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Sebastian Vettel has called his charge to victory in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix "a close to perfect night" after moving seven points clear at the top of the Formula 1 drivers' championship.

Vettel charged from third on the grid to beat Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to victory thanks to a good start and some canny strategy from Ferrari, with the German driver feeling that his pace in the middle stint was the killer blow to Mercedes.

"The car really worked well tonight, and obviously then you enjoy it every single lap," Vettel said. "I think the middle stint for us was crucial staying ahead after the safety car, and then getting some really good and consistent laps in on the super-soft tyre.

"And then at the end we could control it a little bit. We had a fresh set so I didn't have to go flat out at the beginning of the last stint which helped, and we had enough tyre to respond at the end.

"I think already after the first couple of laps I felt the car was good. We stayed close with Valtteri and put him under pressure. It was obviously important to split them at the start. I would say a close to perfect night."

Bahrain marked the third straight race where Vettel and Hamilton locked out the top two positions, stoking the fire for a season-long title fight that the Ferrari driver relishes.

"It's exciting, really close, we can see going into the weekend already it's very close between us," Vettel said.

"I'm not sure what happened to Red Bull, I thought they would be quicker in the race. I don't know if they had a problem. Obviously the more you have fighting for victory is great, and if you're amongst them, that's great. It wasn't really the case the last couple of years, so for sure we enjoy that."

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