Charles Leclerc had a disappointing finish to the weekend after securing pole on Saturday at the Bahrain International Circuit. Leclerc lost the lead at C1 due to a poor start. He then managed to pass his team mate Sebastian Vettel, while keeping the duo of Mercedes-AMG at bay. However, the Scuderia’s turbo failure on lap 46 led to the Monégasque losing as much as 50kmph over others.
Vettel managed to grab the second spot after Lewis Hamilton was struggling in the first stint on Soft tyres. But after the second pitstop, Lewis was able to pressurise Vettel for second position. This led to a spin for Vettel, who went over the kerb and onto the gravel. He ended up damaging his front wing, leading to a forgettable race. He claimed a disappointing fifth position finish in the end. Bottas did not have a great day either, unlike in Australia, two weeks ago but still managed to finish second.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen had a chance at the podium. However, he finished fourth. He tailed Leclerc’s slowing Ferrari with just three laps to go when reliability issued led to Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg’s Renaults to retire on lap 54. The chequered flag was waved under the safety car for the eight time ever. The last time this happened was in 2015 in China. The safety car proved to be a blessing in disguise for Leclerc, who was losing pace rapidly.
The midfield was led by McLaren’s Lando Norris, who scored this season’s first points for the team and a best ever finish for the Brit driver. Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly finished next. Toro Rosso’s Alexader Albon and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez rounded off the top ten. Both these racers scored their first points of the season.
An unlucky weekend for Ferrari has widened the gap between the constructors, with Mercedes standing at 87 points, 39 points ahead of Ferrari. The driver standings are expectedly led by both Mercedes drivers, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of Lewis Hamilton by just 1 point (thanks to the fastest lap at Albert Park) at 44 and 43, respectively. Red Bull’s Verstappen is 16 points behind at 27 points, closely chased by Ferrari drivers Leclerc at 26 points and Vettel at 22 points. The F1 circus will now move to Shanghai for the Chinese GP on April 14.