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Charles Leclerc played brilliant prank on Ferrari during last lap of Bahrain GP win

Ferrari star Charles Leclerc secured the perfect start to the new era of Formula 1 for the Maranello-based team with his win in Bahrain – but he gave his team a mean scare in the process

Charles Leclerc played a joke on his engineers as he cruised to victory in Bahrain last weekend
Charles Leclerc played a joke on his engineers as he cruised to victory in Bahrain last weekend

Charles Leclerc played a mean joke on his Ferrari engineers on the final lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Monegasque driver was powering to victory in the opening race of the new Formula 1 season when he radioed his team that his engine was broken. The mere suggestion of such issues would have undoubtedly worried Ferrari, particularly after Leclerc himself suffered engine issues that robbed him of the win at Bahrain in 2019.

Leclerc had secured a sensational pole position on Saturday and he held onto the race lead when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen challenged him in an epic battle. The world champion later suffered a fuel pump failure and retired while Leclerc was joined on the podium by teammate Carlos Sainz and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

“I did a bit of a joke on the radio on the last lap, saying that there was something strange with the engine,” Leclerc said. “It gave a heart attack to some of the engineers I’m sure, but everything was fine.

“So yeah, very happy that this time we brought it home.”

Ferrari secured a famous one-two for the first time since the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix as Leclerc’s teammate Sainz came home in second. The Spaniard is set to receive a new contract with the Italian motorsport giants after impressing since switching from McLaren ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Charles Leclerc held off world champion Max Verstappen in Bahrain


Getty Images)

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When asked if he was close to agreeing a new deal with Ferrari, Sainz said: “We are very, very close. Extremely close. Nearly there.”

Team principal Mattia Binotto confirmed the deal has been agreed and that the contract simply needs to be drawn up for Sainz and all parties to sign.

The Italian added: “We found an agreement, it’s only a matter to translate it into paper.”

After securing his maiden world championship in 2021, Verstappen competed for the race lead with Ferrari’s Leclerc. The two sensationally sparred on the track, exchanging the lead several times before the Monegasque driver held on.

Leclerc came home with a superb victory but mechanical issues affected Verstappen’s Red Bull. The Dutchman was passed by Sainz to secure a Ferrari one-two before Verstappen’s car had to be retired.

The 22-race 2022 campaign continues this weekend with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on March 27.

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