Press Release - Lewis Hamilton has won the FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2019
Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Lewis Hamilton has won the FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2019, the 999th FIA Formula 1 World Championship race. Victory for the five-times world champion came at the end of an exciting race in which Charles Leclerc played a major role. The race was very exciting, with plenty of overtaking and drama from the 20 drivers. It was enjoyed by a crowd of 34,000 spectators who came to the Bahrain International Circuit today. That is the biggest race day crowd in this event’s 15 year history, as is the overall figure for the weekend of 97,000.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver secured the win thanks to his team’s superior reliability, given that Leclerc and his Ferrari were the quickest combination today. Starting from pole, the Monegasque driver was beaten off the line by his team-mate Sebastian Vettel and also passed by Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes on the opening lap. But Leclerc took back the lead in imperious fashion over the course of the next six laps, before gradually distancing his rivals.
Once he had made his second pit stop without losing the lead, Leclerc appeared to be totally in control of the situation, as he had a comfortable 8.5 second lead over Hamilton on lap 45, the Englishman having relieved Vettel of second place in a spirited duel. However, Leclerc’s power unit suffered a serious drop in power as from lap 46, which saw him slow more and more, so that Hamilton cruised by on lap 48 as did Bottas on lap 54. Only the Safety Car, neutralising the race because both Renaults were stranded in a dangerous place on track, saved the Monegasque driver from the fast charging Verstappen. It meant he at least made it to the podium for the first time in his so far brief F1 career. It was richly deserved, but bitter sweet.
The outcome for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow fell well short of expectations. Sebastian Vettel was fifth, as a result of a spin on lap 38, just after being passed by Hamilton, which led to his front wing coming off, requiring an unscheduled pit stop to fit a new one. The only slight consolation for the team was the additional point that Leclerc brought home for setting the race fastest lap.
By contrast, Mercedes did amazingly well to score its first ever one-two finish in this Grand Prix, given that, after qualifying, they seemed to be a long way off the pace. It confirmed the reigning champions’ ability to make the most of any weakness on the part of others. Thanks to the point he got for setting the race fastest lap in Melbourne, Bottas keeps the lead of the championship, while in the Constructors’ classification, Mercedes already has a significant 39 point lead.
The German marque played another role in the final stages of the race, as it provides the Safety Car which for the eighth time ever, the last dating back to China 2015, led the cars across the line to take the chequered flag, because of the previously mentioned simultaneous retirement of the two Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo. The French marque literally saw its hopes of a double points finish go up in smoke. However, it could take some consolation from the fact that it supplied the power unit that allowed Lando Norris to take a great sixth place for McLaren. Honda could be pleased with its day’s work, because although it failed it match its Melbourne performance of getting a driver on the podium, three of its four cars finished in the points: a fourth place for Max Verstappen, an eighth for Pierre Gasly in the Red Bulls and a ninth place for another rookie, Alexander Albon in the Toro Rosso, which means a Thai driver has scored points for the first time in 65 years, when, back in 1954, Prince Bira finished fourth in the 1954 French Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen also finished in the top ten, his seventh place taking Alfa Romeo Racing to fourth in the Constructors’ classification, while in tenth spot was Sergio Perez for SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team.
Luca Ghiotto was untouchable in this afternoon’s FIA Formula 2 Championship Race 2, blasting into an early lead before making a brave pitstop call, slicing back through the pack and soaring to victory ahead of DAMS pair Sergio Sette Câmara and Nicholas Latifi. The win handed Ghiotto the lead in the drivers’ title fight at the end of Round 1, with the Italian on 37 points leading Latifi by 2 points followed by Sette Câmara on 27, Delétraz on 16, de Vries and Anthoine Hubert on 12 and Zhou on 11; while in the teams’ championship DAMS have built an early lead with 62 points over UNI-Virtuosi Racing on 48, Carlin on 18 ahead of ART Grand Prix and BWT Arden on 12 points each as all eyes turn to round 2 of the championship in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Results - GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2019.
1st Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 57 1:34.21.295
2nd Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 57 +2.980
3rd Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 57 +6.131
4th Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 57 +6.408
5th Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 57 +36.068
6th Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 57 +45.754
7th Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 57 +47.470
8th Pierre Gasly Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 57 +58.094
9th Alexander Albon Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 57 +62.697
10th Sergio Perez SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 57 +63.696
11th Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 57 +64.599
12th Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 56 +1 lap
13th Kevin Magnussen Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 56 +1 lap
14th Lance Stroll SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 56 +1 lap
15th George Russell ROKiT Williams Racing 56 +1 lap
16th Robert Kubica ROKiT Williams Racing 55 +2 laps
17th Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 Team 53 DNF
18th Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team 53 DNF
19th Carlos Sainz Renault F1 Team 53
DNF NC Romain Grosjean Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 16 DNF
Drivers Championship Standings
1 V. Bottas 44
2 L. Hamilton 43
3 M. Verstappen 27
4 C. Leclerc 26
5 S. Vettel 22
6 K. Raikkonen 10
7. L. Norris 8
8. K. Magnussen 8
9 N. Hulkenberg 6
10 P. Gasly 4
1 MERCEDES 87
2 FERRARI 48
3 RED BULL RACING HONDA 31
4 ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 10
5 MCLAREN RENAULT 8
6 HAAS FERRARI 8
7 RENAULT 6
8 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 3
9 RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 3
10 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 0
From the Drivers - Lewis Hamilton ( Source Mercedes AMG Petronas Media)
It was very tricky out there today and I had to give it everything I had. We were very, very lucky to get this 1-2, Ferrari outperformed us all weekend. Ultimately you want to have a real fight and want to pass someone because you’re quicker, so it feels a bit weird and you can’t quite believe your luck in these scenarios. I have been in similar situations and I know how it feels, but Charles did a great job all weekend long and has a beautiful, bright future ahead of him. We’ve only had two races; one where we were rapid and far ahead, one where Ferrari had the upper hand. It’s hard to say how Driver Chassis No. Grid Result Fastest Lap Lewis Hamilton F1 W10 EQ Power+/01 P3 P1 1:33.528 Valtteri Bottas F1 W10 EQ Power+/03 P4 P2 1:34.209 Press Information 31 March 2019 the next races are going to pan out, but I anticipate that it will be a tough fight and that it will be a back and forth between the two teams. We need to keep working hard to see where we went wrong this weekend and to see where we can improve the car. But as we saw again today, reliability also plays an important role, so we need to keep working on all areas. We’ll take the points we got today and move forward to China.
From the Drivers - Valtteri Bottas ( Source Mercedes AMG Petronas Media)
This was not an easy race, the car was very difficult to drive and the conditions were very tricky with the gusty winds today which made the car very unpredictable. I had a good start and managed to get to P2, but in the next lap the wind caught me up going into Turn 1, so I lost the position again and ultimately fell back to fourth after a battle with Lewis. After that it was actually a relatively lonely race for me at points, I didn’t see anybody; but I think it was probably very exciting from the outside with many unexpected moments. Ferrari were very strong again in the race as they were all weekend. But luck was on our side today, which was a welcome change for me personally after all the bad luck I experienced last year. On the other hand our car was very reliable which ultimately won us the race today. It was a tough race for Charles, but he did a great job all weekend and I’m sure his time will come. We’re leaving Bahrain with lots of points but also a lot of work to do for China.
Source F1 - Media & Mercedes AMG Petronas Media 1 April 2019.