Sebastian Vettel says his second win of the year at the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix was more satisfying than his victory in the opening race of the season because he “had the pace” to win.
Vettel, who led the championship heading to Bahrain courtesy of a fortunate win in Australia, led the race from pole-position but came under immense pressure from the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport car of Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages.
On worn tyres, Vettel crossed the finish line just six-tenths-of-a-second ahead of the chasing Finn to take back-to-back wins and extend his championship lead.
“Obviously, this is a great way to start the season and it wasn’t expected,” said Vettel. “Obviously Australia was a different race and if you compare these two races, here we had the pace and won on our own. So, I think it’s been much better, but it was a very tough race.”
With margins tight between Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes, Vettel suggests the next race in China may be just as tough.
“For the next week we are not sure where we are going to be. It is difficult to predict with everything changing so much. In China it will be a different track and a different challenge, but we have to improve our car and work on it.
“We still need to improve the balance. However, if we should have a similar feeling like here, then I think we should be in a good shape. We were losing a little bit at the end and Bottas was getting closer.
“We couldn’t wait and see what he was doing. So, in response to that we had to come in first to protect the track as much as I could. We had targeted two stops and that’s why we had chosen Soft tires.
“ But then we had to change strategy; the tires were already wearing out, but then it seemed everything was ok. But after 10 or 12 laps, the tires got worse and the last five laps were very tricky.”
Ferrari lead the constructors’ championship but their second victory of the year was overshadowed by a botched pit-stop for Kimi Raikkonen, which left one the Ferrari mechanics with a badly broken leg.
“It feels better winning here than in Australia, because here we had the pace. So, I am very happy, even though it’s sad to see one of our guys getting injured. I wish him to get well soon, I know he’s in very good hands now.”