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Formula 1 Bahrain ... Hamilton takes win from the new Ferrari star


Lewis Hamilton & Charles Leclerc

Lewis Hamilton & Charles Leclerc

 

Sakhir, 31 March 2019

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow leaves Bahrain with a feeling of regret after the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship, thinking about what might have been. All weekend long, the SF90 clearly demonstrated it had the potential to win, having rediscovered the competitive pace it had lost in Australia. However, in the end, it had to settle for a third place courtesy of Charles Leclerc and a fifth with Sebastian Vettel.


Lewis Hamilton
It was very tricky out there today and I had to give it everything I had. We were very, very lucky to get this 1-2, Ferrari outperformed us all weekend. Ultimately you want to have a real fight and want to pass someone because you’re quicker, so it feels a bit weird and you can’t quite believe your luck in these scenarios. I have been in similar situations and I know how it feels, but Charles did a great job all weekend long and has a beautiful, bright future ahead of him. We’ve only had two races; one where we were rapid and far ahead, one where Ferrari had the upper hand. It’s hard to say how the next races are going to pan out, but I anticipate that it will be a tough fight and that it will be a back and forth between the two teams. We need to keep working hard to see where we went wrong this weekend and to see where we can improve the car. But as we saw again today, reliability also plays an important role, so we need to keep working on all areas. We’ll take the points we got today and move forward to China.

Valtteri Bottas
This was not an easy race, the car was very difficult to drive and the conditions were very tricky with the gusty winds today which made the car very unpredictable. I had a good start and managed to get to P2, but in the next lap the wind caught me up going into Turn 1, so I lost the position again and ultimately fell back to fourth after a battle with Lewis. After that it was actually a relatively lonely race for me at points, I didn’t see anybody; but I think it was probably very exciting from the outside with many unexpected moments. Ferrari were very strong again in the race as they were all weekend. But luck was on our side today, which was a welcome change for me personally after all the bad luck I experienced last year. On the other hand our car was very reliable which ultimately won us the race today. It was a tough race for Charles, but he did a great job all weekend and I’m sure his time will come. We’re leaving Bahrain with lots of points but also a lot of work to do for China.

Toto Wolff
Charles was very unfortunate today; he was the quickest guy out there and should’ve won the race. But on the other side that’s racing; sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you are unlucky – in my experience it all weighs out in the end. Lewis drove a strong race today. He fought a fight with a weapon that maybe wasn’t on his opponents’ level, but he managed to stay close to Vettel and win that battle on track, which was one of the key moments for the victory. Valtteri had a tougher day in the office, he was struggling with the tyres on the very abrasive asphalt here in Bahrain. We’re walking away with 43 points from this weekend, but it is clear that we were very fortunate today and that it was our reliability, not our pace that won us the race. We are lacking straight line speed which is very important in China. So we need to stick our heads together and analyse why we were struggling with our pace both in qualifying and in the race. It’s a very close fight and we need to make sure to bring our A game in order to be competitive in Shanghai.

Andrew Shovlin
We’re delighted with the 1-2 today but well aware that we didn’t have the fastest car this weekend and we’ve got some work to do to catch Ferrari. We’ve lacked a bit of rear grip and a bit of straight line speed this weekend and this made qualifying and the race difficult. We’ve got some developments to try at the test here that should help our speed in the corners; it would be nice in China if we can rely on our pace to get the win rather than good fortune. However, the team did work really well today under a lot of pressure our car has been perfectly reliable here all week which is great to see. It was really unfortunate for Charles today, he has impressed everyone with his speed and composure, so to lose the win through no fault of his own must be tough, but it looks like he won’t have to wait long for the next opportunity.

Sebastian got the better of his team-mate at the start to lead at the first corner. Charles found himself in third behind Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes, but on the second lap, the Monegasque driver got past the Finn and closed on his team-mate. Charles had a better pace and passed Sebastian on lap 5 to take the lead.

On lap 13, Charles came in for his first pit stop, switching from the Soft to the Medium tyres, as did Sebastian on the following lap, the German rejoining behind Hamilton in the Mercedes who had stopped one lap earlier. The German took eight laps to attack and overtake his rival at Turn 4.

On lap 35, Sebastian made his second stop, once again duelling with the Englishman. The German ended up spinning and flatspotted his tyres which resulted in the front wing coming off due to the strong vibrations. He then had to pit again for a new one. Charles also came in again, on lap 36, but kept the lead setting the fastest lap with 1’33″411.

After his unscheduled stop, Sebastian rejoined ninth and charged up the order, passing Kimi Raikkonen then Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, to claim fifth place.

With 15 laps remaining, Charles’ car suffered a power unit problem which meant his pace slowed dramatically, The two Mercedes thus managed to pass him, but with two laps to go, the Safety Car came out to deal with two cars stopping on track at the same time, which froze the positions, so that Leclerc was at least able to enjoy the satisfaction of his first ever F1 podium finish. He thus equals Louis Chiron, the only other driver from Monaco to have made it to a Formula 1 podium, which he did in his home race in 1950, the race in which Scuderia Ferrari first took part in the World Championship.

Formula 1 is back in action in two weeks time with the Chinese Grand Prix, which will also be the one thousandth Grand Prix in the sport’s history.

Charles Leclerc
“It’s part of motorsport, we know that. Sometimes it’s not your day to win and today wasn’t ours. In the final part of the race we had an issue with the power unit and I had to slow down. It’s a shame because the race seemed to me to be under control. The team is disappointed and I am disappointed but there are a lot of positives to take home from this weekend. They gave me an amazing car and that is very much to their credit. The car was very easy to drive and was very good. These things happen in motorsport: we took the best out of it anyway. It’s my first podium even if I’m not enjoying it as much as I wanted. It’s life, it happens, we’ll come back stronger”.

Sebastian Vettel
“Not the race we wanted. We started first and second and we didn’t finish there. A disappointing evening. I had a good start but already halfway through the first lap I realised that the car was extremely difficult to drive. I think Charles struggled less as he had no difficulties in passing me. It was quite tough out there. Then we lost P2 at the pitstop but came back. In the second stint on the medium tyres maybe it was a bit better but overall we didn’t have the pace we should have had today. While battling with Lewis I made a mistake at turn 4, which is one of the trickiest corners on the track. I suddenly lost the car and I spun. In doing so, I damaged the tyres so much that I had quite a lot of vibrations, which eventually led to the failure of the front wing. It was Charles’ race today, he got very unlucky. I am sorry for him and for the team”.

Mattia Binotto
“It was a shame for Charles. He was in the lead for much of the race and showed that he was particularly comfortable here in Bahrain, also setting the race fastest lap. He deserved to win and it was only the reliability problem, which we must now investigate, which prevented him from doing so. That is something unacceptable from us and it shows how important it is to get every last detail right in order to win. With regards to Sebastian, these things can happen in racing when you are on the limit, therefore it is more important to consider the car, which today performed well. The team also did an excellent job, producing some really good pit stops. We head home with many positives on which to build for the rest of the season, such as our performance level and the way the team reacted. Clearly there are still various things that we have to learn and we will continue to work on them.”

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing
"It was a solid race for us, with both drivers putting up a good fight. Kimi stayed steady throughout and brought home some more points for our team. Antonio showed a strong performance, gaining 5 positions and finishing in P11, very close to the points. Our pace was good and the team worked well together. It has been a positive start to the season for us and we look forward to seeing what we will achieve at the next Grand Prix in China."

Kimi Räikkönen
"It was a nice race, there were some good battles. In the middle of the race we had a bit of a tricky moment, with the wind and the tyres posing a challenge. By the second pitstop the car felt really good. Step by step, we will try to make everything more solid and will make more progress."

Antonio Giovinazzi
"It was a good but challenging race. I could make some good advances and had a good pace at the end of the race. Unfortunately, I couldn't challenge for 10th place because of the safety car. We were really close to the points and that is positive. Now I have to stay focused and keep working for the next race in Shanghai."

 

 

Pos

Driver

Car

Chassis #

Time/Retired

Laps

1

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-AMG

F1 W10 EQ Power+/01

1:34:21.295

57

2

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes-AMG

F1 W10 EQ Power+/03

+ 2.980

57

3

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

 

+ 6.131

57

4

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

 

+ 6.408

57

5

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

 

+ 36.068

57

6

Lando Norris

McLaren

 

+ 45.754

57

7

Kimi Räikkönen

Alfa Romeo

02/Ferrari

+ 47.470

57

8

Pierre Gasly

Red Bull

 

+ 58.094

57

9

Alexander Albon

Toro Rosso

 

+ 1:02.697

57

10

Sergio Pérez

Racing Point

 

+ 1:03.696

57

11

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo

03/Ferrari

+ 1:04.599

57

12

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso

 

+ 1 lap

56

13

Kevin Magnussen

Haas F1 Team

 

+ 1 lap

56

14

Lance Stroll

Racing Point

 

+ 1 lap

56

15

George Russell

Williams

 

+ 1 lap

56

16

Robert Kubica

Williams

 

+ 2 laps

55

17

Nico Hülkenberg

Renault

 

dnf

53

18

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault

 

dnf

53

19

Carlos Sainz jr.

McLaren

 

dnf

53

20

Romain Grosjean

Haas F1 Team

 

accident