Leclerc thunderstruck, Hamilton lucky
Incredible ending this Sunday in Sakhir. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) took advantage of a mechanical problem on the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc at the end of the race to win ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas. The young Monaco driver, leader during most of the Grand Prix, finishes on the third step of the podium, a lean consolation after his exceptional weekend.
“It’s so bad for Charles, he made such a great race! We still have work to put these guys behind us.” : in his tour of honor as a providential winner, Lewis Hamilton payd tribute to Charles Leclerc, who comfortably led the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday until a power recovery outage cut the momentum of his Ferrari at the 46th of 57 laps.
At that moment, Leclerc, on his way to his 1st ever victory in the World Championship, was driving almost 10 seconds ahead of the British. Powerless, he yielded to the Mercedes of the English two laps later, and had to give up four laps later again, overtaken by the second silver arrow of Valtteri Bottas, excellent at the start of the race.
History has been cruel to the new little Prince of Formula 1, but last events of the race saved him from an even greater disappointment. Slower by 4”5 per lap than the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, he would have had no chance to stay on the podium. But the simultaneous retirement of the Renault, in the 55th lap, came to save him as the safety car was deployed. With positions frozen, the cars crossed the finish line at a slow pace.
Vettel, the fatal error
Imperial Saturday but affected by a reliability issue on the SF90 of Charles Leclerc on Sunday, Ferrari would normally have had to have another car capable of winning. But Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) lasted only six laps in the lead. The German had been closely followed by his teammate when the latter was delighted to lead the race by the end of the 6th lap. Beaten by almost 0”3 in qualifying, he obviously did not have the best settings either.
Trapped in the strategy part by Lewis Hamilton on the 15th lap, Vettel recomposed himself by overtaking a Mercedes who was having issues. If the n°5 of Maranello retained its place in front of the Mercedes after its second stop, at the 36th lap, it lost all hope in the 38th while attempting to follow the n°44 of Brackley which had just overtaken him with a tricky maneuver at turn n°4. Too keen on the throttle, Vettel went head-to-tail and then suffered the spectacular loss of his front wing. Ninth after his stop at the booth, he managed to climb up to 5th place.
First point for Gasly
The Renault sixth and tenth before their retirement, the beginner Lando Norris (McLaren) inherited sixth place, in front of the veteran Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), a Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) still in trouble, the other rookie Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso) and Sergio Pérez (Racing point).
At the World Championships, Valtteri Bottas (44 points) kept a narrow lead ahead of Lewis Hamilton (43), Max Verstappen (27), Charles Leclerc (26), Sebastian Vettel (22) and Kimi Räikkönen (10).