Ferrari takes 1-2 at Bahrain, as disaster strikes for Red Bull

Charles Leclerc led a Scuderia Ferrari 1-2 in the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix, beating new world champion Max Verstappen in an exciting race which ended with both Red Bulls suffering a late double retirement.

Red Bull Racing’s reliability drama meant Carlos Sainz was able to follow his Ferrari teammate home in second, while Lewis Hamilton took third position for Mercedes.

At the start, Leclerc and Verstappen shot off the grid together, with the Ferrari quickly swinging across to his right to cover off the Red Bull and seal the inside line for Turn 1.

There, Verstappen braked later and got completely alongside Leclerc, but the leader’s position on the inside meant he was easily able to pull ahead through Turns 2 and 3, then weave once on the short straight up to the Turn 4 right, where he pulled away clear in the lead.

Leclerc was already out of DRS range ahead of Verstappen by the end of the first lap of 57, with Sainz chasing the world champion and being followed by Hamilton, who had edged out Sergio Perez as the Red Bull driver slid out of Turn 1, falling behind Kevin Magnussen’s Haas as a result.

Over the next few laps, Leclerc – running new soft tyres versus used ones on Verstappen’s car – pulled away from his Red Bull rival who at one stage complained about his mid-corner engine braking being “funny”.

Leclerc’s gap increased by a few tenths per lap, the pair the only drivers of the front runners able to regularly stay in the one minute, 38 seconds zone.

By lap 10, Leclerc’s lead had reached three seconds, with Sainz a further chunk behind and now running ahead of Perez, who had passed Hamilton after the Mercedes driver had fallen from pressuring Sainz to dropping back unable to match the front running pace.

At the end of lap 14, Verstappen and Sainz, who had also started on used softs, came in to take new ones, with Leclerc stopping at the end of the next tour to do the reverse.

Verstappen had used his out-lap on fresh rubber to erase Leclerc’s lead completely, but the Ferrari was able to maintain the lead at the pit exit.

But the next time by at the start of lap 17, Verstappen used DRS to close a 0.7 seconds gap and dive to Leclerc’s inside at the first corner, taking the lead with a thrilling move on the inside line, although only briefly as Leclerc used DRS himself on the run to Turn 4, retaking first with a bold pass outside the Red Bull.

The same sequence played out again on the next lap, although this time with Leclerc retaking the lead by nipping to Verstappen’s inside on the Turn 4 approach, then edging his rival wide to get back ahead.

On his third attempt into Turn 1, this time on lap 19, Verstappen went from 0.9 seconds behind to send a wild move on the inside, but this time he locked up heavily and the Ferrari was able to nip back by and run clear, moving out of DRS range as a result.

The lock-up and DRS loss sapped Verstappen’s momentum, as he slipped back to run in the low one minute, 38 seconds while Leclerc put in a series of mid-to-high one minute, 37 seconds that soon restored his three second advantage.

By the halfway point, Leclerc was running four seconds to the good, losing a chunk while lapping Nico Hulkenberg before gaining it back and more as Verstappen got around Sebastian Vettel’s temporary replacement at Aston Martin.

Red Bull stopped Verstappen first at the second round of stops, pulling the Dutchman in to go to the mediums at the end of lap 30, with Ferrari getting Leclerc to cover him exactly the next time by.

Leclerc emerged much further ahead this time around, despite Verstappen doing a slightly quicker out-lap than earlier on, with Ferrari beating Red Bull on the stationary time by half a second.

The pair immediately hit the one minute, 36 seconds bracket they had not been doing earlier on, even as they lapped traffic during the early phase of the third stint, where Verstappen furiously told Red Bull he had taken it easier on the out-lap than he wanted and would “never ever” do so again, such was his fury to have stayed so far behind Leclerc even with an undercut advantage.

Although Verstappen cut into Leclerc’s lead to reach two seconds behind in the laps immediately following their second stops, the Ferrari was soon able to restore its advantage once again, with Leclerc holding onto the mid one minute, 36 seconds as Verstappen fell towards the one minute, 37 seconds.

By lap 43 Leclerc had built his lead back to four seconds, when Red Bull opted to bring both its cars in for a third stop – Perez having run the mediums on his second stint and then closed in to run adrift of Sainz, well behind the two leaders.

Ferrari appeared to be leaving Leclerc out to see out the race on a two-stopper, with Sainz brought in to cover Perez, but the final stages were made more dramatic when Pierre Gasly retired with an engine issue that became an engine fire on lap 46 – the AlphaTauri stopped at the exit of Turn 3, just at the start of the short second straight.

The virtual safety car was activated but the full safety car was called into action, which was when Ferrari brought Leclerc in and he was able to take another set of softs for the restart.

Racing got back underway at the start of lap 51, all lapped cars allowed having been allowed to overtake, before which Verstappen complained loudly about his steering getting heavier in corners and on straights, with Red Bull moving to tell him it was would be an issue to the end of the race that he would have to adapt too.

When the safety car came in, Leclerc shot back to racing speed while Verstappen was pinched tight against the penultimate corner and was so far clear the action became about Sainz attacking for second.

Verstappen obliged Sainz to take the outside line, with the pair quickly falling behind Leclerc, who roared to a 1.6 seconds new lead with the race’s fastest lap – one minute, 24.570 seconds.

Charles easily pulled clear to win by 5.5 seconds, taking his first Bahrain Grand Prix win at the venue where he lost a first career Formula 1 victory to a late engine issue three years earlier.

But it was Sainz who was able to follow Leclerc home as Verstappen went from complaining about his steering issue to reporting a battery problem Red Bull initially dismissed and then reported it was a fault that it could do nothing about.

With two laps to go Verstappen suddenly dropped back on the penultimate straight and then crawled back to the pits to retire, with Perez then reporting a power loss as Hamilton – who had run a soft, hard, medium, soft three-stopper – closed in to threaten an unlikely Mercedes podium.

Just when it looked like Perez might hang on, he spun at Turn 1 on the final lap, his engine seizing and spinning his rears, putting him out on the spot.

Hamilton therefore finished third, 9.6 seconds behind Leclerc, with George Russell fourth having quickly risen up the order from his ninth position grid spot during the early stages and been tracking his teammate at 14 seconds behind before the safety car period.

Magnussen battled his way to fifth, having run most of the race between Russell and Gasly, with Valtteri Bottas recovering from a slow start to finish sixth.

Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda got ahead of Fernando Alonso ahead of the safety car, with that trio taking seventh to ninth at the flag.

In his first Formula 1 race, Zhou Guanyu finished tenth to claim a maiden point in the championship, with Mick Schumacher P11 for Haas, ahead of Lance Stroll, who led the former lapped runners home well adrift of the pack – the restart having taken place before they could catch back up.

So congratulations to Charles Leclerc with this race victory. After missing out back in 2019, this time the Ferrari was fast and reliable to take the top spot. To have a double podium, this is a fantastic achievement for the Scuderia.

Bahrain Grand Prix, race results:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:37:33.584
2 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 5.598
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 9.675
4 George Russell Mercedes 11.211
5 Kevin Magnussen Haas 14.754
6 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 16.119
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine 19.423
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 20.386
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine 22.390
10 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 23.064
11 Mick Schumacher Haas 32.574
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 45.873
13 Alex Albon Williams 53.932
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 54.975
15 Lando Norris McLaren 56.335
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:01.795
17 Nico Hulkenberg Aston Martin 1:03.829
18 Sergio Perez Red Bull DNF
19 Max Verstappen Red Bull DNF
– Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri DNF

5 thoughts to “Ferrari takes 1-2 at Bahrain, as disaster strikes for Red Bull”

  1. Bahrain Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Charles Leclerc won a blockbuster 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix as Carlos Sainz backed up a Ferrari one-two – as Red Bull suffered a double DNF to give Lewis Hamilton the final podium place in a stunning start to the season.

    Verstappen, starting P2, attempted to undercut Ferrari’s pole-sitter Leclerc on Lap 15, cutting down what was a 3.5s deficit to just 0.35s when Leclerc emerged in the lead on Lap 16. That triggered a three-lap box-office bout for the lead, Leclerc hanging on when Verstappen locked up into Turn 1 on Lap 19.

    The second round of pit stops, again catalysed by Verstappen, took place on Lap 31 but this time Leclerc had a far more comfortable lead. Everything was straightforward until Verstappen pitted on Lap 44.

    Two laps later, Pierre Gasly brought out the Safety Car when his AlphaTauri stopped in flames, and Leclerc took the opportunity to pit too. The Lap 51 restart saw Leclerc scamper off into the distance while Verstappen – nursing a steering issue and upset by what he suspected was a power unit glitch – just couldn’t keep up.

    Sainz capitalised on Verstappen’s woes and took P2 off the champion on Lap 54, Perez and Hamilton following suit. Having challenged for the lead earlier on, it ended up being a terrible day for the world champion, who ended up retiring at the end of that tour.

    Hamilton was right on Perez’s tail – and then the Mexican began to complain of a power unit issue, and it turned from bad to worse for the reigning drivers’ championship-winning team when Perez spun at Turn 1 when his engine gave way on the final lap, giving Hamilton the final podium place.

    Russell, who started ninth, enjoyed superior race pace to the midfielders and took P4 after the Red Bulls retired, ahead of Kevin Magnussen – fifth for Haas on his return to F1.

    Valtteri Bottas rescued P6 after a poor start for Alfa Romeo, while Esteban Ocon shrugged off a penalty early on for contact with Mick Schumacher to take a surprise seventh.

    In P8 was AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, solid on his final stint and in the final restart, while Fernando Alonso shrugged off poor pace in his second stint to take ninth.

    And on debut, Zhou Guanyu took points for Alfa Romeo – Mick Schumacher missing out in P11.

    New tyres, new drivers, new regulations, and new cars – hundreds of people have put in thousands of hours of work over the last few years to deliver the new era of F1. And the new era delivered in its very first outing as the lights went out for the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Ferrari took pole position through Charles Leclerc’s Saturday flyer, the Monegasque driver sharing the front row with Max Verstappen – while the other Scuderia of Carlos Sainz would share row two with the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

    For Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton could only muster up P5 on the grid alongside former team mate Valtteri Bottas, now plying his trade for Alfa Romeo.

    At the start, Leclerc covered off Verstappen’s attempted move down the inside of Turn 1, while Sainz retained P3, Hamilton moving up to fourth and Kevin Magnussen up two places to P5 for Haas. Meanwhile, Perez had lost two places to P6 – and Bottas, who started sixth, was 14th by the end of Lap 1 with a glacial getaway.

    Magnussen’s Haas team mate Mick Schumacher fell one place to 13th after a solid start, having been tipped into a spin by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon early on – the Frenchman given a five-second penalty in the pits for that infringement.

    On Lap 3, Magnussen and Perez went wheel-to-wheel through the first sector but the Haas driver suffered oversteer down the hill and fell to sixth, the Mexican making his way through at Turn 4. Soon afterwards, the Danish driver lost another place to Mercedes’ George Russell, who started ninth, on the run up to Turn 1.

    Hamilton was chasing down Sainz early on but, on Lap 9, Perez pried P4 back off the Briton on the run up to Turn 4 – the seven-time champion then becoming the first to stop (from hard to soft tyres) and emerging 12th behind the Alfa Romeos on cold compounds – but he soon snatched P11 off Zhou Guanyu with the help of DRS.

    After Hamilton opened the pit window, Leclerc was 3.5s ahead of Verstappen in the battle for the lead and the reigning champion entered the pits on Lap 15 – swapping to another set of softs – with Sainz pulled in to cover off the Red Bull. Leclerc chose to stop for softs a lap later with Perez jumping in from second (for mediums) and Russell (for hards) from third.

    The pole-sitter emerged just three-tenths ahead of Verstappen, who almost made the undercut work. A shower of sparks coming off his RB18, he sliced past Leclerc with DRS at the start of Lap 17 but the Ferrari driver fought back on the run to Turn 4 and retained the lead.

    Verstappen made the same move at the start of Lap 18, Leclerc hitting back down the inside of Turn 4 to edge round two of this box-office battle.

    The top five remained as they started the race, and for the restart every driver was on soft tyres – though not every driver had taken the opportunity to pit late on, jumbling up the rest of the order.

    We were set up for a scintillating sprint to the chequered flag when the Safety Car entered the pits to start Lap 51 of 57. Verstappen warmed up his tyres but warned of a possible steering issue, the pit wall seemingly worried too.

    Verstappen had a slow getaway out of the final corner as Leclerc nailed the restart, well into the lead, while Sainz almost pried P2 off the Red Bull. The Dutchman’s tone changed from irked to furious, a power unit issue now plaguing his RB18. Sainz and Hamilton swept past and then it was clear: the champion was crawling back into the pits on Lap 54.

    Perez was favourite for P3 but Hamilton was right on his tail, and the Mexican began to worry about power unit issues too. Going into Turn 1 on the final lap, the second Red Bull spun and ended up retiring, giving Hamilton the final podium place.

    Ferrari had waited nearly 50 races for a win. Now, in Bahrain, where Leclerc missed out on a 2019 victory in agonising circumstances, they had a one-two.

    Mercedes, unsure about the gap to the frontrunners, managed to salvage a podium and P4 through Russell, having seemingly only had the pace for P5 and P6 throughout.

    And in P5 was Magnussen, the Dane dubbing it a “win” for the squad that finished the last season without points – though 11th-placed team mate Mick Schumacher missed out, unable to make it count in the final restart.

    At Haas’s expense, Alfa Romeo managed a double-points finish, Bottas having salvaged what was a shocking start to snatch sixth on debut for the team, while Zhou Guanyu – running as low as 14th at times – took points on debut in P10 after the late Safety Car.

    Ocon, though penalised for that Schumacher contact early on, rescued P7 while Alpine team mate Fernando Alonso managed ninth, even though his race pace was lacking on his second and third stints.

    Between the Alpines was AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, eighth after a rapid Safety Car restart.

    Three Mercedes-powered teams lost out on points on Sunday: Aston Martin, McLaren, and Williams.

    Lance Stroll finished 12th and his stand-in team mate Nico Hulkenberg 17th and last for Aston Martin. The German ran as high as P14 but suffered overheating issues early in the race, which prevented him from pitting earlier to begin his second stint.

    Alex Albon took 13th on his debut for Williams, narrowly holding off the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo in P14, while Lando Norris wasn’t far off in P15. McLaren began the race on mediums, unlike their rivals, but didn’t have the race pace to make their contrarian strategy pay off.

    And in P16, two seconds ahead of Aston Martin’s Hulkenberg, was Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.

    The season has begun with a bang for Ferrari and a sour note for Red Bull – while Mercedes salvaged a solid result despite lagging behind the frontrunners.

  2. Race winner Charles Leclerc hails Ferrari Formula 1 turnaround after two “difficult” years. has the full story.

    Charles Leclerc says leading a Ferrari 1-2 at the 2022 Formula 1 season opener in Bahrain is the perfect way to respond following two years that “have been incredibly difficult”.

    The Monegasque driver fended off multiple attacks from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, including a late safety car restart, to clinch victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix and the bonus point for fastest lap.

    Following Red Bull’s double disaster late in the race, which saw both Verstappen and Sergio Perez fail to finish, Carlos Sainz completed a Ferrari 1-2 having overtaken Verstappen as his mechanical troubles began to hit with two laps to go.

    The result marks a phenomenal turnaround from Ferrari following a barren two seasons, taking the team’s first win since the 2019 Singapore GP, when Leclerc finished runner-up to Sebastian Vettel in a Ferrari 1-2.

    Leclerc praised Ferrari’s work in preparing for the new F1 technical regulations and the shift to ground effect cars.

    “So happy, I keep repeating myself, but the last two years have been incredibly difficult for the team and we knew this was going to be a big opportunity for the team,” Leclerc said. “The guys have done such an incredible job getting us and building this amazing car, so for now it’s starting in the best way possible: pole position victory, fastest lap, 1-2 today with Carlos.

    “We could not hope for better, so yeah thank you to all of you guys that kept supporting us in the past two years. It hasn’t been easy but it’s incredible to be back at the top.”

    “Congratulations to Charles, congratulations to Ferrari,” Sainz added. “Ferrari is back, and it is properly back with a 1-2 and where the team should be the last two years but the hard work is paying off on and we are there.”

    During the late safety car restart Leclerc bolted away from Verstappen, catching out the Red Bull driver exiting the final corner, which at the time appeared to be key to his victory, having earlier fought off the Dutch driver in the opening phases of the race.

    While it became academic given Verstappen’s late retirement, Leclerc still took great pride in fending off the Red Bull driver to keep his lead and seal the win.

    “I didn’t want it [the late safety car] now but then I did a great restart and that gave me a little bit of margin to then manage my race until the end,” he said.

    Sainz said he saw Verstappen struggling with a mechanical issue at the restart and knew he could take on the Red Bull driver to complete a perfect race for Ferrari.

    “At the restart, I had a strong chance because I had a very clean restart behind Charles and Max,” he explained. “He defended well, to be fair. And then suddenly I started seeing some flashing red lights on the back of his car. And I said, ‘OK, this is my chance,’ I went for it.

    “He was unfortunate. I think today he was driving well enough to get P2 but I had a good run on him and then he had to retire. So it’s what it is. And it’s good for Ferrari.”

  3. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton “grateful” for surprise Bahrain Formula 1 podium. has the details.

    Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton said he was “grateful” to pick up an unexpected podium finish in a “difficult” season opening Bahrain Grand Prix after Red Bull’s double DNF.

    Hamilton and teammate George Russell were resigned to finishing fifth and sixth, powerless to keep up with the faster cars from Ferrari and Red Bull under the Sakhir floodlights.

    But following a late safety car for Pierre Gasly’s blazing AlphaTauri, a dramatic double retirement for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the closing stages meant Hamilton inherited third behind Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, who clinched a 1-2 finish for Ferrari.

    With Russell following Hamilton home in fourth, making good early progress through the pack after qualifying a lowly ninth, that meant Mercedes successfully completed its damage limitation quest while it is yet to get on top of its handling issues.

    Hamilton said his third place finish was “the best result we could have gotten”, with Mercedes’ pre-season porpoising struggles continuing in Bahrain.

    “Firstly, a big, big congratulations to Ferrari, so happy to see them do well again, that’s such a historic, epic team,” Hamilton said in parc ferme.

    “It’s great to see Carlos and Charles up there as well, so congratulations to them.

    “It was such a difficult race, we struggled throughout practice. This is really the best result we could have gotten.

    “Of course, it’s unfortunate for the other two drivers but we did the best we could and I’m grateful for these points.”

    When asked if Mercedes has upgrades in the pipeline that will start allowing the Brackley outfit to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull on pace, Hamilton acknowledged there “won’t be a quick turnaround” to get the most out of the Mercedes W13 car.

    “I’m hoping,” added the seven-time world champion. “I’m know the guys are working really hard back at the factory and it is not going to be a quick turnaround.

    “I do feel like we’ve been the best unified team for so long. I know that we all know that… just keep your head down, keep working.There’s a long, long way to go.”

  4. This was a disappointing race for Red Bull with both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retiring from the Bahrain Grand Prix. Team boss Christian Horner commented this is a “worst nightmare”. has the news story.

    Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner says seeing both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retire in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix was the team’s “worst nightmare”.

    Verstappen looked locked in to take second place behind Ferrari’s winner Charles Leclerc, while Sergio Perez was holding onto fourth in his fight with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

    But with two laps to go, Verstappen dramatically slowed and coasted into the pitlane after suffering what he thought were battery problems.

    On the final lap, misfortune also struck Perez as his engine seized to Turn 1, which locked the rear axle and put the Mexican into a spin.

    It cost Red Bull 30 points, while handing Ferrari a 1-2 and also gifting bitter rival Mercedes more points than it had expected with third and fourth for Hamilton and George Russell.

    Horner admitted the late double retirement was “brutal”, calling it a team’s “worst nightmare”.

    “I can’t remember the last time that happened to us, but it’s obviously your worst nightmare,” Horner said.

    “It’s hugely disappointing, not only to lose a podium with Max but on the last lap to lose a podium with Checo as well.

    Talking to Sky, he added: “A brutal finish, that race for us. What looked like a decent haul of points suddenly evaporated in the last couple of laps there.”

    Red Bull suspects Verstappen and Perez were both struck by a similar fuel pump issue, which meant the Honda combustion engine couldn’t get fed with the remaining amount of fuel in the car.

    “We just need to get the cars back, get the fuel system apart and understand, because we know the fuel was in there. That’s frustrating,” Horner added.

    “We just need to get on top of this issue and fight back next weekend.”

    Despite the heartbreak, Horner said he was encouraged with Red Bull’s performance in Bahrain, which sets it up well for the rest of the season.

    “I think the positive side for us is we had a very competitive car, I don’t think we had quite the pace of Charles today, but some great racing between Max and Charles,” he said.

    “We were fighting for the race win at different points of that race.

    “It’s a long, long season, 23 races. We’ll get this behind us and get stuck into the next event.”

  5. Taking an amazing fifth position was Kevin Magnussen. The Haas driver commented that this result showcase that this is the “strongest midfield car” and feels “crazy”. has the full details.

    Kevin Magnussen believes Haas had the strongest Formula 1 car in the midfield in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, describing his fifth-place finish as “crazy”.

    Magnussen was dropped by Haas at the end of the 2020 season and spent last season in sportscar racing, contesting the full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Chip Ganassi Racing prior to signing a contract with Peugeot’s nascent Le Mans Hypercar project.

    But the Dane was recalled by Haas to replace the ousted Nikita Mazepin on the eve of the second F1 test in Bahrain and followed up the team’s first Q3 appearance since 2019 with a remarkable run to fifth place as the leading midfield runner.

    Magnussen, whose seat in the winning Ganassi Cadillac for Saturday’s Sebring 12 Hours was taken by Neel Jani, was on course for seventh on his return before the late retirement of both Red Bulls elevated him to fifth – the team’s best result since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.

    Speaking after the race, Magnussen said: “That was a lot of fun, I enjoyed it a lot. It’s so good to be back in this position, I’ve just got to say a massive well done to the team.

    “I mean, we were the strongest car in the midfield, I could actually see the Mercedes almost the whole race. I know we got a safety car there at the end, so that helped a little on that, but it was just a different story to in the past.

    “I keep saying this all weekend that I just can’t believe this opportunity that I’ve got here. P5 today, crazy.”

    Magnussen acknowledged that his neck was feeling “pretty stiff” but said he was “better than I thought I would be” from a fitness perspective.

    “I was worried I would be way more tired,” he said.

    “But sometimes when you’re in a good position, you get some extra energy and I certainly – I was fine.”

    Magnussen said however that the team is not getting carried away by its showing in Bahrain, and said it will remain focused on the midfield battle in the races to come.

    “The midfield is our focus and we know we got lucky today with the Red Bulls,” he said.

    “If we can finish P7 in Jeddah, then it’s the same as today basically. We were just lucky today getting four more points than we would have with a P7.”

    Magnussen explained that he “used the tyres too hard” in his opening stint which caused him to pit two laps earlier than planned, but managed to extend his second stint – also on soft tyres – by the same amount to get back onto the team’s original strategy.

    “So [we] managed that really well with the engineers, getting the right amount of pushing in the critical corners and all that,” he said.

    “I’m certainly getting more into it, but I think everyone is now with these cars, just learning more, getting more on top of it.

    “It’s always like, if you put a shoe on that fits you, then when you start walking it still gets better, so it’s a bit like that.”

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