Lewis Hamilton led home a Mercedes 1-2 after a late pass on Charles Leclerc after the Ferrari driver’s turbo power cut out during the closing stages of the Bahrain GP where he looked on course for a dominant victory after a smooth weekend.
Hamilton took victory at Bahrain despite the dominance shown by the Ferrari Formula 1 team throughout the weekend – leading every single session except the race itself.
Sebastian Vettel, who played second fiddle to Charles Leclerc during the early stages of this race, finished only fifth after spinning and going onto lose his front wing, which meant he wasn’t able to be up there when Leclerc was let down.
Story of the race
As the lights went out, Leclerc’s dream took a hit, as team-mate Vettel blasted by into the lead, as Bottas went from fourth to second. However, Leclerc was able to jump back up to second down to straight as lap 2 started, with Hamilton following swiftly – passing his team-mate.
As Sainz tried to overtake Max Verstappen, the duo collided, as the Spaniard lost his front wing in the McLaren, with Verstappen released free.
Came Lap 5, and the two Ferrari’s were squabbling for the lead, with Leclerc visibly faster than Vettel. One lap later, and Leclerc blasted past Vettel back into the lead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lap 13, and there was activity in the pit-lane, as Bottas came in to cover Max Verstappen – and just about stayed ahead in the Mercedes. However, after coming out, the Dutchman jumped the Finn. After another round of DRS dosage, Bottas got the jump back on Verstappen.
The following lap, both Leclerc and Hamilton pitted, leaving German Vettel exposed on the circuit, as priority was given to Charles Leclerc. Vettel came in the following lap, however Hamilton easily managed to jump Vettel and get into second place.
As the front-runners overtook Daniel Ricciardo, who was trying a one-stopper, the order became quite clear: Leclerc, Hamilton, Vettel, then Bottas and Verstappen.
Hamilton, who gambled on the soft compound tyres, was starting to lose tabs with Charles Leclerc on the mediums, and Vettel, too on the mediums, was starting to close on Lewis Hamilton. Vettel soon closed right into Hamilton, as the Brit struggled ever so much on the supposedly faster tyres. It was a nice clean pass for Vettel, as the Ferrari had so much more grip on the Mercedes.
After being lapped by the Racing Point of Stroll, Verstappen pitted from sixth place to kick off the second round on pit-stops on lap 33, however it was a slow pitstop of over four seconds, as the Dutchman was losing touch with the Mercedes and Ferrari cars. Lap 35 and Hamilton found the right time to dispose his soft tyres, trading it for a set of mediums.
Vettel had to follow suit, but Hamilton was now right behind the German driver on the lap. Leclerc came in the following lap. With the help of Bottas, Hamilton got Vettel – but there was problems for Vettel, as he spun while Hamilton overtook him, he then went on to lose his front wing later on in the lap. As a result, the German dropped down to P8 after his pitstop. His first victim, Lando Norris, was easy pickings, as the German blasted into seventh. Later on in that lap, he passed Ricciardo to go sixth. The following lap, he picked off the next Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, but now had a 26 second gap to Max Verstappen.
Lap 47 and there were bigger problems for Ferrari, as Leclerc was faced with a power unit problem, and Hamilton was eating seconds into Leclerc’s gap. On Lap 48, Hamilton easily cruised past Leclerc, given the Monegasque lost battery power. Bottas followed suit, however a late safety car for two retiring Renault’s simultaneously, a safety car got Leclerc’s third place sealed.