Turnaround After Two Years: Charles Leclerc Leads In 1-2 Win For Ferrari

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc took the opening Grand Prix for Ferrari in Bahrain in style, converting his pole position. He won after a long fight with Max Verstappen of Red Bull who was forced to retire along with his teammate moving into the final laps with steering issues.

The Monaco native took advantage of Ferrari’s much-upgraded F1-75 as he stayed steady throughout the race, and held his lead coming into Turn one, leading Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, his Ferrari teammate.

Ferrari was bogged down in the 2020 and 2021 seasons with a mediocre chassis and a sluggish power unit. 2022 has been revamped and with the team of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz jr. entering as equals. Their 2022 car has looked faster in the pre-season testing and has raised expectations that they could return to the glory days of Michael Schumacher.

Charles Leclerc ensured that his team did not have to wait long and he and Sainz made it a 1-2 for Ferrari. By the first pit-stop, Charles Leclerc had already built up a 3 seconds gap over Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc And Verstappen Of Red Bull Fight Intensely After First Pit-Stop

The battle intensified coming out of the 1st pit stop. Verstappen switched to soft tires between 15 and 57 laps. Charles Leclerc followed suit after a lap. team Red Bull employed the undercut effect by bringing in Verstappen earlier. It proved a success and Charles Leclerc managed to hold onto his lead by a narrow margin into the 1st corner.

Verstappen went ahead in the straight in the next lap using the DRS But Leclerc got the lead back immediately. The scenario got repeated one lap later. Verstappen pitted again on Lap 31 for mediums and Charles Leclerc followed one lap later. He emerged one second ahead of Verstappen.

Verstappen expressed his frustration for not being able to use the DRS. The reigning F1 champion was clearly frustrated and felt he had missed an opportunity.

Both drivers pitted again on Lap 43, Sainz coming in a lap later. The race resumed after a safety car was deployed after an Alpha Tauri caught fire.

With Verstappen facing battery and steering problems, Sainz overtook him. It was a final 1-2 for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc homed in for Ferrari for the first win after Sebastian Vettel’s Singapore victory in 2019. The third podium place was taken by Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.