Bahrain GP paper review: Ferrari aggression putting pressure on Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes
Vettel and Ferrari lead world championships after Bahrain GP victory; Hamilton penalised for holding up Ricciardo
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 17/04/17 1:47pm
Ferrari's aggressive tactics are putting the pressure on Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, according to Monday's national newspapers.
Sebastian Vettel claimed his second victory of the season in the Bahrain GP to move seven points ahead of Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship.
Three-time world champion Hamilton was penalised for unnecessarily holding up Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at the entrance to the pitlane with the punishment denying him the chance to catch Vettel as he had to settle for second.
Ferrari also now lead Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship by three points with the Silver Arrows' dominance of the sport genuinely under threat.
"The manner of Vettel's victory was emphatic - after three years of Mercedes dominance now the teams are evenly matched, the Scuderia has gone aggressive and it is paying off," Giles Richards wrote in The Guardian.
"Mercedes have not had to deal with pressure or a close fight and Ferrari are applying both. There is going to be a battle this season, and, it appears, not one for the faint-hearted.
"In the front lines two drivers are at the centre of the struggle. With Vettel's win, beating Lewis Hamilton into second and a seven point deficit in the world championship, it looks increasingly as if both teams will soon have put their full weight behind the men that are going to be decisive."
The Sun's Ben Hunt says Ferrari's pressure is resulting in Mercedes making costly mistakes.
"While Hamilton admitted he was wrong to hold up Daniel Ricciardo, serious questions need to be raised of the errors made by his Mercedes team," he wrote.
"After dominating the sport for the past three years, Ferrari's resurrection appears to be forcing Mercedes into making mistakes.
"Twice now in three races they have been outsmarted by the Italian team, whose gamble to pit Vettel early again proved decisive."
The Times' Rebecca Clancy, meanwhile, pointed out that Ferrari have corrected the strategy errors which cost them victories last season.
"Unable to pass [Valtteri] Bottas, Vettel was the first to blink, and pitted at the end of the 10th lap in a bid to undercut the frontrunner. In China, he had been caught out by the safety car just a few laps after his pitstop - which played into Hamilton's hands - but here the safety car did not scupper him.
"It was the perfect strategy call by the Scuderia, again. They had got it right in Australia, got unlucky in China and got it right in Bahrain. So often last year Ferrari's calls had cost them a win. That has now changed."
Vettel's winning margin ended up being 6.6 seconds and the Daily Mail's Jonathan McEvoy concluded Hamilton condemned himself with his pitlane error.
"Hamilton pulled off the minor miracle of landing a speeding fine for going too slowly. The fastest man in the world was done for travelling at 35mph, a tardiness that cost him a shot at winning the Bahrain Grand Prix," he wrote.
"The triple world champion jammed on the anchors going into the pit lane, slashing 11mph off his speed in an instant. He was understandably deemed to have impeded Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and handed a five-second penalty - and two points on his licence.
"So when the fireworks lit up the desert sky it was to hail Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, a Roman Catholics German who had, in his own words, hunted down the Easter Eggs.
"While the winner beamed, Hamilton was more dejected than when he lost to Vettel in Melbourne. He wore the look of a man who thought he had condemned himself."
Don't miss the F1 Report: Bahrain GP Review on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday for the final word on the weekend's action.