What a race!! If the Bahrain GP 2019 was anything to go by then we’re in for a hell of a season! Right, where to start? First of all, I’m not really going to talk about qualifying but the main thing is that Charles Leclerc was the pole sitter – statistics declare that he was the 99th pole sitter at the 999th F1 race. So with that in mind let’s get to the race!
Lights out and away they go! Leclerc gets a bad start and Vettel beats him off the line. Bottas also soon passes Leclerc. By turn 2 of lap 2, Leclerc passes Bottas.
Not sure what happened to Stroll and Grosjean but there was contact and later on stewards declare it a racing incident. Good call stewards, good call. In my opinion, first corner, first lap incidents are inevitable with the pack bunched up as they are.
Lap 3 Sainz takes on Verstappen for 5th place but there’s contact! Sainz sustains damage and drops down the field.
Lap 5 – Leclerc on team radio “Guys I’m quicker!” (than Vettel). And yes he is as he retakes pole from Vettel!
Lap 9 – Battle in the mid field between Norris/Magnussen/Gasly with Gasly closing in on Magnussen.
Lap 10 – 20 – First Pitstops and Some Tactics?
Lap 10 – first pitstop happens which kicks off the first pitstop phase. Ghastly pitstop for Gasly’s Red Bull who loses a place to Albon.
Hamilton closing the gap to Vettel – very good because whilst Vettel defends against Hamilton he’s distracted and thus letting Leclerc mosey on ahead in clear air.
Lap 14/15 – Leclerc pits and it’s a very good stop. Hamilton pits at the same time. Crofty and Brundle comments that Ferrari have sacrificed Vettel and by the end of lap 15, Hamilton jumps Vettel under the pitstop phase.
Kvyat and Giovinazzi are under investigation after Kvyat takes a spin.
Side note: kerb cameras are awesome!
What’s going on with the Williamses? Kubica and Russell down in 16/17th places!! Kvyat gets a 5s penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Ahhhh Grosjean retires on lap 16/17
Laps 20 – 45 – More Pitstops and Problems for Vettel
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Lap 23 – there’s a nice battle for 2nd between Hamilton and Vettel. It doesn’t last long as Vettel passes Hamilton. By now Leclerc is 7s in the lead.
Lap 25/26 – Lando Norris is up in 8th in his McLaren! And he’s getting close to Raikkonen and within DRS range! And he does it!
The pack is spread out and a safety car is needed to bunch the pack up… but that means Leclerc would lose his 8s gap to Vettel. OK, I’ve changed my mind. Please NO safety car!
[Nothing is suggesting a safety car is due, I’m just thinking out loud]
Lap 30 – Ricciardo overtakes Magnussen but still, WHY ARE YOU IN A RENAULT?
Lap 32 – Stroll tries unlapping himself but Verstappen is putting up a fight. Come on Verstappen let him through! What have you go to lose? [Husband points out that last year Stroll tried to do the same and crashed into Verstappen]
Lap 35 – Hamilton stops for his second pitstop. Is he trying to undercut the Ferraris I wonder? Vettel pits – 2.3s!!! The undercut doesn’t work for Hamilton as Vettel leaves the pits ahead of him.
Lap 36 – Leclerc pits (2.4s) and still leads the race.
Lap 37 – epic battle between Vettel and Hamilton for 3rd place – Vettel only just keeps his 3rd place.
Lap 38 – Hamilton overtakes Vettel who loses it at the corner and spins! He’s punctured his tyres. OH! HE’S LOST HIS FRONT WING!! Post pit stop he’s down in 8th behind Norris in the McLaren…. but not for long.
Lap 42 – Crofty utters the words “it’s looking beautiful out for Leclerc out front”. You just KNOW something’s going to happen now. Commentator’s Curse!!
[Trouble when you’re watching the race on catch up is that it’s inevitable you’ll find out the result. Husband at this point knows who the race winner is. He’s trying to not let me find out but given his twitchy-ness, I KNOW something happens to Leclerc]
Lap 44 – Well done Lando (Norris)!!!! Pssses Ricciardo and up to 7th place in that McLaren. MUCH better car than 2018 then!
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Lap 47 – Leclerc o team radio “something’s gone through the engine” WHAT?!! FFS CROFTY!!!!! #commentatorscurse
Lap 48 – LECLERC’S LOST HIS TURBO POWER!!!!!!
LAp 50 – Leclerc’s team radio says he should manage to stay in 2nd place….. 7 laps to go.
LAp 51 – with 6 laps to go, Leclerc isn’t likely to keep Bottas at bay and worse yet, it’s likely Verstappen will pass him before the end as well.
Lap 55 – BOTH RENAULT’S ARE OUT! Both of them are out at the exact same piece of circuit. Hold up! SAFETY CAR is deployed with Leclerc 3rd place! IF race finishes under SC then he’s on the podium. Tense!! Norris in 6th whilst Sainz retires for the 2nd time in 2019- it’s only been 2 races so that’s a 100% DNF’s for Sainz.
Lap 57 – Race will finish under SC so that confirms it, Leclerc gets his first ever podium!
Post Race and Podium Result
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1st – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2nd – Valterri Bottas (Mercedes)
3rd – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
Hamilton spoke very well about Leclerc to be fair. He knows his win was due to Leclerc’s utter bad luck. Poor Leclerc looked so sad stepping onto the 3rd step. I feel for you lad! Should’ve been the top spot! I didn’t watch the whole post race debrief because what’s the point, the race results aren’t going to change!
But, if this race is anything to go by, I can’t wait for the next one! 1000th F1 race!!