Ferrari in title fight to stay - Marchionne

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Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne believes Sebastian Vettel's Bahrain Grand Prix win is proof that the Italian constructor can take the battle to Mercedes throughout the 2017 season.

A bold early pit stop paid off for Vettel, a week on from a similar strategy in China falling foul of the safety car.

With two wins from the opening three races of the season, Vettel is pitted in a championship battle with Lewis Hamilton, who finished above his Mercedes team-mate and pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas for second, but was unable to chase down the race winner despite a fast-finishing strategy.

The Scuderia are re-energised amid new regulations in 2017 after years of struggling to compete with Red Bull and then Mercedes, much to the delight of the man at the very top.

"It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium with Seb," Marchionne said.

"More importantly, however, we are now completely confident that our victory in Melbourne wasn't just a one-off and that we will be at the forefront of this world championship until the last.

"We finally have a competitive car to count on and it is important to recognise the speed with which we implemented the developments demanded for each new race. 

"All this is the fruit of superb work at the track and in Maranello, so my compliments not just to Seb for his achievements in Bahrain, but also to the whole team."

Raikkonen is yet to secure a podium in 2017, but Marchionne had warm words, regardless, for the Finn.

"Congratulations to Kimi too on a good race," he added.

"That said, we are well aware we have a long road ahead and know that if we want to get to the most important finish-line of all, we cannot stint on our commitment and focus for a second."