2022 F1 Bahrain GP: Charles Leclerc secures Ferrari 1-2 as Red Bull implodes

Charles Leclerc led a Ferrari 1-2 in the Bahrain GP
Charles Leclerc led a Ferrari 1-2 in the Bahrain GP

The Bahrain GP started the 2022 F1 season with Charles Leclerc winning the first race of the season. In a dramatic first race of the season that featured battles up and down the grid, Ferrari secured their first win since the 2019 Singapore GP as Leclerc led his teammate Carlos Sainz home to secure a rare Ferrari 1-2. Meanwhile, Red Bull had a shocker as both the drivers suffered from reliability issues and ended up retiring while Lewis Hamilton achieved a rather surprising podium finish.

What an incredible start to the season that was! 😱#BahrainGP #F1

Let's take a look at the top 5 key storylines from the race:

#1 Leclerc proved himself as a worthy championship contender

Career win #3 for Charles Leclerc 👏#BahrainGP #F1

Charles Leclerc is a fantastic driver. He was always touted to be a future world champion. While his contemporary Max Verstappen had the opportunity to prove that he can fight for and win the title, however, Leclerc hadn't done that.

While talking about the best drivers on the grid, Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton get mentioned often. After the Bahrain GP, Leclerc will be mentioned in the same breath. He got the better of the Dutchman on both days and if there was anything that puts a stamp on your credentials then it is a performance like that one.

#2 Red Bull will need to regroup from the Bahrain GP and fast

A tough result to take. We need to do a full investigation, but it looks like both Bulls suffered from a suspected fuel pump issue.#BahrainGP

The Bahrain GP revealed a few things about the Red Bull machinery. It's competitive, it's fast in a straight line but the car seems alarmingly fragile at the moment. Max Verstappen could not mount a sustained challenge whenever he was chasing Charles Leclerc because of brake overheating issues throughout the race.

The bigger worry, however, was the three retirements at the end of the race, all featuring some sort of reliability issues for the team. First, it was Pierre Gasly, then Verstappen, and then Sergio Perez, that's three retirements out of the four possible Honda-powered cars. It seems Red Bull was caught a bit on the backfoot this weekend by the Ferrari challenge. It needs to get to the bottom of what happened and fast because the next race will be held in a week in Saudi Arabia.

#3 Mercedes has work to do but there is a reason for optimism

Lewis: “Wooooo. Let’s go. Let’s go. Thank you so much for the hard work. I appreciate it.” A long way to go still. But just the starting point we needed. We keep pushing from here! 💪

The ease with which Sergio Perez overtook Lewis Hamilton early in the race was a clear sign of the Mercedes deficit against the top teams. It does appear, however, that the team has been making visible progress. On Sunday, it was almost seven-tenths down on the fastest time, which revealed the gravity of the deficit.

If one looks at the race in its entirety, sure, Mercedes was slower but it did not appear to be the kind of gap that could not be recovered. The 3-4 finish should provide signs of optimism for the team, but more importantly, the race showed that all is not lost for the German outfit.

#4 Alfa Romeo and Haas script a fairy tale ending at the Bahrain GP

Time for Guenther to get an upgrade! The Steiner Ship is growing 💪#HaasF1 #BahrainGP

After the last few seasons, it does seem surprising that the two teams that were down in the dumps and finished last and second last in 2021 are probably the top two teams in the midfield right now. Sure, both Alfa Romeo and Haas are benefitting from the Ferrari power unit but it cannot be denied that both the machinery look fantastic on track.

To add to that, watching two veterans in Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen finish the race in 5th and 6th positions was nothing short of a comeback fairytale for both drivers. It will be interesting to see how the season fares, but for now, both Haas and Alfa Romeo should be happy with what they did at the Bahrain GP.

#5 Mercedes-engined teams have a shocker in the Bahrain GP

Both cars take the chequered flag with P14 for Daniel and P15 for Lando at the #BahrainGP. 🏁

The last six cars that finished the race were all Mercedes-engined cars. It's hard to understand why all the Mercedes-engined teams are suffering so much at the start of the season. McLaren was touted to be the fourth-best team after the Barcelona test. Yet, the team had a visibly poor weekend as nothing went its way.

Aston Martin is an entirely different story as the team didn't appear like a well-oiled machine at any time during the sessions in the Bahrain GP. The car doesn't have too many issues from the outside, however, the inherent speed seems to elude the team for now.

Williams would be rather happy with the 13th for Albon but overall it seems obvious that the car was just not capable enough for much more. Until last season, McLaren had multiple podiums and a pole position to speak of, while Aston Martin had notched up a podium as well. Both teams need to understand why they have regressed so much and how they plan to recover after the disaster of the first race of the season.

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Edited by Anurag C
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