A 1-2 FOR MERCEDES WITH HAMILTON AHEAD OF BOTTAS; ENGINE PROBLEMS FOR LECLERC; STROLL-GROSJEAN CONTACT IN TURN ONE
Ferrari had dominated all weekend. Charles Leclerc was the Dominator. Having had the best of weekends until late in the race, where he was in a confortable lead, Charles Leclerc had to settle for third after hitting engine troubles.
The 21 year 0ld Ferrari driver looked very calm and composed pre-race as he was getting ready to start on pole. When the red lights went off, Leclerc had a bit of wheel spin, enough to enable Vettel to take the lead and also for Bottas to make his way ahead of the pole sitter.
But soon after, he regained control of the race passing Bottas rapidly and then a couple of laps later it was Vettel who could not match the pace of his teammate. And in control he was until the later stage of the race when he came on the radio complaining about loosing power. With ten laps to go, Hamilton past him and Bottas followed several laps later. A safety car deployment with three laps to go, because of both Renault stopping in precarious spots just outside corner one, saved Leclerc’s third place as the race ended this way.
For SportPesa Racing Point and Lance Stroll, it was a disappointing race. Having made a good start, Lance finding a way through the pack unfortunately made contact with the Haas of Romain Grosjean exiting turn one. Having had to pit to change the front wing and already having lost quite a bit of time, Stroll kept running as hard as he could: “I haven’t seen the replay yet but I think the contact with Romain [Grosjean] was a first lap racing incident”, Lance said. “Unfortunately we touched, there was damage, and I had to pit for a new nose. We were racing wheel-to-wheel and these things happen, but it was really costly because my race was pretty much over after that. We carried on racing and pushing, but we couldn’t recover after losing so much time. The wind had really picked up out there today, but everyone was in the same boat and after a few laps we got used to it. We finished the race and there is plenty to analyse, but we’ve got to see where we can improve before we get to China.”
Things looked slightly better for Sergio Perez. After starting in 14th place, he moved up to 10th as the checkered flag was waved to score a precious point for the team: “It’s good to pick up my first point of the season. It was an unpredictable race and in that sense it’s a nice surprise. We got a bit lucky with both Renaults retiring, but at the same time the Safety Car didn’t help me because I was closing on Albon and I lost the opportunity to overtake him for ninth place. I made a really good start and gained a few positions, but I couldn’t defend my position for long. Then, we had an issue with the brakes getting too hot and I had to pit much earlier than planned to remove some debris blocking the brake ducts. Considering everything that happened in the race we can be pleased to pick up a point.”
There was great battle to be seen in the midfield pack all race long and a special mention goes out to Kimi Raikkonen who finished seventh. It’s always great to see him battle for a place.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be one of the in-season testing at the Bahrain circuit. Lance Stroll is schedule to drive on Tuesday and Sergio Perez on Wednesday for SportPesa Racing Point. And we are to keep an eye on Canadian Nicolas Latifi who is scheduled to drive the Williams from the first time this year.
Image: SportPesa Racing Point
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