Bahrain Grand Prix: Hamilton – Bottas – VettelApril 1, 2019
The alignment of forces in the first two stages of the season in Melbourne and Bahrain turned out to be traditionally different. Two weeks ago in Australia was dominated by racers Mercedes, and in Sakhir the top lines of all the sessions of the weekend were for Ferrari.
On Friday, the protocol was headed by Leclaire and Vettel, and on Saturday only young Monegasque was in the lead – in the third training session, and in the course of all three qualifying sessions.
Leclaire became the second youngest pole owner in the history of Formula 1, winning the qualification in 21 years 5 months and 15 days. Sebastian Vettel’s record (21 years, 2 months and 11 days) withstood and is unlikely to be beaten in the near future.
Qualification in Bahrain allowed to assess the balance of power, but over the past ten years, the holder of the pole only four times won this race. In 2019, the third DRS zone was used for the first time on the highway, although there were no problems with overtaking in Sakhir before.
From the first row of the starting field, the race was started by Leclaire and Vettel, from the second – Hamilton and Bottas, from the third – Verstappen and Magnussen. By car Kvyat before the decisive attempt in qualifying, the team forgot to replace the tires, Daniel had to break the circle – he started only the 15th.
Roman Grosjean qualified eighth, but received a penalty with the loss of three places at the start and one penalty point for blocking Lando Norris in qualifying.
The weather during the weekend was traditionally hot, but on Sunday the wind increased significantly, which affected the handling of the cars.
Tire workers in Bahrain brought the toughest compositions – Hard, Medium and Soft, this time were C1, C2 and C3. The difference between the teams was great, in the qualification of all the riders used only Soft. In the race Kubica started on Medium, everyone else started the race on Soft.
At the start Vettel took the lead. Leclaire ceded his position to his partner, then to Bottas. Sebastian quickly pulled away, and Leclaire was able to beat Valtteri. Bottas followed with a partner.
Grosjean and Stroll turned into the pits after the starting incident, replacing the rubber.
Top ten in the 2nd round: Vettel – Leclaire – Hamilton – Bottas – Verstappen – Sainz – Magnussen – Raikkonen – Riccardo – Perez.
On the 4th lap, Sainz damaged the car in the fight for the fifth position with Verstappen and slowly returned to the pits, replacing the rubber. Stewards left the incident without consequences.
On lap 5, Leclaire closed the gap with Vettel, used the DRS and beat his partner ahead, leading the race. Charles quickly pulled away, securing himself from the counter attack.
On the 9th lap, Perez replaced the rubber. Norris ahead of Magnussen in the fight for ninth place.
On the 10th lap Raikkonen, Gasli and Elbon made a pit stop, on the 11th – Norris and Magnussen, on the 12th – Verstappen and Kubica, on the 13th – Bottas and Hulkenberg.
On the 13th lap, Kvyat flew off the track after contact with Giovinazzi and turned into the pits, replacing the rubber. Daniel exceeded the speed in the pit lane, receiving a five-second penalty. Verstappen ahead of Bottas in the fight for fifth place.
On lap 14, Leclair and Hamilton changed tires. Bottas overtook Verstappen, returning the position.
On the 15th lap, Vettel made a pit stop, returning to the track behind Hamilton.
On the 17th lap, Giovinazzi replaced the rubber. Grosjean stopped the car in the pits and dropped out of the fight.
On lap 19, Hamilton flew off the track, losing seconds, but kept his position.
On lap 21, Hulkenberg beat out Raikkonen in the fight for seventh place. Extinguished Peres in the fight for the 10th.
Lewis complained about the problems with the tires, Vettel reduced the backlog and on the 23rd round came forward.
On the 25th lap, Stroll and Riccardo changed tires.
Top ten in the 25th round: Leclaire – Vettel – Hamilton – Bottas – Verstappen – Hulkenberg – Raikkonen – Norris – Extinguished – Perez.
At the 26th round, Sainz and Elbon made a pit stop. Norris ahead of Raikkonen in the fight for the seventh position.
On lap 28, Russell made a pit stop, on lap 29, Kubica.
On lap 30, Riccardo beat Magnussen ahead in 11th place.
On the 33rd lap, Hulkenberg and Verstappen changed tires – Max had a hitch with the mounting of the front left wheel. Returning to the track, Verstappen ahead of Raikkonen.
On the 34th lap Raikkonen and Perez had a pit stop, on the 35th – Hamilton and Norris.
On lap 35, Raikkonen and Elbon beat Kvyat ahead.
On the 36th lap Vettel changed the tires, returning to the track ahead of Hamilton.
On the 37th lap, Leclaire made a pit stop, retaining the lead in the race.
Hamilton caught up and attacked Vettel, Sebastian did not leave room to the opponent and retained the position.
On lap 38, Bottas made a pit stop.
Hamilton overtook Vettel with a repeated attack, whose car was turned over after overtaking, and then lost his front wing for no apparent reason on a straight Ferrari. Sebastian turned into the pits, getting new tires and a nose fairing.
At the 39th round Kvyat and Magnussen held a pit stop, on the 40th – went out.
The top ten at the 40th round: Leclaire – Hamilton – Bottas – Verstappen – Hulkenberg – Riccardo – Norris – Vettel – Raikkonen – Elbon.
On the 41st lap, Giovinazzi replaced the rubber. Vettel beat Norris and Riccardo. At the 42nd, Sainz made a pit stop.
At lap 43, Kvyat beat Magnussen ahead, and Vettel beat Hulkenberg.
On lap 45, Norris and Raikkonen beat Riccardo.
Top ten at the 46th round: Leclaire – Hamilton – Bottas – Verstappen – Vettel – Hulkenberg – Norris – Raikkonen – Riccardo – Extinguished.
On the 46th lap, Leckler, the leader in the race, complained about problems with the engine, his pace fell for a few seconds.
Hamilton quickly reduced the gap from Leclair and on the 48th lap stepped forward, leading the race.
Ten seconds before the finish, Bottas was 28 seconds behind LeCleur, winning five seconds per lap. In the Ferrari asked Charles to be careful – and get to the finish line.
Extinguished Riccardo ahead in the fight for the ninth position.
On lap 54, Bottas beat out Lecler, who lost his speed in the fight for second place.
On the 56th lap, both Renault cars stopped on the track and dropped out of the fight – the power units suddenly switched off.
I left the safety car, not letting Verstappen, who had reached the distance of the attack, beat LeCler.
At lap 56, Sainz stopped the car in the pits and dropped out of the fight.
The race finished behind the safety car.
Lewis Hamilton won the race in Bahrain, winning the first victory of the season and 74th career. Valtteri Bottas climbed to the second step of the podium – Mercedes has the second consecutive double victory. Charles Leclaire dominated in the course of the weekend, but was only the third, for the first time in his career, rising to the podium.
Debutants Lando Norris and Alexander Elbon earned their first points in Formula 1.
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