F1 preview: A lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix
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Bahrain Grand Prix runner-up Carlos Sainz has warned that Ferarri are ‘properly back’ in a stinging warning to Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Ferrari proved they are ready to challenge Hamilton and Verstappen after Charles Leclerc won in Bahrain.
Leclerc controlled the first race of the 2022 season after starting in pole position. It is Ferrari’s first one-two finish since 2019.
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen was forced to retire in a thrilling race. The Dutchman had a suspected fuel pump issue.
Hamilton, who tempered expectation ahead of Bahrain due to issues with Mercedes’ car, earned a podium finish. But Sainz has warned Formula One’s top two stars that Ferrari will compete for the world championship this season.
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“Congrats to Charles, congrats to Ferrari,” Sainz told Sky Sports after matching his previous best F1 finish achieved in Monaco last year.
“Ferrari are back and properly back. A one-two and where the team should have been over the last few years. The hard work is paying off and we are there.”
Sainz conceded that he had been struggling to adapt to Ferrari’s new car after qualifying. He then repeated that admission after the race.
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But the 27-year-old believes Ferrari can still improve as they continue to pursue Hamilton and Verstappen. “It’s been a very tricky weekend, I won’t lie,” Sainz continued.
“I didn’t have the pace today but I managed to hold in there and bring the one-two for the team. I have some homework to do over the next few days and I’m sure I’ll come back stronger.
“At the restart I had a strong chance because I had a very clean restart behind Charles and Max. He defended well, to be fair, and then suddenly I started seeing some flashing red lights from the back of his car and I said, ‘okay, this is my chance’ and I went for it.”
Sainz said he felt sorry for Verstappen following his retirement on lap 55 and claims the 24-year-old would have taken second place had he finished the race. He added: “[Max] was unfortunate, I think today he was driving well enough to get P2. But I had a good run on him and then he had to retire, so it is what it is and it’s good for Ferrari.”
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