Ferrari's Charles Leclerc kicked off Formula 1’s new era with victory in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix with the Italian marque scoring a one-two finish at the first round of the sport's 73rd season.
Following a successful Shakedown Test in Barcelona and the Official Pre Season Test in Bahrain, the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship got underway On Sunday beneath the lights of the Bahrain International Circuit. The season-opener saw Ferrari score a one-two finish, brining the winless drought to an end as the last time out the Italian marque secured a double win was at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
FerrariCharles Leclerc, 1st
“Coming into this season, we knew we would be in a better position than we have been for the past two years, but we didn’t know exactly where we would stand. To be back on top with a car that is capable of winning feels incredible. A huge thank you to our whole team, you’ve done an amazing job and this victory is for all of you.
“The race was tough and I gave it my all. Whenever I had a bit of margin behind me, I felt in control of the race and was managing the gap well. But after the first stop, things became more tricky. Max challenged me three times and I had to position myself in the right way to reclaim my position each time he passed me. Once the Safety Car came out, we lost the gap we had created and had to start again from zero. I knew I had to do the best restart possible and I am glad I got the job done well.
“Car development will be more significant than in previous years and we have to stay on top of our game. As for this weekend – we did everything right. Pole, fastest lap, the victory and second place for our team. Forza Ferrari!”Carlos Sainz, 2nd
“This is definitely a day to celebrate for the entire team. Starting the season with a 1-2 is the perfect reward for the tireless work they have done over the last two years and congrats to Charles on a solid win. We also want to share our joy with all our tifosi around the world because we always felt their support even when we were not fighting at the top.
“For me, I’m very happy with the result but I’m not particularly happy with my race. It was probably one of the hardest ones since I joined Ferrari. I wasn’t feeling at home with the car and we need to understand why. But today it’s time to celebrate this amazing result all together. The great effort to bring Ferrari back to the top, where it belongs, has paid off today and everyone deserves to enjoy it. We’ll keep pushing next week in Saudi. Forza Ferrari!”
MercedesLewis Hamilton, 3rd
"A big, big congratulations to Ferrari, I’m so happy to see them doing well again, they are such a historic and epic team. It was a difficult race for us today, we’ve struggled throughout practice and this is really the best result we could have got. Of course it was unfortunate for the other two drivers but we did the best we could and we are grateful for these points. I know the guys are working really hard back at the factory and it is not going to be a quick turnaround but we’ve been the best unified team for so long, we all know to just keep your head down, keep working, there’s a long way to go. We’ve got to maximise our weekends and at some point, we’ll be back in the fight."George Russell, 4th
"It was a positive race, I made a good start and then Lewis and I were on a race of our own, albeit on different strategies. We came home with a P3 and P4 for the team which we would have definitely taken prior to the weekend so in a long championship, we can be pleased with how today went.
"Considering we’re half a second behind in qualifying and probably the same, if not more, on race pace, it was a good damage limitation weekend. There’s a lot of potential in the car and we really need to dig down into the data and understand how to extract the performance. We recognise our rivals are a long way ahead of us, we know what the overall limitations of the car are, and we won’t settle until we have the chance of the win."
💬 "At the moment we are fifth and sixth on the track, and we are trying to recover ground but it is not going to come from one day to the other - we’ll keep pushing."— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 20, 2022
Toto, Lewis, George and Shov debrief the #BahrainGP 👇
HaasMick Schumacher, 11th
“With all the circumstances that we had with the spin in Turn 6 after contact – I don’t know how much damage that would’ve brought to the car – it didn’t feel amazing to drive afterwards. I think that was also represented in the pace we had. Seeing Kevin in P5 means that we have the car to do this, and that I can do the same. That also means we’re close to podiums if there’s a crazy weekend, which there usually is in Formula 1, so we should be able to do that.”Kevin Magnussen, 5th
“The craziness just continues. We had a really good race and the car was good all the way through. We had a little more degradation than we would’ve hoped for on the first set of tyres, but I also got passed a few people that were faster than me on the first lap and I didn’t really know whether to keep them behind or let them go. I also locked up a little bit so maybe it wasn’t perfect, but even though we pitted earlier we then extended the second stint on the same tire to get back on plan. Then there was a Safety Car that put everyone on the same tire and then it was just a sprint race to the end, so it was just intense. Obviously, a bit of luck there with the two Red Bull’s but we’ll take that.”
Alfa RomeoValtteri Bottas, 6th
“I am very happy about tonight’s result: for me, but most importantly for the team, with two cars in the points, and for Zhou who got points in his first race. The race went really well, with the exception of the start: I got a lot of wheelspin and was basically a sitting duck for the first lap, just trying to avoid contact. When that stabilised, however, we had really good pace: we didn’t give up, executed a really good strategy and, in the end, completed a good recovery.
"We took it lap by lap as we knew we had the car to get back in the top 10. It is a great way to start the season: there are still things to improve, of course, but we’re just at the first race of the year. Our priority was reliability and I am happy we could finish with both cars as the speed is there. Everyone did a good job and we are going in the right direction.”Zhou Guanyu, 10th
“I am so happy, I am speechless. There are so many emotions tonight but my first thought is for the team: seeing how everyone worked so hard to go from where we were at the end of last year to where we are today is so incredible. My biggest dream was to race in F1, then to score points and tonight we did both: being on the grid before the race, with the other 19 drivers, was crazy enough, but the race itself was so intense. It wasn’t so physically, but rather mentally: I had an issue at the start, the car went into anti-stall at turn one and then I knew I would have to do something special to recover to the top 10.
"I pushed a lot, caught up with Valtteri and then lost track position again when the Safety Car came out, before climbing back to P10 – such a rollercoaster. I tried to give everything I had tonight as this meant so much to me and all those who supported me. The cool-down lap was quite emotional: I am so proud of my team and of my team-mate, for all the work we did together to bring home this reward. It is a day I will never forget and I will enjoy the moment for a while, but then it’s all attention to Jeddah: there is a lot more we want to achieve.”
AlpineEsteban Ocon, 7th
“I’m very pleased with today and it’s a great start to the season with double points secured for the team. Our pace today was strong, there were some good overtakes and the team made the right calls on strategy. I’d like to say a special shoutout to the pit crew as well who were excellent with so many pit-stops today. Other than the incident with Mick, which I hold my hands up and apologise for, I was pretty pleased with my race. We will debrief with the team, we can take positives from today’s performance and we look ahead to next week. Onwards and upwards.”Fernando Alonso, 9th
“I’m happy to score two points in today’s first race of the season. It was not easy out there with the high tyre degradation, which we were all expecting going into the race. We defended a lot during the first stint and pushed quite hard, so perhaps this was less than ideal. We have to keep learning about these new tyres and it’ll probably be a big topic throughout the season. Overall, I think overtaking is easier because the tyres are all at different levels and following the cars ahead is better. We go again next weekend in Saudi Arabia, where no doubt it’ll be a different set of challenges.”
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly, DNF
“This is not the start to the season I was hoping for, the whole car just switched off outside of turn one, and then I started to smell the burning. It’s such a shame as I had a really good start, I was able to pass Fernando, then Kevin when I got the chance, and we were running quite comfortably in P8.
"We lost some important points, but there’s still lots of positives to take from today. I was quite surprised with the pace and it’s looking pretty good for the next few races. We obviously need to understand the failure we had but I’m sure we’ll find a solution. I had some good battles, it was fun to be back racing and I’m looking forward to next week already.”Yuki Tsunoda, 8th
“I’m quite happy with today, especially with the start as I was able to make up a few places. I had a little bit of luck near the end, as some cars had failures, but overall I’m pleased with how today went. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to be able to fight consistently at the top of the midfield, but we’re confident that we can develop the car to continue to improve our performance. We’ll go away and analyse the data from this whole weekend to try and find what our main limitations are ahead of the race next week.”
“It was interesting to be back in a Formula 1 car for a Grand Prix again, especially in such a busy race with lots going on around me. It was not easy to manage the tyres and drive with a changing fuel load. The car balance was changing a lot too, and it is not easy to prepare for this until you start racing. We knew that today was likely going to be the most difficult day in the car for that reason, which proved to be the case. I think I put together a good race, all things considered, with only the one mistake when I outbraked myself into Turn 1. It was a more challenging race after that. I will be on standby should the team need me again and I am hoping that Sebastian makes a speedy return to racing.”Lance Stroll, 12th
“It is a shame we were not able to fight for points today, but we will benefit from completing our first race and understanding more about these new regulations. It is early days and there is lots to learn about how we can extract more performance in time for the race in Saudi Arabia next weekend.
"My initial impression is that it could be an exciting season of racing because it appears that you can follow cars more closely and today I had some great battles with [Alex] Albon and [Mick] Schumacher. It was challenging to keep temperatures cool and manage these new tyres, too, but we now have some useful data to work with over the next few days.”
“It was a tricky day and it’s clear we’re not starting as strong as we would have liked. We’ve been lacking pace, struggling with overall grip, balance and tyre degradation, so we need to work out how we extract more out of the package we have now and have a real push to react as soon as possible to bring some more speed to the car. Jeddah will be a different kind of track and one that should suit us a bit better, but we’re still going to be going there with a similar package. I’m sure we’ll be able to optimise it more, knowing what we’ve learnt here, but I suspect it will still be tough. It’s a 23-race season though, so there’s plenty of time to claw things back.”Alex Albon, 13th
“My first Formula One race with Williams went pretty well. I had a good start and managed to make up a few positions, so I was pushing hard. Inevitably, a few faster cars overtook and we slipped back down a couple of places, but it’s a step forward considering the struggles we had last week. We knew it was going to be a difficult weekend, so to come out P13 with no reliability issues is something we should be pleased with.”
McLarenDaniel Ricciardo, 14th
“It sounds very simple, but the first objective today was to do the race distance and just build some knowledge in the car. I think even just for myself, especially after the last week, just to get that kind of fitness in, was good. We tried all three compounds of tyres, so there is plenty to feedback. I’m pretty clear where our weaknesses lay in the race, so we’ll try to understand that and work on those. I think we had some strengths in some corners as well. So, we’ll just feedback everything we can to the team and obviously, we knew it was going to be a tricky day, but we got both cars home and have lots to look at. We will now look ahead to a completely different track in Saudi Arabia to see what that brings.”Lando Norris, 15th
“Not what we wanted at all; it was a very tough race. We’re a long way from where we want to be and we’ve got work to do to make sure we’re working on every area possible and making the most of every race. We gave it our all today, but it's just not enough at the moment. We’ll look at all the data from the race today and see how we can improve for Saudi, as well as where we need to improve throughout the season. We’ll do our very best next week to make the most of where we are.”
Red BullMax Verstappen, DNF
“We were feeling quite competitive throughout the weekend so the result today was very unfortunate for us. The problems started initially with the brakes, they were overheating so I had to lift off and as a result I lost pace and had to let Charles go. After that, there were still a few issues with car balance and after my final pit stop my steering wheel was locked. That made it very difficult to drive so defending from Carlos at the re-start wasn’t easy.
"The final issue looked like a fuel system problem, which is why I had to retire and it was extremely painful for both our cars to DNF. We don’t know exactly what went wrong yet but we’ll definitely analyse the data and make sure we learn from it. At the end of the day, motorsport is unpredictable and these things can happen, this is race one, we have plenty more ahead of us.”Sergio Perez, DNF
“It was going to be a great start to the season but unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get the result we were hoping for. It is very disappointing to not be able to execute the result we wanted; we had the podium in our pocket until the last lap. A couple of laps before the end I could feel I was losing power, we knew there was an issue and we knew what had happened with Max. I had a similar issue to his car, at the moment we think it was a fuel system problem and basically the engine just stopped. It is tough to digest but we are going to look for the positives and come back stronger next week in Jeddah. I am sure we will get to the bottom of the problem, we are a great Team and I really believe in them. Today is very disappointing and an unfortunate start to our season but a year is a long time in Formula 1 and we’re only one race in.”