Despite only two races into the 2019 Formula One season, there may not be a better Grand Prix than what was witnessed in Bahrain.
Whilst losing the lead to Sebastian Vettel at the start, Charles Leclerc quickly re-gained first place to then be in full control becoming seemingly likely he would take the victory, until the car experienced engine problems.
The Monegasque rapidly lost power with a storming Hamilton cutting the eight second deficit to eventually take first place, as Bottas followed suit to finish second and Leclerc third – added with the DHL Fastest Lap bonus point.
Meanwhile, disaster for his Ferrari counterpart as Vettel spun off following a wheel-to-wheel battle with Hamilton which then witnessed him lose his front wing for the German to come home in fifth.
Although, a double Renault retirement – during the same lap – caused the race to finish on a safety car as both encountered engine problems.
Heartbreak but positives for Leclerc
To suddenly go from one hand on a maiden victory to just holding out for a podium, it is obvious heartbreak for the Monegasque.
However, there are still huge positives to take if one was to look at the wider picture.
Despite losing out to Vettel from the start, Leclerc was determined it would not be the end of him, as he swiftly re-gained the lead overtaking his team-mate on the outside of turn four.
From this point onwards, the German would fail to see Leclerc with the Monegasque looking as though he is the four-time World Champion, not the supposed ‘closest title rival’ to Hamilton and the ‘number one driver’ for Ferrari, in Sebastian Vettel.
If anything, this Grand Prix highlights Leclerc isn’t any pet to his team-mate that Kimi Raikkonen was, as the youngster is now in full belief he is also in the title picture.
To highlight such a strong driver from Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton paid tribute to him, as opposed to celebrating his victory.
“That was extremely unfortunate for Charles, we have work to do to keep these guys on our tails.
“Leclerc has got lots more wins coming in the future, Charles did such a great job and I’m sure it was a devastating result for him” Hamilton said.
In the midst of all heartbreak, Charles Leclerc has proved as to why he will become a multiple World Champion, in years to come.
Same old, same old for Sebastian Vettel
The four, dominant years Vettel once experienced are becoming ever more a distant memory as each race passes by.
Spinning at key moments during the 2018 season – Monza and Texas – deja vu occurred for Vettel, following his battle with Hamilton.
Following such a positive start, it perhaps looked as though it would be his day until Leclerc re-gained first position, leaving the German in a close battle with his fierce rival of recent years.
With both fighting for second place, Hamilton attempted his luck on the outside of turn four, which succeeded as Vettel spun off the track on the corner’s exit.
To make matters worse, moments later the front wing of his car dramatically flew off as a direct result of the spin, causing an immediate pit-stop.
Vettel then owned up to his mistake as he reflected on a hugely disappointing afternoon.
“Overall it wasn’t the race I wanted to have, then on top I had a mistake with the spin, so not a good evening” he said.
With the Ferrari driver desperate to finally beat Hamilton to the title, one must think that if he continues with these mistakes’ year in, year out, then that will never happen – especially with the rising force in his Ferrari garage, that is Charles Leclerc.
Perhaps it is Vettel’s team-mate that will be Hamilton’s closest rival in 2019, as these errors continue to occur for the four-time World Champion.
With the 1000th Formula One Grand Prix up next in China, there are plenty of things to keep an eye on following the non-stop drama witnessed in Bahrain, as Vettel may now have to worry more about Leclerc, than he does Hamilton.
First seen on Formula 1