Bottas' early-race struggles down to Mercedes generator failure

But it wasn't just Hamilton's sully moves and subsequent penalty that won it for Vettel, it was also Ferrari's clever, and early, first stop when Vettel was caught in a train of cars, with the rest of the train pitting a bit later under the safety auto.

Sebastian Vettel celebrated Lewis Hamilton's lucky number on Sunday, the Ferrari driver taking his 44th Formula One victory to go top of the standings while the man in auto 44 kicked himself for costly errors. Valtteri Bottas was given team order midway the race to make way for Hamilton to challenge Vettel for the win.

"Congratulations to Kimi too on a good race", he added.

One explanation was high tire pressures at the start of the race, with a generator failure causing Bottas to start with the wrong pressures, but the Finn says that problem only hurt him until his first pit stop.

Seb and Lewis were putting pressure on and I couldn't control the race or build a gap.

There was some amount of chaos behind him though, with Vettel getting the jump on Hamilton, moving into second place. But despite being on fresher tyres, Hamilton could not catch up to the quadruple world champion and the Ferrari driver went on to record his second win of the year and saw himself move at the top of the drivers' championship.

Having started on pole position, Bottas had dropped to second under the Safety Car as Sebastian Vettel took the lead for Ferrari. "I just didn't have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons for that", he said. Then I lost position at the start.

But moments later, the Dutchman's brakes failed and he drifted across the track and into the wall, his race over.

This forced Mercedes to pit their drivers at the same time, and after a rather slow pit stop from Bottas slowed both drivers' stops, Vettel claimed first in a rather easy fashion. It's a very tough call.

While Hamilton, and Mercedes, were working on 2017, Vettel was already testing the 2018 tyres on Tuesday before returning to the present rubber on Wednesday.

"The pit lane (incident) was really my fault so apologies to the team for losing the time there ... but I gave it everything I could". The following lap saw Williams' Lance Stroll being hit by Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz from the side, which brought out the safety auto.

After the safety vehicle, Vettel came out in the lead where he remained after the next round of pit stops, despite an epic fight back from Hamilton after serving his penalty.

"Thanks to Valtteri for being a gentleman", said Hamilton, who endured a much more hard relationship with Nico Rosberg, his former Mercedes teammate.

  • Julie Sanders