Sebastian Vettel celebrated his 200th Formula 1 race in style, nursing a pair of soft tyres on a bold one-stop strategy to claim a narrow victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver had started from pole and led the early portion of the race, but stopped for tyres before his closest rival, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. The Finn showed strong pace on harder compound tyres after his planned sole stop and, in response, Ferrari opted not to pit Vettel again.
Bottas reeled in Vettel as the German’s tyres began to fade but was unable to close in quite enough, allowing Vettel to claim his second win of the season to build his points lead.
“I came on the radio with 10 laps to go and said: ‘I have everything under control,’” said Vettel, after the win. “That was a lie. When they told me the pace of Valtteri at that time, there was no way I thought I could do that.
“I tried to make the tyres last, nurse them as much as I can, and it worked. But just.”