Lewis Hamilton apologises for Bahrain time penalty
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SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) - Sebastian Vettel is back on top of the Formula One standings and his Ferrari team is bursting with ambition again.
Hamilton was beaten into second place in the Bahrain Grand Prix as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel took his second win in three races this season.
And while Ferrari failed to make the top of the podium a year ago they are now back with a vengeance and spot-on team tactics.
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff says he is considering introducing team orders in a bid to halt Ferrari's momentum in this year's world championship.
The disparity between the current Mercedes pairing is more marked than before, with Bottas yet to win a race and Hamilton surpassed only by Michael Schumacher in the all-time lists with 54 victories. "The factory has come alive and hopefully the success in the last few races helps us".
A safety auto two laps later only worked in the Ferrari driver's favour as, pitstop out of the way, he jumped into the lead as the other cars streamed in.
"As a racing driver it's the worst thing you want to hear, but that's life", Bottas said after third, a result he admitted was a disappointment.
It was Vettel's second win of the season, his third in Bahrain and the 44th of his career.
"It's important as we start the race to give them equal opportunity", he said. "But for now the team has done a really, really great job". Hamilton was making inroads on fresher tyres during the back-end of the race and was catching Vettel, but went on to finish just over six seconds behind the German and his main rival for the title in second.
For the first time in four years, Mercedes have lost their supreme dominance and face a serious battle to hang on to their drivers' and constructors' titles as a revived Ferrari have gained the initiative. It was his 11th podium. The last half of the in-lap with all the fireworks and the track was all lit up - I just love what I do - and I can't find any words. He then pitted from the lead to take Soft tires on Lap 10, getting the undercut on Bottas and Hamilton and reentering in 12th. But with the five-second penalty, that made it twice as hard than it was already going to be.
Vettel started third on the grid, but on the first lap itself on turn one managed to squeeze past Lewis Hamilton and eventually managed to jump pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas in the first round of pit stops after a safety auto period.
Hamilton's decision to slow in front of Ricciardo on the way into the pits on lap 13 was made because he was behind Bottas, who was also coming in, and he wanted to give himself time to have his tyres changed straight after his teammate and not lose a place to the Australian.
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