Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Ferrari ‘couldn’t have hoped for a better start’ to 2022 – Leclerc

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says Ferrari ‘couldn’t have hoped for a better start’ to the 2022 Formula 1 season after securing a one-two victory in Bahrain.

Leclerc won from pole after fending off Max Verstappen’s challenges throughout the race, until a problem forced the Red Bull driver to retire in the closing laps and allowing Carlos Sainz Jnr to finish second for Ferrari.

The result caps off a stunning start to the championship for Ferrari, their best opening to a season since 2010. Leclerc says the team could not have asked for a better start to the year.

“I’m so happy,” said Leclerc. “I keep repeating myself, but the last two years have been incredibly difficult for the team and we knew this was going to be a big opportunity for the team and the guys have done such an incredible job giving us and building this amazing car.

“For now it’s starting in the best way possible. Pole position, victory, fastest lap, one-two today with Carlos – 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 incredible to be back at the top.”

Leclerc had to fight to hold onto the lead after his first pit stop when he came under heavy pressure from Verstappen. The pair traded positions during a thrilling multi-lap battle, with Leclerc able to prevail with his lead ultimately intact.

“I was trying to be as clever as possible using the DRS as much as possible,” he explained.

“I was trying to break early in turn one just to be behind him at the DRS detection and twice it worked out, so I took back my first position and just incredibly happy that we made it work.”

Leclerc appeared to be in control of the race in the later stages until the Safety Car was deployed after Pierre Gasly pulled off the circuit with his AlphaTauri on fire. Leclerc admits the intervention of the Safety Car was an unwelcome development at the time.

“I didn’t want it [the safety car],” he said. “But then I did a great restart and that gave me a little bit of margin to then manage my race until the end.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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25 comments on “Ferrari ‘couldn’t have hoped for a better start’ to 2022 – Leclerc”

  1. I really feel for Red Bull

  2. Pole, fastest lap, win and DotD. Awesome result for Leclerc! Looks like all set for another young champion.

  3. The Grand Chelem! And 100% laps in 1st Place at the start/end lane if i m right.

    1. RandomMallard
      20th March 2022, 19:38

      Yep I believe he led every lap, which would mean it’s his first Grand Slam/Grand Chelem wouldn’t it?

      1. I think Sainz led briefly before his second stop

  4. Impressive start by leclerc.
    The way he and verstappen battled on track was how its done by the new generation.
    (lesson for Lewis there).
    Sainz a bit lucky with the Redbull problems but did not set one foot wrong.
    Deserved 1,2 podium.

    1. Yeah, because Hamilton’s never obliterated a teammate on wheel-to-wheel racing at Bahrain before.

      Is your brain plugged in, or do you just have an anti-Hamilton filter?

    2. there were a lot of lewis moves in leclerc moves but people with empty brain cavity tends to obviously not see things the way clear minded people see…. max could learn a lot from the first move, he didnt, he could listen to his team, he barked instead… then wasnt really surprising to see what happened to the car… only one right comment, but even you couldnt turn this around with the empty cavity in your skull :) repeat after the normal people, eventually that cavity will fill up and u may see things clearly

      1. Max listened to his team and that didn’t do the trick maybe they should be agressive in the beginning.

    3. “Deserved 1,2 podium.”
      Exactly both drove very well and deserved best. I’m really sad for max and sergio but also very happy for bottas and kevin.

  5. Any update about Amus media who mentioned that this year standardizes Italian fuel pump only works on Italian engine?

    1. @ruliemaulana Interesting if true & funny.

      1. There’s FIA direction that gives extra time after qualifying for the teams to inspect their fuel pumps. Also McLaren replaced theirs. Maybe we’re going to hear more tomorrow @jerejj

    2. Talking out of their amus. The engines with German and French badges survived the ordeal…

  6. The Ferrari looks like a beautiful machine to drive. Stable and lots of traction out of the corners. Hope they can maintain this advantage to give a proper fight to RB and MB. Also Leclerc and Sainz is a great driver duo that have almost the same speed. Great start indeed for Ferrari.

  7. Yes, a great race from him. We all know how fast he can be, but today he not only outpaced but also outraced Verstappen, which few drivers are capable of.

    1. You summed it up very well. The boy is definitely improving herself.

      1. himself i mean.

    2. At some point Max seemed a bit desperate, almost squaring his tyres in a massive lock. However he was a worthy contender and deserved the podium. A lot more than the stowaway who got there.

  8. And good to see a nice and clean fight at the front. Hamilton should take note. This new batch of drivers learned to battle for a win.

  9. …All of that with the second fastest car :)

  10. Redemption for 2019 Bahrain for Leclerc.

    The DRS trick was most visible on Verstappen’s 3rd attempt. And I think Verstappen wisened up to that in the 3rd attempt. Verstappen was quite far, but Leclerc still wanted him to reach the DRS line first, he was really slow on the straight towards the end. But Verstappen dived down the inside only after Leclerc had crossed the DRS detection point. Unfortunately for him, he locked up big time. Had he not locked up, Verstappen would have had DRS on the run up to turn 4 as well and then kept P1

  11. What a great drive from Leclerc!

    Smart, very tactical on wheel to wheel fight, and calm to even let Max to overtake him in the end of main straight to come back strong in the next one.

    Now, lets wait to see when will Max resort to old tricks to try to intimidate Charles.

    1. It’s two of the new generation fighting fair and square. It’s not Hamilton style, so do not worry.

    2. @becken-lima you could see how smart Lec drive learning from the best drivers like Hamilton… Max has a long way to go before he can be called a deserving wdc. Mark my word, if season goes on like this, Max will tangle with Lec, he did it before with him, he did it with almost everyone… when Max cant overtake you smartly, he goes kamikaze as usual, because he doesnt think, he is hot headed. everytime for the past 6-7 years keep saying he is going to learn, but every year the same story… he doesnt have Masi’s hand this year, lets wait and see if the current RD will allow max to get away with the dirtiest moves he has been doing

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