Sebastian Vettel made it two wins from two races with victory at the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver was joined by Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton on the podium, while Marcus Ericsson ended a 50-race stretch without points and Pierre Gasly secured the highest-placed finish for a Honda-powered car in almost 10 years.
Here’s what the drivers and teams said after the race:
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari – 1st):
“Obviously, this is a great way to start the season and it wasn’t expected. Obviously Australia was a different race and if you compare these two races, here we had the pace and won on our own. So, I think it’s been much better, but it was a very tough race. It took a while for the adrenaline to go, but for the next week we are not sure where we are going to be. It is difficult to predict with everything changing so much.
“We were losing a little bit at the end and Bottas was getting closer. We couldn’t wait and see what he was doing. So, in response to that we had to come in first to protect the track as much as I could. We had targeted two stops and that’s why we had chosen Soft tires. But then we had to change strategy; the tires were already wearing out, but then it seemed everything was ok. But after 10 or 12 laps, the tires got worse and the last five laps were very tricky. It feels better winning here than in Australia, because here we had the pace. So, I am very happy, even though it’s sad to see one of our guys getting injured. I wish him to get well soon, I know he’s in very good hands now.”
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes – 2nd):
“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. 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.
“The pace today was better than expected so that we could put some pressure on Ferrari. It’s very close and it’s going to be an interesting season. We still have work to do, especially for conditions like here in Bahrain. I think we can see some positives, but the main thing for us is to really learn from this weekend.”
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes – 3rd):
“It was not an easy race, but one that I feel quite happy with now that I’ve cooled down. Today was all about damage limitation and I think to get in the top three is a really great result for the team and for myself. We would prefer we didn’t have the gearbox issue that we had this weekend, but I was really happy with my race pace. I had a really good start but I didn’t capitalize on it. I got past a couple of cars off the line and then I went opposite to go on the inside. But the car ahead decided to dice to the right so I had to bail out and had cars pass me on the left, so I fell back on the opening lap. In my mind I knew that I had to get past that group of cars very early on. But by the time I did get past them the guys were 15 seconds ahead, so really the race was lost in those opening laps.”
Maurizio Arrivabene (Ferrari – Team Principal):
“Today’s result, with a win for Sebastian, is confirmation of the great job done by the team, of an effective car and of a driver who drove like a true champion right to the very end. It was a shame for Kimi, who would have completed a fine result for the team. We chose to take one of our mechanics up onto the podium as a mark of respect to our colleague Francesco who was injured during the pit stop. The whole team hopes he recovers quickly. We are already preparing for the next race in China and as usual we will give it our all.”
Apparently a shinbone and fibula fracture, our thoughts are with Francesco, stay strong #BahrainGP
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) April 8, 2018
Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso – 4th):
“Unbelievable, what an incredible day! The second race of the season with Toro Rosso and Honda, and we finish P4. It’s just amazing, I’m so happy! A big thanks to the team because the car was fantastic! I had a nice fight with Magnussen and the pace was really good. I saw unfortunately both Red Bull cars had to stop, then after Raikkonen retired the team told me we had the opportunity to finish P4, so I gave everything to the end. The car has been fantastic since the beginning of the weekend, today I could just push flat out and the pace was great because I managed to pull away from the Haas. I need a bit of time to let this sink in, but we will definitely enjoy it with the team tonight!”
— Pierre Gasly 🇫🇷 (@PierreGASLY) April 8, 2018
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari – DNF):
“What happened to our guy Francesco today at the pit-stop is very unfortunate. I feel sorry for him and hope he’s going to be OK soon. It’s always a bad thing when someone gets injured but I am sure he has the best people taking good care of him and I wish him a speedy recovery. As for the accident itself, all I know is that I moved when I saw the green light go on. I couldn’t have possibly realized that there was an issue with the rear left wheel, then I saw someone had got hurt and, immediately, I was told to stop by the team. Unfortunately something must have gone wrong and we’ll need to find out what. The car had good speed today but I had some wheelspin at the start. Anyway, there’s not much I can do now but wait for the next race, where we’ll try to do our best.”
Max Verstappen (Red Bull – DNF):
“Due to the hit with Lewis we sustained some more severe damage than just the puncture, we haven’t had a chance to look at the car yet but we suspect the differential. From the start I was enjoying the feel of the car and finding the gaps and it was shaping up to be an exciting race. I had a good tow on the straight, the last corner was really good so it allowed me to stay close to Lewis. We got a bit squeezed but from the middle to the end of the corner I was ahead, I then felt a nudge from behind and could feel the puncture and therefore knew the race was likely over. In my opinion there was plenty of room for the both of us to go around that corner and to say ‘no action taken’ is a bit harsh as I am now out of the race due to that contact on my left rear. If it was the other way around I’m sure he would want it looked into.”
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) April 8, 2018
Kevin Magnussen (Haas – 5th):
“I’m happy about today. It’s really good to get 10 points and get our championship started. I’m really proud of the team, especially the guys on the pit stops. They had a tough time between Australia and here. They kept their heads and got back to basics. They did what they do best and they delivered today. I couldn’t really fight with Gasly in the Toro Rosso ahead in fourth, but still, we’re happy with P5.”
Toto Wolff (Mercedes – Team Principal):
“It’s incredibly frustrating to come so close to a win and to miss out at the very end but that was a race that kept us on the edge of our seats until the final corners. If you had offered us P2 and P3 yesterday, I would have taken it straight away; but when you consider that both Red Bulls retired, and one Ferrari, then it was also the minimum result we should expect from the race. In hindsight, it’s easy to look back at the race and see opportunities to win. Overall, it was good damage limitation after we put ourselves on the back foot with the penalty. And now we need to focus on those fine margins that make the difference between winning and losing these finely balanced races.”
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull – DNF):
“Coming in to turn eight I lost all power, everything switched off without warning and I couldn’t do anything. I guess it’s an electrical engine issue, maybe battery related but I don’t know exactly yet. Obviously, everyone in the team is so disappointed as we genuinely felt like we had a good car today. The weekend was going pretty good for us and I really believe our race car was even better. I know I only did one lap but I could already see Kimi sliding on the rear tyres. I really felt like we were going to be in with a good chance which makes it even more frustrating.”
Marcus Ericsson (Alfa Romeo Sauber – 9th):
“It is an amazing feeling to back in the points, especially this early into the season, as a start to our new chapter with Alfa Romeo. It is a great reward to everyone at the racetrack and back at the factory. The strategy we had today was good, and it was a challenge to make it all the way to the end of the race with the tyres and fuel we had. I had to be clever as a driver and pick the right fights to make sure that I do not use the tyres too much. It was a great team effort. I am very happy, very pleased, and I look forward to continuing on this positive path.”
Fernando Alonso (McLaren – 7th):
“It was another great race today, with the team performing good pit-stops, good strategy and good reliability. Everyone worked perfectly today and we got both cars into the points. We did a good job at the start, overtaking a couple of cars. We had newer tyres compared to the people around us and we were expecting a bit more, but after that we had the pace to keep our position in the front train. Looking at the overall picture of the weekend, we struggled in every session and had quite a poor qualifying, so now being seventh and eighth is a positive result for the team.”
Nico Hulkenberg (Renault – 6th):
“We got the maximum from the race today, which is a good positive. We didn’t quite have the pace to compete with the cars ahead of us and that leaves me a little disappointed, so it’s clear the midfield fight is very close. It was a busy race and our main focus was fuel saving whilst still trying to race other cars and I think we managed that quite well tonight.”
Esteban Ocon (Force India – 10th):
“It was a very tough race and there was never really a chance to catch my breath. I was always pushing, always fighting, always chasing. We are right in the middle of the midfield fight and it was a nice reward to overtake Carlos [Sainz] with just two laps to go and score the final point. I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get more from this race, especially starting from eighth place, but we did the best we could in the circumstances.”
This was quite a race, we are not where we want to be yet but that point give us confidence. We will get there and stronger😉!
On peut dire que c’était chaud cette course, nous ne sommes pas ou nous voulons encore mais ce point nous donne confiance. On va revenir et plus fort 😉! pic.twitter.com/5vmKMmCMcS
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) April 8, 2018
Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren – 8th):
“We always knew our race pace was going to be better than our qualifying pace and today we proved that again. We overtook a lot of cars on track and made some very bold overtaking moves into Turn One. For me it was an amazing race and I enjoyed some great fighting, so I’m pretty happy. We were very ambitious today and had a good strategy, knew our race pace was better than a lot of the people around us and today is a great result for us.”
Romain Grosjean (Haas – 13th):
“It was always going to be difficult starting from the back of the grid. I didn’t really have a good first lap, but after that I came back through the field quite nicely. If I hadn’t lost my bargeboard I’d have finished potentially seventh or eighth. That was a problem – losing parts as we’re just running on track. On those two laps, the car was absolutely undriveable. We had to pit to remove the part, so that was the end of the story.”
Was looking good for a strong points finish until we had to pit to remove some damaged parts from underneath the floor… Hopefully the bad luck is done for the year… Great drive from @KevinMagnussen. Some important points for @HaasF1Team 👍
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) April 8, 2018
Sergio Perez (Force India – 16th*):
“It feels like an opportunity lost because my race was effectively over on lap one. We knew how important it was to stay out of trouble, but there was nothing I could do to avoid what happened. I made a pretty good start, but Brendon [Hartley] lost control of his car and spun me around. I had a lot of damage to the floor and that cost me performance for the rest of the race. Despite that, I nearly made it back into the points, but in the end there was no chance to do it. We can look at some positives: it was a fun race, with lots of battles and we are making progress with the car. I hope we can continue the good work and be quicker in China, where we will hopefully get more performance from our package.”
*Perez finished 12th put was given a 30-second penalty after the race for an infringement on the formation lap.
Carlos Sainz (Renault – 11th):
“I was surviving in the end there with very tired Soft tyres and having to do a lot of fuel saving. We need to analyse what happened at the start because I had too much wheel spin and from there onwards the race was compromised. I was stuck in traffic after both stops and we couldn’t really do a lot from there. It was a tough day to be honest, but luckily China is just around the corner and we will fight our way back to the points.”
Guenther Steiner (Haas – Team Principal):
“All in all, it’s been a good weekend. The pit stops were good. We had five in the race and they were all good. I think the guys have recovered and I’m very proud of them, and they can be proud of themselves for what they’ve achieved this weekend. Coming back from two failed pit stops at the last race in Australia to take a fifth-place finish without a problem, it’s fantastic.”
Lance Stroll (Williams – 14th):
“I was really happy with my race, even though we were nowhere in terms of position. I had a really good start and picked up five positions, so I was happy about that. After that I touched the front wing fighting with Grosjean, so I had to box early and we lost 10 seconds as we had to change the front wing at the stop. But I managed to recover from that and beat my team mate at the end. I am obviously happy with the recovery we made after the first couple of laps. I still believe we did the maximum we could have done today. I hope we can be better in China, but behind the scenes there is a lot of work to be done.”
Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso – 17th*):
“An amazing day for Toro Rosso but a disappointing day for me. I had a good start and first couple of corners but had a small contact with Perez in Turn 4. This not only damaged my front wing for the remainder of the race but I was also given a 10 second time penalty. We had the pace to be comfortably in the points without the penalty so it was a bit frustrating. A big thanks to all at Toro Rosso and at Honda, it has been an amazing turn around since Melbourne which bodes well for the next few races.”
*Hartley finished 13th but was given a penalty after the race for an infringement on the formation lap.
Charles Leclerc (Alfa Romeo Sauber – 12th):
“It has been a motivating evening for the team. After working hard all weekend, we scored two points, with Marcus having a very strong race. At the same time, I am not completely satisfied with my own result. We went for a high-risk strategy after I struggled with a flat-spot at the beginning of the race. We opted for a set of medium tyres – unfortunately, they did not last as long as we hoped. We are looking into what happened in the stint on the medium option and will be sure to learn from this experience. In any case, it was a positive race for the team, and I look forward to being back in the car next weekend in China.”
Frederic Vasseur (Alfa Romeo Sauber – Team Principal):
“It was a very good first step for us and a reward for the hard work during the winter by the whole team, both at the race track and at the factory at home. Today we made an important recovery from qualifying and both drivers and the team did a good job. Congratulations to Marcus for the strong race. He put in a huge effort over the winter to be able to show everyone that he is able to deliver. It is a great accomplishment for him.
“Charles also did a good job and put in a consistently good performance throughout the race. Unfortunately, he lost a lot of time at the beginning of the race after having issues with a vibration on the front wheel, requiring an early pit stop. All in all, it was a good team effort and we are pleased with the outcome of this weekend, but we remain completely focused and will continue to work hard and push in this direction.”
Sergey Sirotkin (Williams – 15th):
“It’s not so easy to summarise the race. This was my first F1 race distance. It was a good experience, but we switched our plan. Our strategy was a two-stop, which we ended up sticking with and it was not optimum as I think we lost a bit of track time with that. Then I was caught by quite a lot of lapped cars, so again I lost quite a bit of track time. The pace was OK but we cannot follow other cars. It’s something we definitely need to improve. It’s a big problem on the first lap as it’s impossible to fight people without damaging the front tyre.”