Vettel struggles to finish sixth in Bahrain (VIDEO)

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Sebastian Vettel has spoken about his struggles during a difficult Bahrain Grand Prix that saw him finish in sixth place, and lose more ground to the Mercedes drivers in the championship race.

The German driver missed out on Q3 yesterday and started down in tenth place, but a poor start and lack of pace meant that he was never really in the hunt for big points. In fact, sixth was a somewhat fortuitous result for the four-time world champion after a safety car period scuppered Williams’ hopes of a double top-five finish.

“I think it was a busy race today, especially at the end after the safety car, but it’s a shame we couldn’t get further up,” he explained. “Daniel proved that there was a little bit more to get from the car today, I couldn’t really get to that bit, so I’m not so happy with my day.”

Vettel faced the ignominy of being told to allow teammate Daniel Ricciardo past, sparking wry smiles and jokes of “Multi 31”, before being passed on track once again by the Australian driver in the dying stages of the race.

“For some reason we seemed to be really slow on the straights, and not just against the Mercedes,” he said. “Merc has a stronger package, so there’s work ahead of us. It was straight forward with Daniel today, we worked well together as a team and we raced well, but surely I would like to have finished higher up.”

The German driver now trails championship leader Nico Rosberg by 38 points, and will be hoping that the team can rediscover its title-winning form sooner rather than later.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski