Lewis Hamilton claims dramatic win at the Bahrain Grand Prix
(CNN) — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton secured his first victory of the season as he capitalized on Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc’s loss of power in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“Oh my God,” exclaimed Leclerc, who had led for most of the race, as he realized his engine problems would cost him the chance of claiming his maiden grand prix success.
Hamilton claimed the win under the safety car ahead of Mercedes teammate Valterri Bottas, who won the season-opener in Australia, with Leclerc taking third.
Bottas leads the drivers’ standing with 44 points, one point ahead of Hamilton, with Verstappen in third on 27 points.
Hamilton praises Leclerc
Leclerc, who started the race in pole, was hit by engine problems when his car’s hybrid system failed.
He’d been eight seconds ahead of Hamilton at one stage, but the Briton quickly closed as Leclerc’s Ferrari faltered before sweeping past the 21-year-old Monegasque’s Ferrari.
“It happens,” Leclerc told reporters after the race. “It’s part of motor sport. It’s a very hard one to take, but I am sure we will come back stronger.”
The good news for Leclerc is that he took his first podium finish in F1, while also scoring a point for recording the fastest lap. At the moment he’s also looking the more effective Ferrari driver.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel damaged the front wing of his Ferrari as he went wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton.
“You drove brilliantly, really great, this weekend — you have a long future ahead,” Hamilton told Leclerc.
“As a team, we got lucky today,” added Bottas.