Ferrari takes Bahrain 1-2 but Hamilton third after dramatic Red Bull late double DNF

Charles Leclerc led home Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz for a first Ferrari 1-2 since Singapore in 2019 but only after a dramatic end to the race saw both Red Bulls retire.

Up until lap 51, it had looked a close run thing between defending champion Max Verstappen and Monegasque Leclerc, the lead changing hands several times in a thrilling duel between the young pair. And then a dramatic turn of events, Verstappen complaining of a steering issue before crawling to the pits to retire.

Then on the final lap, more misfortune for Red Bull, Sergio Perez spinning into Turn 1 and putting him out of the race. It meant that a delighted Lewis Hamilton was able to mount the podium for a most unlikely but welcome third place when the misfortune was all his in Abu Dhabi a few short months ago.

“The race was tough and I gave it my all,” commented Leclerc on the official Ferrari press release. “Whenever I had a bit of margin behind me, I felt in control of the race and was managing the gap well. But after the first stop, things became more tricky.

“Max challenged me three times and I had to position myself in the right way to reclaim my position each time he passed me. Once the Safety Car came out, we lost the gap we had created and had to start again from zero. I knew I had to do the best restart possible and I am glad I got the job done well.”

Making it a perfect start for the Scuderia was Sainz’s second place finish, the Spaniard equalling his best career result in Italy 2020 and Monaco 2021.

“This is definitely a day to celebrate for the entire team,” added Sainz. “Starting the season with a 1-2 is the perfect reward for the tireless work they have done over the last two years and congrats to Charles on a solid win. We also want to share our joy with all our tifosi around the world because we always felt their support even when we were not fighting at the top.

“For me, I’m very happy with the result but I’m not particularly happy with my race. It was probably one of the hardest ones since I joined Ferrari. I wasn’t feeling at home with the car and we need to understand why. But today it’s time to celebrate this amazing result all together. The great effort to bring Ferrari back to the top, where it belongs, has paid off today and everyone deserves to enjoy it.”

GP BAHRAIN F1/2022 – DOMENICA 20/03/2022
credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Taking third spot was Hamilton. Yet after the apparent lack of pace in testing that was compounded on race day, it looks no easy fix for Mercedes to get close to the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull in the coming races.

“A big, big congratulations to Ferrari, I’m so happy to see them doing well again, they are such a historic and epic team,” said Hamilton. “It was a difficult race for us today, we’ve struggled throughout practice and this is really the best result we could have got. Of course it was unfortunate for the other two drivers but we did the best we could and we are grateful for these points.

“I know the guys are working really hard back at the factory and it is not going to be a quick turnaround but we’ve been the best unified team for so long, we all know to just keep your head down, keep working, there’s a long way to go. We’ve got to maximise our weekends and at some point, we’ll be back in the fight.”

Motorsport Technology