Bottas: Yielding to Hamilton 'difficult' but right call

Vettel holds off late Hamilton charge to win Bahrain GP

"We came here with a specific goal, so it was positive to get on top of that with the team".

He was asked to move over for his team-mate and did so with Hamilton chasing down the Ferrari driver only to fall short. Today, I lost a position at the start - exclusively my fault - and then you've got the time lost in the pit lane. "But I'm definitely a team player so I wouldn't say no to that [team order]".

Bottas now sits third in the F1 world drivers' championship but already 30 points off of leader Vettel after three races. Such is the advantage of being the world championship leader. He seemed to have a bit more pace and the gap between me and Sebastian was getting bigger and Lewis was putting pressure on me behind. But I completely understood it and afterwards we had a chat about it.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer was attempting to get a better understanding of the 2017 Pirelli tyres during the day, and despite a small electronic issue early in the day, felt that the team have made progress with them and with the aerodynamics at the rear of his W08.

Despite issuing team orders in Bahrain in Lewis Hamilton's favour, Toto Wolff insists Mercedes will give both drivers "equal opportunity" - at least at the start of the race. The three-time world champion discovered pace on fresher tyres during the latter stages and as a result Bottas was ordered to allow the Briton past so he could put pressure on Vettel.

Vettel has now won two of three races and is seven points clear of Hamilton.

Bottas, who joined Mercedes in January as replacement for now-retired world champion Nico Rosberg, is 23 adrift of his teammate.

Bahrain was Bottas's first career pole position, whereas Hamilton has 63 and could sail past Schumacher's record of 68 later in the year.

Hamilton had been on pole for six races in a row until Bottas broke the sequence in Bahrain and Wolff said Mercedes appeared to be still slightly ahead of Ferrari on single lap pace.

Fernando Alonso, who will be replaced by Jenson Button next month in Monaco as he heads for the Indianapolis 500, publicly berated the lack of pace from his Honda engine throughout Sunday's race before a problem forced him to retire for the third time in as many grands prix this season.