Vettel thought Bottas had him at 'checkmate' in final laps

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For those interested in statistics, it was way back in 1982 when the driver who won the opening two rounds of the season failed to win the championship.

Vettel was pleased overall with the team's progress after he had complained in Australia - where he won because of a Mercedes strategy error - that he didn't feel comfortable in the vehicle. "These tyres were done - they were done for the last 10 laps". The German was totally out-gunned for the last and most-critical part of the race and would have succumbed the lead with a few more laps been scheduled.

Vettel came under heavy pressure from Bottas in the final laps but the German held on by 0.699s to take his second victory of the season and take a 17-point world championship lead to the Chinese GP.

Mercedes started the Grand Prix on the back foot.

As Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton began to close in on him in the closing laps, Vettel took over the radio to give the false impression to Mercedes that his tires were in fine condition. Second, the sweet spot on their auto from Australia had suddenly disappeared. More than that I don't know.

After the race Raikkonen released a statement on the Ferrari website. Raikkonen did not finish his race after a pit-error saw him accidently run over and injure his mechanic's leg.

They were fined 5,000 euros after Raikkonen was sent out of the pits with a loose wheel in Friday practice.

Drama in the pits, when team mate Kimi Raikkonen was brought in to test the strategy, decided Ferrari in favour of keeping Vettel out.

After the result in the opening round of the season in Australia was seen as a bit of an anomaly, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari can claim to have given Mercedes AMG F1 and defending champion Lewis Hamilton a proper fight and come out on top.

Vettel leads the championship on a ideal 50 points, 17 ahead of Lewis Hamlton.

Bottas stayed out for two more laps and changed to mediums.

Meanwhile, there was also plenty of action behind the field as well, with Pierre Gasly securing his first ever points after finishing in a brilliant fourth place for his Honda-powered Torro Rosso.

The racing continued to flow, with Hamilton in the thick of it.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was relieved more than satisfied after seeing Bottas and Hamilton finish on the podium. "I think anyone would have done it and it cost him the race".

Magnussen was fifth for Haas and Renault's Hulkenberg sixth followed by the McLarens of Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. Sergio Perez and Brendon Hartley were slapped with a post-race penalty for a rare offence. He was possibly held up by traffic or confused by shoddy radio communications but, as noted during the Sky broadcast, he was given target times but didn't achieve them consistently.

The Silver Arrows outfit was left chasing Ferrari all weekend in the Bahrain heat, and the race Sunday evening was just another reflection of the team's lack of pace on abrasive tracks relative to its Italian rival.

It was a disastrous few moments for Red Bull as Ricciardo pulled off track with a suspected electrical issue, triggering the virtual safety vehicle. Bottas is in third place (22 points) with Alonso (16 points) ahead of Raikkonen (15 points).