Charles Leclerc won the season opener as he led a Scuderia Ferrari 1-2 at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
Carlos Sainz stayed in the hunt and passed Max Verstappen in the final laps. Lewis Hamilton secured an unlikely podium position as both Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers retired in the final laps.
The race started under the lights in cool conditions with air temperatures at 24 degrees C and track temperatures at 30 degrees C at the Bahrain International Circuit. Leclerc was on pole position with Verstappen on the first row. Sainz and Sergio Pérez started on the second row.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were on the third row. Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, George Russell and Pierre Gasly started at the sharp end of the grid.
The new 18-inch Pirelli tyres for this race is from the hardest range of Pirelli tyres. The Pirelli tyre choice for the race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C1), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C2), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C3).
Under the new rules this season, the drivers have a free choice of tyres to start the race. They do not have to start the race on the same set of tyres on which the fastest lap was set in the second qualification session. All the drivers except the McLaren F1 team drivers started on the soft compound tyres.
Leclerc made a good start and led Verstappen and Sainz into Turn 1. Hamilton and Magnussen gained a place ahead of Pérez even as Bottas fell to fourteenth place.
Leclerc managed to keep out of DRS-range and stayed ahead of Verstappen. Pérez overtook Hamilton on the tenth lap and the Briton pitted on the next lap for the hard compound tyres.
At the end of lap 14, Verstappen and Sainz pitted for the soft compound tyres. Leclerc pitted from the lead on the next lap and stayed ahead of Verstappen, but with a reduced gap.
Leclerc and Verstappen then over several laps were engaged in a gripping battle as they passed and repassed each other. Verstappen flat-spotted his tyres and Leclerc extended his lead to four seconds.
Both drivers pitted for a second time with Leclerc retaining his lead. Leclerc gradually built his lead to four seconds. Verstappen pitted for a third time for the soft compound tyres. Ferrari brought in Sainz to cover Verstappen and Pérez but left Leclerc out.
The Safety Car was deployed as Gasly stopped out on the track with the back of his car on fire. Leclerc pitted and rejoined in the lead. Verstappen complained about steering wheel issues and was told by the Red Bull pitwall to manage the issue.
On lap 51 of 57 laps the race restarted and Leclerc led the way. Verstappen was under pressure from Sainz. Hamilton was within DRS-range of Pérez after the restart.
With two laps to go, Verstappen retired from the race with steering wheel and battery problems. Sainz took second position behind team-mate Leclerc. Pérez then spun around on the track as his engine cut out and Hamilton sailed past him to take the last podium position.
Leclerc won the opening race of the season as he led a Ferrari 1-2. This is the first win for the Italian team since 2019. Hamilton finished in third position ahead of team-mate Russell.
Magnussen finished in fifth position for the Haas F1 team as the team scored their first points since 2020. Bottas finished in sixth position in his debut race for the Alfa Romeo Racing team.
Esteban Ocon and Alonso finished in seventh and ninth positions for the BWT Alpine F1 team. Yuki Tsunoda finished in eighth position for the Scuderia AlphaTauri team. Zhou Guanyu finished in tenth position and scored a point in his debut race.
Ferrari has made a great start to the season under the new regulations. Red Bull Racing has come a cropper in the first race as reliability issues led to DNFs for both drivers. The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team has a lot of work to do to close the gap to both these teams.
2022 Bahrain GP Race Results:
|1||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:37:33.584||57||26|
|2||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||+5.598s||57||18|
|3||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+9.675s||57||15|
|4||63||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+11.211s||57||12|
|5||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||+14.754s||57||10|
|6||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||+16.119s||57||8|
|7||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+19.423s||57||6|
|8||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+20.386s||57||4|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+22.390s||57||2|
|10||24||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo Racing||+23.064s||57||1|
|11||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Haas F1 Team||+32.574s||57||0|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team||+45.873s||57||0|
|13||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Williams Racing||+53.932s||57||0|
|14||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||+54.975s||57||0|
|15||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+56.335s||57||0|
|16||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||+61.795s||57||0|
|17||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team||+63.829s||57||0|
|18||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||DNF||56||0|
|19||1||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||DNF||54||0|
|NC||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri||DNF||44||0|