Despite struggling for pace all weekend at the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton managed to capitalise on Oracle Red Bull Racing’s woes and salvage an unexpected third place. Team-mate George Russell finished right behind in fourth at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Hamilton who started fifth, made an excellent start and was quickly in fourth ahead of Sergio Pérez, it wasn’t long though until the Mexican was back past and driving off into the distance. Hamilton’s race quickly became a lonely one, after using the hard compound for his second stint, both Hamilton and Russell struggled with tyre degradation.
Just when it was beginning to look like a fifth place finish for Hamilton, Pierre Gasly’s Scuderia AlphaTauri went up in flames, bringing out a late Safety Car. This kicked-off a plethora of late drama, with Max Verstappen retiring straight from the Safety Car restart with a reliability issue, before Pérez spun on the final lap again down to a fault with the car.
It all meant that despite being well off the leading pace, Hamilton clinched yet another podium and the first for the W13.
Hamilton couldn’t believe he was on the podium with the Scuderia Ferrari duo; Charles Leclerc won the race ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, but believes that soon enough he will be back fighting for victories.
“A big, big congratulations to Ferrari, I’m so happy to see them doing well again, they are such a historic and epic team. It was a difficult race for us today, we’ve struggled throughout practice and this is really the best result we could have got. Of course it was unfortunate for the other two drivers but we did the best we could and we are grateful for these points.
“I know the guys are working really hard back at the factory and it is not going to be a quick turnaround but we’ve been the best unified team for so long, we all know to just keep your head down, keep working, there’s a long way to go. We’ve got to maximise our weekends and at some point, we’ll be back in the fight.”
“We’re half a second behind” – George Russell
For George Russell it was a good start to the 2022 season, the British driver who started in a disappointing ninth, quickly made his way up to sixth after a strong start to the race.
After making his way to sixth in rapid fashion, it was then a lonely race for Russell, very similarly to his team-mate. For brief moments it appeared that the new Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver may come under pressure from an incredible Kevin Magnussen, however it wasn’t to be. Russell did manage to make his way up to fourth at the end of the race, thanks to the double retirement that Red Bull suffered.
Russell believes his race was a good one, but like his experienced team-mate, believes that the team really need to find something special to be on the same level as Ferrari and Red Bull.
“It was a positive race, I made a good start and then Lewis and I were on a race of our own, albeit on different strategies. We came home with a P3 and P4 for the team which we would have definitely taken prior to the weekend so in a long championship, we can be pleased with how today went. Considering we’re half a second behind in qualifying and probably the same, if not more, on race pace, it was a good damage limitation weekend.
“There’s a lot of potential in the car and we really need to dig down into the data and understand how to extract the performance. We recognise our rivals are a long way ahead of us, we know what the overall limitations of the car are, and we won’t settle until we have the chance of the win.”