Lewis Hamilton wins the Bahrain Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc suffered engine problems in his Ferrari late in the race.
Leclerc was beaten off the start of the race by teammate Sebastian Vettel and was briefly overtaken by Valtteri Bottas. The Monegasque driver then took the lead back on lap 6 and went on to control the race.
On lap 46 Leclerc reported engine issues to his team and Hamilton closed an eight second deficit within three laps to take the lead.
Leclerc’s voice said it all on his team radio as he alerted the team to his problem but he knew there was nothing he could do to sop the inevitable. Ferrari responded to confirm that he had a problem with his MGU-H meaning he was losing around 40 km/h on the straights.
Bottas passed Leclerc on lap 54 but the Ferrari driver was able to hold on to a podium finish as the race finished under the safety car.
Hamilton had an eventful race, initially struggling with his tyres after the first pit stop. On his second stint, he hunted Vettel down and on lap 38 he went around the outside of his rival at Turn 4.
Speaking on the team radio at the end of the race Hamilton said: “Truly unfortunate for Charles. He drove such a great race.”
“We have got a lot of work to do to keep on these guys’ (Ferrari) tail.”
Vettel tried to defend his position but spun in the process which then caused a puncture to his left tyre. He then lost his front wing on his way back to the pits and he ended up finishing fifth.
It was another high profile error from the German having had a number of previous incidents when put under pressure.
Max Verstappen had a quite race in comparison as he came home in fourth.
Lando Norris had a strong race rising from 10th on the grid to finish sixth. The Briton showed some strong defensive skills holding Kimi Raikkonen at bay in seventh.
Pierre Gasly will be hoping his luck improves soon. He had a difficult weekend but managed to bring his Red Bull home in eighth.
The Toro Rosso of Alex Albon finished ninth with Sergo Perez rounding out the top 10.
The Renault’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo retired within seconds of each other on lap 54 which led to the safety car.
A painful lesson for Leclerc
Leclerc had been dominant all weekend it was no different in the race. He had a slow start but was back in the lead by lap 6.
He went on to create a gap that was as much as 10 seconds at times and nobody had an answer for him.
The Ferrari was the quickest car in Bahrain and Leclerc had a clear edge over his teammate. Once he passed Vettel, Leclerc quickly put a gap between the pair and never looked like losing the race.
Then the race was taken away from him due to no fault of his own.
Speaking after the race Leclerc said: “It happens. It is part of motorsport. Unfortunately today it was not our day but I am confident the team has done an amazing job to recover the lack of pace in Australia.”
“Of course, I am extremely disappointed not to win the race.”
Although Leclerc didn’t win the race, he has shown he is a force to be reckoned with this year.
The next Grand Prix takes place in China in two weeks in what will be Formula 1’s 1000th Grand Prix.