SAKHIR, Bahrain — Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel held off a tremendous late charge from Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to win the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday and take the overall lead in the Formula One title race.
Hamilton was catching the German on every lap but ran out of time and finished almost seven seconds behind.
"The car was really amazing to drive," Vettel said.
Vettel and Hamilton were tied with a win each, but Vettel's second victory and 44th of his career puts him in command heading into the Russian GP in Sochi on April 30.
It is the first time Ferrari has won two of the first three races of the season since Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in 2008. The last time a single Ferrari driver won two of the opening three races was Michael Schumacher in 2004.
Hamilton got a five-second time penalty early in the race for driving too slowly in the pit lane and holding up Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo
Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas was third after starting from the pole for the first time.
SAINZ PENALIZED: Spanish driver Carlos Sainz received a three-place grid penalty for the next race after stewards ruled that he crashed into Canadian Lance Stroll in the Bahrain race. Sainz was emerging from a pit stop and his Toro Rosso car hit Stroll's Williams car from the side on Lap 13, forcing both out of the race. Sainz was got two penalty points. "I was like 50 (or) 60 meters ahead of him in the braking zone, and he just dive-bombed as I was turning," Stroll said. "It's ridiculous."