Lewis Hamilton wins at Bahrain Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix, his first of the season, but it was a win the British driver largely inherited after a heartbreaking mechanical problem for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
The Ferrari driver had a marvellous run under the floodlights of the Sakhir Circuit from pole and looked on course to win until an energy recovery system failure severely curtailed his pace. He finished third.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was second while Sebastian Vettel could manage only fifth after a spin late in the race. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fifth.
Leclerc took the extra point for the fastest lap, and Hamilton’s win puts him just one point behind Bottas who leads the world championship.
Ferrari looked strong across the meeting and Leclerc had done everything required for the 21-year-old to take his debut win until Ferrari’s power unit proved fallible. Hamilton, up against it all weekend, skilfully ensured he remained in the mix throughout and drove a very strong race, including pressuring Vettel into an error.
It had been a tense and at times dramatic encounter and Hamilton expressed his sympathy for Leclerc. “It was extremely unfortunate for Charles,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do.”
This is Hamilton’s 74th career victory and the third time he has won the Bahrain Grand Prix, having won for Mercedes in 2014 and 2015.He was disappointed with his second place to Bottas at the opening round in Australia, when he lost the lead to the Finn off the start and then suffered damage to the floor of his car.
Mercedes had been outpaced by Ferrari across practice and qualifying, with Hamilton noting his team were lacking straightline speed to the Scuderia in particular. He was pleased to come within three-hundredths of Vettel’s time in qualifying and had been optimistic that he could challenge in race pace, but he and Mercedes know that this was an unlikely win. (The Guardian)