Lewis Hamilton was a lucky winner of the Bahrain Grand Prix, denying what would have been Charles Leclerc’s first Formula 1 win after the Frenchman’s Ferrari slowed with a power unit problem.
Leclerc had dominated throughout the weekend and looked set for a comfortable victory until an MGU-H failure left him to limp to the finish in third place behind Hamilton and the latter’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Leclerc was saved from losing further positions by the late-race Safety Car prompted by the retirements of the Renaults of Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had been eyeing off the final podium spot but had to settle for fourth ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Earlier in the race Vettel had looked on course to complete a Ferrari one-two with team-mate Leclerc, but Vettel spun while being overtaken by Hamilton. Vettel flat spotted a tyre in the process, the resulting vibration causing his front wing to break.
While Ferrari came away with only third and fourth places from a weekend in which it appeared dominant, rival Mercedes made it consecutive one-two results for the perfect start to the season for the three-pointed star.
Bottas currently leads the World Drivers’ Championship by one point over Hamilton, who is 16 clear of Verstsappen, followed by Leclerc and Vettel.