Full Bahrain Grand Prix results

Lewis Hamilton has claimed an unlikely victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix after long-time leader Charles Leclerc suffered an engine issue in the closing stages to deny him his first Formula 1 race win.

Leclerc recovered from a slow start to power into the lead ahead of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, who later spun off battling Hamilton, but with 10 laps to go he lost energy recovery in his power unit to leave him limping to the finish line.

The 21-year-old couldn’t prevent Hamilton from charging past, losing five seconds per lap, before Valtteri Bottas secured a Mercedes 1-2 by getting past just two laps before a late safety car triggered by two sudden Renault failures for Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo in separate incidents.

Leclerc did gain a small slice of good fortune as the safety car period signalled the end of the race to see him stay clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for his maiden F1 podium.

With Verstappen in fourth place, Vettel recovered from his spin to climb to fifth place ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris who claimed points in his second F1 Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen charged through the midfield to take seventh place for Alfa Romaeo ahead of Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly, while Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon also collected maiden F1 points in ninth, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez rounding out the points positions after both Renault’s drivers dropped out late on.

Leclerc recovers from frantic start

In a hectic start to the 999th Formula 1 race, Vettel initially stormed into the lead at Turn 1 getting much better acceleration off the line to pole-sitter Leclerc, before Bottas bolted into second place ahead of the Monegasque, while further back in the pack Lance Stroll and Romain Grosjean came together and both sustained damage.

But as the cars got up to speed with tyres operating at their optimum, Leclerc weaved his way back past Bottas into Turn 1 on the second lap before hunting down his Ferrari teammate. After a quick warning over his Ferrari team radio of his superior pace, the 21-year-old made his move using DRS at Turn 1 at the start of lap six to return to the front.

Further back, Hamilton produced a similar move on his Mercedes teammate to climb back up to third place, while Max Verstappen became tangled with former teammate Carlos Sainz with the McLaren driver sustaining a right-front puncture having clipped the side of the Red Bull while attempting to overtake.

After the first round of pitstops, Hamilton’s alternative strategy of sticking to the soft tyres appeared to backfire as he lost time to leader Leclerc before dropping back to third place with Vettel charging past at Turn 4 on Lap 23.

But as the tyre strategy played out, Hamilton’s attack on the mediums saw him apply the pressure on Vettel.

After a side-by-side moment on Lap 37, the reigning F1 world champion got the move done a lap later. Hamilton powered around the outside at Turn 4 and with Vettel defending hard he spun around in a familiar sight to 2018 when multiple incidents saw his title charge unravel.

To add further injury, Vettel lost his front wing in spectacular style down the back straight, caused by vibrations from his damaged tyres in the spin, and duly pitted for a new nose and fresh tyres to come out in eighth place.

5774263478001

CrashTV: 

Less than 10 laps later double disaster struck for Ferrari as Leclerc, comfortably leading by eight seconds on Hamilton, reported an engine issue and rapidly lost time. Ferrari confirmed a loss of energy recovery in his car over his team radio, slowing him by around five seconds per lap, to leave him powerless to stop Hamilton storming into the lead on Lap 48.

With 11 laps to go, Leclerc was told to keep his nerve as a finish in the points remained possible while further drama was to follow.

Despite seeing Bottas sail past into second place on Lap 53, Leclerc held on to third place when a safety car was triggered by a double mechanical failure from Renault as both Hulkenberg and Ricciardo suffered separate issues heading into Turn 1 with three laps to go.

The safety car led the F1 field to the finish meaning Leclerc would at least clinch his maiden F1 podium having anticipated greater feats a mere 11 laps earlier.

With the double DNF at Renault, Antonio Giovinazzi narrowly missed out on his first F1 points in 11th place behind Perez.

Daniil Kvyat ended the race in 12th place having clashed with Giovinazzi on Lap 12, spinning off in the process, before being slapped with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane to cap a miserable race for the Toro Rosso driver.

Kevin Magnussen struggled for race pace late on for Haas to see him finish an underwhelming 13th place, as teammate Grosjean retired following his first lap incident later in the race, with Stroll in 14th place.

The Williams duo of George Russell and Robert Kubica completed the finishers in 15th and 16th respectively, with Sainz a late retirement following his earlier clash with Verstappen.

The result sees Bottas retain the F1 world drivers' championship by a single point from his fastest lap point in Australia - while Leclerc picked up the extra point in Bahrain.

Comments

Loading Comments...