Charles Leclerc started 2022 on a high after winning the F1 Bahrain GP at the Sakhir Circuit. The Monegasque driver led from start to finish to pick up the Scuderia's first win in F1 since the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix. He also had the fastest lap, which carries with it an extra point in the standings.
Shortly after the race, an ecstatic Charles Leclerc shared his thoughts on the season opener with veteran F1 television analyst Martin Brundle. The 24-year-old said:
“[I’m] so happy... The last few years have been incredibly difficult for the team and we know this season was a big opportunity for the team and the guys have done such an incredible in building this amazing car. Now, it’s starting in the best way possible. Pole position, victory, fastest lap, one-two today with Carlos [Sainz]. We couldn’t hope for better. Thank you to all of you guys that kept supporting us in the past two years. It hasn’t been easy but it’s good to be back at the top.”
Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz picked up P2 after a late reliability issue forced reigning world champion Max Verstappen to retire from the race close to the end.
"I was trying to be as clever as possible" – Charles Leclerc describes intense Bahrain GP battle with Max Verstappen
En route to his third win in F1, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc treated the worldwide audience to some scintillating wheel-to-wheel racing with Max Verstappen.
After both drivers made their first pit stop in the race, Leclerc engaged in an intense battle with the Dutchman, who ruined his new soft tires in the process of dueling for track position.
When asked about his aggressive response to Verstappen's tremendous straight-line speed and their on-track tussle, the Ferrari driver said:
“I was trying to be as clever as possible, using the DRS [Drag Reduction System] as much as possible. So, I was trying to brake early into Turn 1, just to be behind him at the DRS detection and twice it worked out. I took back my first position and I am just incredibly happy that we made it work.”
Leclerc also admitted to not wanting a Safety Car towards the end of the race after Pierre Gasly retired on lap 47. His excellent restart, however, was vital in securing the win for Ferrari.