|F1 Bahrain GP| 2022 race analysis:
Ferrari sweeps top spots and Charles Leclerc wins as Red Bull cars falter late
Race results. F1 Bahrain GP 2022.
F1 2022 GP race results: Leclerc wins wild Bahrain GP 2022
Leclerc: “I want to believe the title”
Probably not even in the most “extreme” dreams would the Ferrari environment have hoped for a double win at the dawn (Bahrain GP 2022) of the new generation Formula One. From the first day of Spanish tests it was understood that the F1-75 was a solid, very solid car. It’s fast. Having solved the initial aerodynamic pumping problems, the Red was able to immediately unfold its technical potential which was built on a lethal mix for the competition: aerodynamic efficiency, cornering stability and a power unit that pushes like a bull.
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Το engine is one of the secrets of this single-seater. And confirmation also comes from the brilliant performance of the customer teams. A work that started a long time ago, from that reserved agreement with the FIA that had “crippled” a power unit that had put the competition in difficulty due to unattainable performances, especially in qualifying. Maranello had to swallow very bitter morsels in a very black 2020 and in a 2021 closed in fourth place without the joy of a stage triumph.
Today (Bahrain GP 2022) is the day when Ferrari reaped the fruits of hard and painstaking work. This is the moment in which even Mattia Binotto, the team principal who has often been on the dock, has shown that aiming straight at the new regulatory environment was not a mistake. Obviously a swallow does not make spring. Ferrari won the first round of a 23-stage race. It will be a long way against fierce opponents who are still serving the tough fight of 2021 which probably distracted funds and work in a 2022 key. But Red Bull and Mercedes have all the cards to get back to the top. In Maranello they know it.
If you were to nitpick Ferrari’s Sunday a little bit, you could say that the team should have a look into why Carlos Sainz seemed to revert to his Friday-esque pace after having drawn level with Charles Leclerc in time for qualifying.
But that was the only thing even resembling a blot in its copybook and, for the next 24 hours at least, it will be impossible to care.
Ferrari has previous for looking unusually competitive in Bahrain (hello, 2019) but all we have to go by is Bahrain for now, and the evidence as follows – the F1-75 was the quickest car in the race, and the team has gone up a clean 44 points over what currently seems to be its closest rival.
And how delightful it is for Leclerc, too. If 2021 made it easy for some to forget just how good the Monegasque is, here was the timeliest of reminders – an extremely assured triumph despite Max Verstappen asking some serious questions in wheel-to-wheel battle.
“It was tricky; it was nice though. It was on the limit, hard racing. But we would always give each other space, which was nice, and following him into Turn 2 was a bit more predictable than what I expected compared to what I had last year, so this was good.
“I would always brake very early into Turn 1 to get DRS for Turn 4 and it worked out – three times in a row – so I could keep my lead. And it was always also very tricky because I was struggling with my energy [ERS] and had to manage that too.”
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Analysis of the race: Bahrain GP 2022 – the other teams.
It was immediately clear after the start that Mercedes’ professed worst fears didn’t come to fruition. Lewis Hamilton was harrying Sainz early on (before being admittedly passed by Sergio Perez with ease), while George Russell had no trouble clearing Kevin Magnussen, confirming that Mercedes was at least not out of the top three in terms of pace at teh Bahrain GP 2022.
The W13 was clearly not quick enough for third and fourth, but it wasn’t a completely outrageous result given the evidence from earlier in the race, especially as it looked pretty handy early on in stints.
But beyond that, the best news for Mercedes is that this buys it time. Hamilton has cautioned it won’t be a “quick turnaround” – but there’s already a decent haul of points on the board in the meantime, especially compared to Red Bull’s glaring zero.
Rejoice for a third and fourth place. No, we weren’t used to such a thing when we looked into the Mercedes house. In the previous eight seasons, those of almost final domination, a result like that of the Bahrain GP would have been greeted with long faces and with the need to question what had gone wrong. Yesterday’s podium is instead a breath of hope in a very delicate moment for the reigning world champions.
It is useless to deny it: without the double, sensational, failure of the RB18s of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, we would be discussing a quito and sixth place with gaps from the top of sidereal entities that were canceled by the safety car deliberated for the problem to the power unit of the Alpha Tauri by Pierre Gasly.
F1 world champion Max Verstappen said he had brake problems in the Bahrain GP 2022 even before sustaining steering damage and then the fuel-flow issue that caused his last-gasp retirement.
Both Red Bulls of Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired in the final laps at Sakhir with what the team believes were identical problems related to the fuel supply in the car.
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Other teams have had issues at that stage but encountered them in testing when doing race distance simulations, which Red Bull is understood not to have done.
Verstappen was running second at the time, having had a close race-long lead battle with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while Perez had just moved up to third following Verstappen’s retirement when he had his own issue and spun at Turn 1 on the last lap.
Red Bull believes the steering problem Verstappen reported before the late safety car was due to trackrod damage suffered when the car was dropped to the ground at its final pitstop.
This was objectively terrible. So much so that 14th and 15th in the end seems like a relative win given Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were 18th and 20th on merit early on.
They appeared to be nursing their uncompetitive cars throughout, and Norris’s morose and sardonic radio traffic didn’t bode well.
HAAS – KEVIN MAGNUSSEN
Magnussen was comfortably the ‘best of the rest’ for the entire grand prix after he nailed the start and briefly ran ahead of Perez before settling into seventh place behind the top three teams.
Pierre Gasly briefly deposed him when Magnussen emerged from his last scheduled pitstop, but the Dane quickly repassed the AlphaTauri to resume his position.
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Magnussen then navigated the late-race safety car and when both Red Bulls retired his seventh place turned into a fifth place finish – his best since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.
Bahrain GP 2022 has proved to be a real fairytale return for Magnussen and all signs point to it continuing long beyond the end of the weekend for both Magnussen and his Haas team – and that can only be a good thing for F1.
Bottas had a rollercoaster of a race with two defining moments that propelled him backwards and then forwards.
He’d qualified in an excellent sixth place alongside his ex-Mercedes team-mate Hamilton, but a poor getaway dropped him down to 14th place.
Tsunoda did pit but Bottas looked to be on for just a point at best until the late-race safety car lifted him to eighth and the double Red Bull DNF ensured he finished an excellent sixth on his debut for Alfa Romeo.
On the evidence of his opening race weekend with the team, Bottas has really taken to the challenge of stepping back to a midfield car, even if he once again spent far too long stuck behind a slower car.
The words of the driver: interviews after F1 Bahrain GP 2022.
“I’m really happy, the last two years have been incredibly difficult for the team. We knew this was going to be a great opportunity for us, the guys did an incredible job delivering this fantastic car to us. We started in the best possible way, with pole, victory, fastest lap and a double with Carlos. Thanks to all the fans who have not stopped supporting us in these two difficult years, it’s incredible to be back at the top. ”
“I am disappointed – said Verstappen – the worst scenario happened, the car died. I could have finished in second place, but the problems I had in the car were getting worse and worse. I don’t know if Perez and I had the same problem, even if you don’t win, it is important to score points and retiring with both cars, in the end, is extremely painful ”.
“Congratulations to Charles and Ferrari. Ferrari is back for real, with a good double, and these are the places the team should always occupy. With hard work we have managed to get back to the top. I don’t want to lie, for it was a difficult day for me, I didn’t have the pace but I managed to hold on and in the end to bring home this double for the team. I have some work to do in the next few days, but I’m sure I’ll be back even stronger.”
“Personally, I have never doubted the team. I know the group is strong because I have seen them work together after the problems of 2020 to try to improve. We did everything to be prepared and this is the best result we could have hoped for. It’s nice to know we can fight for the best result, now we’ll see how we behave on a different track like in Arabia. Then there will be Imola, I’m already thinking about the race in front of our tifosi.”
“Congratulations to Ferrari for today’s victory, for us she is frustrated because we were fighting with them. Maybe they were a little faster but two retirements is something terrible because they happened in the last two laps. Maybe both cars had a problem with the collectors, but until we take them apart we will know”.