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 completely joined Leclerc, but the leader’s position inside meant he was able to go through with ease through Turns 2 and 3, then spun once short to 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, and the only pair of early drivers were able to stay regularly in the 1m 38s class.
By lap 10, Leclerc’s lead was three seconds and Sainz was narrowly behind and now ahead of Perez, who overtook 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 used softs, came to take new ones, with Leclerc stopping at the end of the next round to do the opposite.
Verstappen used his hold on fresh rubber to completely erase Leclerc’s lead, but Ferrari managed 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, topping out with a thrilling move on the inside line, despite Leclerc only briefly using the same DRS on his way into Turn 4, and reclaiming Ball first with a daring pass outside Red Bull.
The same sequence was played out again on the next lap, though Leclerc reclaimed the lead this time by nibbling at Verstappen on the inside in Turn 4 approach, then outplaying his opponent wide 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 slid back to run in low 1m38s while Leclerc put together a series 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, pulling the Dutchman into the middle at the end of lap 30, with Ferrari having Leclerc to cover 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 slide of 1m36s they hadn’t done earlier, despite running past traffic during the first leg of Stage Three, with Verstappen furiously telling Red Bull it was easier to lap than he wanted, “never happens” Once again, it was his rage to stay away from Leclerc even with a weak advantage.
Although Verstappen carved out Leclerc’s lead to fall two laps behind right 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 to watch the race with two bumps, with Sainz brought in to cover Perez, 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 Ferrari brought in Leclerc and was able to take another set of measures 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.
Verstappen forced the Spaniard to take the outside streak, and the pair quickly fell behind Leclerc, who had a 1.6sec lead with the fastest lap of the race – 1m24.570s.
He pulled off easily to win by 5.5 seconds, and took his first victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix at the spot where he lost his first Formula One victory in a late engine case three years ago.
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 it looked like Perez might hold on, he turned in Turn 1 on the final lap, his engine hanging up and spinning his rear, putting him on the spot.
Therefore, Hamilton finished third, 9.6 seconds behind Leclerc George Russell Fourth after quickly climbing the rankings from his ninth position on the grid during the early stages and was trailing his teammate at 14secs 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.
In his first F1 race, Zhou Guanyu He finished 10th to collect his first point in the championship, 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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