Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix today, making it his 74th career victory. It is his third here at the Bahrain International Circuit and his first of the 2019 season. Valtteri Bottas took second place, making it a Mercedes 1-2, following a strong drive from Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari, who came third, following an issue with his Ferrari’s engine, allowing Lewis Hamilton to pass him 10 laps from the end. Sebastian Vettel had a disappointing race, losing his front wing in dramatic fashion with sparks flying, to finish fifth, behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. McLaren looked stronger this weekend, with Lando Norris finishing in a superb sixth place.
Today’s Bahrain Grand Prix is also the 175th win and 450th podium position for Mercedes-Benz Power in Formula One.
The standings after the first two races therefore have Valtteri Bottas leading the Drivers’ Championship with 44 points, one point ahead of Lewis Hamilton, whilst the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team lead the Constructors’ Championship with 87 points with Ferrari second with 48 points.
After the race, Lewis Hamilton commented, “It was very tricky out there today and I had to give it everything I had. We were very, very lucky to get this 1-2, Ferrari outperformed us all weekend. Ultimately you want to have a real fight and want to pass someone because you’re quicker, so it feels a bit weird and you can’t quite believe your luck in these scenarios. I have been in similar situations and I know how it feels, but Charles did a great job all weekend long and has a beautiful, bright future ahead of him. We’ve only had two races; one where we were rapid and far ahead, one where Ferrari had the upper hand. It’s hard to say how the next races are going to pan out, but I anticipate that it will be a tough fight and that it will be a back and forth between the two teams. We need to keep working hard to see where we went wrong this weekend and to see where we can improve the car. But as we saw again today, reliability also plays an important role, so we need to keep working on all areas. We’ll take the points we got today and move forward to China.”
Unfortunately, the Haas F1 Team did not fair so well this weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix following Kevin Magnussen’s strong sixth place qualifying position yesterday and his sixth place finish in the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago. He struggled to find a decent pace but managed to finish 13th whilst his team mate Romain Grosjean did not fair so well following a coming together in the opening lap when Racing Point driver Lance Stroll made heavy contact with his car, puncturing the left-rear tyre and forcing him to pit. This put Grosjean in 20th and at the back of the race. The damage eventually forced him to retire on lap 16, his second consecutive retirement.
The next race in the calendar is the Chinese Grand Prix on 14th April at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man Behind The Wheel and Our Man On The Ground Travel and Lifestyle Magazine.
Photographs courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (Wolfgang Wilhelm and Steve Etherington) and Haas F1 Team