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Vettel wins Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Hamilton

© AFP | Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel steers his car during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in Manama on April 16, 2017

MANAMA (AFP) - 

Sebastian Vettel moved into a clear lead in this year?s world championship on Sunday when he claimed a well-judged victory for Ferrari in the Bahrain Grand Prix for his second win of the season.

The 29-year-old four-time champion came home seven seconds ahead of three-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who made a late charge for victory after collecting a five-seconds penalty for a pit-lane misdemeanour.

Hamilton?s new Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished third, after starting from his maiden pole position, ahead of compatriot Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and fifth-placed Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo?s Red Bull team-mate 19-year-old Max Verstappen crashed out of the action after a brakes failure.

Felipe Massa finished sixth for Williams, a well-received Easter Sunday birthday gift for team boss Sir Frank Williams who is 75, with Sergio Perez taking seventh for Force India.

Romain Grosjean battled through to take eighth for Haas ahead of Nico Hulkenberg of Renault and Esteban Ocon in the second Force India.

It was Vettel?s third victory in Bahrain and the 44th of his career, a signal that Ferrari not only have a fast and competitive car again, but also that the team has rediscovered its confidence.

The German star now leads the title race with 68 points ahead of Hamilton on 61.

© 2017 AFP