Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) won the first pole of his F1 career, teammate Lewis Hamilton lining up next to him. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) lined up in P3 aside Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull). Row 3 was also a Ferrari-Red Bull affair: Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Max Verstappen.
Vettel took second from Hamilton on the start, Verstappen moving up to fourth and Felipe Massa (Williams) up to P6 as Raikkonen fell through the ranks.
Bottas, still in the lead, reported the beginning of problems with his rear tires during Lap 10 (of 57). The 10 laps led exceeded his career total coming into the race. Vettel pitted one lap later from second. Verstappen also pitted, but suffered a brake failure upon returning to competition, hitting the wall and retiring from the race.
Lance Stroll (Williams) retired during Lap 13, following a collision with Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) that brought out the safety car. Mercedes pitted under the caution. Vettel inherited the lead, followed by Bottas and Ricciardo; the Aussie having passed Hamilton in the pits as the Mercs had to stack their stops.
Green-flag racing resumed to start Lap 17, Hamilton retaking third from Ricciardo as Vettel challenged Bottas for the lead. Vettel eventually took the top spot and Hamilton was given a 5 sec penalty for obstructing Ricciardo’s progress through pit lane. Hamilton took second from Bottas during Lap 27.
Vettel led Hamilton by 6.006 sec in Lap 29. Bottas pitted from third two laps later, moving Raikkonen into the position. Vettel came in during Lap 34, returning to competition in third behind Hamilton and Raikkonen. He passed his teammate for second after two more laps. Raikkonen pitted in Lap 38, returning to the track in P5 behind Bottas and Ricciardo.
Hamilton stopped from the lead for a new set of soft tires in Lap 42, reentering with Vettel in the lead and Bottas P2. Vettel held a 9.5 sec lead on the Finn. Hamilton took second from Bottas at the end of Lap 47.
Vettel held on for the win to retake the championship lead. Hamilton finished second, followed by Bottas. Bottas’s third place finish moved him into third in the driver standings. Sergio Perez (Force India) rose from P18 on the grid to finish seventh.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 68
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 63
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Mercedes – 38
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland), Ferrari – 34
Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Red Bull-Renault – 25
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia), Red Bull-Renault - 22
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 16
Sergio Perez (Mexico), Force India-Mercedes – 14
Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain), Toro Rosso-Renault – 10
Kevin Magnussen (Denmark), Haas-Ferrari – 4
Romain Grosjean (France), Haas-Ferrari – 4
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 102
Mercedes (Hamilton, Bottas) – 99
Red Bull Racing (Verstappen, Ricciardo) – 47
Force India-Mercedes (Perez, Esteban Ocon) - 17
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Lance Stroll) – 16
Toro Rosso-Renault (Sainz Jr., Daniil Kvyat) – 12
Haas-Ferrari (Magnussen, Romain Grosjean) – 8
Renault (Nico Hulkenberg, Jolyon Palmer) – 2
Next event: Russian Grand Prix, Sochi – Apr. 28-30, 2017