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Charles Leclerc wins Bahrain Grand Prix as Formula 1 season commences

Red Bull's Verstappen, Perez fail to finish the race

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc claimed victory in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix after an enthralling race, with teammate Carlos Sainz claiming second place to complete a Ferrari one-two.

Leclerc had secured the pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix with a win in the qualifying race, and he featured at the front of the pile alongside champion Max Verstappen for the race on Sunday. Both drivers were locked in a two-way battle that saw Verstappen pass the 24-year-old Leclerc twice, but the Ferrari driver fought back both times.

Verstappen was only seconds behind Leclerc before his car went off with what was described as a fuel system problem with only three laps of the race left. His Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez also saw his car go off in the last lap as both drivers retired.

Verstappen’s retirement saw his rival Lewis Hamilton benefit, with the Mercedes driver finishing third to claim his 183rd career podium. He was comfortably fifth before Verstappen saw his race end abruptly. Hamilton’s teammate George Russell finished in fourth place, as well, after benefitting from the unfortunate end to the champion’s race.

Leclerc won the Bahrain Grand Prix with a time of 1:37:33.584 hours ahead of Carlos Sainz and Hamilton, who completed the podium positions. George Russell, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas followed in fourth, fifth and sixth place, and Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda, Fernando Alonso and Guanyu Zhou completed the top ten. Zhou became the first Chinese man to compete in Formula 1 after making his debut for Alfa Romeo in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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