Instead, the two Finns were left to battle amongst themselves for second place in the early running, with the Mercedes man coming out on top.
Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel won for the second time in as many races Sunday but the Italian team's victory was overshadowed after one of its mechanics suffered a broken leg when he was hit by Kimi Raikkonen's auto during a pit stop at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Starting the race from the ninth position due to a five-place grid penalty over a gearbox change, the defending champion - Britain's Lewis Hamilton - rounded out the podium.
"But the vehicle ahead made a decision to dive to the right so I had to bail out and had cars pass me on the left, so I fell back on the opening lap". Medical staff arrived on the scene immediately after the incident and he was then taken to a local hospital for surgery.
Hamilton also survived a clash with Red Bull's Max Verstappen as the Dutchman tried to pass on lap four at Turn One, the Dutchman's differential breaking as they touched when Verstappen pushed Hamilton wide and the Briton hung on. But Toro Rosso chose to work with the Japanese engine supplier and both of their drivers did better in qualifying than McLaren. Kevin Magnussen finished 5th in the Haas ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault. Marcus Ericsson who started down in 17th place finished 9th for Alfa Romeo Sauber ahead of Force India's Esteban Ocon.
GettyKimi Raikkonen did not finish the Bahrain Grand Prix
Bottas slipped adrift of Vettel after the first stint, the gap hovering around six seconds, but was equipped with Mediums, as opposed to the Softs employed by Ferrari.
But following home someone on badly worn tyres is not a great look either, and sadly it is becoming increasingly apparent that Bottas is a very good driver, but not a great one. None of them saw him come from behind or have to overtake mid-race or oversee a strategic change to achieve victory. It was later announced the mechanic had suffered a broken leg. But, Bottas was quicker off the line and passed Kimi's Ferrari before turn 1. Soon after he moved past Magnussen and Gasly to take fourth. The penalty this weekend was hard for us all to swallow, but I think the team did a really good job. It is also pretty clear that Hamilton deserves to be in 2nd place right behind him after securing two consecutive podium finishes to open up the season.
Wolff conceded that his team's relative success came as a result of both Red Bulls and Raikkonen in the second Ferrari being forced to retire.
The win under the floodlights was the 49th of Vettel's grand prix career and an unprecedented fourth at the Sakhir desert circuit. He closed in on Vettel but as they approached the braking zone he wasn't quite close enough to attempt a move without risking an accident.
The Finn says he gave it "everything" he had as he closed on Vettel in the final ten laps, putting his longer-lasting medium tyres to good use as Vettel's softs began to fall off.
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