After the surprising gap between the Mercedes and Ferrari in qualifying, we saw Bottas sat next to Hamilton on the front row with Vettel behind them.
The start of the race saw both silver arrows getting a clean start but Vettel taking a chance and clearing Hamilton. As it settled down, Bottas began showing signs of an issue, later explained by pressures on the rear tyres being too high, meaning he struggled for grip.
For the first round of pit stops, Ferrari opted to bring Vettel in for the undercut, bringing him out into a decent gap and putting him in the driving seat for the race, so to speak. I believe this was the most crucial part of the race.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, by the time he was in a position to get past Bottas, a safety car was brought out for a crash at turn one, (for the Sainz/Stroll incident). At this point, the remaining front runners pitted, with Mercedes double stacking their cars. It was here where Hamilton sealed his own fate by choosing to slow Ricciardo down on the pit entry to allow Bottas time to finish his stop and clear the box. This resulted in a five second time penalty. This was compounded by a slow stop for both of their drivers.
The race restarted with Vettel in the lead and Bottas holding up Hamilton, he was eventually ordered to move over for the world champion, which in itself nearly caused an accident. Hamilton managed to close the gap down to 4.3 seconds on lap 32, prompting Ferrari to pit for their final time and rejoining 17 seconds behind but setting some storming laps.
Hamilton putted on lap 41 and served his penalty, then pushing harder than ever setting fastest lap after fastest lap. In the end, the difference really was the undercut, and Vettel took the win with Hamilton in second and Bottas in third.
Some highlights of the race included Alonso battling with Palmer and Kvyat, some great dicing towards the back, although the Spaniard vented his frustration at being overtaken so easily. He eventually retired with an engine problem.
Notably, Verstappen also retired due to a very odd brake failure right out of the pits, unfortunately we didn’t get to see him in the mix with the leaders.
Interesting race and certainly a great season ahead!