The Bahrain Grand Prix became one to remember, not least because of some spectacular crashes during which fortunately nobody got seriously hurt. But, in the end, it was Hamilton, who else, to win, ahead of the Red Bull duo Verstappen and Albon.
The start of the Bahrain Grand Prix went all good for Hamilton who managed to stay in front of the pack, but Bottas had lots of trouble getting away from the dirty side of the track and got swamped by Perez, Albon and Ricciardo, joining the flow in sixth. Verstappen slotted into second, easily staying out of any trouble.
The issues happened in the midfield where Norris sustained damage on his front wing, leaving the left-hand endplate scraping over the tarmac.
Behind them, however, a major crash by Romain Grosjean caused an immediate stoppage, as the incident was so serious. Fortunately, despite the huge fireball, the driver escaped, but the race didn't restart for another 1 hour.
The second start saw Hamilton once again get away strongly, ahead of Verstappen and Perez. Bottas followed up in fourth, ahead of Albon, Norris, Ocon, Leclerc, Ricciardo and Gasly.
This time around, Lance Stroll ended up upside down, making for another neutralisation, this time with the safety car. This time, it wasn't too serious, but again, Kvyat was involved, as Stroll's right rear bumped on Kvyat's front left, launching the Racing Point into the car and flipping over. Again, Van der Merwe was quickly at the scene and helped Stroll to get out of the car alongside the halo.
Meanwhile, Vettel complained of Leclerc cutting across him at Turn 1, saying to his engineer "The whole morning, we are talking about giving each other space, and then, he does this, just like in Austria. Maybe I should've just crashed instead".
Bottas also pitted at the end of that lap, incurring damage from running over some debris at Turn 3 or 4, according to his engineer.
On lap 9, the race got going again after Hamilton somewhat annoyed Verstappen by going very clowly towards the final corner for the restart.
Nothing much happened, though Leclerc tried to make it past Ocon for 6th. Ocon defended well repeatedly, and two laps later, Sainz and Ricciardo fairly easily made it past Leclerc. One lap later, Gasly also moved past the Ferrari.
Next up came a series of pitstops, with the Renaults among the first to stop with Ricciardo taking on hards and Ocon doing his second stint on medium tyres. Hamilton and Albon did like Ocon while Verstappen and Perez opted for hard tyres in his second stint. Both McLarens also went of mediums, resulting in them both getting ahead of the Renault cars by lap 28.
The trouble for Ocon, in particular, was that he took a set of used mediums compared to Sainz getting new ones.
On lap 35, Verstappen is the first to take a second stop. He takes another new set of hard tyres, and is soon followed by Ocon and Hamilton who both did the same tyre change. Verstappen's change however was far slower, with a pitstop of 5.1s that is quite a bit slower than what they're used to at Red Bull Racing.
The brief moment where Perez sat second ended the next lap when he pitted for another set of hard tyres as well. This put Perez back in third, 4 seconds ahead of Albon.
Meanwhile at Renault, Ricciardo pondered why he was racing Ocon, and moments later he was let past. Sadly for him, three laps later, Ocon was pitted one last ahead of Ricciardo, and therefore once again in front of the Australian. Ricciardo however soon set that record straight,, as after a failed attempt at Turn 1, he made an overtake stick at Turn 3.
10 laps from the end, Verstappen made yet another pitstop, changing back to medium tyres while staying second. With victory seemingly out of sight, Verstappen opted to try and go for the fastest lap instead. Verstappen did actually manage to do so, but after these quick laps seemed to back out and do a controlled end of the race.
But, for Perez, the race was too long, as 3 laps from the end, his Mercedes engine gave up. Perez drove half a lap with smoke coming out of the car before eventually parking it with flames coming out of the back. As he was on the back straight, the safety car was brought out and the race ended as such, securing Hamilton of the race win after leading it from start to finish.
Both Red Bulls complete the podium while McLaren does a fantastic effort in the fight for third in the championship by finishing 4th and 5th.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||57||2:59:47.515||25|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||57||+1.254s||19|
|3||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||57||+8.005s||15|
|4||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||57||+11.337s||12|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||57||+11.787s||10|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||57||+11.942s||8|
|8||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||57||+19.680s||4|
|10||16||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||56||+1 lap||1|
|11||26||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda||56||+1 lap||0|
|12||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||56||+1 lap||0|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||56||+1 lap||0|
|14||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||56||+1 lap||0|
|15||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||56||+1 lap||0|
|16||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||56||+1 lap||0|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||56||+1 lap||0|
|18||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||53||DNF||0|
|NC||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||2||DNF||0|
|NC||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||0||DNF||0|