New tires, new regulations, new cars, and an interesting grid makes for an exciting 2022 Formula 1 season. We anticipated a significantly fresh look at the sport during the offseason and testing, and that is exactly what the season opener delivered. There’s an abundance of highlights coming from last weekend’s race. That said, Nitrobetting goes over three of the biggest takeaways from the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Top 3 Takeaways from 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix
Ferrari One-Two Finish
The blockbuster takeaway of the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix features Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crossing the finish line first, followed by teammate Carloz Sainz to complete the one-two finish.
Ferrari took pole position through Charles Leclerc’s impressive performance last Sunday. The Monegasque driver shared the front row with Max Verstappen, while his teammate Carlos Sainz shared the second row with Sergio Perez.
Leclerc did well to defend his position off the line while Verstappen attempted to pass him several times during the first lap. Red Bull almost made the undercut work. Leclerc went out of the pit land three-tenths ahead of Verstappen. The Dutchman was well within the DRS zone, which sparked an epic battle between the two at Lap 17. Max sliced past Leclerc in the first turn but the Ferrari driver was quick to hit back to Turn 4 and kept the lead. Verstappen attempted the same move at the start of Lap 18, but Leclerc remained on his toes on the run to Turn 4 to keep his winning chances alive. Lap 19 was just as exciting as Max had another overtaking chance with DRS. He swept past the red Ferrari but had locked up down the inside of Turn 1. This allowed Leclerc to regain the lead once again until Verstappen stopped switching to medium compounds on Lap 31.
It was a battle of two competitive cars and race strategy as both teams fought for the lead. Furthermore, Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri came to a stop in flames on the 46th lap to call out the first and only Safety Car of the 2022 Bahrain GP. This set up for a gripping sprint to the checkered flag when the Safety Car returned to the pits and left six more laps of racing.
Unfortunately, Verstappen came across multiple issues with his RB18 that forced a late retirement for the team. Perez stayed in the race for a few more laps but was also hit by power issues. Ultimately, it cleared a path for Carlos Sainz to catch up with his teammate in front.
Ferrari went through almost 50 races without a win. After a lengthy wait, the iconic Formula 1 team accomplished a one-two finish with two of the most promising drivers on the grid this season.
Double Retirement for Red Bull
Defending champion Verstappen produced an exhilarating fight with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for the lead. He seemed to settle for a second-place finish when he started to report steering and power unit issues late into the race. The problems proved terminal as he had to retire the car from the race.
Sergio Perez was the only fighting chance for Red Bull to score points but quickly added to Red Bull’s troubles by losing power on the final lap. The Mexican driver spun into retirement at Turn 1 of the final lap. It was a downcast moment for the race team.
Verstappen said during the post-race interview, “I mean, what happened at the end is obviously very frustrating, but of course before that, quite a few issues,” said Verstappen at the end of Sunday. “First of all the balance was off. I didn’t have the same feeling as on Friday on the long runs, so that was a bit disappointing.
“Then suddenly my steering, I don’t know what happened to that, it was just completely locked and the faster I was going, I could barely steer. So it was not easy on the restart to defend from Carlos.
“But then I was still in second with that big issue so you think, okay, with all these issues that I’ve had today, second would be a good result. And then suddenly I had to retire, everything just switched off. It looked like a fuel pump or issue, there was no fuel coming to the engine. Of course these things, you don’t want them to happen and it’s very painful for the team as well that both cars retired. We need to look into everything.”
Understandably, Perez shared the same disappointment after losing a chance at a podium finish following Verstappen’s retirement–the 32-year-old driver handed P3 to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Perez in an interview said, “I was very unfortunate, I lost the engine, just locked the rears completely and there was nothing I could do. It looks a very similar problem to what Max had.
“I’m definitely disappointed but we are a strong team and it’s a long season ahead of us, we just have to remain working as hard as possible and next weekend is another opportunity.”
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner revealed that the technical problems might have something to do with a lift pump, collector, and other related components. It was a brutal moment for the team but they get another shot at a win in a week when the 2022 season heads to Jeddah for the second-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Kevin Magnussen P5 for Haas
Comeback kid Kevin Magnussen gets Hass and fans excited after ending the team’s 28-race drought for a point with an impressive fifth-place finish in the season opener.
The Dane had a late call up to replace Nikita Mazepin, having last raced in F1 in almost two years. He set the track on fire with a sensational P7 in qualifying before converting it to P5. Red Bull’s retirement had plenty to do with this result, but Magnussen keeping hold of P7 is a result Haas will take any day of the week.
“This craziness just continues,” he said. “We had a really good race, the car was good all the way through – we had a little more degradation than we had hoped for on the first set [of tyres.
“Obviously, a bit of luck there at the end with the two Red Bulls but we will take that.”
Magnussen added: “I can’t wait for the rest of the year, I just want to keep going.”
The American-owned Formula 1 team now holds third place in the constructors’ championship with 10 points. Mick Schumacher missed out on his first World Championship point by a place, but the season just started and the team is optimistic about positive results in 2022.