Lewis Hamilton inherited victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix after a motor problem hit runaway leader Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari overdue at the race.
Leclerc had dominated afterwards retaking the guide following a bad start and was on route for a maiden victory if his hybrid system failed.
Hamilton closed an eight-second shortage over three laps and trapped by for his first triumph of 20-19 with eight laps to move.
Leclerc could have slipped down to fourth behind Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas and RedBull’s Max Verstappen but was rescued by a late-race safety car.
As victory slipped from his hands, the despair in Leclerc’s voice was evident as he asked the team what had happened, and was told that he had suffered a collapse of their MGUH, the component of the hybrid system that recovers energy out of the turbo.
It cost him 40km/h to the straights and left him helpless first Hamilton after which Bottas closedin at five seconds a lap.
“Ohmygod,” he said, as he saw that a fairytale victory slip from his grip, on a weekend which he had destroyed his four-time world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel, meanwhile, made still another high profile error, spinning his car while still being passed by Hamilton for that which at the time was second place with 20 laps to move.
Vettel already had a pit stop for brand new tyres, but in addition, he suffered a front wing collapse as he flew around into the pits, and also the German finished fifth, two places behind his team mate.
“This was extremely regrettable for Charles,” Hamilton said over the radio on his reducing horn. “We have work to do to help keep these guys on our tails”
It had been a bitter blow to Leclerc, who thoroughly deserved the win, however the Monegasque had already done enough to declare himself being a big title contender.
He had started from pole position, however a bad start supposed he fell from Vettel and Bottas to the very first lap.
However then he passed Bottas at the beginning of second lap after which Vettel on lap four months, round the surface of Turn Four, and also proceeded to underline his superiority over Vettel by cruising off into an appropriate lead.
Until the Ferrari hit problem at the closing laps, the race was behind Leclerc, as Vettel and Hamilton swapped positions behind him.
Hamilton jumped Vettel at the primary pit stops, however Mercedes’s choice of soft palate as the Ferraris matched mediums left him struggling.
Vettel closed him down and passed second on lap 24.
Hamilton believed he had been in dire problem, but he was able to maintain Vettel in sight, then when both pitted for a last stint on mediums Hamilton had been in a position to close on Vettel.
The planet champion passed Vettel around the exterior of Turn Four with 20 laps to move, and also the German spun on the exit of this corner.
“Aargh,” he said. Box.”
This had been another mistake that raised questions concerning Vettel’s power to race in high-pressure situations after having a succession of errors a year dashed his name hopes well before they should have expired.
It’s not yet understood why Vettel’s right-wing collapsed, but the dynamics over the Ferrari are actually fascinating.
Vettel had begun the season as their leader but Leclerc has staked his claim also proved he is going to soon be a major force this season.
Behind the big 3 teams, together with Verstappen fourth and fourth Vettel fifth, Renault lost an end in fifth and sixth places when both their cars collapsed to precisely the same lap with three to move.
This had been that this retirement that brought out the overdue safety car that saved Leclerc’s podium position and it gave sixth to Lando Norris, who drove a solid race for McLaren.
He conquer Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, RedBull’s Pierre Gasly and Toro Rosso Alexander Albon, the Anglo-Thai scoring points in only his next Grandprix.