1 / 0

F1 2019: Hamilton wins Bahrain GP as Ferrari runs into problems

1st Apr 2019 11:18 am

Mercedes capitalise on Ferrari’s misfortune as Leclerc suffers a power unit issue and Vettel makes a costly error.

Lewis Hamilton led yet another 1-2 finish for Mercedes, taking a surprising win at the Bahrain GP after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc suffered a power unit issue in the latter part of the race.

After suffering an underwhelming season-opening race in Australia, Ferrari appeared to be back in top form in Bahrain – setting the pace in all three practice sessions and locking out the front row in qualifying, with Leclerc taking his first-ever pole in F1, ahead of Sebastian Vettel.  However, Leclerc found himself under pressure at the start of the race as he slipped down to third place, with Vettel making the better start off the line to slot into the lead. He managed to move up to 2nd place on the next lap after passing Bottas, who dropped down to 4th just a few corners later after being overtaken by Hamilton.

Leclerc then started closing in on Vettel and ultimately passed his teammate around the outside into Turn 4, to take the race lead on Lap 6. While Leclerc starting building a gap out at the front, Vettel came under pressure from Hamilton behind. Mercedes decided to go for the undercut and pitted him early for a set of soft tyres – a strategy that ultimately worked out, as Hamilton gained a place over Vettel by the time the Ferrari driver pitted. But Hamilton soon found himself struggling on the soft tyres, and Vettel took advantage of this to pass him for 2nd place. The two drivers battled once again after completing their second round of pit stops – Vettel just about held position after going wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton. But Hamilton managed to make the move stick on the next lap, around the outside at Turn 4, as Vettel spun around after losing the rear end of his car. To further compound his problems, Vettel was then forced to pit again after losing his front wing down the back straight.

The incident dropped Vettel all the way down to 9th and he could only salvage a 5th place finish. At the front, Leclerc looked to be well on course to secure his maiden victory, holding a significant lead over Hamilton. However, by lap 46, it became apparent that his Ferrari was suffering some serious lack of pace. Ferrari later confirmed that Leclerc’s car suffered an engine-cylinder failure, impacting his straightline speed. Both the Mercedes cars ultimately caught up to and passed Leclerc. Just when it looked like Leclerc would lose yet another place to Max Verstappen, both the Renault cars ground to a halt, bringing out the Safety Car. With the race ending behind the Safety Car – for only the eighth time in the history of F1 – all the drivers had to hold position, with Hamilton clinching victory ahead of Bottas, while Leclerc held onto 3rd place, followed by Verstappen. Leclerc did secure one additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race – a small consolation on what was an otherwise disappointing race for the Ferrari driver.

Lando Norris finished in 6th place, scoring some valuable points for McLaren. Kimi Raikkonen, Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon and Sergio Perez rounded up the top 10. 

Race result

POS

DRIVER

CAR

LAPS

GAP

1

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

57

1h34m21.295s

2

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

57

2.980s

3

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

57

6.131s

4

Max Verstappen

Red Bull/Honda

57

6.408s

5

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

57

36.068s

6

Lando Norris

McLaren/Renault

57

45.754s

7

Kimi Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo/Ferrari

57

47.470s

8

Pierre Gasly

Red Bull/Honda

57

58.094s

9

Alexander Albon

Toro Rosso/Honda

57

1m02.697s

10

Sergio Perez

Racing Point/Mercedes

57

1m03.696s

11

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo/Ferrari

57

1m04.599s

12

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso/Honda

56

1 Lap

13

Kevin Magnussen

Haas/Ferrari

56

1 Lap

14

Lance Stroll

Racing Point/Mercedes

56

1 Lap

15

George Russell

Williams/Mercedes

56

1 Lap

16

Robert Kubica

Williams/Mercedes

55

2 Laps

17

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

53

Power Unit

18

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault

53

Not running

19

Carlos Sainz Jr.

McLaren/Renault

53

Not running

-

Romain Grosjean

Haas/Ferrari

16

Retirement

 

Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.


Tell us what you think.