Ferrari set for F1 title as Red Bull slumps at Bahrain GP, ​​Mercedes admits ‘very far’


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Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said their double was a significant confidence boost for the team.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said their double was a significant confidence boost for the team.

Ferrari are optimistic about their ability to challenge for this season’s Formula 1 titles after a perfect start to the season at the Bahrain GP, ​​where the sport’s most famous team edged out Mercedes and Red Bull.

The Scuderia ended a 45-win drought – the second longest in its illustrious history – thanks to Charles Leclerc’s light pole triumph on Sunday, and better still, it was a brace with Carlos Sainz in second square.

F1 has only had one two-team fight for the championship in recent seasons, but it now looks like Ferrari, having benefited from major rule changes in 2022 after two years of languishing in midfield, is ready. to fight again at the front.

“Going into the season, we surely knew we were going to be in a better position compared to the last two years, but we didn’t really know where,” Leclerc said.

“And now we see that we are really in the game to fight for the title, so it’s amazing! We will fight for that, for sure.”

Charles Leclerc says he was still confident of emerging victorious from his battle with Max Verstappen, even before Red Bull were forced to retire.

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Charles Leclerc says he was still confident of emerging victorious from his battle with Max Verstappen, even before Red Bull were forced to retire.

Charles Leclerc says he was still confident of emerging victorious from his battle with Max Verstappen, even before Red Bull were forced to retire.

Ferrari, with 31 titles and more than 1,000 race starts, is the most successful and historic F1 team, despite being without a title Kimi Raikkonen’s drivers’ crown in 2008. Their victory at the Bahrain GP, ​​comfortable but emphatic, indicates a welcome return to discord.

“It’s just great news for Ferrari and for us because that’s where Ferrari should be, and that’s where Charles and I want to be in our lives, fighting for the World Championships,” explained Sainz.

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc thrilled the crowd with their fiery battle for the lead in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc thrilled the crowd with their fiery battle for the lead in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc thrilled the crowd with their fiery battle for the lead in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“It’s still going to be a long year, we still have to make sure that we develop this car well, because at the moment it’s a fast car, but it also has to be fast all year round, to keep us in the fight. .”

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto told reporters on Sunday night that he would “wait at least four or five races” before he was sure of his title hopes, although Sky Sports F1’s Karun Chandhok commented “They did a fantastic job.

“They were out of contention for the championship last year, they had a terrible season in 2020, but they bounced back.

“Clearly the battle is not just between Mercedes and Red Bull this year.”

A preview of defending champion Max Verstappen's race on Red Bull Team Radio.

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A preview of defending champion Max Verstappen’s race on Red Bull Team Radio.

A preview of defending champion Max Verstappen’s race on Red Bull Team Radio.

What happened to Red Bull?

Red Bull entered the season opener as favourites, but as they were close to Ferrari’s race pace, Max Verstappen couldn’t find a way past the immaculate Leclerc. Then, in an agonizing conclusion, the cars of Verstappen and Sergio Perez suffered reliability issues and exited the race in the closing laps, leaving Red Bull without a point.

Sergio Perez (Red Bull) starts on the last lap to give Lewis Hamilton a place on the podium!

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Sergio Perez (Red Bull) starts on the last lap to give Lewis Hamilton a place on the podium!

Sergio Perez (Red Bull) starts on the last lap to give Lewis Hamilton a place on the podium!

Verstappen and Perez were running second and third at the time of their failures, which Red Bull said were identical.

Red Bull called the double DNF “brutal” and diagnosed fuel pump problems in their cars, and team adviser Helmut Marko confirmed Sky Sports Germany that the problem was not getting enough fuel to the engine.

Mercedes: Title “a very long shot”

Red Bull’s double retirement opened the door for Mercedes, who were half a minute off the pace before the end of the safety car, to capitalize and complete an unlikely third and fourth with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

The sport’s eight-time world champions struggled for speed at the start of F1’s new era and called the result “remarkable” and “excellent”. But they still admit they have a lot of work to do to even think about the title.

Defending champion Max Verstappen explains the issues that led to his retirement at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

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Defending champion Max Verstappen explains the issues that led to his retirement at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Defending champion Max Verstappen explains the issues that led to his retirement at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

“It’s too early to really look at the championship,” conceded team boss Toto Wolff. “As things stand, if you look at the pecking order today, it seems like a very long time to even think about being in contention for one of the championships.

“But if I consider it just one race weekend, we probably scored the maximum points we could have.

“We have to go from there and every weekend counts. At the moment these are singular events because realistically when you are third on the road you cannot think of winning it.”

Lewis Hamilton said it was

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Lewis Hamilton said it was “remarkable” to finish on the podium given the problems the Mercedes team faced over the weekend.

Lewis Hamilton said it was “remarkable” to finish on the podium given the problems the Mercedes team faced over the weekend.

A more positive Hamilton thought about the long game with his damage limitation.

“Every point can make the difference,” said the seven-time world champion. “I lost world titles with just one point.

“While we’re not necessarily battling performance-wise with these guys right now, it’s a very, very good result.

“But it’s such a long season. It’s going to be such a tough battle but we like challenges. I really like challenges.

“And it’s a privilege to work with…for all of us to be able to work with great teams of hungry people, focused on a common goal.

“There is no greater feeling when you all come together and achieve a result like this.”

Follow the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sky Sports

Sky Sports F1 is your home for every race this season, and that continues with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix next weekend.

We’ll have a build-up throughout the week before covering all the action live starting Friday’s first practice at 2 p.m. with the second practice at 5 p.m.

Saturday practice is at 2pm with qualifying at 5pm before the start of Sunday’s race at 6pm in the UK. Sky Sports F1 will be on the air from 4.30pm to prepare for the action.

As always, you can also follow the action online on the Sky Sports app.

The Formula 1 season continues on Sky Sports F1 on Friday with the Saudi Arabian GP. Sunday’s race starts at 6 p.m. Learn more & subscribe.




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