Valtteri Bottas holds off Lewis Hamilton to take championship lead

Ferrari F1 driver Sebastian Vettel

The victory marks Mercedes-AMG's fourth straight 1-2 finish in Formula 1 this year and puts Bottas one point ahead of Hamilton in the championship.

The incident prompted immediate safety concerns and led to the cancellation of the session so the FIA could check the 6km circuit, which has over 300 drain covers scattered around it. "We'll be taking that up with race control".

Leclerc gave himself a tough job to do on Saturday, crashing out of qualifying when pole position appeared to be there for the taking, and started from eighth.

Sebastian Vettel says he is not yet fully confident in the new Ferrari auto for the 2019 Formula 1 season despite the pace on show, particularly in pre-season. "Just trying to minimize damage and lose as little time as possible", Ricciardo said after the race. I don't think our vehicle is slow.

Several other drivers spun or went off. Vettel in fifth - despite having just set a fastest lap time.

Meanwhile, the second practice session started after everything was checked.

With limited time to test setups ahead of Saturday's qualifying, teams flocked onto the circuit in the second session, but it too was disrupted. They felt that was better on a track where grip levels are always changing, the temperature is dropping through a qualifying session run as the sun is setting, and where grip is low anyway.

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"Same thing happened in turn two".

But from that point, he would be gradually reeled in and eventually passed again by the top three, as Ferrari kept him out until just 16 laps from the end. I think all drivers know that sort of feeling: when it's not there, then your judgement is normally right, to not go there because you end-up losing the vehicle.

By the end of Q3, Mercedes not only had better track position than the sole remaining Ferrari, it also had its tyres in the flawless operating window.

The two-lap VSC also helped Bottas by giving him an extra one second over his pursuers, presumably as it ended in a favourable position for the leader.

However, the Monegasque - fired up after being ordered to move over for Vettel in China and denied a maiden Formula One win by engine trouble in Bahrain - hit the wall. He's just clocked the fastest lap of the race and is using DRS to close in on his team-mate. I was pushing really hard, I felt like I was driving as best as I could but couldn't extract the maximum from the vehicle today.

"I think everybody's been there".

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