Scuderia Ferrari heads home from the opening round of the season in Bahrain with 12 points, courtesy of a fourth-place finish for Carlos Sainz but also with the disappointment of Charles Leclerc’s retirement at a two-thirds distance when he was a comfortable third.
The podium slipped away. Both drivers got off the line well and were competitive on the Soft tyres during the first stint. Leclerc also benefited from being on the new set he had saved from qualifying, which helped him get ahead of Sergio Perez. After that, he was second for a long time, running excellently. After a pit stop to switch to the Hard tyre, there was a clear difference in pace compared to Red Bull and Aston Martin. Charles could no longer stay with Max Verstappen and Perez, but he seemed set to bring home a third-place finish thanks to accurate tyre management. Then, with 17 laps to go, he had to retire with an electrical problem with his power unit. Carlos kept fourth place off the line but suffered similar degradation to his team-mate. It meant that, in the closing stages, having inherited third after his team-mate’s retirement, he was passed by Fernando Alonso. Sainz did manage to fend off the attention of Lewis Hamilton in the final laps to cross the finish line in fourth place. The next round is in two weeks’ time in Saudi Arabia.
Carlos Sainz #55
It was a challenging Sunday. We knew from testing that it would be tough here in Bahrain, and now we must focus on improving for the upcoming races. Time to put our heads down, work hard and see how we can close the gap to the top. It’s only race one, so we’ll keep pushing no matter what.
Charles Leclerc #16
We had a great start, and everything felt good. We had a solid gap behind us and were managing the pace well until, unfortunately, we lost power. It’s a shame, and we will look into the causes to ensure we understand what happened.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
Of course, we are disappointed. How could we not be? We knew we’d have to deal with tyre degradation but did not expect reliability problems. It’s a shame for Charles because his pace was good in the first stint, and even with the heavy degradation on the Hard tyre, he could have brought home a third place. That would have been a good way to start the season. Carlos drove a solid race, running consistently, and he gave it his all to finish fourth.
After this first race, we understood the situation and knew what areas to work on. We have to improve a lot regarding tyre management, and clearly, we have to ensure we have no more reliability problems like the one that affected us today.
Scuderia Ferrari best pictures: