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Lewis Hamilton wins Bahrain Grand Prix after Charles Leclerc heartbreak

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton profited from Ferrari’s latest failure and won the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

other sports Updated: Mar 31, 2019 22:52 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Lewis Hamilton,Bahrain Grand Prix,Charles Leclerc
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.(AP)

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton took advantage of Ferrari new boy Charles Leclerc’s wretched misfortune on Sunday when he claimed a dramatic victory for Mercedes in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The five-time champion, who looked to be heading for second behind the 21-year-old Monegasque, gained the lead with 10 laps remaining when Formula One’s new star, who claimed a record-breaking pole position for Ferrari on Saturday, was hit by engine problems.

As he slowed, Hamilton hunted him down to claim his first win of the season, his third at the Bahrain International Circuit and the 74th of his career ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Leclerc came home third as the race finished behind a Safety Car, following the spectacular late exit of both Renaults at Turn Two, ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

“It happens,” said a calm Leclerc afterwards. “It’s part of motor sport. It’s a very hard one to take, but I am sure we will come back stronger.”

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel finished fifth in the second Ferrari, after a late spin had damaged his front wing during a duel with Hamilton, ahead of British rookie Lando Norris who scored his first points for McLaren in sixth.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc during the race. ( REUTERS )

Kimi Raikkonen, 39, was seventh for Alfa Romeo ahead of Pierre Gasly of Red Bull, Thailand’s rookie Alex Albon of Toro Rosso, who also had his first points finish, and Mexican Sergio Perez of Racing Line.

“That was extremely unfortunate for Charles, he drove a great race,” said Hamilton, on the team radio.

“We’ve got work to do to keep these guys off our tails. It must be devastating for Charles.”

It was Leclerc’s first podium finish in F1 and he also scored a point for fastest lap.

Bottas stayed on top in the drivers championship, one point ahead of Hamilton.

“That was extremely unfortunate for Charles, he drove a great race,” Hamilton said over the radio.

“We’ve got work to do to keep these guys off our tails.”

First Published: Mar 31, 2019 22:52 IST