Ferrari dominate the season opener to get off to a perfect start as Red Bull’s day couldn’t have been worse. Charles Leclerc led for the majority of the race with Carlos Sainz capitalising on a retiring Max Verstappen to take P2.
Lewis Hamilton tied yet another Michael Schumacher Formula One record. His 179th start with Mercedes matched the record Schumacher set for most race starts with one team. You’d be shocked if this record isn’t broken next week in Saudi Arabia.
The start of the race saw the top three stay as they were, a clean start saw Leclerc pull away with Verstappen doing the same. Hamilton managed to get into P4 from the start, although he couldn’t hold Sergio Perez off for long.
The only time Verstappen was able to get close to Leclerc was after the first pit stop. The undercut pulled the Dutchman back into contention and they swapped the lead for a few laps. Verstappen took the lead into turn one before losing it in the next DRS zone. After a few laps Leclerc was able to pull away again.
The Monaco born driver completed the perfect weekend. Not only was it pole and a race win, he secured the fastest lap too. That meant maximum points in the opening race as the Ferrari team dominate. It was 46 races since their last win, where once again they finished 1-2.
Red Bull Blunder
Christian Horner won’t be sleeping easy tonight. It was looking like a simple P2/4 for the Red Bulls, then disaster struck.
It all kicked off when the Red Bull engine/power unit in Pierre Gasly’s car caught fire causing a safety car. This allowed Lewis Hamilton to apply pressure to Perez to try and snatch P4.
Verstappen complained throughout the safety car period about a problem with his steering. Then, just laps after the restart his problems with the battery started and they were terminal, he was forced to retire. Perez also retiring compounded the misery for Red Bull who will need to be hard at work to solve their reliability problems.
The terrible record at Bahrain continues for Red Bull. Since the hybrid era began in 2014, they have never won at this track.
Lewis Hamilton Podium
After the DNF to Verstappen, Hamilton was hunting Perez to snatch the podium from under his nose. On the final lap, Red Bull’s day just about hit rock bottom as the Mexican also suffered an engine problem to let the Mercedes duo through.
P3 and P4 for the Silver Arrows is an unreal result given the way the race was going. They were over 30 seconds off the top four until fortune favoured them. Even the Mercedes Twitter Admin was shocked with the result come the end of the race. There’s still a lot of work to do for Toto Wolff’s team, but they certainly overachieved in Bahrain.
Elsewhere on the Grid
It was a tremendous day for Haas who saw Kevin Magnussen, on his return to the sport take P5 at the chequered flag.
Special credit has to go to Alfa Romeo who secured a double points haul with Valtteri Bottas taking P6 with Guanyu Zhou in P10. It was a great recovery for the Finn who dropped from P6 to P14 at lights out.
McLaren will be delighted to see the back of the Bahrain Gran Prix. After a nightmare weekend, the race result summed it up for them, Lando Norris finished P15 with Daniel Ricciardo just ahead in P14.
Charles Leclerc couldn’t hide his delight: “I’m so happy. We could not have hoped for better. The past two years have not been easy. It’s great to be back on top.”
Carlos Sainz was buzzing for the team: “Ferrari is back, the hard work has paid off. Congratulations to Charles and I managed to bring the 1-2 back for the team.”
Lewis Hamilton praises Ferrari while celebrating his result: “A big, big congratulations to Ferrari. It was such a difficult race for us. This was really the best result we could have got.”
What an incredible start to the season that was! 😱#BahrainGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/5psskLx9cY
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 20, 2022
In Other News: Bahrain GP Quali Report
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