Charles Leclerc has won an epic Bahrain Grand Prix, with his teammate making it a 1-2 and a lucky Lewis Hamilton finishing third.

Racing in the 2022 season kicked off at the Bahrain International Circuit for the start of, as the series calls it, a new era.

The stage was set after a crazy qualifying session and the lights went off for the action to unfold. Charles Leclerc started on the pole and defended his position well, keeping Max Verstappen behind him.

Further back, Kevin Magnussen made an impressive start and gained two positions, keeping Red Bull’s Perez and Mercedes’ Russell behind him. However, both drivers came back laps later and re-claimed their positions.

Esteban Ocon and Mick Schumacher protagonized an incident, in which the French driver spun the German around at the start. The Alpine was later given a 5-second time penalty.

For McLaren, it was a nightmare start – the popular drivers struggled through the opening stages and placed 18th and 20th by lap 8.

For Bottas the happiness didn’t last for long – the Finnish driver placed P14 by lap 2, and his former teammate Lewis Hamilton was 4th ahead of Perez.

Verstappen wasn’t as comfortable driving his Red Bull – the Dutch driver reported issues with his engine brake on lap 4, stating through the radio it was doing “funny things.”

The first pit spot came from Hamilton on lap 12, with his team fitting the hard tires in a bid for a longer stint. The Mercedes struggled on his way out and went deep on turn 1, allowing Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou to pass him, but he later recovered the spot with DRS through the straight on the next lap.

Leclerc pit on lap 15 and went out still on top, but a charging Max Verstappen was behind him with a gap of less than a second. The battle was on.

The Dutch driver then overtook the Monegasque through the main straight with DRS but then the Ferrari charged back and recovered the top spot later in the same lap.

And it repeated – Verstappen and Leclerc exchanged positions multiple times, but the Red Bull was feeling the pressure and locked up down the main straight in an attempt to claim the top spot, and lost some time to the Ferrari.

Leclerc went in for another pit stop on lap 32 and went out behind Sergio Perez, who placed second, and Sainz who was on top.

Lap 34 saw Sainz and Perez both pitting, allowing Leclerc back in the lead and Verstappen behind him, who’s been told he was free to push.

Meanwhile further back, Kevin Magnussen with Haas was performing well and keeping it inside the top 10.

Lap 46 saw Pierre Gasly’s car overheat and catch fire, prompting a Safety Car and teams rushing to take advantage in strategy.

The race resumed on lap 51 and it was Leclerc on top with Verstappen, with issues, charging behind him. Carlos Sainz saw an opportunity to overtake the Dutchman on the main straight but missed out on the opponent’s defense.

The Spaniard finally overtook Verstappen on lap 54 as the Red Bull reported battery problems to his team. He then lost power and went into the pits, retiring from the race.

Sergio Perez spun through the last lap and the race ended with Charles Leclerc on top, with his teammate Sainz in second and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton third.

Full results:

PosDriverTeamTime/Gap
1Charles LeclercFerrari1:37:33.584
2Carlos SainzFerrari+5.598
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes+9.675
4George RussellMercedes+11.211
5Kevin MagnussenHaas+14.754
6Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo+16.119
7Esteban OconAlpine+19.423
8Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri+20.386
9Fernando AlonsoAlpine+22.390
10Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo+23.064
11Mick SchumacherHaas+32.574
12Lance StrollAston Martin+45.873
13Alexander AlbonWilliams+53.932
14Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+54.975
15Lando NorrisMcLaren+56.335
16Nicholas LatifiWilliams+1:01.795
17Nico HulkenbergAston Martin+1:03.829
18Sergio PerezRed BullDNF
19Max VerstappenRed BullDNF
20Pierre GaslyAlphaTauriDNF

Founder and CEO of ASN Motorsports. From Balcarce, Argentina - I love motorsports, especially Formula 1, and through ASN I share my passion with the world.