The 2021 F1 season came to an end with a thrilling race where Max Verstappen stole the driver’s world championship from the reigning champion Lewis Hamilton. Although Mercedes managed to clinch their record 8th Constructors world championship. They dominated the turbo-hybrid era breaking most of the records set by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.
2022 is a whole new story. FIA has made major changes to the regulations and they have introduced a budget cap for the teams to close the gap among them. The change is focused mostly on the aero package that is promised to deliver very close racing which was not the case last year. So let’s get into the season opener, 2022 Bahrain GP which seems to be the rise of another dominant force.
The 2022 Bahrain GP
Charles Leclerc with his blazing lap on Saturday’s qualifying session grabbed the pole position. Red Bull’s Max locked the front row with Charles and Carlos Sainz in the second row alongside Sergio Perez. With Mercedes’s lack of pace over the straights and the porpoising issue still in hand, couldn’t challenge the leaders.
With a good start, Charles Leclerc gained a commendable lead in the race with over 4 seconds gap from Max. The undercut proved to be strong here in Bahrain. Red Bull’s smart pitstop for Max in lap 15 undercut Leclerc and closed the gap between them. Both Leclerc and Max closely duelled on in the first and second DRS zones a couple of laps. Max’s third attempt seemed a little ambitious in turn 1 which resulted in a huge lock-up, giving Leclerc the advantage.
Red Bull again tried to undercut the Ferrari during their second pitstop and failed. Just after Max’s third pitstop came the safety car to get rid of Gasly’s burning Alpha Tauri off the track due to overheating issues. Both the Ferrari’s had a cheap Pitstop and did not cost them much time under the safety car. The race resumed with Leclerc still holding Max behind him.
A minor issue detected during the race in the RB18 proved to be fatal in the final stages of the race. Max’s steering problem let him down in lap 54 where they had to retire the car promoting Sainz up to the 2nd position.
It didn’t stop there. The second Red Bull driver Perez also faced an issue with his engine while battling Hamilton in 4th place. On the final lap in turn 1 Perez lost his engine completely and sent Hamilton into the 3rd Podium place. The double disaster for Red Bull is a costly one, losing all their points to the rivals, Mercedes.
To sum up the 2022 Bahrain GP, Ferrari had a 1-2 finish and the Mercedes secured 3rd and 4th position with Kevin Magnussen in the fifth spot.
2022 Bahrain GP – Race result
The full race result of the 2022 Bahrain GP is in the table below.
|1.||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1:37:33.584||26 (+1 for fastest lap)|
|2.||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+5.598 sec||18|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+9.675 sec||15|
|4.||George Russell||Mercedes||+11.211 sec||12|
|5.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+14.754 sec||10|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+16.119 sec||8|
|7.||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+19.423 sec||6|
|8.||Yuki Tsunoda||Alpha Tauri||+20.386 sec||4|
|9.||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+22.390 sec||2|
|10.||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||+23.064 sec||1|
|11.||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+32.574 sec||0|
|12.||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+45.873 sec||0|
|13.||Alexander Albon||Williams||+53.932 sec||0|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+54.975 sec||0|
|15.||Lando Norris||McLaren||+56.335 sec||0|
|16.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+61.795 sec||0|
|17.||Nico Hulkenberg||Aston Martin||+63.829 sec||0|
|18.||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||DNF||0|
|19.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||DNF||0|
|20.||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||DNF||0|
Ferrari, the oldest constructor in Formula 1 is in a dry spell for a long time now. Their last driver championship was in 2007 with Kimi Räikkönen and Constructor’s championship was in 2008. The 2020 & 2021 seasons have been a nightmare for Ferrari where they finished 6th and 3rd respectively.
With the new regulation in play, Ferrari seems to be the favourites. With strong testing both in Barcelona and Bahrain, they have carried this momentum for their first race as well. Ferrari powered cars i.e the Haas and Alfa Romeo seems to have better pace in the midfield. Magnussen in Haas and Bottas in the Alfa secured 5th and 6th place respectively at the end of the race. The Chinese Debutant, Zhou Guanyu in his Alfa scored 1 point for his team.
Looks like the era of Mercedes domination has come to an end. In terms of pace, their challenger W13 seems to stay behind both Ferrari and Red Bull. However, knowing what the team has done over the years and what they are capable of, it is too early to ignore them. They are working on the new updates for the car to overcome the deficits against the rivals which will be introduced in the coming races.
Which Driver or Constructor would you like to see winning the championship? Comment your answers below.
1. Who won the F1 drivers and constructors championship in 2021?
Max Verstappen in Red bull won the drivers championship and Mercedes won the Constructors championship in 2021.
2. How long is the Bahrain F1 race track?
The Bahrain race track is 5.41 km long. The complete race distance is 308 km with a total of 57 laps.