Red Bull’s reliability drama meant Carlos Sainz was able to follow his teammate into second place, while Lewis Hamilton Shock took third place for mercedes.
At first, Leclerc and Verstappen shot the line in unison with Ferrari He swings quickly to his right to cover Red Bull and close the inside line of the first corner.
There, Verstappen braked it later and fully joined Leclerc, but the leader’s position on the inside meant he was able to go through with ease through Turns 2 and 3, then spun once short into Turn 4 right, where he pulled away clearly in the lead.
Leclerc was already out of DRS ahead of Verstappen by the end of the first lap of 57, with Sainz chasing the world champion and followed by Hamilton, who had overtaken Sergio Perez The Mexican also slipped from Round 1, trailing Haas behind Kevin Magnussen as a result.
Over the next few laps, Leclerc – running new soft tires versus Verstappen’s used tires – moved away from rival Red Bull who at one point complained about his engine braking in the middle of a corner being “funny”.
Leclerc’s gap increased by a few tenths a lap, the pair being the only two early drivers able to stay regularly in the 1m38s arc.
By lap 10, Leclerc’s lead was up to three seconds, and Sainz was narrowly behind and now ahead of Perez, who passed Hamilton after the Mercedes driver failed to pressure Sainz to back down unable to match the pace.
At the end of lap 14, Verstappen and Sainz, who had also started using soft materials, came to take new ones, with Leclerc stopping at the end of the next round to do the opposite.
Verstappen used his weight on the new rubber to completely erase Leclerc’s lead, but Ferrari was able to maintain the lead at the pit exit.
But the next time at the start of lap 17 Verstappen used the DRS to close a 0.7sec gap and dive into Leclerc from the inside at the first corner, taking the lead with a thrilling move on the inside line, though Leclerc briefly used the same DRS on his way into Turn 4, He regained the ball first with a daring pass outside Red Bull.
The same sequence was played back on the next lap, though Leclerc regained the lead this time by nibbling Verstappen inside in Turn 4’s approach, then wide outsmarting his opponent to return to the front.
On his third attempt to get into Turn 1, this time on lap 19, Verstappen went 0.9sec back to send out a wild movement from within, but this time he was locked in too tight and Ferrari was able to run back and sprint away, out of range of the DRS as a result.
Lock and DRS lost Verstappen’s momentum, as he slipped back to run in low 1m38s while Leclerc put together a streak of medium to high 1m37s that quickly returned his three-second advantage.
By the halfway point, Leclerc was running four seconds in favor of the item, and he lost a good chunk while coiling Nico Hulkenberg Before he got it back again and more as Verstappen managed to get around Sebastian Vettel’s interim replacement at Aston Martin.
Red Bull stopped Verstappen first in the second round of stops, prompting the Dutchman to go into the middle at the end of lap 30, with Ferrari having Leclerc cover him exactly next time.
Leclerc stood out even more this time around, despite Verstappen making a slightly faster lap lead than before, as Ferrari beat Red Bull in fixed time by half a second.
The pair immediately hit the slice of 1m36s they had never done earlier, even though they passed traffic during the first stage of the third task, with Verstappen furiously telling Red Bull it was easier on the lap than he wanted and would have done. “Never again” was his rage to stay away from Leclerc even with a weak advantage.
Although Verstappen carved out Leclerc’s lead to trail by two laps immediately after his second stop, Ferrari soon managed to regain their advantage again, with Leclerc holding onto the mid-1m36s as Verstappen fell towards 1m37s.
By lap 43 Leclerc had built his lead to four seconds, when Red Bull chose to bring his two cars into the third stop – after Perez ran the two middlemen on his second job and then closed in on the sprint away from Sainz, behind Sainz. two leaders.
Ferrari appeared to leave Leclerc out of the race to watch the race with two bumps, with Sainz bringing in Perez cover, but the final stages became even more dramatic when Pierre Gasly Retired due to an engine problem that turned into an engine fire in race round 46 – The AlphaTauri Stop at the exit of Turn 3, just at the start of the short second in a row.
The virtual safety car was activated but the full safety car was called, and that was when he brought in Ferrari’s Leclerc and was able to take another set of actions to restart.
The race was back at the start of lap 51, allowing all the cars to overtake, and before that Verstappen complained loudly about his overburdening in corners and on straight, with Red Bull moving to tell him it would be a problem until the end of the race which he will have to adapt to as well.
When the safety car came in, Leclerc was back at race speed with Verstappen pinched tight in the penultimate corner and it was clear by now that the action was about Sainz’s attack for the second time.
The Spaniard’s Verstappen was forced to take the outside streak, and the pair quickly fell behind Leclerc, who climbed to the lead 1.6sec with the fastest lap of the race – 1m24.570s.
He pulled off easily to win by 5.5 seconds, and took his first Bahrain Grand Prix victory at the venue where he lost his first Formula One win in a late engine case three years earlier.
But it was Sainz who was able to follow Leclerc home as Verstappen went from complaining about a steering issue to reporting a battery issue which Red Bull initially dismissed and then reported it was a mistake he couldn’t do anything about.
With two laps to go, Verstappen abruptly dropped again on the penultimate straight and then crawled back into the pits for retirement, with Perez reporting a power loss as Hamilton – who had run three stops soft, hard, medium and soft – shut him in to threaten an unexpected Mercedes podium.
Just when Perez seemed to be holding on, he turned in Turn 1 on the final lap, his engine shutting down and rotating his rear, putting him on the spot.
Therefore, Hamilton finished third, 9.6 seconds behind Leclerc, by a narrow margin George Russell Fourth after quickly climbing the rankings from his ninth position on the grid during the early stages and was trailing his teammate in 14 seconds before the safety car period.
Magnussen worked his way up to fifth after running most of the race between Russell and Gasly with Valtteri Bottas He recovers from a slow start to sixth place.
Esteban Ocon And the Yuki Tsunoda Excellence Fernando Alonso ahead of the Safety Car, with this trio finishing seventh to ninth on the flag.
In his first F1 race, Zhou Guanyu He finished 10th to take first place in the tournament, with Mick Schumacher Eleventh place for Haas, ahead of Lance’s Outingwho drove the previous contestants home a long way from the set – restarted before they could catch up again.
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