In an absolutely gutting moment for Scuderia Ferrari, Charles Leclerc missed on his first-ever Formula 1 win in the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix as Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas passed the driver to take a 1-2 finish. Leclerc did manage to finish on the podium coming in third, but only as a consolation to his fantastic drive through the 57 lap race. The pole-sitter led right from the first lap only to face an engine issue in the closing stages, which cost him his maiden win in the championship.
A poor start put Sebastian Vettel in the lead at Turn 1 passing Leclerc, who was down to fourth behind Bottas. Nevertheless, the young Ferrari driver was not short on pace today and recovered to take second by the start of the second lap. Vettel was leading the race meanwhile, but Leclerc was certain of being faster and passed his teammate on Lap 6 to take the lead once again. The driver seemed cemented to the position even as the other drivers battled for other positions behind him.
Meanwhile, Hamilton was catching on the Ferraris and was closing in on Vettel, who slipped to third in the early stages behind the W10. The duo battled ice the next few laps changing positions for P2, while Leclerc stuck to P1 with an 8-second lead over rest of the pack. By Lap 35, Vettel had completed his second pitstop while in third place and joined back with Hamilton behind him. However, a tussle with Hamilton on Lap 38 for P3 ended up in both drivers spinning on Turn 4. While Vettel lost time in the incident, a contact with George Russell saw the former losing his front wing, forcing him back into the pits for repairs.
The Ferrari driver couldn't recover from the same and eventually finished a lowly fifth at the end of the race. Leclerc seemed Ferrari's only hope now and the driver was gunning it at the front until disaster struck with five laps to go. The driver reported loss of power on the radio, which saw him limping to the finish line. With four laps left, Hamilton caught up with Leclerc and passed him to take his first win of the season, and was followed by Bottas not long after. Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen was hot on Leclerc's tail but couldn't pass him to take P3 as a double disaster from Renault on the penultimate lap saw the race finishing under safety conditions, negating any overtakes on the final lap. Leclerc also managed to pick up an additional point having set the fastest lap in the race.
Verstappen settled for fourth at the end of the race, followed by Vettel in fifth place. Meanwhile, Land Norris of McLaren took an excellent finish taking sixth place with Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen beating Red Bull's Pierre Gasly to finish seventh. Alex Albon also took his first points ever at P8 with Racing Point driver Sergio Perez taking the last point at P10.
Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi finished at P11, ahead of Torro Rosso's Danill Kvyat and Haas driver Kevin Magnussen. Racing Point's Lance Stroll finished 14th, ahead of both the Williams cars of George Russell and Robert Kubica. Apart from Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, the other non-finishers in the race were Carlos Sainz Jr of McLaren and Romain Grosjean of Haas.
2019 Formula 1 Bahrain GP Provisional Results
|3||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing|
|9||Alex Albon||Torro Rosso|
|10||Sergio Perez||Racing Point|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Torro Rosso|
|14||Lance Stroll||Racing Point|
|Ret.||Carlos Sainz Jr||McLaren|