Gasly was next to move by the Ferrari on lap 10 to drop Leclerc to 10th and the other car wasn’t faring much better either, Vettel describing his SF1000 as “undriveable” as he ran last of the remaining runners.
Ricciardo was the first of the top 10 to make a stop under racing conditions on lap 17, rejoining last on a fresh set of hard tyres.
Ocon followed in on the next lap to fit mediums, and Kvyat was in to serve a 10-second time penalty ahead of his stop for hards for his role in flipping the Racing Point of Stroll.
In the battle for best of the rest, McLaren was in to cover off the Renault stops on lap 19. Norris was in and out in time to rejoin ahead of both Renaults in 10th place and was able to clear the traffic of Latifi in short order.
Hamilton’s race lead had been up to around four seconds by lap 20 but having complained of a tyre vibration, was in for mediums and out in P3.
Verstappen and Perez followed suit a lap later from first and second, opting for the hard compound instead.
The Red Bull was out in P2 but Perez rejoined in fifth, behind the yet-to-stop duo of Sainz and Gasly.
Sainz pulled in at the end of lap 21 to ditch his soft tyres and rejoined just behind the Renaults, putting the Spaniard into contention on the cusp of the top 10.
As Hamilton eased his medium set of tyres into the operating window, Verstappen was eager to whittle down the gap to the leader, taking a second and a half out of the lead Mercedes by lap 24, with the lead at 4sec.
Bottas’ recovery drive had him up to P6 as the pit stops played out but Norris eased by the Mercedes with the help of DRS to take the place, putting another car between himself and the chasing Renaults.
Ocon headed up the pursuing force, but Sainz split the yellow cars with a DRS pass up to Turn Four, claiming seventh around the outside of Ricciardo
He didn’t wait around to demote Ocon either, taking sixth on lap 28 with a helping of DRS into Turn One.
Renault orchestrated a swap of positions on lap 30, but Ricciardo was already 4sec down on Sainz following the McLaren driver’s earlier pass.
Verstappen’s initial progress had stalled out by lap 30 and Hamilton had eeked out a 5sec gap to the chasing Red Bull.
Bottas re-entered the top 10 on lap 32 with a DRS pass on Leclerc into the first corner, but was over a minute behind his team-mate with just under half of the race remaining.
Red Bull attempted an undercut with a second stop on lap 35 as Hamilton complained of more vibrations, but a slow stop for the Dutchman took away any chance of a gain.
Mercedes responded a lap later with fresh hard tyres and a clean stop with Hamilton, who retained the lead ahead of Perez.
The Racing Point man followed in on lap 37 as Verstappen set a second straight fastest lap to close the gap to Hamilton to 3.7sec.
Ocon had moved in front of Ricciardo once more during the second pit stops, leaving the pair to fight it out on track following Ricciardo’s stop.
Ocon initially held the place until a DRS pass up to Turn Four reasserted the prior order, this time without the call from the pit wall.
Following Bottas’ final stop he was left in 10th place and with a shot at points. Ocon’s Renault was the first to fall on lap 43 as his drive back up the order continued.
Once more, Verstappen’s initial momentum had fallen away, and the gap to Hamilton had grown by lap 47. Red Bull opted to bring him in for a new set of medium tyres for a fastest lap attempt.
Just four laps from home, Perez’s anonymous race in third place came undone with an engine issue on lap 54 of 57, with his Mercedes engine expiring in flames.
His stranded Racing Point brought out out the safety car and spelled disaster for Racing Point in the Constructors’ Championship, with a double DNF a costly result versus McLaren and Renault’s double points haul.
The stranded RP20 needed recovering and with such little time left, the race ended under safety car conditions.
Perez’s retirement handed Albon a podium place but with the race neutralised, there was no time for Verstappen to take advantage of his fresh tyres versus Hamilton.
2020 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix race results
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1hr 34min 01.829sec||25|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+1.254sec||19*|
|3||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+8.005sec||15|
|10||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+1 lap||1|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+1 lap|
|12||George Russell||Williams||+1 lap|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+1 lap|
|14||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+1 lap|
|15||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo||+1 lap|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+1 lap|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Red Bull||+1 lap|
|Sergio Perez||Racing Point||DNF|
|Lance Stroll||Racing Point||DNF|
*Includes additional point for fastest lap