Sebastian Vettel. Picture: REUTERS
Sebastian Vettel. Picture: REUTERS

Sakhir — Sebastian Vettel marked his 200th Formula One race with a thrilling and brilliantly judged victory for Ferrari in Sunday’s dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix.

The four-time former champion crossed the line with Valtteri Bottas on his tail and the Finn’s Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in third in a nail-biting finish.

It was Vettel’s second win in as many races this season and extended his lead ahead of Hamilton in the drivers’ championship after the Englishman delivered a dazzling drive from ninth on the grid to finish only six seconds adrift.

Vettel whooped in delight after crossing the line, his glee at winning a race he arguably should have lost clear. "These tyres were done, done, in the last 10 laps," Vettel told his team over the radio.

Bottas had closed five seconds in five laps and was right on Vettel’s tail as they entered the final lap, but a half-hearted move into the first corner was not enough and Vettel was able to hang on. The German looked in total control of the race in the opening laps as he led away from pole position after Bottas passed Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen into the first corner.

Amid all the drama, a Ferrari mechanic was injured after being run over by Raikkonen at a pit stop. The mechanic was taken to the circuit medical centre with a suspected broken leg.

Hamilton produced a stunning moment when he passed three cars in effectively one move early in the race.

Another superb drive by Frenchman Pierre Gasly took him to a stunning fourth place for the Honda-powered Toro Rosso team ahead of Dane Kevin Magnussen of Haas.

Raikkonen failed to finish while both Red Bulls driven by Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo also retired.

Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Renault ahead of Fernando Alonso and his McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.

Marcus Ericsson grabbed two points for Sauber by finishing ninth ahead of Esteban Ocon, who was 10th for Force India.