Bahrain Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton has claimed victory in Bahrain after a late technical problem cost Charles Leclerc and Ferrari from taking a dominant win.
Lewis Hamilton has won in Bahrain, taking the lead with ten laps to go from Charles Leclerc. The polesitter had overcome a shaky start to the race to lead convincingly before an MGU-H failure on the Ferrari saw Leclerc plummet down the order to finish PX.
Leclerc lost the lead off the grid to teammate Sebastian Vettel and also was passed by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas on Lap 1. However, a slight error from Bottas allowed Leclerc back through, as well as Hamilton pouncing on his own teammate’s error. Leclerc then quickly caught back up on Vettel and overtook the German using DRS to take the lead. He went unchallenged again until his ERS problems kicked in with around 13 laps remaining in the race.
Hamilton’s race looked as though it might fall apart a little after his initial pitstop. Taking on the Soft tyres while the other frontrunners armed themselves with a fresh set of Mediums, his pace wasn’t particularly fast and he was overtaken by Sebastian Vettel. Able to shadow the Ferrari after being passed, he pitted again for fresh Mediums to attempt to undercut Vettel. This didn’t quite work when Vettel pitted a lap later, but the German wasn’t able to pull away from Hamilton. Duelling through Turn 4 as Hamilton tried a pass around the outside, Vettel spun and fell down the order and lost his front wing en route to the pits. He emerged back in P9 and had to fight to recover from there.
With Hamilton inheriting the lead when Leclerc’s problems kicked in, Valtteri Bottas set about closing down the Ferrari too. This he managed with five laps to go, moving into P2 to make it a Mercedes 1-2. Leclerc initially looked set to fall off the podium, but a late Safety Car protected him and this provided Ferrari with a little solace. Max Verstappen finished P4, while Sebastian Vettel was able to pass the two Renaults and Lando Norris in the closing stages to finish P5.
That Safety Car was to cover the dual near-simultaneous retirements of the two Renaults from strong points positions. Nico Hulkenberg appeared to suffer an engine failure into Turn 1, pulling off the track. Daniel Ricciardo, approaching the same corner under the yellow flags to cover Hulkenberg, had his car switch off and he pulled over just metres away from Hulkenberg.
This promoted Lando Norris to P6 for McLaren after a stellar race for the young rookie and a long battle with Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn had to settle for P7, who finished ten seconds ahead of the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly. Alex Albon finished P9 for Toro Rosso, with Sergio Perez taking the final points position for Racing Point.
Antonio Giovinazzi finished P11 for Alfa Romeo, while Daniil Kvyat was P12 for Toro Rosso after a tangle with Giovinazzi which saw the Italian drive into the side of the Russian driver at Turn 10. Kvyat would also pick up a time penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Kevin Magnussen was P13 for Haas on a disappointing day for Haas. The other car of Romain Grosjean was a race retirement due to damage from a Lap 1 collision with Alex Albon necessitated a new front wing. Lance Stroll was P14 for Racing Point, while the two Williams drivers of George Russell and Robert Kubica were the final classified runners.
The two Renault drivers, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz & Haas’ Romain Grosjean were the four retirements from the race.