Charles Leclerc was sure engine would 'blow up' in Bahrain GP

Charles Leclerc thought his Ferrari engine would "blow up" as a result of the cylinder problem that cost him his first Formula 1 win at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc was sure engine would 'blow up' in Bahrain GP

Despite losing his pole advantage to team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the start, Leclerc led the majority of the race - at one point extending a margin of over eight seconds from second place.

But Leclerc reported a loss of power, later revealed to be cylinder related, in the closing laps and was consequently forced to concede the lead to Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, before also slipping behind Valtteri Bottas to third.

"To be honest, how I felt in the car, I thought that everything would blow up a few laps later," said Leclerc.

"That was not the case and we still finished third, but there was just a loss of power completely and very suddenly.

"It got a tiny bit better but the problem stayed. There were no signs before that anything was wrong."

Leclerc had enjoyed a strong weekend - taking the first pole of his F1 career on Saturday - and still ended the race as Ferrari's best-placed driver, with Vettel having dropped back to fifth following a spin and the loss of his front wing while duelling with Hamilton for second place.

"From the whole weekend, there are a lot of positives to take," Leclerc added.

"After Australia we were quite a lot far off. I think we have found some pace.

"We came here with a good car, which was very positive for the team and shows they have done an amazing job.

"To lose the lead this way is always a shame and a disappointment, but I also still have a lot of things to do and there were still some points for grabs so I very quickly got back to focus on my race."

Asked if the race ranked as the "cruellest" of his career so far, Leclerc replied that it was not as painful as the 2017 Monaco Formula 2 event - when he had dominated at home until safety car confusion and then a suspension breakage.

"I'll not go that extreme because Formula 2 in Monaco was probably the worst I've ever had," said Leclerc.

"It's still a podium and it's my first podium in F1 so I want to enjoy it.

"It was not the weekend we wanted but we should be happy with third place despite problems."

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the manner in which Leclerc had dominated meant he had to leave Bahrain optimistic.

"We are certainly disappointed but we are in a positive mood," said Binotto.

"We know it's a long season and there are a lot of positives coming out from the weekend."

But despite his team's turnaround from struggling in Australia to setting the Bahrain pace, he warned: "The only confidence we may have is that in Bahrain we were fast enough, but that doesn't mean it will be sufficient for the rest of the season".

shares
comments
Valtteri Bottas had plastic bag stuck in front wing in Bahrain GP
Previous article

Valtteri Bottas had plastic bag stuck in front wing in Bahrain GP

Next article

Max Verstappen: Red Bull car didn't feel good throughout Bahrain GP

Max Verstappen: Red Bull car didn't feel good throughout Bahrain GP
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Plus

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward Plus

Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward

Lewis Hamilton’s words in a recent Vanity Fair interview define both his world-view and his approach to this season: one of perpetual struggle against adversity. As GP RACING explains, that’s what Lewis feeds off – and why, far from being down and nearly out, he’s using his unique skillset to spearhead Mercedes’ revival…

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022