Charles Leclerc wins F1 Bahrain GP as Verstappen retires

SAKHIR, Bahrain — Components One particular winner Max Verstappen’s title protection turned into a nightmare when the Crimson Bull star retired around the finish of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday making it possible for Ferrari to clinch a 1-2 complete with Charles Leclerc successful in advance of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr.

Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton took an unpredicted 3rd location right after Sergio Perez’s Purple Bull also retired with the end line in sight as the race concluded beneath a yellow flag.

Hamilton had been lagging way behind in fifth when late drama on Lap 46 changed the race.

Leclerc was major comfortably from Verstappen when the back again of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri vehicle caught fire as he parked it on the facet of the keep track of. It was immediately put out and the Frenchman walked absent unharmed.

From the restart, Leclerc bought away and Verstappen began complaining about steering problems.

A couple of minutes later on equally Crimson Bulls were being out of the race and George Russell’s Mercedes moved up into fourth to give Mercedes an unexpected reward.

In a 57-lap race, Verstappen retired on Lap 54 and Perez on 56.

A thrilling race to commence the season and just one laced with a large dollop of irony.

Verstappen gained the F1 title very last 12 months with a very last-lap move of Hamilton following a controversial restart below a security car, just when Hamilton was cruising to what would have been a history eighth title.

Pink Bull celebrated wildly that night in Abu Dhabi, then Mercedes misplaced equally appeals and Pink Bull started off in dynamic form as Verstappen led preseason screening. He lined up second behind Leclerc for Sunday’s race with dependable Pink Bull teammate Sergio Perez starting off from fourth and the workforce expecting a wholesome haul of details.

Purple Bull walked away with none.

Sweet revenge for Mercedes possibly as crew principal Toto Wolff smiled from the aspect and possibly not only mainly because of Hamilton’s unexpected podium.

But also unbridled joy for Ferrari.

“That’s just how we need to get started the year,” Leclerc screamed on radio. “Mamma mia.”

It was the team’s first win and its first 1-2 given that former driver Sebastian Vettel received the Singapore GP forward of Leclerc in 2019, and Leclerc’s very first because profitable the Italian GP in Monza two weeks before.

“Congratulations to Ferrari, so content to see them carrying out well all over again. They are such a historic, epic team,” Hamilton mentioned. “It was this sort of a hard race for me. This is the best end result we could have received.”

As Leclerc celebrates his 3rd job win, the Scuderia’s Tifosi enthusiasts have something to crow about, while his previous karting rival Verstappen will be fuming at his poor luck.

Hamilton knows a very little about how that feels.

So does Kevin Magnussen, who was fired by Haas at the end of 2020 as a restructuring took put with a Russian backer and Russian driver. But when Nikita Mazepin was axed, Haas re-hired Magnussen and the decided Dane run the motor vehicle into fifth place.

Haas scored no factors very last 12 months.