Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Leclerc leads Ferrari one-two as late Red Bull failures put Hamilton on podium

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix summary

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Charles Leclerc led home team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr to claim a one-two for Ferrari in the Bahrain Grand Prix after Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired in the final laps.

Having started from pole, Leclerc held his lead at the start and fended off Verstappen’s fierce challenges until the Red Bull driver suddenly slowed with a handful of laps remaining. Sainz inherited second place, while Perez retired on the final lap after his engine cut out, handing the final podium place to Lewis Hamilton.

When the lights went out, Leclerc fended off Verstappen’s advances on the run to turn one and held onto the lead, with Sainz remaining in third. Perez lost out to both Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen and dropped down to sixth on the opening lap, while Esteban Ocon hit Mick Schumacher at turn six, pitching the Haas into a full 360-degree spin, from which he was able to recover and continue.

Magnussen lost fifth place to Perez after a mistake under braking for turn one, before then losing another position just a few laps later when another mistake into turn one cost him sixth to George Russell.

At the front, Leclerc and Verstappen began pulling a gap to Sainz in third. On the tenth lap, Perez used DRS to breeze by Hamilton on the run to turn four and reclaim fourth place. Mercedes opted to bring Hamilton in for a switch to hard tyres a lap later, but Hamilton struggled to find grip on his outlap with his cold tyres and lost a place to Zhou Guanyu, before passing the Alfa Romeo back along the main straight.

Red Bull brought Verstappen in for his first stop at the end of lap 14, with Sainz following him behind. Both cars received a second set of soft tyres and Ferrari responded to Verstappen’s stop by immediately bringing Leclerc in.

Despite the three second gap before pitting, Verstappen found himself right behind the Ferrari when Leclerc rejoined the circuit. The pair engaged in a gripping, multi-lap duel, passing and repassing each other several times over the following laps, before Verstappen locked up his right front tyre under braking for turn one and dropped out of attack range of the Ferrari.

As Verstappen complained of engine braking problems on his Red Bull as well as loss of tyre grip, his gap to the leader grew to around four seconds before Red Bull pitted him for his second stop. Once again, he was able to cut seconds out of Leclerc’s lead and loom large in the Ferrari’s mirrors once the leader pitted, but he was unable to get close enough to challenge Leclerc once again.

Leclerc began to pull gradually away from the chasing Verstappen, before the Red Bull suddenly pitted for a third time to switch from the medium tyres onto a third set of softs. Ferrari reacted by bringing in Sainz from the second place he had inherited from Verstappen, but then the Safety Car was called as Pierre Gasly pulled his AlphaTauri off the circuit with flames licking from the rear of the car.

Ferrari pitted Leclerc under Safety Car, meaning the race would be determined by a seven lap sprint to the chequered flag with almost the entire field now on new soft tyres. At the restart, Verstappen could not get close enough to challenge Leclerc and instead was forced to defend his second place from Sainz behind.

But then with just a handful of laps remaining, Verstappen began complaining of battery problems and was passed by Sainz on the run to turn 11. Then the Red Bull slowed on the exit of turn 13 and Verstappen was forced to pull into the pits. Perez was then tasked with defending the final podium place from Hamilton, but his own Red Bull engine seized at the first corner, causing him to spin into retirement.

Leclerc took the chequered flag to score Ferrari’s first win since 2019, while Sainz finished second to make it a one-two for the Italian team. Hamilton took third, with Mercedes team mate Russell taking fourth.

Magnussen secured fifth for Haas and their first points since 2020, ahead of Valtteri Bottas in sixth in his first race for Alfa Romeo. Esteban Ocon took seventh ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, with Fernando Alonso ninth and rookie Zhou Guanyu scoring a point on debut in tenth.

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2022 Bahrain Grand Prix reaction

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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122 comments on “Leclerc leads Ferrari one-two as late Red Bull failures put Hamilton on podium”

  1. So these cars did do the job for us. Only problem is the overheating of parts now and tyres probably. I wonder if RB turned up the PU to maximum power. If so, why at the first race?

    1. @krichelle Gasly too, tight? Maybe a Honda cooling issue with the new slimmer side-pods?

      1. @david-br
        According to Helmut Marko, both RBs had a fuel pump issue (low fuel pressure).
        No news on Gasly’s retirement though.

        1. I think they both just run out of fuel, hence low pressure

        2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
          20th March 2022, 18:09

          Perez’s car stopped dead like an engine seize. If fuel pressure went low I wonder if it expired with a very lean mixture.

        3. @srga91 that sounds odd though when Max was complaining about the increased resistance in the steering and that the power steering felt rough, with the team indicating that the issue was linked to the loss of power that Max was experiencing.

          The problems that Max was describing sound more consistent with the sort of issues that you might have if the hydraulic system was losing pressure, given that could then cause the power steering system to lose pressure and cause the resistance of the system to increase. Why would a fuel pump issue cause the steering to become much heavier though?

          1. CH said in interview steering issue was a track rod problem coming off the jack at the pitstop.

    2. 3 of their 4 engines not quite making it to the end seems like an early miscalculation from the new Red Bull engine department. All three failure modes seemed different which may be even more worrying for them.

      1. now they (mostly max, obviously) cant yell choice words at the radio to honda engine same they did with renault :) noone else left for them but themselves

        1. Put a Dart Game and a photo of Max, you seem to need to relax a bit, man :)

          1. I mean…maybe you are correct? Maybe Mystic has a point though. Even if you regard his comment as being tinged with anger, he does has a very valid point!

          2. Must be an enormous poster. He will not be able to hit something smaller :)

          3. DeanR

            lol at angry :) i couldnt be more joyous from this much fun… i dont need a poster, but max will need a big punching bag of himself to relax and steam off and maybe (said million times) maybe he will learn to race with his head and not with his mouth. i m expecting him to clash with leclerc more often than not, and it wont be their words, it will get physical rather quickly. max doesnt learn. when you think he is matured enough, he likes to disappoint everyone even in his own team

        2. Yeap they’re always trying to Blame Somebody.

    3. Here we go again.

      1. @ucat33 dont take everything at face value, i m just chanting the same things being said about lewis all these years to dig at some who are known fanatic and ridiculous with their comments and mouths non stop (just a piece of the same owed back to them and here i m giving) . now max has a rocket ship of a car. so it is not about talent more about car debate :)

        1. lexusreliability?
          20th March 2022, 17:33


        2. So at least you agree Lewis always won by a big car and engine advantage.
          I guess knowing your normal additions here that’s something to cherish :)

        3. so people assume too much, and their mouth wide open until the very last lap to cry again. we are here cherishing those cries of max fans :)

        4. Yeah. I am not a fan of the whining and explosive outbursts either. But Max has a ton of talent. As do all of these drivers. Especially Lewis – who has proven it year in and year out. Those who say he is just the beneficiary of a fast car are ridiculous. Of course he is. But he does drive it to perfection most of the time – even when his team makes stupid strategy decisions. Fact is that having both of these guys in F1 is good for us – what else would we have to be passionate about?

  2. Well well well… finally justice was done… it seems that Saint Fangio decided to put things in their place. After the disgusting, shameful, scandalous THEFT of the championship from Hamilton by the indecent owners of Formula 1, fans can enjoy this well-deserved victory for Ferrari. And the podium of Hamilton, the true world champion 2021.

    1. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
      20th March 2022, 17:14

      I loved today. I hope we see more of this. No person should walk around with a stolen title and be at ease with himself. I say stolen because he can return it but chooses to keep it

      1. You won’t find a more fanatical Lewis supporter than I but Max is not to blame for that shambles that took place last season! Let this go man! It’s done!
        I must admit though… Today was enjoyable😁

    2. You are not F1 fan, you are Hamilton psycho-fan.

      1. says the mad-max fans

      2. karma is a

        1. Yep, see Abu Dhabi :)

          1. yeah we can see you are crying so bad makes you confused :)

    3. Yeap they’re always trying to Blame Somebody.

    4. Justice is Sooo Soothing

    5. José Lopes da Silva
      20th March 2022, 18:25

      Curious reference to Fangio, the driver who won the 1956 because a rival decided that he DESERVED it.

    6. Something from your propaganda teacher, you are showing as a great pupil
      “Wenn Sie ein ausreichend großes Li erzählen e und sagen Sie es häufig genug, es wird geglaubt”.

  3. Absolutely incredible, what a great start to the season. Good wheel to wheel fighting, surprises good and bad, up and down the field. Can’t wait to see how the season unfolds.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      20th March 2022, 18:12

      Watching the way Charles could pass after turn one suggests Verstappen should of waited until the same moment himself.

      It was noted in commentary and I have mentioned that with being able to stay close you allow the car in front to stay there until the last overtaking opportunity and off you go for the win.

      In effect that is what Charles was able to do but then build a gap that Verstappen was unable to close down.

      1. thats what people do who use their brain more often than their mouth :) unfortunately for max, he has a bigger mouth than parts in his head cavity. he never seize to amaze how often and how frequently he is doing these, you think you would put a monkey in that seat and it would learn from these after a few times

        1. On the third try when he locked up, it would have been the time to stay close behind and try on the following straight. He tried to dive-bomb into turn 1, which is one of his signature moves.

          But his worst performance was the restart. The positioning of the car on the inside before the last corner was strange, to find a nice word for it.

  4. So happy for Ferrari. Such likeable drivers. Great performance by Lec, Ham, Bot and Mag. Difficult races for Carlos and Russell.

    1. Spot on. Bot and MAG have to be loving life right now. And how happy is HAM with that RBR implosion? Ferraris look unbelievable now – guess that development last year is working out.

    2. Did Bottas really deliver a great performance?
      He qualified great, but then he went from 6th to 14th?
      He’s a fast qualifier, but when he’s surrounded by other drivers, he just seems to let them all pass.

      Same question for Hamilton. What was his great performance?
      He qualified on the natural order of the car. Russel qualified bad.
      And then Hamilton just kept his place, Russel improved his place during the race.
      With the termination of Verstappen and Perez both gained those places in the end.
      So I would say Russel had a better race than Hamilton, partly because he qualified below the natural place of the car.

      Leclerc and Sainz drove a flawless race I would say.

      1. And then Hamilton just kept his place, Russel improved his place during the race.

        This is why folks fail in their exams.
        The Mercedes is currently the 3rd fastest car, and they should have finished 5th and 6th and nothing better but they both did 3rd and 4th. They both got the maximum.
        Then again, Russel should have qualified at the very least 6th, so he only got back to his rightful position and could not make anymore progress.

        1. Ah, I seem to have missed where Hamilton and Russel made a genuine pass for positions 3 and 4.

          We are saying exactly the same?!
          The Mercedes is the 3rd best car at the moment.
          Lewis qualified in the correct place: good job!
          Russel qualified below, but made it up in the race.
          That they finished 3rd and 4th was only because of the RB engine issues.
          So what was the ‘great performance’ of putting the car in their natural order again?

      2. Well Lewis outqualified the Mr Saturday, made a great start, then in the first stint, still kept in touch with the Top 4 foramy laps despite being a second a lap slower. Lewis was all over Perez after the Safety car, he was there to take advantage when the Redbull drivers hit trouble. So it was a good performance by Lewis in a difficult car.

        Bottas qualified great, had a bad start but then recovered well and did some good overtakes.

      1. Dont waste your time with this one. People dont seem to get that he will go away if he is ignored.
        On another note… are You Bradley Philpot? of Missed Apex? (And accomplished racer?)

  5. I do enjoy a Redbull free podium :D

    1. it felt incredibly peaceful and fair to be honest. never been happier for ferrari this much before

  6. MERC fans rejoice as the RBR went into oblivion. It is not only the RBR cars, the AT of GAS also is a worry for RB Power Trains now.

    1. Agreed. GAS’s issues were mutually exclusive from checo and Max’s, maybe the entire powertrain is flawed.

      For the conspiracy theorists, rbpt poached a lot of Merc powertrain employees. Take that for what you wish

  7. Very entertaining race. That battle between Max ans Leclerc after the first round of pitstops was scintillating to say the least. Great driving. I guess DRS exists for moments like this.
    Kudos to Ferrari for getting a 1-2. Thoroughly deserved after all they’ve been through and the sacrifices they’ve made.

    Wonder who has the slowest power unit among the four…maybe not Renault anymore.

    1. “all they have been through…”???? Everything Ferrari have been through was self inflicted and deserved!! THAT is the price cheating should pay. Take note RB

      1. This, this comment makes it all worth it

  8. No wonder Honda wanted to remove their name from that engine.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      20th March 2022, 18:16

      It is a Honda engine though in all but name and it will remain so for sometime. This season in particular all the work is being done in Japan to build and supply them.

  9. 3 out of 4 Honda engines had issues and DNF. Last year they were so reliable.

  10. Mark Madbearson
    20th March 2022, 17:11

    Great start for George Bottas.

  11. What goes around comes around. Cheaters will eventually be punished.

    1. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
      20th March 2022, 17:15

      I absolutely love this

    2. When you say cheaters you must mean that somehow they were in Masi’s pockets? Not sure how they cheated – just the beneficiaries of some bad calls on the race directors part. Masi was the problem.

      1. how do you know he didnt? it is not like it is the first time a top sports team or a top sports athlete cheated? what makes you think “if” is impossible?

    3. Not sure how they cheated unless you are insinuating that they paid Masi to make the decisions he made. Masi was terrible and RBR benefited from his ridiculous calls last year. And I love all of this people saying that Verstappen should give the WDC back. hahahaha. Would you do it?

    4. RB didn’t cheat, but they did manage badger and influence the race director into making an unjustified and unfair decision.

    5. You already miss Masi? Maybe he would have red flagged the race after Max retired, to make the previous lap the result. No longer there, sry 4 u.

  12. What goes around comes around.

    I think both RB DNF’s today is a little of Karma after Abu Dhabi antics with both Perez and RB team.

    Great to see Prancing horse back, will take a lot of races for Merc to catch back. They are the favourites!!

  13. We’ve got tons of talking points, this will be an interesting season:

    – not sure about the concept of these cars, they are extremely heavy and downright embarassing in slow corners. The new regs for 2026 should focus on addressing this
    – Verstappen’s DNF is the best thing that could happen from the season’s perspective. This guy doesn’t finish outside the podium if he finishes the race and I was afraid he would dominate this season even despite occasional brilliance from Ferrari or Mercedes. He has also shown surprising inexperience while trying to overtake Leclerc
    – Mercedes has tons of work to do on their engine. McLaren, Aston and Williams were tragic.
    – given the new regulations, the field is surprisingly condensed. Perhaps a repeat of 2012?