Mercedes and Ferrari once again dueled for pole, Mercedes taking spots 1 and 3 (Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas) and Ferrari 2 and 4 (Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen). Vettel entered the race with a 13-point lead on Hamilton. Red Bull held down Row 3, Max Verstappen ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso gave McLaren-Honda its highest qualifying position of the year, P7.
Vettel took the lead at the start. Bottas punted Raikkonen into Verstappen, putting both the Ferrari and Red Bull out of action. Bottas ran P3. Alonso got pushed into the gravel at Turn 2, falling to P11 but remaining in competition. Vettel led Hamilton by 2.5 sec at the end of Lap 11 (of 66).
Vettel pitted but reentered behind Ricciardo. He passed the Aussie during Lap 16, Hamilton having set fastest laps in the meantime. Hamilton was working a two-stop strategy and Vettel a three. Hamilton pitted during Lap21, returning 8.2 sec behind Vettel.
A virtual safety car was issued during Lap 35. Hamilton pitted as it came to an end two laps later. Vettel stopped the next lap. The two dueled at pit exit. Light contact was made but both kept running and Vettel retained the lead. Bottas’s car came to a smoking halt during Lap 39. Hamilton took the lead on track 5 laps later.
He held it to the end, Vettel finishing second, and Ricciardo third. Ricciardo’s podium moved him past teammate Max Verstappen into fifth in the driver standings. Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat finished P7 and P9 respectively to move Toro Rosso past Williams into fifth in the constructor standings.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 104
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 98
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Mercedes – 63
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland), Ferrari – 49
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia), Red Bull-Renault - 37
Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Red Bull-Renault – 35
Sergio Perez (Mexico), Force India-Mercedes – 34
Esteban Ocon (France), Force India-Mercedes – 19
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 18
Carlos Sainz (Spain), Toro Rosso-Renault – 17
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 161
Mercedes (Hamilton, Bottas) – 153
Red Bull Racing (Verstappen, Ricciardo) – 72
Force India-Mercedes (Perez, Ocon) - 53
Toro Rosso-Renault (Sainz Jr., Daniil Kvyat) – 21
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Lance Stroll) – 18
Renault (Nico Hulkenberg, Jolyon Palmer) – 14
Haas-Ferrari (Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean) – 9
Sauber-Ferrari (Marcus Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein) – 4
Next event: Grand Prix of Monaco – May 25-28, 2017