Race: Vettel beats Hamilton to Bahrain win

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Lewis Hamilton has apologised to Mercedes for the pit-lane incident which cost him a five-second penalty in the Bahrain Grand Prix, conceding the blame lies exclusively with him.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix to go seven points clear at the top of the Formula One standings on Sunday, with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton staging a late charge to finish second after picking up a time penalty. "Happy for all you guys at merc that Valtteri is going well", tweeted Nico Rosberg, whose decision to retire after winning the 2016 world title led Bottas to Mercedes this season.

Vettel, to that point, had stuck his vehicle right behind Bottas and wasn't letting him create any separation.

Mercedes, who won the race previous year with Rosberg, have taken five successive poles in Bahrain.

Both Mercedes drivers used the safety auto incident to pit for new tires, but Hamilton held up Ricciardo.

It dropped him to 12th, but by the time the rest of the pack had pitted behind the safety auto following a coming to gather between the Williams of Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz, he was sitting pretty at the front.

Max Verstappen, who started in sixth, was running well until his Red Bull inexplicably had a brake failure shortly after the the teenager had pitted on lap 12.

Hamilton did well to fight back and climb back up to second after he was penalised for gamesmanship.

"But we went for the early pit stop, it worked fantastic, really good job".

From that point onwards Bottas' race completely unravelled and on lap 27 he was passed by Hamilton at Turn 1 before pitting for soft tyres on lap 30.

A slow stop for Bottas further delayed Hamilton, who lost a position when he rejoined before he was given a five-second penalty. That ended the race for both drivers.

Valtteri Bottas, who started on pole position in the second Mercedes, was third with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen coming home in fourth place.

"Right from the fist lap I felt the auto was there", Vettel said on the podium.

Sebastian Vettel has taken out the Bahrain Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton, with Australia's Daniel Ricciardo finishing in fifth. It didn't start out the best, but the pit lane was really my fault and so apologies to the team for losing the time there.

It was a valiant effort by Hamilton after his error in the pit lane, but ultimately Ferrari had the pace to beat Mercedes and the mistakes made under the safety vehicle proved costly for the world champions.

Three rounds in there has been nothing to suggest that the destiny of the 2017 drivers' championship will be anything other than a see-saw battle between Hamilton and Vettel.

"Three-hundred meters behind me and they overtake me on the straight", Alonso told his team over the radio midway through the race.

The delay for Bottas ensured Vettel led behind the Safety Car, but the leading pair were on supersoft tires compared to softs for Ricciardo and Hamilton behind.

Hamilton came in with 15 laps left - and took his time penalty.

"Congratulations to Seb and thank you to Valtteri for being a gentleman out there", he said on the podium.

Meanwhile, Alonso retired one lap from the end.

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