It was an action-packed race under the lights at the Bahrain International Circuit Sunday night, but for Charles Leclerc, the Bahrain Grand Prix did not end the way he had hoped.
After starting the race from the pole for the first time in his relatively young F1 career, Leclerc led for the majority of the race, only to experience engine issues within the final ten laps, causing the Ferrari driver to lose power and cede the top two positions to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“It happens. Unfortunately it was not our day. Of course I’m extremely disappointed,” Leclerc said. “A very hard one to take but thanks to the team. Congratulations to Lewis and Valtteri”.
Hamilton would pass Leclerc with nine laps remaining and took the checkered flag behind the safety car after a late race incident which saw Daniel Riccardo and Nico Hulkenburg retiring due to reliability issues.
Hamilton’s victory Sunday night was the first of the season for the defending world champion, and second consecutive 1-2 finish for Mercedes, with Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas finishing second.
“It was a really, really hard race today,” Hamilton said. “Charles did such a great job so it must be devastating for him”.
With Leclerc finishing third, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen finished the race in the fourth position and Leclerc’s teammate Sebastian Vettel would finish the race fifth.
Like Leclerc, Vettel’s Sunday night would not go as planned. Looking to collect a podium finish himself, Vettel’s Ferrari spun out of control while battling Hamilton for position, and would lose its front wing on the back straight as a result, forcing Vettel to pit.
Teenager Lando Norris would once again post an impressive finish for McLaren, finishing sixth in only his second career start. Kimi Raikkonen, Pierre Gasly,
Four drivers in total would retire from the race, including Romain Grosjean, who sustained damage on the first lap after tangling with Lance Stroll. Carlos Sainz would also retire due to damage caused by contact with Max Verstappen.
Full results are below. The next race is the Chinese Grand Prix on April 14, the sport’s 1000th world championship race.