EAGER TO GET TO THE STARTING LINE
There is nothing sweeter than having the Formula 1 season kickoff with an amazing race at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2022. Formula 1 heading into the opening of the season with brand new regulations changing the looks of all the F1 cars in the hopes of having a tighter field and featuring multiple overtakes throughout the GP’s.
A NEW CHAMPIONSHIP RIVAL?
The teams showed off their cars during testing and Ferrari made it clear to Red Bull and Mercedes that Italian was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Mercedes, who has won seven straight constructor’s titles, seems to have slipped in terms of development leaving many to ask if they could keep up with the lead pack.
All the teams showed up at the Bahrain International Circuit ready to show the world who was ready or not. Ferrari started the weekend with a bang when Charles Leclerc claimed pole position leaving the defending world champ Max Verstappen in second place.
Was this a sign of what the future would hold? Would it be a battle between Ferrari and Red Bull while Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes showed poor pace and speed? One thing was certain fans were in for a treat on race day.
THE RED LIGHTS WENT OUT
The moment we were all waiting for started with one red light turning on and when the fifth light turned on all our collective breaths were held as the lights went out and the 2022 season roared to a start. Leclerc got off to a clean start and held his lead position over Verstappen.
Red Bull and Verstappen attempted to undercut the Ferrari’s pitting first on lap 15 but their plan failed as Leclerc and Ferrari’s pit crew had a great stop pointing the Monegasque driver right ahead of Verstappen exiting the pits.
LECLERC VERSUS VERSTAPPEN
For the next three laps, Leclerc and Verstappen exchanged the lead and on lap 19 Verstappen locked up his tires during a bold move and could not pass Leclerc any longer. Leclerc continued to lead the race from that point on and took advantage of Verstappen conserving his tires during his spot.
YELLOW FLAG BRINGS RED BULL CLOSE AGAIN
It seemed like the race had settled down in the front of the pack until Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri caught fire forcing the safety car onto the track, grouping all the drivers closer together and eliminating Leclerc’s lead.
The pressure was on Ferrari to defend and at the restart, La Scuderia did just that. Leclerc, like at the start of the race, pulled away cleanly leaving Verstappen to deal with Sainz attacking him from third.
RED BULLS DOUBLE TROUBLE
On lap 54 Sainz passed Verstappen who was struggling with his car steering and on the same lap was forced to abandon the race. The disaster for Red Bull did not end there as Sergio Pere also had to abandon the race due to power issues on the final lap, leaving the team off the podium and scoring zero points on the day.
MERCEDES TAKES WHAT WAS GIVEN
Mercedes who looked to be having a dismal weekend managed to salvage third place because of Lewis Hamilton’s patience and a solid drive that had the former world champ manage poor tire selection into a podium finish.
FERRARI’S RETURN TO THE PODIUM
Ferrari ultimately ruled the day with a solid 1-2 finish led by Leclerc in first and Sainz in second. It was the first 1-2 for Ferrari since the 2019 Singapore GP. Ferrari made it clear that their efforts to improve the car over the last couple of seasons finally paid off. Leclerc’s weekend ended with 26 points, pole position, and the fastest lap instantly making him the man to beat in 2022 so far.
THE REST OF THE PACK
GETTING SOME POINTS
George Russel, in his Mercedes debut, had a consistent race, staying out of trouble and keeping a solid pace landing him in fourth place. One of the stories of the day was Kevin Magnussen who helped HAAS finish in fifth place scoring points for the first time since 2020.
China’s Guanyu Zhou driving for Alfa Romeo scored a single point in his F1 debut finishing in tenth place by participating in multiple battles with more experienced drivers boding well for his future. Alfa Romeo continued to have a great day because their other driver, Valtteri Bottas, finished in sixth place showing that the team has improved significantly.
A GREAT START TO THE SEASON
It was a fascinating race and it seems like the new regulations have the cars keeping much tighter distances between each other allowing for more overtaking. If the battle between Leclerc and Verstappen can replicate itself in the upcoming races, fans will have plenty to cheer about. The Saudi Arabia Grand Prix was next with fans wondering if Ferrari could win again?
2022 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX FINAL STANDINGS
|CARLOS SAINZ JR
|SERGIO PEREZ-LAP 56
|MAX VERSTAPPEN-LAP 54
|PIERRE GASLY-LAP 44