his annoyance over team radio as he came into the pit lane after P3, saying spectators got too close to his Mercedes.

'Who are all these people standing there in the way of our stop?' Hamilton said. I was coming in at serious speed.

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