After 2 years without a victory Ferrari returned to the top of the podium with Charles Leclerc who secured the race weekend triple crown of pole position, fastest lap and victory at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix. And to round off the day, Carlos Sainz finished second for Ferrari to underscore the Scuderia’s performance uplift is now the class of the field. Red Bull gave Ferrari a fight with Max Verstappen giving Leclerc something to sweat about as the rivals battled for position for two laps early on in the race.
But ultimately Ferrari has a clear advantage over the Red Bull. As opposed to the last two years there was no race performance lag and Leclerc was able to fend off any challenge Verstappen could muster. In the end it was the Red Bull that felt the heat as Verstappen’s challenge ultimately melted. The Red Bull suffered an engine failure with just three laps to go.
That left Sergio Perez to prop up Red Bull’s podium hopes. Towards the end of the race, both Ferrari’s were firmly established in the top two. Perez was sitting comfortably in third, but on the last lap his engine broke which locked the rear wheels and pitched the Red Bull into a spin and stall.
That meant Lewis Hamilton swept to a third place finish. It was a lucky and gifted podium finish for Mercedes who benefitted from the retirements of both Red Bulls. Mercedes are the third best team on the grid having not gotten to grips with the new era regulations.
Mercedes are having to adjust to a complete reversal of fortune for the 2022 F1 season. The 8 times in-a-row constructors championship winners are struggling to unlock the pace of the Mercedes which remains hidden away under a complex interpretation of the new ground-effect era rules.
Nevertheless, Ferrari has returned to the top of the podium. The team spent 2021 planning their return as they watched Red Bull and Mercedes fight for the championship to the last race. The work has paid off, Ferrari now enters the first race of 2022 as the clear benchmark. Can they maintain it over the course of a year?
2022 Bahrain Grand Prix Race Results:
1. Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:37:33.584
2. Carlos Sainz Ferrari 5.598s
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 9.675s
4. George Russell Mercedes 11.211s
5. Kevin Magnussen Haas 14.754s
6. Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing 16.119s
7. Esteban Ocon Alpine 19.423s
8. Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 20.386s
9. Fernando Alonso Alpine 22.390s
10. Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing 23.064s
11. Lance Stroll Aston Martin 45.873s
12. Mick Schumacher Haas 32.574s
13. Alex Albon1 Williams 53.932s
14. Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 54.975s
15. Lando Norris McLaren 56.335s
16. Nicholas Latifi Williams 61.795s
17. Nico Hulkenberg Aston Martin 63.829s
Sergio Perez,Red Bull: engine failiure
Max Verstappen, Red Bull: engine failiure
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri: engine fire