Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Valtteri Bottas disappointed, but encouraged by race pace

Valtteri Bottas disappointed, but encouraged by race pace

Bottas' hopes of claiming Mercedes' first win of the year grew as the Finn closed the gap between himself and Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton recovered to third place after starting ninth, including one stunning moment when he passed three cars in effectively one move early in the race.

Ferrari announced that it is now investigating as to why Raikkonen was given a green light when one wheel was yet to be changed. I don't see what happens behind and unfortunately he got hurt. Hamilton was low down after incurring a five-place grid penalty for an unauthorized gearbox change.

However, engineers had not finished changing the rear left tyre of his auto. It meant retirement for Raikkonen.

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After the Virtual Safety Car period while the stricken Red Bull of Ricciardo was being cleared away, there were battles up and down the order. "But it also showed how close things are between us and our rivals, who are very strong", Marcionne said.

Vettel was the first of the leaders to pit, diving in for a fresh set of Soft tyres at the end of Lap 18. Although the German driver looked steady behind the wheel, his mind was racing nearly as fast as Bottas' Mercedes behind him.

Vettel's Ferrari team decided against bringing the German in for a second pit stop, consequently leaving Vettel to deal with his soft tyres for the remaining 10 laps of the event. The mechanic was immediately attended to by the medical team and was taken to the hospital, while Kimi stopped in the pit lane ultimately retiring from the race.

Francesco Cigarini, the mechanic who was preparing to swap with the left-rear tyre was mistakenly hit by Raikkonen as he ran over the mechanic's leg, injuring him in the process.

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Finland's Valtteri Bottas finished second for Mercedes, a mere 0.699 seconds behind after chasing down Vettel over the closing laps, while reigning champion Lewis Hamilton was third.

At that point, Vettel thought Bottas would win the race, but he didn't let on over the pit-to-car radio. But Vettel held him off and just about retained his advantage.

Behind him and Gasly, Magnussen took fifth ahead of Hulkenberg and Alonso, who spared McLaren's blushes with a superb drive after a awful performance in qualifying, trounced by the Toro Rosso using the Honda engine McLaren rejected as not good enough past year.

Kevin Magnussen bounced back from his disappointment in Australia to finish fifth for Haas ahead of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

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