Ferrari are winners in Formula 1 again as Charles Leclerc takes victory in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
- Charles Leclerc achieved his third win in Formula 1
- Both Red Bull cars failed to finish after retiring late
- Daniel Ricciardo struggled in his McLaren, finishing 14th
Leclerc converted pole position into Ferrari’s first victory in 46 grand prix, with his teammate, Carlos Sainz, coming second.
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez retired late with engine issues.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo’s shocking weekend continued, with his McLaren looking slow as he finished 14th in Bahrain.
Leclerc was the class driver all weekend, showing the Ferrari was quick in qualifying and in the race.
The Monegasque driver said the start of the new season could not be better, after a couple of lean years for the Italian outfit.
“The last two years have been incredibly difficult for the team and we knew this was going to be a big opportunity,” Leclerc said.
“Pole position, victory, fastest lap, one-two with Carlos [Sainz]we couldn’t hope for better.
“It’s incredible to be back at the top.”
Teammate Sainz did not look like he would finish above third with 15 laps to go, but troubles for Red Bull allowed the Spaniard to climb to second in a gritty performance.
“Ferrari’s back and it’s properly back,” Sainz said.
“The hard work is paying off and we are there.”
The Spaniard said he had a “tricky” weekend and needed to improve ahead of next weekend’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
Leclerc and Verstappen were having a race-long battle at the front of the grid, as the pair pulled away from Sainz in third and Perez in fourth.
The Ferrari driver looked set to hold off the reigning world champion for the win, before a safety car came out when Pierre Gasly’s car caught fire.
When the safety car was pulled in, there were seven laps to go, but Verstappen was complaining about engine issues.
The Dutchman lost power and retired with three laps to go, with his teammate following suit on the last lap.
Along with Gasly, it meant three of the four cars powered by Red Bull did not finish.
Mercedes’ champion, Lewis Hamilton, benefited from Red Bull’s disaster, finishing third, despite being as much as 35 seconds off the lead at one stage.
McLaren shocker as Ricciardo’s horror start to the season continues
The struggles of McLaren continued during Monday morning’s race, with Ricciardo and teammate Lando Norris finishing 14th and 15th respectively.
They battled at the rear of the field for the whole race, never threatening to be in the points.
It follows an awful qualifying session the previous day and a disrupted pre-season testing session.
Both drivers were hampered at the start of the race, needing to drive off track to avoid a potential accident.
However, both McLarens could not find pace to climb up the field.
“The race was just tricky,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports F1.
“Obviously, we are not where we want to be, but we just have to work, figure it out and try and improve as quick as possible.”
McLaren will not have much time to fix their issues before the second race of the season next weekend.