Charles Leclerc wins F1 Bahrain GP while Verstappen retires
SAKHIR, Bahrain – Formula One Champion Max VerstappenDefending my title became a nightmare when Red Bull the star retired near the end of the Bahrain match grand opening on sunday allowed Ferrari to finish 1-2 with Charles Leclerc’s win over teammate Carlos Sainz Jr.
Seven times F1 champion Lewis Hamilton Surprise third place after Sergio Perez’s Red Bull also withdrew with the finish line in sight as the race ended under the yellow flag.
Hamilton fell behind in fifth as late drama in Round 46 changed the race.
Leclerc was leading comfortably away from Verstappen when the back of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri caught fire as he was parked on the side of the track. It was quickly extinguished and the French left unharmed.
Since the restart, Leclerc left and Verstappen started complaining of steering problems.
Minutes later, both the Red Bulls were out of the race and George Russell’s Mercedes move up to fourth place to give Mercedes a surprise bonus.
In the 57-lap race, Verstappen retired in Round 54 and Perez finished 56.
A thrilling race to start the season and a race against a big doll of situational irony.
Verstappen won the F1 title last year by overtaking Hamilton in the final lap after a controversial restart under a safety car, just as Hamilton was flying towards a record eighth title.
Red Bull celebrated with great fanfare that night in Abu Dhabi, then Mercedes lost both appeals and Red Bull started in dynamic form as Verstappen led the pre-season test. He finished second behind Leclerc for Sunday’s race alongside reliable Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez starting Wednesday and the team expecting a healthy amount of points.
Red Bull left without anyone.
The sweet revenge for Mercedes is perhaps when headmaster Toto Wolff smiles from one side and perhaps not just because of Hamilton’s surprise podium.
But also irrepressible joy for Ferrari.
“That’s exactly how we should start the season,” Leclerc shouted over the radio. “Mamma Mia.”
It was the team’s first win and the first 1-2 since former driver Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore GP against Leclerc in 2019, and Leclerc’s first since winning the Italy GP in Monza. two weeks before.
“Congratulations to Ferrari, nice to see them doing well again. They are an epic, historic team,” Hamilton said. It was a tough race for me. This is the best result we could get. “
As Leclerc celebrates his third career win, Scuderia’s Tifosi fans have something to say, while his old arch rival Verstappen will go crazy over his bad luck.
Hamilton knows a little about that feeling.
So did Kevin Magnussen, who was fired by Haas at the end of 2020 when the restructuring took place with the support of the Russian and the Russian driver. But when Nikita Mazepin was expelled, Haas rehired Magnussen and Dane was determined to power the car in fifth place.
Last year, Haas failed to score any points.