A stunning performance from Sebastian Vettel on track, and the right strategy calls from his Ferrari team off it, permitted the four-time champion seal his second win of the campaign and take an early advantage over Hamilton in the title race. The second Ferrari ace Kimi Raikkonen crossing the line in fourth.
Vettel who was the first of the leaders to blink as he stopped at the end of lap 10 to take on the super-soft tyre, the quicker but less durable of the three compounds available here. Surprisingly Mercedes did not bring in either Bottas or Hamilton to cover off Ferrari’s strategy.
A slow pit-stop resulted for Hamilton – six-plus seconds – as his team struggled to get on the front-left tyre and the Briton emerged behind Daniel Ricciardo. He also received a five-second timed penalty for driving too slowly into the pits ahead of Ricciardo. In a matter of laps, the race had rocked firmly in Vettel’s favour.
Following the race Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene admits the team gambled on Vettel’s first stop.
“We are happy but what is good, this team demonstrates braveness, determination and a bit of craziness. After qualifying and thinking about the race it was quite tough but we were reading the pace on Friday.
“Taking a risk, and these three qualities are in the DNA of Ferrari so I am happy.”