Lewis Hamilton wins Bahrain GP after Charles Leclerc loses power

Lewis Hamilton inherited victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix after an engine problem hit runaway leader Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari late in the race.

Leclerc had dominated after re-taking the lead following a poor start and was on course for a dominant maiden victory when his hybrid system failed.

Hamilton closed an eight-second deficit within three laps and swept by for his first win of 2019 with nine laps to go.

Leclerc would have slipped down to fourth behind Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen but was saved by a late race safety car.

As victory slipped from his fingers, the despair in Leclerc’s voice was clear as he asked the team what had happened, and was told that he had suffered a failure of the MGU-H, the part of the hybrid system that recovers energy from the turbo.

It cost him 40km/h on the straights and left him helpless as Bottas and Verstappen closed in at five seconds a lap.

“Oh my God,” he said, as he saw a fairytale victory slip from his grasp, on a weekend on which he had destroyed his four-time world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel, meanwhile, made yet another high-profile error, spinning his car while being passed by Hamilton for what at the time was second place with 20 laps to go.

Vettel already needed a pit stop for fresh tyres, but he also suffered a front wing failure as he toured around to the pits, and the German finished fifth, two places behind his team-mate.

“That was extremely unfortunate for Charles,” Hamilton said over the radio on his slowing down lap. “We have work to do to keep these guys on our tails.”

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This article is from the BBC Sport website / bbc.co.uk – Lewis Hamilton wins Bahrain GP after Charles Leclerc loses power

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