Charles Leclerc (13/8 Fav – Drivers’ Championship 2022 Outright) says it’s “incredible to be back at the top” after he ended Ferrari’s 45-race winless streak with victory in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Starting on pole position, Leclerc produced a fantastic performance to take the chequered flag for the third time in his career and the first time since taking the spoils at the 2019 Italian GP.
The 24-year-old was pushed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the middle part of the race, with the duo trading places at the top for a couple of laps, but it was the Ferrari ace who ended up prevailing.
Leclerc, who also grabbed the extra point for the fastest lap, had teammate Carlos Sainz (7/1 – Drivers’ Championship Outright) in behind him as the Scuderia recorded a one-two, while Lewis Hamilton (11/4) finished third and Mercedes partner George Russell (25/1) was fourth.
It turned out to be a disastrous day for Red Bull with both Verstappen (2/1 – Drivers’ Championship Outright) and Sergio Perez (100/1) being forced to retire in the closing stages due to engine issues, leaving the Milton Keynes-based outfit pointless after race one.
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Speaking after the victory, Leclerc said, as quoted by Sky Sports: “I’m so happy. The last two years have been extremely difficult for the team.
“One-two today with Carlos, we couldn’t hope for better. It’s incredible to be back at the top.”
It was a positive day for Haas as Kevin Magnussen took fifth position ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas, who ended up sixth on his debut since making the move from Mercedes.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was seventh, while the performance of the day arguably goes to AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, who climbed from 16th on the grid to take eighth place.
Fernando Alonso, in the second Alpine, was ninth and Guanyu Zhou, for Alfa Romeo, made up the top 10.
Next up on the schedule is the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, which takes place on March 27.
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