Lewis Hamilton claims dramatic win at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton claims dramatic win at the Bahrain Grand Prix
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Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton secured his first victory of the season as he capitalized on Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc’s loss of power in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“Oh my God,” exclaimed Leclerc, who had led for most of the race, as he realized his engine problems would cost him the chance of claiming his maiden grand prix success.

Hamilton claimed the win under the safety car ahead of Mercedes teammate Valterri Bottas, who won the season-opener in Australia, with Leclerc taking third.

Bottas leads the drivers’ standing with 44 points, one point ahead of Hamilton, with Verstappen in third on 27 points.

“I had a plastic bag stuck on my front wing at some point, which was costing performance,” the championship leader revealed after the race.

“So not the perfect race but in the end, luck was on our side and we’ll definitely take it — especially me, after all the bad luck last year.

“Obviously hard luck for Charles, he was very strong — but it will come for him. I had to wait for more than 80 races for my first win, so I’m sure it’s going to be okay.”

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Hamilton praises Leclerc

Leclerc, who started the race in pole, was hit by engine problems when his car’s hybrid system failed.

He’d been eight seconds ahead of Hamilton at one stage, but the Briton quickly closed as Leclerc’s Ferrari faltered before sweeping past the 21-year-old Monegasque’s Ferrari.

It was a sign of the youngster’s maturity to acknowledge the team being “lucky in a very unlucky situation,” recognizing that he would have finished even lower down the grid had the race not ended under the safety car for just the eighth time in F1 history.

“It happens,” Leclerc told reporters after the race. “It’s part of motor sport. It’s a very hard one to take, but I am sure we will come back stronger.

“Unfortunately today it was not our day, but I am confident. The team has done an amazing job to recover the lack of pace we had in Australia.

“What to say? Of course I’m extremely disappointed, like the whole team, but it happens in the seasons.”

The good news for Leclerc is that he took his first podium finish in F1, while also scoring a point for recording the fastest lap. At the moment he’s also looking the more effective Ferrari driver.

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Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel damaged the front wing of his Ferrari as he went wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton.

“You drove brilliantly, really great, this weekend — you have a long future ahead,” Hamilton told Leclerc. “This weekend the Ferraris have been incredible and I just had to see Charles because he did such a great job.

“I’m sure this is a devastating result for him as he had done the job to win the race. We were definitely lucky today but you have to take it as it comes.

“This guy here [Leclerc] has lots more wins coming in the future so congratulations to him.”

“As a team, we got lucky today,” added Bottas.