Scuderia Ferrari had a dream start to the 2022 Formula One season as Charles Leclerc who started the race from pole position took victory while Carlos Sainz came home in second place ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Speaking following the race Leclerc said:
Coming into this season, we knew we would be in a better position than we have been for the past two years, but we didn’t know exactly where we would stand. To be back on top with a car that is capable of winning feels incredible. A huge thank you to our whole team, you’ve done an amazing job and this victory is for all of you.
The race was tough and I gave it my all. Whenever I had a bit of margin behind me, I felt in control of the race and was managing the gap well. But after the first stop, things became more tricky. Max challenged me three times and I had to position myself in the right way to reclaim my position each time he passed me. Once the Safety Car came out, we lost the gap we had created and had to start again from zero. I knew I had to do the best restart possible and I am glad I got the job done well.
Car development will be more significant than in previous years and we have to stay on top of our game. As for this weekend – we did everything right. Pole, fastest lap, the victory and second place for our team. Forza Ferrari!”
Carlos Sainz commented saying:
This is definitely a day to celebrate for the entire team. Starting the season with a 1-2 is the perfect reward for the tireless work they have done over the last two years and congrats to Charles on a solid win.
We also want to share our joy with all our tifosi around the world because we always felt their support even when we were not fighting at the top.
For me, I’m very happy with the result but I’m not particularly happy with my race. It was probably one of the hardest ones since I joined Ferrari. I wasn’t feeling at home with the car and we need to understand why. But today it’s time to celebrate this amazing result all together. The great effort to bring Ferrari back to the top, where it belongs, has paid off today and everyone deserves to enjoy it. We’ll keep pushing next week in Saudi. Forza Ferrari!”
Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal and Managing Director Mattia Binotto commented saying:
I am very happy with this result, as our race today shows how well this team has worked over the past two years in Maranello. Personally, I have always had faith in them. They have worked as a united group and reacted to the difficulties we encountered. It’s nice to see we are once again battling for first place, which is our goal for this season.
To win in Formula 1, you have to do everything perfectly and today we did just that and that goes for everyone, the drivers, the F1-75, the engineers with the strategy and the mechanics,who were impeccable at the pit stops. Seeing the way the team was able to make the most of every opportunity fills me with pride.
Tonight, I wanted to go up on the podium to collect the Constructors’ trophy because I felt it was the best way to represent the whole team, back home and here in Bahrain. I have to admit it was an emotional moment. I am also thinking of the fans who have always supported us, even when things were a bit tricky and I admit I can’t wait to get to Imola to race in front of them
Lewis Hamilton got lucky as both Red Bull Racing drivers retired from the race and as a result he finished the race in third place and speaking following the race he said:
A big, big congratulations to Ferrari, I’m so happy to see them doing well again, they are such a historic and epic team. It was a difficult race for us today, we’ve struggled throughout practice and this is really the best result we could have got. Of course it was unfortunate for the other two drivers but we did the best we could and we are grateful for these points. I know the guys are working really hard back at the factory and it is not going to be a quick turnaround but we’ve been the best unified team for so long, we all know to just keep your head down, keep working, there’s a long way to go. We’ve got to maximise our weekends and at some point, we’ll be back in the fight.
George Russell finished the race in fourth place and speaking following the race he said:
It was a positive race, I made a good start and then Lewis and I were on a race of our own, albeit on different strategies. We came home with a P3 and P4 for the team which we would have definitely taken prior to the weekend so in a long championship, we can be pleased with how today went. Considering we’re half a second behind in qualifying and probably the same, if not more, on race pace, it was a good damage limitation weekend. There’s a lot of potential in the car and we really need to dig down into the data and understand how to extract the performance. We recognise our rivals are a long way ahead of us, we know what the overall limitations of the car are, and we won’t settle until we have the chance of the win.
Mercedes team co-owner and Team Principal Toto Wolff commented saying:
Today we were punching above our weight class, with the Red Bulls DNF-ing, but third and fourth is a fantastic result. I think with the Soft tyre, on pure pace before the tyre degrades, we are almost there – not where Leclerc is but with the others. Then degradation is too big and today we tried to do something different by putting the Hard on but it was a second slower every single lap so lesson learned. I think we were over winged today, we had too much drag and that is just because we are lacking parts at the moment but hopefully we can remedy that, and make progress on the top two’s advantage. We really need to leave no stone unturned on the PU side and look for all performance gains but the wing was the issue for us today on straight line speed. At the moment we are fifth and sixth on the track, and we are trying to recover ground but it is not going to come from one day to the other – we’ll keep pushing.
Mercedes chief engineer Andrew Shovlin said:
We knew we weren’t quick enough coming into the weekend so our goal for this weekend was one of damage limitation in the championship. In terms of pace we’re more or less on our own; we couldn’t realistically put any pressure on Red Bull and Ferrari, and we weren’t really under any pressure from behind. This allowed us to play a bit with the strategy, moving quite early to a three stop with Lewis. Our priority has to be to get on top of our current performance issues; we don’t have a car to fight for pole or race wins and that isn’t something that we can tolerate for long if we ambitions to win the championships. The balance was quite tricky but the main issue is just a lack of grip, caused by the fact that we have to run the car so high to avoid the bottoming. However, the weekend hasn’t been without it’s positives. The gaps are pretty big but we can see so much performance that we can bring relatively quickly, the team has also worked well and the car has been reliable. We have a lot of ideas to explore to improve our pace and we’ll be working hard over the next few days and weeks to bring those to the track.
It was a great return to Formula One for Kevin Magnussen for the Haas F1 Team as the Dane finished the race in a fantastic fifth place just ahead of Valtteri Bottas who finished his debut race with the Alfa Romeo F1 Team as he ended the race in sixth place and speaking following the race the Finn said:
“I am very happy about tonight’s result: for me, but most importantly for the team, with two cars in the points, and for Zhou who got points in his first race. The race went really well, with the exception of the start: I got a lot of wheelspin and was basically a sitting duck for the first lap, just trying to avoid contact. When that stabilised, however, we had really good pace: we didn’t give up, executed a really good strategy and, in the end, completed a good recovery. We took it lap by lap as we knew we had the car to get back in the top 10. It is a great way to start the season: there are still things to improve, of course, but we’re just at the first race of the year. Our priority was reliability and I am happy we could finish with both cars as the speed is there. Everyone did a good job and we are going in the right direction.”
The Alpine F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon finished the race in seventh place just ahead of Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda who commented following the race saying:
“I’m quite happy with today, especially with the start as I was able to make up a few places. I had a little bit of luck near the end, as some cars had failures, but overall I’m pleased with how today went. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to be able to fight consistently at the top of the midfield, but we’re confident that we can develop the car to continue to improve our performance. We’ll go away and analyse the data from this whole weekend to try and find what our main limitations are ahead of the race next week.”
Fernando Alonso came home in ninth place just ahead of Zhou Guanyu who did a great job to finish his first-ever Formula One Grand Prix in the points in tenth place and speaking following the race the Chinese driver said:
“I am so happy, I am speechless. There are so many emotions tonight but my first thought is for the team: seeing how everyone worked so hard to go from where we were at the end of last year to where we are today is so incredible. My biggest dream was to race in F1, then to score points and tonight we did both: being on the grid before the race, with the other 19 drivers, was crazy enough, but the race itself was so intense. It wasn’t so physically, but rather mentally: I had an issue at the start, the car went into anti-stall at turn one and then I knew I would have to do something special to recover to the top 10. I pushed a lot, caught up with Valtteri and then lost track position again when the Safety Car came out, before climbing back to P10 – such a rollercoaster. I tried to give everything I had tonight as this meant so much to me and all those who supported me. The cool-down lap was quite emotional: I am so proud of my team and of my team-mate, for all the work we did together to bring home this reward. It is a day I will never forget and I will enjoy the moment for a while, but then it’s all attention to Jeddah: there is a lot more we want to achieve.”
Coming home with two cars in the points in the first race is the perfect way to start the season. The team has demonstrated skill but also resilience as we came back from a poor start, but stuck to our plan and made a lot of progress through the field. In a sense, this is an even more promising sign as we were able to mount a comeback, which means our car is genuinely competitive. We are aware the season ahead is going to be a long one and that our rivals will challenge us already next week, but we have a very good result on day one and that’s a big boost for everyone at the team. In particular, I am very happy for both Valtteri and Zhou: to have such a result on their first race with the team is the best way to start our relationship. We will aim to build on this night as we keep developing our car and keep fighting at this level.
The Haas F1 Team’s Mick Schumacher came home in 11th place just ahead of Lance Stroll. Speaking following the race, Stroll said:
“It is a shame we were not able to fight for points today, but we will benefit from completing our first race and understanding more about these new regulations. It is early days and there is lots to learn about how we can extract more performance in time for the race in Saudi Arabia next weekend. My initial impression is that it could be an exciting season of racing because it appears that you can follow cars more closely and today I had some great battles with [Alex] Albon and [Mick] Schumacher. It was challenging to keep temperatures cool and manage these new tyres, too, but we now have some useful data to work with over the next few days.”
Alex Albon came home in 14th in his first race for the Williams Racing team and speaking following the action he said:
My first Formula One race with Williams went pretty well; it felt like we did a good job and really maximised what we had. I had a good start and managed to make up a few positions, so I was pushing hard. Inevitably, a few faster cars overtook and we slipped back down a couple of places, but it’s a step forward considering the struggles we had last week. We knew it was going to be a difficult weekend, so to come out P13 with no reliability issues is something we should be pleased with.
“It sounds very simple, but the first objective today was to do the race distance and just build some knowledge in the car. I think even just for myself, especially after the last week, just to get that kind of fitness in, was good. We tried all three compounds of tyres, so there is plenty to feedback. I’m pretty clear where our weaknesses lay in the race, so we’ll try to understand that and work on those. I think we had some strengths in some corners as well. So, we’ll just feedback everything we can to the team and obviously, we knew it was going to be a tricky day, but we got both cars home and have lots to look at. We will now look ahead to a completely different track in Saudi Arabia to see what that brings.”
Lando Norris commented saying:
“Not what we wanted at all; it was a very tough race. We’re a long way from where we want to be and we’ve got work to do to make sure we’re working on every area possible and making the most of every race. We gave it our all today, but it’s just not enough at the moment. We’ll look at all the data from the race today and see how we can improve for Saudi, as well as where we need to improve throughout the season. We’ll do our very best next week to make the most of where we are.”
Nicholas Latifi was 16th just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg while the Oracle Red Bull Racing duo of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen retired from the race.
Pierre Gasly also retired from the race following an engine fire. It has certainly been an unforgettable opening race of the 2022 Formula One season and a great start to the new era of the sport.