Formula One: Leclerc Wins the First Grand Prix of the Season in Bahrain

Bahrain Grand Prix Race Summary

Charles Leclerc managed to overcome a close battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as he went on to win the first 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship Grand Prix of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The Ferrari team also took a one-two in the positions during the weekend but it was Leclerc and Verstappen who provided the exciting action as they were wheel to wheel after their first pit stop. Leclerc was able to move ahead after the two drivers swapped places 5 times in 2 laps.

Unfortunately for Verstappen, he had to retire following problems with his car in the closing laps and so Carlos Sainz was able to pip the second spot with Lewis Hamilton getting the last podium finish for Mercedes.

Hamilton was even lucky to get the third as the Red Bull team’s driver Sergio Perez was experiencing major car problems in the last lap. Hamilton had pacing problems during the race and he looked like finishing fifth only for Red Bull’s problems gave him an unexpected boost.

Leclerc, however, fully deserved his victory and it displayed the French man’s quality going into the new season as a bright light for the new generation of drivers.

Ferrari would have a real chance of going staying competitive this season if Leclerc can stay consistent throughout the 23 race season.

Red Bull’s Problems

Verstappen had the chance to grab second place but the problems with his car in the final 3 laps dashed his chances.

The Dutchman did try to battle with Leclerc early on to establish the lead but it set out to be a frustrating day for the Red Bull team.

After problems with the steering and battery, he had to drive to the pits in the last 3 laps as Sainz moved into second while Perez was holding his position in third. The Mexican was looking to secure his position but his car spun in the final lap as his engine stopped working which allowed Hamilton to overtake him into third.

Red Bull’s Team Principal, Christian Horner, stated that he had no clue what happened with both cars but he thought it may be a problem with the fuel system.

Verstappen said: “It looked like there was no fuel coming to the engine and everything just turned off so I just rolled into the pit lane.”

Battle for 1st Place

Leclerc managed to snatch the pole position over Verstappen in the final lap of qualifying and held of the Dutchman’s final charge in the first corner before establishing his lead in the first stint.

He was 3.7 seconds in front of Verstappen before the Red Bull driver took his first pit stop but last season’s Grand Prix winner was on his tail once the French took the next pit stop.

At the start of lap 17, Verstappen took his chance to take the lead in Turn One before Leclerc repassed him outside Turn Four via cutting across the Red Bull car.

It was another similar lap in the next lap as once again Verstappen passed him in Turn One before The French once again passed in Turn Four by driving to the inside.

Once again in lap 19, the Red Bull driver tried to pass Leclerc in Turn One but his front wheels got locked and he slid straight on which allowed Leclerc to maintain his lead.

From then on, The Ferrari car had too much pace for Verstappen which led to Red Bull fitting soft tyres on for both their driving for the last 10 laps of the rest.

Leclerc managed to maintain his lead after the safety car had to be deployed when Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri went up in flames.

The Ferrari driver held off all competition in the final laps to win his first Grand Prix of 2022 and what a win it was.

Williams Racing Performance

On his debut for Williams, Alex Albon finished 13th in the new FW44, with teammate Nicholas Latifi finishing 16th. Both started on soft Pirelli tyres.

Albon started in 14th and ran a three-stop race, taking a new set of medium tyres on laps 13 and 35. He made his final stop under the Safety Car, switching to the soft compound on lap 46.

Latifi started in 20th and also pitted three times, initially boxing on lap 14 for the soft compound, before stopping for the medium tyre on lap 32. Under the Safety Car he boxed on lap 45, taking a new set of soft Pirelli tyres.

What they said:

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance:

It has been a tough evening in Bahrain, but we got both cars to the end, and at times showed some reasonable pace. Alex made a good start and made some places early in the race. Unfortunately, today we didn’t have the pace to hold on. However, we were able to race competitively with both the McLarens and the Aston Martins, which was an improvement from what we saw at the test last week.

Nicholas raced hard as he always does but struggled to find a sustainable pace without the tyre degradation becoming unmanageable. Alex was calm and collected throughout the race and he has had an excellent start to his Williams career. Qualifying and racing with a new team is never straightforward as there are so many procedures to learn and relationships to form. However, after solid simulator and winter testing programmes, he was able to acquit himself very well all weekend. There is more to come from the drivers and the car over the coming weeks, but this was a solid start for the whole team, and we are now looking forward to the very different challenges posed by Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Alex Albon:

My first Formula One race with Williams went pretty well; it felt like we did a good job and really maximised what we had. I had a good start and managed to make up a few positions, so I was pushing hard. Inevitably, a few faster cars overtook and we slipped back down a couple of places, but it’s a step forward considering the struggles we had last week. We knew it was going to be a difficult weekend, so to come out P13 with no reliability issues is something we should be pleased with.

Nicholas Latifi:

It was a tricky day and it’s clear we’re not starting off as strong as we would have liked. We’ve been lacking pace, struggling with overall grip, balance and tyre degradation, so we need to work out how we extract more out of the package we have now and have a real push to react as soon as possible to bring some more speed to the car. Jeddah will be a different kind of track and one that should suit us a bit better, but we’re still going to be going there with a similar package. I’m sure we’ll be able to optimise it more, knowing what we’ve learnt here, but I suspect it will still be tough. It’s a 23 race season though, so there’s plenty of time to claw things back.

Bahrain Grand Prix Results

Track: Bahrain International Circuit, BahrainWeather: Warm & dry conditions
Lap Length: 5.412 kmTemperature: Air: 22-24°C Track: 26-29°C
PosDriverTeamTime/Gap (Fastest Lap)GridTyre Changes
1.C. LeclercScuderia Ferrari1:37:33.584
13 (15, 31, 46)
2.C. SainzScuderia Ferrari+5.598
33 (14, 33, 44)
3.L. HamiltonMercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team+9.675
53 (11, 27, 44)
13.A. AlbonWilliams Racing+53.932
143 (13, 35, 46)
16.N. LatifiWilliams Racing+61.795
203 (14, 32, 45)


2022 FIA Formula One World Championship Schedule

120-Mar-22Bahrain Grand PrixBahrain IC, Sakhir
227-Mar-22Saudi Arabia Grand PrixJeddah Street Circuit, Jeddah
310-Apr-22Australian Grand PrixMelbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne
424-Apr-22Emilia Romagna Grand PrixImola
508-May-22Miami Grand PrixMiami International Autodrome, Miami
622-May-22Spanish Grand PrixCircuit de Catalunya, Barcelona
729-May-22Monaco Grand PrixMonte Carlo, Monaco
812-Jun-22Azerbaijan Grand PrixBaku City Circuit, Baku
919-Jun-22Canadian Grand PrixGilles Villeneuve, Montreal
1003-Jul-22British Grand PrixSilverstone
1110-Jul-22Austrian Grand PrixRed Bull Ring, Spielberg
1224-Jul-22French Grand PrixCircuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet
1331-Jul-22Hungarian Grand PrixHungaroring, Mogyorod
1428-Aug-22Belgian Grand PrixSpa-Francorchamps, Francorchamps
1504-Sep-22Dutch Grand PrixZandvoort
1611-Sep-22Italian Grand PrixMonza
1702-Oct-22Singapore Grand PrixMarina Bay, Singapore
1809-Oct-22Japanese Grand PrixSuzuka
1923-Oct-22United States Grand PrixCircuit of the Americas, Austin
2030-Oct-22Mexican Grand PrixAutodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City
2113-Nov-22Brazilian Grand PrixInterlagos, Sao Paulo
2220-Nov-22Abu Dhabi Grand PrixYas Marina, Abu Dhabi