Scuderia Ferrari’s 2022 season has got off to the best possible start, with Charles Leclerc leading team-mate Carlos Sainz across the line to record the team’s 85th one-two finish in Formula 1. This was the Maranello squad’s 239th win and Charles’ third after those in Belgium and Italy in 2019. He drove a perfect race, securing the first hat trick of his career, namely pole position, fastest race lap and the win. Carlos took the chequered flag in second place to record his fifth podium with the Scuderia, his seventh in total in Formula 1.
Leclerc drove an almost perfect race, as he fought off several attacks from Max Verstappen, after the Dutchman went for the undercut following the first pit stop, between laps 16 and 19. The team’s engineers and mechanics also played a key role in the win. The team opted to line up on new Soft tyres, banking on the Monegasque’s excellent starting ability. He showed that again today, pushing hard in the F1-75 over the first stint. The mechanics produced an impeccable performance at both pit stops, especially Leclerc’s second one, which allowed him to pull out precious tenths of a second over Verstappen to put him out of reach of a second attempt at the undercut by the reigning champion.
When the Safety Car came out on lap 45 after Pierre Gasly stopped on track, the team decided to change Charles’ tyres so that he could fend off any potential attack from Verstappen. At the restart, Carlos, who had not felt completely comfortable in the car all weekend, still managed to pass the Dutchman on track before his retirement, thus rounding off an unforgettable weekend for the Scuderia in Bahrain. Charles heads the Drivers’ classification for the first time in his career.
This evening, the team is celebrating in Bahrain and then tomorrow, it’s back to the hard work because this coming Friday the action resumes with the second round of the season, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche circuit.
“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!”
“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!”
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal & Managing Director
“I am very happy with this result, as our race today shows how well this team has worked over the past two years in Maranello. Personally, I have always had faith in them. They have worked as a united group and reacted to the difficulties we encountered. It’s nice to see we are once again battling for first place, which is our goal for this season. To win in Formula 1, you have to do everything perfectly and today we did just that and that goes for everyone, the drivers, the F1-75, the engineers with the strategy and the mechanics,who were impeccable at the pit stops. Seeing the way the team was able to make the most of every opportunity fills me with pride. Tonight, I wanted to go up on the podium to collect the Constructors’ trophy because I felt it was the best way to represent the whole team, back home and here in Bahrain. I have to admit it was an emotional moment. I am also thinking of the fans who have always supported us, even when things were a bit tricky and I admit I can’t wait to get to Imola to race in front of them.”