F1 latest news LIVE: Mercedes to ‘take a chainsaw’ to W13 and Lewis Hamilton rules out Saudi GP win

As the dust settles after Charles Leclerc won a thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix, attention turns to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend with many teams frantically looking for adjustments.

World champion Max Verstappen will be eager for Red Bull to correct the reliability issues that plagued himself and Sergio Perez in Bahrain, leading to the pair suffering DNF.

“I did a bit of a joke on the radio on the last lap, saying there was something strange with the engine,” Leclerc told Sky Sports. “The engineers I’m pretty sure didn’t like that, but it was fun.” While teammate Carlos Sainz finished second to ignite a compelling title race with Mercedes also wary of their car’s ability to compete this year despite the third and fourth finishes from Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with Toto Wolff conceding they may “take a chainsaw” to the W13 in pursuit of less drag.

Elsewhere Haas have been revelling following an impressive day as returning F1 driver Kevin Magnussen collected a fifth-placed finish, the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas came in sixth and his teammate Guanyu Zhou finished 10th to collect a first world championship point on his F1 debut.

Follow all the latest news and reaction from the Bahrain Grand Prix below, as the F1 world looks ahead to the next race in Saudi Arabia.

F1 latest news

  • Charles Leclerc wins Bahrain Grand Prix in thrilling season opener

  • Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

  • Red Bull suffer ‘brutal’ race with double retirement

  • Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability

  • Toto Wolff: Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish in Bahrain

  • Mercedes to ‘take a chainsaw’ to W13 in pursuit of less drag in Jeddah

  • Lewis Hamilton rules out the prospect of him winning the Saudi GP this weekend

F1 Driver and Team standings after opening Bahrain Grand Prix

20:00 , Michael Jones

Ferrari on top, Mercedes second and Red Bull yet to get on the board - here are how the standings look after the opening race of 2022.

What a return to F1 for Haas’ Kevin Magunussen as well!

Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish at Bahrain GP, admits Toto Wolff

19:46 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff has described Mercedes’ opening race result in Bahrain as “fantastic” and said that the team are “punching above their weight” at the start of the 2022 F1 season.

Lewis Hamilton capitalised on the retirement of both Red Bull drivers to finish on the bottom step of the podium, closely followed by new teammate George Russell, who took fourth in his first race as a permanent member of the German team.

Despite a clear lack of speed compared to the fastest cars on the grid, it represented a good start for Mercedes, who have struggled to adjust after aerodynamic regulations were overhauled during the offseason.

Having established dominance over the rest of the grid during a period of eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships, all of the indications are that Wolff’s unit will struggle to again retain that prize unless significant tweaks can be made.

But that does not mean that the Mercedes team principal was not pleased by Hamilton and Russell’s efforts at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish in Bahrain, admits Toto Wolff

Christian Horner rejects Max Verstappen strategy complaint after angry radio message

19:29 , Michael Jones

Christian Horner has dismissed Max Verstappen’s suggestion that Red Bull had two opportunities to pass Charles Leclerc at the Bahrain Grand Prix but were too conservative with their tyre strategy.

Red Bull twice attempted to undercut the Ferrari driver by bringing Verstappen into the pits early but the defending champion was left furious after being told to look after his tyres on the out lap.

After the undercut failed and Leclerc retook the lead following his pit-stop, Verstappen vented his frustration on the team radio. “This is now two times that I take it easy on the out-lap, that I could have been in front,” he said. “I am never, ever doing it again!”

Verstappen believed he could have made it past Leclerc had he been more aggressive on his fresh set of tyres but speaking after the race, Horner was insistent that it would have made no difference in the long run and might have even damaged Red Bull’s chances later in the race due to early degradation.

Christian Horner rejects Max Verstappen strategy complaint after angry radio message

Lewis Hamilton ‘wasn’t expecting apology’ despite ‘human error’ at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

19:13 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton said he never expected an apology from the FIA after Formula One’s governing body finally published its report into last season’s controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

On the eve of the new season, the FIA said its former race director, Michael Masi “acted in good faith and to the best of his knowledge” after he fudged the rules following a late safety car to allow Max Verstappen the shot to beat Hamilton to the title.

The governing body described Masi’s move as a “human error” before concluding that the results of the race can no longer be changed, effectively reaffirming Red Bull’s Verstappen as the 2021 world champion.

They also stopped short of offering Hamilton and his Mercedes team an apology. Masi was removed from his post last month.

Lewis Hamilton ‘wasn’t expecting apology’ despite ‘human error’ at Abu Dhabi GP

Lando Norris ‘expecting pain’ for longer with McLaren ‘long way off’ F1 frontrunners

19:01 , Michael Jones

Lando Norris says he is “expecting pain” for the foreseeable future with McLaren, whose 2022 Formula 1 car is a “long, long way off” the pace of the early frontrunners.

Ferrari and Red Bull tussled for victory at the season opener in Bahrain on Sunday, with the Scuderia earing a 1-2 victory at the chequered flag after Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired from the race due to late engine failures.

Charles Leclerc was fasted in qualifying on Saturday and took a thoroughly deserved third victory of victory of his career ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz, while Lewis Hamilton earned a surprise podium for a lacklustre Mercedes.

McLaren, meanwhile, started with drivers Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in 13th and 18th respectively, and dropped further down the order on race day with a mediocre car which had the pace of a certified backmarker.

Lando Norris ‘expecting pain’ for longer with McLaren ‘long way off’

Mercedes’ Bahrain result ‘extraordinary’, says Russell

18:44 , Michael Jones

George Russell’s debut as a full-time Mercedes driver got off to a decent start as he finished P4 in the 2022 opening Grand Prix in Bahrain after qualifying in ninth.

Russell had to contend with Mercedes’ continuing issues with ‘porpoising’ and the team admitted after qualifying that they have the third best car this year behind Ferrari and Red Bull.

But, a good start saw Russell gain a couple of places allowing him to tail teammate, Lewis Hamilton, for much of the race, before gaining a further two positions after Red Bull’s double DNF.

Speaking about the result Russell took in the positives for Mercedes but remained convinced his team are a long way behind their rivals.

“I made a good start, made up two positions on Lap 1, felt comfortable in the car but we know where we’re at at the moment,” he said.

“To be honest we probably didn’t get the balance quite right but that isn’t the main limitation as well, we’ve got this overarching issue with the bouncing and I think to come away with a P3 and a P4 for the team is extraordinary.

“I think we need to be pleased coming home P3 and P4 knowing there is a huge amount of performance there. But we’ve got to be realistic and recognise we are a long way behind our rivals, so we know there’s more to come but they are a real step ahead of us.”

Zhou ‘speechless’ after first points finish

18:27 , Michael Jones

Zhou Guanyu says that he was left “speechless” following his maiden Formula 1 race, in which he walked away with his first Championship points.

The Chinese driver finished 10th, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas coming home in sixth to ensure a double-points finish for Alfa Romeo.

Zhou was sitting in 13th place for the late Safety Car restart, and swiftly moved past the Haas of Mick Schumacher for 12th.

He then gained another two places and moved into the top 10 when the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired from the race with suspected fuel issues.

“It’s amazing, I’m so speechless,” Zhou said. “It was an emotional race, so intense, not physically, mentally. To be scoring my first ever Formula 1 points in my debut is something I would only dream of one year ago, or two weeks ago.

“Everything comes so quickly, I’m just so happy, so proud of the team behind me. I’m proud of my team-mate, we worked so hard together to maximise the car. It’s a huge reward for us and a day that I’ll never forget for a long time.”

A tough weekend for Sainz

18:15 , Michael Jones

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz says he found the opening weekend of the Formula 1 season difficult despite a second place finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

He confessed to not being able to extract as much speed out of the new F1-75 as his team-mate, Charles Leclerc, and is at a loss to explain just why he is encountering such difficulties now.

“In FP1, FP2 and FP3 I was very far behind, the most far that I’ve been ever in Ferrari, and that’s why even with a 1-2 that we scored, I’m not entirely happy with the weekend,” explained Sainz.

“As a Ferrari driver it’s been my most difficult weekend and it just shows that I need to put my head down, understand this car, understand where is Charles making the difference with his driving and the way that he’s approaching the corners and driving the tyres, also in the race.

“I need to improve if I want to fight for a win and I will put my head down and try to do some steps coming into Jeddah. Can I improve it from one weekend to another? I think I can improve it.

“Can I cut down the deficit completely? It’s a very good question. I wish I can and I will be working hard for it.”

Mercedes to ‘take a chainsaw’ to W13 to reduce drag for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:00 , Michael Jones

Mercedes are set to make significant changes to their car ahead of this week’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with team boss Toto Wolff suggesting they will “take a chainsaw” to the W13 in an attempt to reduce drag.

The defending constructors’ champions have come into the new season struggling to unlock what they believe is the true performance of the W13 car and are behind Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of race pace.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell may have finished third and fourth at the opening race of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix but it only came after the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez had to retire due to fuel-flow issues late on.

Wolff said ahead of Bahrain that his team were still effectively in pre-season testing mode and so although taking an early lead over Red Bull was an unexpected bonus, the Mercedes boss acknowledged that alterations are needed in the short turnaround to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah this week.

“I think we are running more drag, or we have the data that we are running more drag than anyone else,” Wolff said at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Mercedes to ‘take a chainsaw’ to W13 to reduce drag for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

When is the F1 this weekend and how can I watch it?

17:44 , Michael Jones

Formula One is back and after a thrilling opening weekend in Bahrain we head to Saudi Arabia for the second race of the 2022 season.

Ferrari are back on top of the standings and are the early team to beat after Charles Leclerc won the Italians their first race since 2019 and Carlos Sainz completed a sensational one-two.

Red Bull suffered a “brutal” double DNF as both defending champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez failed to finish, while Lewis Hamilton claimed a surprise podium place despite Mercedes’ early struggles.

Now F1 returns for the second Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after last season’s instant classic in Jeddah, as Hamilton edged Verstappen in a frantic race that saw numerous incidents in what is the fastest street circuit on the calendar.

Here’s how you can follow the action this weekend.

When is the F1 this weekend and how can I watch it?

Pierre Gasly set for early F1 grid penalty after ‘barbecue’ at Bahrain Grand Prix

17:32 , Michael Jones

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly is likely to have to take a grid penalty early in the 2022 Formula 1 season after his car caught fire at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Frenchman was forced to pull over to the side of the road with less than ten laps of the race to go at Sakhir, with his engine losing power the blaze began at the rear of the car, melting much of the bodywork and damaging various internal components.

Gasly had been set to score strong points for the Italian team after progressing up the field from his starting position of tenth, but ultimately because the first driver to retire in the 2022 campaign.

He was followed shortly afterwards by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, who also run Red Bull Powertrains engines in their Red Bull cars, after the team took over manufacturing from Honda following the Japanese company’s withdrawal from the sport at the end of 2021.

Pierre Gasly set for early F1 grid penalty after ‘barbecue’ at Bahrain Grand Prix

Toto Wolff identifies fresh Mercedes issue ahead of Saudi Arabia after sluggish F1 start

17:15 , Michael Jones

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the team must improve the speed of its pit stops as well as its car if they are to challenge at the front in the 2022 Formula 1 season.

The new campaign began in Bahrain on Sunday and while Lewis Hamilton was able to secure a podium for the team by virtue of finishing in third-place behind Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the pair were way off the pace off the Scuderia and arch rivals Red Bull, whose drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were both forced to retire late in the race after losing engine power.

The W13 car the team has designed for F1’s new era of regulations is slower than Ferrari’s F1-75 ad Red Bull’s RB18, and will require significant development in the coming months if 37-year-old Hamilton is to be able to challenge for a record-breaking eighth world championship.

Toto Wolff identifies fresh Mercedes issue ahead of Saudi Arabia after sluggish start

Martin Brundle offers theory on Red Bull retirements in Bahrain GP

17:00 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen’s safety car restart at the Bahrain Grand Prix has been questioned with former Formula One driver Jan Lammers driver suggesting the defending champion had not been “smart enough” in his battle with Charles Leclerc.

Although Verstappen has challenged Leclerc early in the race, over four laps of gripping wheel-to-wheel racing, the Ferrari driver was set for a comfortable victory until a late safety car offered the Dutchman late hope.

A fire to Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri allowed Verstappen to close the gap to leader Leclerc, in scenes that were similar to the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year, but he was unable to get ahead at the restart.

Verstappen attempted to pull off the same tactic he used at the Yas Marina Circuit last year, when he edged level with Lewis Hamilton before passing the Mercedes driver on the last lap of the season, but Leclerc was able to hold on to the lead this time around.

The Dutchman would later go on to retire from the race due to a fuel-flow issue, allow Carlos Sainz to complete a Ferrari one-two, but Lammers remained critical of his compatriot following the restart.

Martin Brundle offers theory on Red Bull retirements in Bahrain GP

Brawn ‘delighted’ with racing in Bahrain GP

16:50 , Michael Jones

Formula 1 chief Ross Brawn said he was “delighted” with the racing on show in the season-opening Bahrain GP following the introduction of new technical rules for the 2022 season.

The new cars have been completely re-designed to try and improve racing and overtaking opportunities. Promisingly, the drivers did find it easier to follow one another and there were plenty of head-to-head fights in Bahrain, including between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen who were vying for the lead at the time.

“We’re delighted,” said Brawn, speaking to Sports F1. “It is the first race so we’ll have to be careful, but all the signs are we’ve moved in the direction we wanted to move in and the ability of the cars to race each other, from what we’ve seen, is improved.

“I think in the past we’ve always focused on cost, safety, performance - but now we should focus on raceability because there’s never been any attention paid to it. We need to do that now, we need to do that in the future.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Hamilton rules out Saudi GP win

16:37 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton has played down his and Mercedes’ chances of winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah but is hopeful of further improvements to his car as the season progresses.

“No, I don’t think so,” Hamilton said when asked if Mercedes will go better next weekend. “But of course, we’ve learned a lot from this week. Their [Ferrari] straight-line speed as well as the Bulls were very quick in a straight line and their performance through corners is quite a bit different to us.

“So the car was very hard to drive but it could always be worse. So I’m hoping for the next race we manage to find some improvements but it’s a fundamental issue that’s going to take a little bit longer I think to fix.”

Hamilton was running around 35 seconds behind eventual race winner Charles Leclerc before the late-race Safety Car caused by Pierre Gasly’s blazing AlphaTauri.

The eight-time constructors’ champion appears to have taken a hit with its power unit as all Mercedes-powered teams struggled with straight-line speed performance in Bahrain.

George Russell style praised by Toto Wolff as Mercedes boss makes Max Verstappen comparison

16:26 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff has heaped praise on George Russell for his driving style while taking a shot at Max Verstappen.

The reigning Formula 1 world champion is known for his aggressive style and the Mercedes team boss has labelled his approach as “win it or bin it”.

While Wolff also praised Russell for marrying intelligence and skill, with the young driver delivering fourth in his debut for the Silver Arrows in Bahrain last weekend.

“I think Max’s approach - and this is George’s phrase since he was in go-karting – is ‘win it or bin it,’” Wolff told GQ.

“George approaches it more from an intellectual standpoint while having all the skills.

George Russell style praised by Toto Wolff amid Max Verstappen comparison

Lewis Hamilton ‘wasn’t expecting apology’ despite ‘human error’ at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

16:18 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton said he never expected an apology from the FIA after Formula One’s governing body finally published its report into last season’s controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

On the eve of the new season, the FIA said its former race director, Michael Masi “acted in good faith and to the best of his knowledge” after he fudged the rules following a late safety car to allow Max Verstappen the shot to beat Hamilton to the title.

The governing body described Masi’s move as a “human error” before concluding that the results of the race can no longer be changed, effectively reaffirming Red Bull’s Verstappen as the 2021 world champion.

Lewis Hamilton ‘wasn’t expecting apology’ despite ‘human error’ at Abu Dhabi GP

F1 2022 cars are big improvement on ‘horrible’ predecessors, says Ross Brawn

16:07 , Michael Jones

Ross Brawn believes Formula 1 has taken a significant step forward in “race-ability” with its new generation of cars for the 2022 season compared to the “horrible” machinery of the previous era.

At the first race of the new campaign in Bahrain on Sunday, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen engaged in an enthralling back-and-forth tussle for the lead across two laps which entertained fans and lead plenty to believe that F1’s regulation change is working well already.

For 2022, F1 has returned to so-called ‘ground effect’ car designs for the first time since the 1980s, with complicated floor systems used to suck the cars to the ground giving them more grip and downforce. The regulation change has been devised in order to increase the quality of racing in F1 by allowing drivers to follow one another more closely and race harder, which should in turn improve overtaking.

F1 2022 cars are big improvement on ‘horrible’ predecessors says Ross Brawn

‘Overtaking in F1 still difficult despite 2022 rules’ says Alonso

15:57 , Michael Jones

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso thinks that overtaking will still be difficult in Formula 1 this year despite the introduction of new regulations designed to create more exciting racing.

The new technical regulations placed an emphasis on downforce generated through the floor which were put in place to make it easier for cars to stay in the wake of the car in front through corners thanks to a reduction in turbulent air.

After last weekend’s season opener in Bahrain several drivers have confirmed that following others has been made easier but Alonso thinks the jury is still out on whether that will genuinely lead to more overtaking this year.

He suggests drivers will still need a significant speed difference to pull off moves, which is generally only the case when there’s a major difference in tyre life between two cars.

“Following was definitely easier. We spotted already in the test that it was easier to follow cars, but overtaking is still not as easy as it seems on TV,” said Alonso,

“I think all the overtaking we saw [in Bahrain Grand Prix] was because one car had two seconds more pace on newer tyres than others. I met cars that I was two seconds faster [than] and I overtook in a few corners. And I also met cars that were two seconds faster than me and they overtook me in two or three corners.

“I think the tyre is the biggest differentiating factor still, not the following. So, we need to see, we need to drive more races. DRS is actually less powerful than it was and towing in general is less powerful than it was,

“I think you can overtake; you can follow a lot closer than before. And the car is less affected by following another one, so that’s going very much in the in the right direction, but it still does affect you a little bit.

“But it has reduced the towing effect quite a lot. I think what makes it very easy to pass on the moves you saw is probably the tyre difference.”

Mercedes to ‘take a chainsaw’ to W13 in pursuit of less drag in Jeddah

15:46 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff says Mercedes will “simply take a chainsaw” to the W13 in pursuit of less drag following the Bahrain Grand Prix.

After Lewis Hamilton’s fortuitous podium, the Silver Arrows are primed to make a drastic change ahead of Saudi Arabia this weekend.

“I think we were probably over-winged,” Wolff told Sky F1. “We had too much drag and that’s just because we are lacking parts at the moment and hopefully we can remedy that.

“It’s half or a little bit more maybe of the top-speed advantage, but we need to really leave no stone unturned on the power unit side.

“It’s easier to shed drag off the car because you simply take a chainsaw and cut the rear wing to bits, and so that’s what we will do for Jeddah.”

Max Verstappen labelled ‘not smart enough’ with Bahrain Grand Prix tactic

15:35 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen’s safety car restart at the Bahrain Grand Prix has been questioned with former Formula One driver Jan Lammers driver suggesting the defending champion had not been “smart enough” in his battle with Charles Leclerc.

Although Verstappen has challenged Leclerc early in the race, over four laps of gripping wheel-to-wheel racing, the Ferrari driver was set for a comfortable victory until a late safety car offered the Dutchman late hope.

A fire to Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri allowed Verstappen to close the gap to leader Leclerc, in scenes that were similar to the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year, but he was unable to get ahead at the restart.

Verstappen attempted to pull off the same tactic he used at the Yas Marina Circuit last year, when he edged level with Lewis Hamilton before passing the Mercedes driver on the last lap of the season, but Leclerc was able to hold on to the lead this time around.

The Dutchman would later go on to retire from the race due to a fuel-flow issue, allow Carlos Sainz to complete a Ferrari one-two, but Lammers remained critical of his compatriot following the restart.

Max Verstappen labelled ‘not smart enough’ with Bahrain Grand Prix tactic

Lewis Hamilton upbeat about Mercedes’ prospects

15:23 , Michael Jones

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton, has backed his Mercedes team to come up with the goods after a lacklustre performance in Bahrain saw Hamilton - and teammate George Russell - trail Ferrari and Red Bull for most of the race.

Red Bull’s power losses in the closing laps allowed Mercedes to finish third and fourth in what Hamilton called a ‘great start to the season.’ He tweeted:

“Great start to the season. We gave it our all and ended up with the best result we could have. Well done to the Ferraris, great to see them share the podium. Big week of work ahead but I know we got this”

Lando Norris pinpoints McLaren’s big problem and plan to fix it ahead of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

15:13 , Michael Jones

Lando Norris maintains McLaren have a “downforce” problem and that it is “not a simple fix” after the Formula 1 season opener.

The Briton endured a disappointing race in Bahrain, finishing without a point down in 15th, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo was one place ahead in 14th.

Despite a promising time in Barcelona, F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain meant expectations were low heading into Sunday, and Norris concedes there is a lot of work to do to change the team’s potential for 2022.

“It’s not a simple fix,” Norris conceded on Any Driven Monday. “At times the balance in fuel is relatively decent, but we end up going slower than the majority.

“We don’t have enough downforce, front and rear, total load, there are definitely some things we can try and adapt to and change to make it work better. But it’s not that simple.

Lando Norris pinpoints McLaren’s big problem and plan to fix it

How Gasly ended the Bahrain GP

15:02 , Michael Jones

Apart from the two Red Bull cars who both experienced power failures, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was the only other car to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Here’s how the race ended for the Frenchman:

‘No solution yet to ‘porpoising’ for Mercedes’ says Russell

14:54 , Michael Jones

Mercedes manage to finish third and fourth in the 2022 Formula 1 opener in Bahrain but they struggled throughout the race with ‘porpoising’. A phenomenon seen this year when the car violently bounces on its suspension at high speed.

George Russell, who finished fourth behind Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton, suggested Mercedes could be stuck with the problem for the rest of the campaign.

“This bouncing we are experiencing down the straight is slowing us down because we are smashing into the ground, rather than going forward,” he said.

“It is promising to see that other cars have had the same issue and they managed to solve it which means there is a solution there, but we are struggling to find it.

“It would have been brilliant if we solved it in testing where we had so much running. But we truly just don’t know how long it will take, if it is next weekend or after the summer break.

“We hope it will be as soon as possible, but there is no reason why it may not continue the whole year.”

Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability after Bahrain Grand Prix nightmare

14:41 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen criticised Red Bull’s reliability issues after a disastrous end to the Bahrain Grand Prix saw the reigning world champion and teammate Sergio Perez both forced to retire.

Verstappen had seemingly secured a second-place finish behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc only for his car to lose power with two laps to go, while a similar problem caused Perez to spin out at the first corner soon afterwards.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, a bitterly disappointed Verstappen said: “Of course you can always say problems can happen and you might have a retirement.

Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability after Bahrain GP nightmare

A tough weekend for Sainz

14:29 , Michael Jones

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz says he found the opening weekend of the Formula 1 season difficult despite a second place finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

He confessed to not being able to extract as much speed out of the new F1-75 as his team-mate, Charles Leclerc, and is at a loss to explain just why he is encountering such difficulties now.

“In FP1, FP2 and FP3 I was very far behind, the most far that I’ve been ever in Ferrari, and that’s why even with a 1-2 that we scored, I’m not entirely happy with the weekend,” explained Sainz.

“As a Ferrari driver it’s been my most difficult weekend and it just shows that I need to put my head down, understand this car, understand where is Charles making the difference with his driving and the way that he’s approaching the corners and driving the tyres, also in the race.

“I need to improve if I want to fight for a win and I will put my head down and try to do some steps coming into Jeddah. Can I improve it from one weekend to another? I think I can improve it.

“Can I cut down the deficit completely? It’s a very good question. I wish I can and I will be working hard for it.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc played cheeky prank on Ferrari before winning F1’s Bahrain GP

14:16 , Michael Jones

Charles Leclerc has revealed that he played a prank on Ferrari’s engineers as he rounded the final few bends to take victory at the 2022 Formula 1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Leclerc ensured that Ferrari’s preseason promise carried over as racing began at the Sakhir Circuit, surviving the challenge of Max Verstappen in an early duel and then holding his nerve and speed to secure the win.

It was the Monegasque’s third victory in F1, but his first since 2019, and suggested that his Italian team may well be able to challenge Mercedes and Red Bull.

Charles Leclerc played cheeky prank on Ferrari before winning F1’s Bahrain GP

Haas wish Schumacher happy birthday

14:08 , Michael Jones

Formula 1 team Haas have sent a Happy Birthday message to driver Mick Schumacher as he turns 23 today. Schumacher joined Haas for the 2021 season and achieved a personal record finished for the American team when he came 11th in Bahrain on Sunday.

Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

13:58 , Michael Jones

Ferrari aren’t just back, they’re “properly back”. Carlos Sainz wanted to spell it out, clear and simple, after helping the Italian team to a sensational one-two at the Bahrain Grand Prix. As even though impressive performances in pre-season testing and a pole position for Charles Leclerc in qualifying had generated excitement, a team of the size, history and prestige of Ferrari would not have truly returned until they were stood at the top of the podium on the opening weekend of the season.

It has been two full campaigns since the standings were coloured with the famous red of the Scuderia and few wins this year will be as popular as Leclerc’s as Formula One entered its new era this past weekend. The whispers that Ferrari had taken the biggest step forward following the overhaul of regulations ahead of the start of the 2022 season were confirmed as Leclerc held off the challenge of Max Verstappen, before the defending champion’s dramatic late retirement led to Sainz joining his teammate on the podium.

We may be only one step into what is scheduled to be a record 23-race campaign but the early narrative has been set and the rest of the field are already playing catch up. Last year in Bahrain, Verstappen’s duel with Lewis Hamilton set the tone for what would be one of the most competitive title races in F1 history, one that went right down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, Ferrari were watching, planning and getting ahead of the competition. The two seasons of sacrifice hurt but this was a reward for their patience.

Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

Aston Martin’s 2022 F1 car slammed as a ‘disaster’ after Bahrain struggles

13:46 , Michael Jones

Aston Martin’s new AMR22 car for the 2022 Formula 1 season is a “disaster”, according to ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher, who blames the team’s desire to change too much too quickly for what he believes is a drop towards the back of the grid.

While Ferrari and Red Bull competed for victory in Bahrain at the first race of the new F1 campaign on Sunday, Aston Martin were mired at the back of the field with the likes of Williams and McLaren, and never looked capable of challenging for points. In 2020, the team, then known as Racing Point, finished fourth in the constructors’ championship and took a win at the Bahrain circuit.

F1 has entered a new era of car design for 2022, with revamped regulations designed to all drivers to follow one another more closely and race harder. That means every team has created their machinery for this season entirely from scratch, and while some previous backmarker teams like Haas and Alfa Romeo appear to have nailed the transition, the first race suggests Aston Martin have dropped backwards.

Aston Martin’s 2022 F1 car slammed as a ‘disaster’ after Bahrain struggles

Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish at Bahrain GP, admits Toto Wolff

13:37 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff has described Mercedes’ opening race result in Bahrain as “fantastic” and said that the team are “punching above their weight” at the start of the 2022 F1 season.

Lewis Hamilton capitalised on the retirement of both Red Bull drivers to finish on the bottom step of the podium, closely followed by new teammate George Russell, who took fourth in his first race as a permanent member of the German team.

Despite a clear lack of speed compared to the fastest cars on the grid, it represented a good start for Mercedes, who have struggled to adjust after aerodynamic regulations were overhauled during the offseason.

Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish in Bahrain, admits Toto Wolff

Brawn ‘delighted’ with racing in Bahrain GP

13:24 , Michael Jones

Formula 1 chief Ross Brawn said he was “delighted” with the racing on show in the season-opening Bahrain GP following the introduction of new technical rules for the 2022 season.

The new cars have been completely re-designed to try and improve racing and overtaking opportunities. Promisingly, the drivers did find it easier to follow one another and there were plenty of head-to-head fights in Bahrain, including between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen who were vying for the lead at the time.

“We’re delighted,” said Brawn, speaking to Sports F1. “It is the first race so we’ll have to be careful, but all the signs are we’ve moved in the direction we wanted to move in and the ability of the cars to race each other, from what we’ve seen, is improved.

“I think in the past we’ve always focused on cost, safety, performance - but now we should focus on raceability because there’s never been any attention paid to it. We need to do that now, we need to do that in the future.”

Verstappen not ‘smart enough’ after safety car restart says Lammers

13:15 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen’s tactics after the safety car came in during the Bahrain Grand Prix have been questioned by fellow Dutchman and former F1 driver Jan Lammers.

Verstappen had trailed race leader Charles Leclerc for the entirety of the race but looked as if he may have a chance to snatch the lead late on when the Safety Car came out following a fire to Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri car.

Verstappen was allowed to close the gap to Leclerc before the restart and their cars were side-by-side approaching the starting line. The Red Bull driver pulled alongside Leclerc in an effort to force him to take off however it backfired as the Red Bull driver went too tight on the final corner.

This allowed Leclerc to speed away and restore the gap but it also meant Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz was able to attack Verstappen.

Lammers, a Formula one driver between 1979 to 1992 - he took part in 23 races - pondered if Verstappen had been “smart enough.”

“I’m not saying he’s doing anything wrong, but you have to wonder if he was smart enough to go inside,” Lammers told Dutch TV station NOS.

“Leclerc was able to take the momentum into the last corner and Sainz was right down the neck of Verstappen, because he was able to take the corner normally.”

When is the F1 this weekend and how can I watch it?

13:04 , Michael Jones

Formula One is back and after a thrilling opening weekend in Bahrain we head to Saudi Arabia for the second race of the 2022 season.

Ferrari are back on top of the standings and are the early team to beat after Charles Leclerc won the Italians their first race since 2019 and Carlos Sainz completed a sensational one-two.

Red Bull suffered a “brutal” double DNF as both defending champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez failed to finish, while Lewis Hamilton claimed a surprise podium place despite Mercedes’ early struggles.

Now F1 returns for the second Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after last season’s instant classic in Jeddah, as Hamilton edged Verstappen in a frantic race that saw numerous incidents in what is the fastest street circuit on the calendar.

Here’s how you can follow the action this weekend.

When is the F1 this weekend and how can I watch it?

Mercedes’ Bahrain result ‘extraordinary’, says Russell

12:55 , Michael Jones

George Russell’s debut as a full-time Mercedes driver got off to a decent start as he finished P4 in the 2022 opening Grand Prix in Bahrain after qualifying in ninth.

Russell had to contend with Mercedes’ continuing issues with ‘porpoising’ and the team admitted after qualifying that they have the third best car this year behind Ferrari and Red Bull.

But, a good start saw Russell gain a couple of places allowing him to tail teammate, Lewis Hamilton, for much of the race, before gaining a further two positions after Red Bull’s double DNF.

Speaking about the result Russell took in the positives for Mercedes but remained convinced his team are a long way behind their rivals.

“I made a good start, made up two positions on Lap 1, felt comfortable in the car but we know where we’re at at the moment,” he said.

“To be honest we probably didn’t get the balance quite right but that isn’t the main limitation as well, we’ve got this overarching issue with the bouncing and I think to come away with a P3 and a P4 for the team is extraordinary.

“I think we need to be pleased coming home P3 and P4 knowing there is a huge amount of performance there. But we’ve got to be realistic and recognise we are a long way behind our rivals, so we know there’s more to come but they are a real step ahead of us.”

Five things we learned as F1’s new era made an action-packed start in Bahrain

12:45 , Michael Jones

F1 fired up for a new season in Bahrain on Sunday, 98 days after last December’s contentious finale in Abu Dhabi.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the opening round of the campaign.

Five things we learned as F1’s new era made an action-packed start in Bahrain

F1 Fantasy Guide and Tips

12:35 , Michael Jones

With the first race out of the way, how are your Formula 1 Fantasy teams looking? Off to a fast start, like Ferrari, or in need of improvement, like Red Bull?

F1 Fantasy: How to play and top tips ahead of 2022 season

Stats and Facts from Bahrain Grand Prix

12:25 , Michael Jones

Formula 1 do a rather good job of keeping a handle on all of the key facts and stats every weekend - here are a few we’ve picked out from Bahrain, courtesy of the F1 website:

- The last time Ferrari led every lap of a Grand Prix was Belgium 2018.

- Of the top six cars, four were powered by Ferrari engines.

- Neither Red Bull saw the chequered flag for the first time since Austria 2020.

- Mick Schumacher’s P11 for Haas was his career-best result

Hamilton rules out Saudi GP win

12:17 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton has played down his and Mercedes’ chances of winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah but is hopeful of further improvements to his car as the season progresses.

“No, I don’t think so,” Hamilton said when asked if Mercedes will go better next weekend. “But of course, we’ve learned a lot from this week. Their [Ferrari] straight-line speed as well as the Bulls were very quick in a straight line and their performance through corners is quite a bit different to us.

“So the car was very hard to drive but it could always be worse. So I’m hoping for the next race we manage to find some improvements but it’s a fundamental issue that’s going to take a little bit longer I think to fix.”

Hamilton was running around 35 seconds behind eventual race winner Charles Leclerc before the late-race Safety Car caused by Pierre Gasly’s blazing AlphaTauri.

The eight-time constructors’ champion appears to have taken a hit with its power unit as all Mercedes-powered teams struggled with straight-line speed performance in Bahrain.

Mercedes to ‘take a chainsaw’ to W13 to reduce drag for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

12:09 , Michael Jones

Mercedes are set to make significant changes to their car ahead of this week’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with team boss Toto Wolff suggesting they will “take a chainsaw” to the W13 in an attempt to reduce drag.

The defending constructors’ champions have come into the new season struggling to unlock what they believe is the true performance of the W13 car and are behind Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of race pace.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell may have finished third and fourth at the opening race of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix but it only came after the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez had to retire due to fuel-flow issues late on.

Wolff said ahead of Bahrain that his team were still effectively in pre-season testing mode and so although taking an early lead over Red Bull was an unexpected bonus, the Mercedes boss acknowledged that alterations are needed in the short turnaround to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah this week.

“I think we are running more drag, or we have the data that we are running more drag than anyone else,” Wolff said at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Mercedes to ‘take a chainsaw’ to W13 to reduce drag for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Sainz reaches new agreement with Ferrari

12:00 , Michael Jones

Carlos Sainz has reached a new Formula 1 contract agreement with Ferrari after helping the team to a 1-2 finish in the opening Grand Prix of the season by finishing behind teammate Charles Leclerc in Bahrain.

Following talks between himself and Ferrari in the off-season it appears that Sainz’s future with the team is more secure although pen hasn’t yet been put to paper.

Speaking about how close a new contract was after the Bahrain Grand Prix, Sainz said: “I think we are close. Very close. Very, very close. Very close. Extremely close. Nearly there,” with Team principal Mattia Binotto adding: “I think we found an agreement. It’s only a matter to translate it into paper.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘Overtaking in F1 still difficult despite 2022 rules’ says Alonso

11:48 , Michael Jones

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso thinks that overtaking will still be difficult in Formula 1 this year despite the introduction of new regulations designed to create more exciting racing.

The new technical regulations placed an emphasis on downforce generated through the floor which were put in place to make it easier for cars to stay in the wake of the car in front through corners thanks to a reduction in turbulent air.

After last weekend’s season opener in Bahrain several drivers have confirmed that following others has been made easier but Alonso thinks the jury is still out on whether that will genuinely lead to more overtaking this year.

He suggests drivers will still need a significant speed difference to pull off moves, which is generally only the case when there’s a major difference in tyre life between two cars.

“Following was definitely easier. We spotted already in the test that it was easier to follow cars, but overtaking is still not as easy as it seems on TV,” said Alonso,

“I think all the overtaking we saw [in Bahrain Grand Prix] was because one car had two seconds more pace on newer tyres than others. I met cars that I was two seconds faster [than] and I overtook in a few corners. And I also met cars that were two seconds faster than me and they overtook me in two or three corners.

“I think the tyre is the biggest differentiating factor still, not the following. So, we need to see, we need to drive more races. DRS is actually less powerful than it was and towing in general is less powerful than it was,

“I think you can overtake; you can follow a lot closer than before. And the car is less affected by following another one, so that’s going very much in the in the right direction, but it still does affect you a little bit.

“But it has reduced the towing effect quite a lot. I think what makes it very easy to pass on the moves you saw is probably the tyre difference.”

Lando Norris ‘expecting pain’ for longer with McLaren ‘long way off’ F1 frontrunners

11:37 , Michael Jones

Lando Norris says he is “expecting pain” for the foreseeable future with McLaren, whose 2022 Formula 1 car is a “long, long way off” the pace of the early frontrunners.

Ferrari and Red Bull tussled for victory at the season opener in Bahrain on Sunday, with the Scuderia earing a 1-2 victory at the chequered flag after Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired from the race due to late engine failures.

Charles Leclerc was fasted in qualifying on Saturday and took a thoroughly deserved third victory of victory of his career ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz, while Lewis Hamilton earned a surprise podium for a lacklustre Mercedes.

McLaren, meanwhile, started with drivers Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in 13th and 18th respectively, and dropped further down the order on race day with a mediocre car which had the pace of a certified backmarker.

Lando Norris ‘expecting pain’ for longer with McLaren ‘long way off’

Zhou ‘speechless’ after first points finish

11:26 , Michael Jones

Zhou Guanyu says that he was left “speechless” following his maiden Formula 1 race, in which he walked away with his first Championship points.

The Chinese driver finished 10th, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas coming home in sixth to ensure a double-points finish for Alfa Romeo.

Zhou was sitting in 13th place for the late Safety Car restart, and swiftly moved past the Haas of Mick Schumacher for 12th.

He then gained another two places and moved into the top 10 when the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired from the race with suspected fuel issues.

“It’s amazing, I’m so speechless,” Zhou said. “It was an emotional race, so intense, not physically, mentally. To be scoring my first ever Formula 1 points in my debut is something I would only dream of one year ago, or two weeks ago.

“Everything comes so quickly, I’m just so happy, so proud of the team behind me. I’m proud of my team-mate, we worked so hard together to maximise the car. It’s a huge reward for us and a day that I’ll never forget for a long time.”

Lando Norris pinpoints McLaren’s big problem and plan to fix it ahead of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

11:17 , Michael Jones

Lando Norris maintains McLaren have a “downforce” problem and that it is “not a simple fix” after the Formula 1 season opener.

The Briton endured a disappointing race in Bahrain, finishing without a point down in 15th, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo was one place ahead in 14th.

Despite a promising time in Barcelona, F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain meant expectations were low heading into Sunday, and Norris concedes there is a lot of work to do to change the team’s potential for 2022.

“It’s not a simple fix,” Norris conceded on Any Driven Monday. “At times the balance in fuel is relatively decent, but we end up going slower than the majority.

Lando Norris pinpoints McLaren’s big problem and plan to fix it

Red Bull aiming to bounce back in Jeddah

11:07 , Michael Jones

Red Bull are hoping for a strong showing in Saudi Arabia this weekend after retiring both cars in the opening race in Bahrain on Sunday.

Drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both looked set to finish in the top four slots before power losses in the closing laps so both cars retire meaning they picked up no points in the Championship.

Hamilton title challenge ‘a long shot’ says Wolff

10:57 , Michael Jones

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton only has a long shot of fighting for the world championship this season.

Wolff’s verdict came after the opening round of the season where Hamilton’s Mercedes team were outclassed by Ferrari and Red Bull in Bahrain only to luckily clinch a podium after both Red Bull’s failed to finish the race.

“If we look at the pecking order today, it seems it will be a very long shot to even think about being in contention for the drivers’ or constructors’ championships,” said the Mercedes team principal.

“We probably scored the maximum points that we could have on Sunday, and we need to take it from here. Every weekend counts.

“But at the moment we have to be realistic and when you are third on the road you cannot think about winning it.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Gasly vs Magnussen

10:49 , Michael Jones

The battle between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc wasn’t the only display of great racing at Bahrain as drivers went wheel to wheel in the middle of the field.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Hass’ Kevin Magnussen found themselves in a well fought duel but their was only one winner. On his return to Formula 1 Magnussen finished P5 behind Ferrari and Mercedes whilst Gasly’s car caught fire and didn’t finish the race.

Christian Horner rejects Max Verstappen strategy complaint after angry radio message

10:40 , Michael Jones

Christian Horner has dismissed Max Verstappen’s suggestion that Red Bull had two opportunities to pass Charles Leclerc at the Bahrain Grand Prix but were too conservative with their tyre strategy.

Red Bull twice attempted to undercut the Ferrari driver by bringing Verstappen into the pits early but the defending champion was left furious after being told to look after his tyres on the out lap.

After the undercut failed and Leclerc retook the lead following his pit-stop, Verstappen vented his frustration on the team radio. “This is now two times that I take it easy on the out-lap, that I could have been in front,” he said. “I am never, ever doing it again!”

Christian Horner rejects Max Verstappen strategy complaint after angry radio message

George Russell style praised by Toto Wolff as Mercedes boss makes Max Verstappen comparison

10:30 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff has heaped praise on George Russell for his driving style while taking a shot at Max Verstappen.

The reigning Formula 1 world champion is known for his aggressive style and the Mercedes team boss has labelled his approach as “win it or bin it”.

While Wolff also praised Russell for marrying intelligence and skill, with the young driver delivering fourth in his debut for the Silver Arrows in Bahrain last weekend.

“I think Max’s approach - and this is George’s phrase since he was in go-karting – is ‘win it or bin it,’” Wolff told GQ.

“George approaches it more from an intellectual standpoint while having all the skills.

George Russell style praised by Toto Wolff amid Max Verstappen comparison

New Aston Martin AMR22 “a disaster” according to Ralf Schumacher

10:19 , Michael Jones

Ralf Schumacher says the Aston Martin AMR22 is “a disaster” and feels the team’s Toyota-like “bulldozer approach” to reaching the frontof the grid will not work.

Schumacher drove for Toyota when they owned a Formula 1 team in the 2000s, and felt it was a case of a big named brand spending a lot of money in the hoping to build a front-running team and which ultimately failed.

Aston Martin’s boss, Lawrence Stroll, is currently in the process of funding a new factory and wind tunnel for the Silverstone team having already recruited more than 200 new staff with the aim of getting the team back up Formula 1’s leaderboard and Schumacher sees parallels in this approach to his time at Toyota.

“The car is, so we hear, a disaster,” said Schumacher on AvD Motor & Sport Magazin on German TV, “It has to be able to do everything you don’t need. And on top of that, apparently the team owner is now also sitting in the meetings and voicing how things should be done. If that’s the case, it gets really, really complicated.

“The team have lost the thread. They wanted to achieve too much too quickly and that simply doesn’t work in Formula 1. You can’t just take a lot of people and a lot of money, put them in a pot, stir it briefly and then something good comes out.

“The team wanted to take a bulldozer approach and that didn’t work at Toyota.”

'No solution yet to ‘porpoising’ for Mercedes’ says Russell

10:10 , Michael Jones

Mercedes manage to finish third and fourth in the 2022 Formula 1 opener in Bahrain but they struggled throughout the race with ‘porpoising’. A phenomenon seen this year when the car violently bounces on its suspension at high speed.

George Russell, who finished fourth behind Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton, suggested Mercedes could be stuck with the problem for the rest of the campaign.

“This bouncing we are experiencing down the straight is slowing us down because we are smashing into the ground, rather than going forward,” he said.

“It is promising to see that other cars have had the same issue and they managed to solve it which means there is a solution there, but we are struggling to find it.

“It would have been brilliant if we solved it in testing where we had so much running. But we truly just don’t know how long it will take, if it is next weekend or after the summer break.

“We hope it will be as soon as possible, but there is no reason why it may not continue the whole year.”

F1 Driver and Team standings after opening Bahrain Grand Prix

10:00 , Michael Jones

Ferrari on top, Kevin Magnussen back with a bang and Red Bull yet to get on the board - here are how the standings look after the opening race of 2022.

Bottas delighted with double points finish for Alfa Romeo

09:48 , Michael Jones

Valtteri Bottas led Alfa Romeo to a double-points finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix after finishing sixth in the opening race of the 2022 season with teammate Zhao Guanyu coming in P10.

Bottas says he was even more pleased with his performance given a “disaster” of a start that saw him fall from P6 to 14th on the opening lap.

Copious amounts of wheelspin dropped the ex-Mercedes driver well out of the top 10 on the first lap but having pitted three times, Bottas made it up to eighth on the final Safety Car restart before picking up two extra places when both Red Bulls retired.

“The start was definitely the weak point of the race and a bit of a disaster, just massive wheelspin off the line,” said Bottas. “I pretty much cooked the rear tyres and then I was like a sitting duck after the first lap.

“Something to learn, something to look into, but when things stabilised it was a good recovery, good strategy, and a smooth race. I think we had decent pace, which is encouraging.

“And I’m very happy for Zhou Guanyu in his first race; he got points, which is pretty good. Double points to start the season – not bad.”

Horner defends Red Bull tactics after Verstappen outburst

09:35 , Michael Jones

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen was left frustrated during the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday after his second pit stop as the planned undercut of race leader Charles Leclerc failed to work for a second time. He suggested over the team radio that he had not been allowed to push on his tyres in a bid to get ahead of the Ferrari.

On both occasions, Verstappen found himself still behind Leclerc after the Ferrari driver emulated the move and also took on fresh tyres. After the second time this happened an angered Verstappen said: “This is two times I’ve taken it easy on the out-lap and I could have been in the lead. I’m never doing it again!”

But, Team Principlal Christian Horner explained the situation when he said: “It’s always a balance [because] what you take out of the tyre early in the stint, you pay for it later in the stint.

“Possibly we underestimated the undercut but Ferrari had the pace that had we got that track position they would have made the overtake. We just didn’t quite have their pace.

“But encouraging we’re able to take the fight to them at least and it’s a basis from which to build but we need to quickly address this issue that caused the DNF.”

‘No points but positives to take’ says Sergio Perez

09:23 , Michael Jones

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez says there are a lot of positives to take from the Bahrain Grand Prix despite both cars having to retire in the closing laps of the race.

Both Perez and teammate Max Verstappen lost power toward the end of the race with a suspected problem related to their fuel systems.

Until then both cars were fighting for the podium places against eventual winner Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz. Perez says they were in the fight all the way through but that the results is ‘hard to take’.

Mick Schumacher: ‘It’s nice for me to remind people of what my dad did – but I can create my own legacy too’

09:10 , Michael Jones

In a sense, Mick Schumacher’s entire life had been building up to one moment. From being first sat in a go-kart at just two-and-a-half years old, inheriting the obsession for racing that runs so deep in his blood, he was being trained, perhaps even engineered, to become a Formula One driver. He had started out competing under his mother’s maiden name to shield him from the media, then he ascended through the junior ranks with meticulous attention to detail, interrogating engineers for clues to the cars and seeking out advice from friends of his father. Before he fulfilled his dream, he wanted to try and eliminate all the elements of surprise that might throw him off course. In his mind, he simulated how his first race might unfold hundreds of times.

What all that preparation can never quite replicate, though, is the tension that grips the muscles and nerve-endings once you’re sat on the grid alone and waiting, or the anxious excitement that clouds all those clearly laid plans as the lights go out. And so, at the fourth turn on his first full racing lap, with the dirt and dust in humid Bahrain sticking to the track, Schumacher trod on the throttle a little too certainly. Like a trigger had been fired, the car suddenly lurched out of his control, span up against the kerb and then into the gravel.

“You’re just trying to find the limit and I think it was just a case of underestimating,” the 22-year-old says now, sitting in Haas’ team garage during pre-season testing. “And in that case, it can even be positive because it keeps you hungry and probably also humble. A certain amount of pressure is always part of the game. It all belongs to growing and I’ve grown so much since. I’ve become so comfortable in the car. [The pressure] kind of disappears and the feeling of being a rookie is not there anymore. I’ve been in that place last year but I feel a lot more part of the actual business here.”

Mick Schumacher: ‘I can remind people of dad while creating my own legacy’

Red Bull’s Christian Horner praises Mercedes F1 rival Toto Wolff for opening up on mental health

08:58 , Luke Baker

Red Bull Formula One boss Christian Horner has praised Mercedes rival Toto Wolff for speaking out about the mental health issues that have plagued him for more than a decade despite unprecedented success.

Wolff told the Sunday Times that he had been seeing a psychiatrist since 2004 and had more than 500 hours of therapy.

“I have suffered mentally, I still do. Getting help is a way of overcoming my problems, and it has helped me to access untapped potential,” said the man who has steered Mercedes to a record eight successive constructors’ titles.

“I’ve never had any problem with the stigma. Some of the most successful people are very, very sensitive and very, very sensitive means very, very vulnerable.”

Horner told reporters at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix that it was an important topic.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner praises Mercedes F1 rival Toto Wolff

Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish at Bahrain GP, admits Toto Wolff

08:39 , Luke Baker

Toto Wolff has described Mercedes’ opening race result in Bahrain as “fantastic” and said that the team are “punching above their weight” at the start of the 2022 F1 season.

Lewis Hamilton capitalised on the retirement of both Red Bull drivers to finish on the bottom step of the podium, closely followed by new teammate George Russell, who took fourth in his first race as a permanent member of the German team.

Despite a clear lack of speed compared to the fastest cars on the grid, it represented a good start for Mercedes, who have struggled to adjust after aerodynamic regulations were overhauled during the offseason.

Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish in Bahrain, admits Toto Wolff

Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability after Bahrain Grand Prix nightmare

08:28 , Jack Rathborn

Max Verstappen criticised Red Bull’s reliability issues after a disastrous end to the Bahrain Grand Prix saw the reigning world champion and teammate Sergio Perez both forced to retire.

Verstappen had seemingly secured a second-place finish behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc only for his car to lose power with two laps to go, while a similar problem caused Perez to spin out at the first corner soon afterwards.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, a bitterly disappointed Verstappen said: “Of course you can always say problems can happen and you might have a retirement.

Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability after Bahrain GP nightmare

Christian Horner bemoans Red Bull’s ‘brutal’ double retirement at disastrous Bahrain GP

08:16 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner bemoaned the “brutal finish” to Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix that saw both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez forced to retire from the race with just two laps remaining.

Verstappen, in his first race since claiming the world championship, was seemingly set for a second-place finish after a close battle with Charles Leclerc before steering issues and a power failure forced him to exit down the pit lane.

It left Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez desperately trying to hold off Lewis Hamilton but the Mexican’s rear wheels then locked, causing him to spin at Turn 1 and condemning Red Bull to a disastrous result.

The two issues appeared related and although Horner said it was too early to make any definitive conclusions, he suspected the problem was related to the fuel system.

Christian Horner bemoans Red Bull’s ‘brutal’ double retirement in Bahrain

Charles Leclerc played cheeky prank on Ferrari before winning F1’s Bahrain GP

08:05 , Jack Rathborn

Charles Leclerc has revealed that he played a prank on Ferrari’s engineers as he rounded the final few bends to take victory at the 2022 Formula 1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Leclerc ensured that Ferrari’s preseason promise carried over as racing began at the Sakhir Circuit, surviving the challenge of Max Verstappen in an early duel and then holding his nerve and speed to secure the win.

It was the Monegasque’s third victory in F1, but his first since 2019, and suggested that his Italian team may well be able to challenge Mercedes and Red Bull.

Charles Leclerc played cheeky prank on Ferrari before winning F1’s Bahrain GP

Lewis Hamilton hails ‘really great result’ after surprise third place in Bahrain

07:52 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton said every point counts as his surprise podium at Formula One’s season opener in Bahrain provided him with renewed belief that he can fight for a record eighth world title.

Ninety-eight days on from the contentious season finale in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton spent 57 laps leading the supporting cast to Charles Leclerc’s duel with world champion Max Verstappen.

But Hamilton benefitted from a dramatic double Red Bull DNF as both Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez retired in the closing laps.

Hamilton was suddenly promoted from an underwhelming fifth to the final step on the podium, as Leclerc led team-mate Carlos Sainz home to claim Ferrari’s first victory, and first one-two finish, since the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix. George Russell took fourth in the other Mercedes.

“Every point can make a difference,” said Hamilton. “I have lost world titles by one point, but, while we are not necessarily on a par with the fastest guys, it is a really, really great result.

Lewis Hamilton hails ‘really great result’ after surprise third place in Bahrain

Mercedes to ‘take a chainsaw’ to W13 in pursuit of less drag in Jeddah

07:41 , Jack Rathborn

Toto Wolff says Mercedes will “simply take a chainsaw” to the W13 in pursuit of less drag following the Bahrain Grand Prix.

After Lewis Hamilton’s fortuitous podium, the Silver Arrows are primed to make a drastic change ahead of Saudi Arabia this weekend.

“I think we were probably over-winged,” Wolff told Sky F1. “We had too much drag and that’s just because we are lacking parts at the moment and hopefully we can remedy that.

“It’s half or a little bit more maybe of the top-speed advantage, but we need to really leave no stone unturned on the power unit side.

“It’s easier to shed drag off the car because you simply take a chainsaw and cut the rear wing to bits, and so that’s what we will do for Jeddah.”

Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

07:28 , Jack Rathborn

Ferrari aren’t just back, they’re “properly back”. Carlos Sainz wanted to spell it out, clear and simple, after helping the Italian team to a sensational one-two at the Bahrain Grand Prix. As even though impressive performances in pre-season testing and a pole position for Charles Leclerc in qualifying had generated excitement, a team of the size, history and prestige of Ferrari would not have truly returned until they were stood at the top of the podium on the opening weekend of the season.

It has been two full campaigns since the standings were coloured with the famous red of the Scuderia and few wins this year will be as popular as Leclerc’s as Formula One entered its new era this past weekend. The whispers that Ferrari had taken the biggest step forward following the overhaul of regulations ahead of the start of the 2022 season were confirmed as Leclerc held off the challenge of Max Verstappen, before the defending champion’s dramatic late retirement led to Sainz joining his teammate on the podium.

We may be only one step into what is scheduled to be a record 23-race campaign but the early narrative has been set and the rest of the field are already playing catch up. Last year in Bahrain, Verstappen’s duel with Lewis Hamilton set the tone for what would be one of the most competitive title races in F1 history, one that went right down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, Ferrari were watching, planning and getting ahead of the competition. The two seasons of sacrifice hurt but this was a reward for their patience.

Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

Monday 21 March 2022 20:00 , Michael Jones

Ferrari aren’t just back, they’re “properly back”. Carlos Sainz wanted to spell it out, clear and simple, after helping the Italian team to a sensational one-two at the Bahrain Grand Prix. As even though impressive performances in pre-season testing and a pole position for Charles Leclerc in qualifying had generated excitement, a team of the size, history and prestige of Ferrari would not have truly returned until they were stood at the top of the podium on the opening weekend of the season.

It has been two full campaigns since the standings were coloured with the famous red of the Scuderia and few wins this year will be as popular as Leclerc’s as Formula One entered its new era this past weekend. The whispers that Ferrari had taken the biggest step forward following the overhaul of regulations ahead of the start of the 2022 season were confirmed as Leclerc held off the challenge of Max Verstappen, before the defending champion’s dramatic late retirement led to Sainz joining his team-mate on the podium.

We may be only one step into what is scheduled to be a record 23-race campaign but the early narrative has been set and the rest of the field are already playing catch up. Last year in Bahrain, Verstappen’s duel with Lewis Hamilton set the tone for what would be one of the most competitive title races in F1 history, one that went right down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, Ferrari were watching, planning and getting ahead of the competition. The two seasons of sacrifice hurt but this was a reward for their patience.

Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton explains new yellow helmet for 2022 F1 season

Monday 21 March 2022 19:45 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton says he has changed the colour of his Formula 1 helmet as he wants to “show love for his beginnings”.

Hamilton usually wears a black and purple helmet when racing for Mercedes but the 2022 season will see him in yellow. The British driver will be hoping the new campaign brings him more than a new helmet as he is targeting a record eighth world championship.

“For this year’s helmet I wanted to show love to my beginnings,” he tweeted. “As much as I love purple and black, yellow is my history. I’m going into this season with the same dedication, drive, and passion I had way back in my karting days.”

Lewis Hamilton explains new yellow helmet for 2022 F1 season

Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish at Bahrain GP, admits Toto Wolff

Monday 21 March 2022 19:30 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff has described Mercedes’ opening race result in Bahrain as “fantastic” and said that the team are “punching above their weight” at the start of the 2022 F1 season.

Lewis Hamilton capitalised on the retirement of both Red Bull drivers to finish on the bottom step of the podium, closely followed by new teammate George Russell, who took fourth in his first race as a permanent member of the German team.

Despite a clear lack of speed compared to the fastest cars on the grid, it represented a good start for Mercedes, who have struggled to adjust after aerodynamic regulations were overhauled during the offseason.

Having established dominance over the rest of the grid during a period of eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships, all of the indications are that Wolff’s unit will struggle to again retain that prize unless significant tweaks can be made.

But that does not mean that the Mercedes team principal was not pleased by Hamilton and Russell’s efforts at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Mercedes ‘punching above our weight’ with finish in Bahrain, admits Toto Wolff

Perez confident Red Bull will ‘get to the bottom’ of Red Bull power loss

Monday 21 March 2022 19:15 , Michael Jones

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez is confident his team can solve the problem which saw both cars lose power in the final laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix resulting in two DNFs for the team.

“I could feel a couple of laps before the end that I was losing a bit of power, the engine was cutting off at times, so we knew there was an issue, we knew what happened to Max, and unfortunately it just happened on the last lap,” Perez said.

“We were basically on the podium, we hold back Lewis, which was really tough, he was really fast at the end, and a bit of a shame really that we didn’t get that result.

“We are a great team and I really believe in them and I’m sure we will get to the bottom of it. It’s a very disappointing day, a very disappointing start for our season but we know how long Formula 1 years can be.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Norris expects more ‘pain’ for McLaren

Monday 21 March 2022 19:00 , Michael Jones

McLaren driver Lando Norris says he is expecting a painful start to the 2022 Formula 1 season after he and teammate Daniel Ricciardo failed to pick up any Championship points in the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Ricciardo finished 14th and Norris 15th in the race and the 22-year-old said: “I’m expecting pain, and I think everyone needs to know there’s probably going to be a bit of pain.

“As McLaren, and myself, we expect a lot more, but it’s not what we have at the minute, we have to get used to it, we’ve been in this position a few years ago but we have to remain optimistic the team and everyone back at MTC can figure things out and we can get back on track.”

As McLaren looks to return to form later in the season, Norris conceded that the team has to “start fresh” to turn it around.

“I’m sure it looked as bad as it felt,” Norris added. “This is where we are, quite simply, we just have to get a little bit used to it now. Of course, over the last few seasons there’s been a lot of expectation from us within the team but also everyone else watching and we just haven’t got it right at the minute.

“We’re a long long way off, not a little bit, a long way. we’ve got to start fresh, figure things out, find solutions. Solutions don’t mean next week we’re going to be amazing but in months to come we need to understand what’s going on here and how to get better.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Hamilton title challenge ‘a long shot’ says Wolff

Monday 21 March 2022 18:45 , Michael Jones

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton only has a long shot of fighting for the world championship this season.

Wolff’s verdict came after the opening round of the season where Hamilton’s Mercedes team were outclassed by Ferrari and Red Bull in Bahrain only to luckily clinch a podium after both Red Bull’s failed to finish the race.

“If we look at the pecking order today, it seems it will be a very long shot to even think about being in contention for the drivers’ or constructors’ championships,” said the Mercedes team principal.

“We probably scored the maximum points that we could have on Sunday, and we need to take it from here. Every weekend counts.

“But at the moment we have to be realistic and when you are third on the road you cannot think about winning it.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability after Bahrain Grand Prix nightmare

Monday 21 March 2022 18:30 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen criticised Red Bull’s reliability issues after a disastrous end to the Bahrain Grand Prix saw the reigning world champion and teammate Sergio Perez both forced to retire.

Verstappen had seemingly secured a second-place finish behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc only for his car to lose power with two laps to go, while a similar problem caused Perez to spin out at the first corner soon afterwards.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, a bitterly disappointed Verstappen said: “Of course you can always say problems can happen and you might have a retirement.

“But I think at this level, after already having so much information with engines and stuff, it shouldn’t happen.

“We already lost a lot of points again in one race weekend, so that’s just really not good, but of course I know that with one retirement it’s not over, but I would have preferred to have 18 points.”

Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability after Bahrain GP nightmare

Lewis Hamilton hails ‘really great result’ after surprise third place in Bahrain

Monday 21 March 2022 18:15 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton said every point counts as his surprise podium at Formula One’s season opener in Bahrain provided him with renewed belief that he can fight for a record eighth world title.

Ninety-eight days on from the contentious season finale in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton spent 57 laps leading the supporting cast to Charles Leclerc’s duel with world champion Max Verstappen.

But Hamilton benefitted from a dramatic double Red Bull DNF as both Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez retired in the closing laps.

Hamilton was suddenly promoted from an underwhelming fifth to the final step on the podium, as Leclerc led team-mate Carlos Sainz home to claim Ferrari’s first victory, and first one-two finish, since the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix. George Russell took fourth in the other Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton hails ‘really great result’ after surprise third place in Bahrain

Charles Leclerc wins Bahrain Grand Prix as Max Verstappen fails to finish

Monday 21 March 2022 18:00 , Michael Jones

Charles Leclerc won the Bahrain Grand Prix and Carlos Sainz completed a sensational one-two for Ferrari as defending champion Max Verstappen failed to finish the season-opening race of the Formula One season.

Verstappen suffered a technical issue with just three laps of the race remaining and Red Bull’s problems were compounded as Sergio Perez also failed to finish the final lap, leaving Lewis Hamilton to unexpectedly complete the podium.

Ferrari had not won a race in Formula One since the 2019 season but the Italian team looked to have made the biggest jump in terms of performance after displaying impressive pace in pre-season, and Leclerc converted from pole position to confirm that the Scuderia are set to be contenders once again this campaign.

Charles Leclerc wins Bahrain Grand Prix as Max Verstappen fails to finish

F1 Driver and Team standings after opening Bahrain Grand Prix

Monday 21 March 2022 17:47 , Michael Jones

Ferrari on top, Kevin Magnussen back with a bang and Red Bull yet to get on the board - here are how the standings look after the opening race of 2022.

Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

Monday 21 March 2022 17:34 , Michael Jones

Ferrari aren’t just back, they’re “properly back”. Carlos Sainz wanted to spell it out, clear and simple, after helping the Italian team to a sensational one-two at the Bahrain Grand Prix. As even though impressive performances in pre-season testing and a pole position for Charles Leclerc in qualifying had generated excitement, a team of the size, history and prestige of Ferrari would not have truly returned until they were stood at the top of the podium on the opening weekend of the season.

It has been two full campaigns since the standings were coloured with the famous red of the Scuderia and few wins this year will be as popular as Leclerc’s as Formula One entered its new era this past weekend. The whispers that Ferrari had taken the biggest step forward following the overhaul of regulations ahead of the start of the 2022 season were confirmed as Leclerc held off the challenge of Max Verstappen, before the defending champion’s dramatic late retirement led to Sainz joining his team-mate on the podium.

We may be only one step into what is scheduled to be a record 23-race campaign but the early narrative has been set and the rest of the field are already playing catch up. Last year in Bahrain, Verstappen’s duel with Lewis Hamilton set the tone for what would be one of the most competitive title races in F1 history, one that went right down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, Ferrari were watching, planning and getting ahead of the competition. The two seasons of sacrifice hurt but this was a reward for their patience.

Ferrari’s return to the top sparks excitement as F1’s new era begins in Bahrain

Red Bull aiming to bounce back in Jeddah

Monday 21 March 2022 17:20 , Michael Jones

Red Bull are hoping for a strong showing in Saudi Arabia this weekend after retiring both cars in the opening race in Bahrain on Sunday.

Drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both looked set to finish in the top four slots before power losses in the closing laps so both cars retire meaning they picked up no points in the Championship.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner praises Mercedes F1 rival Toto Wolff for opening up on mental health

Monday 21 March 2022 17:12 , Michael Jones

Red Bull Formula One boss Christian Horner has praised Mercedes rival Toto Wolff for speaking out about the mental health issues that have plagued him for more than a decade despite unprecedented success.

Wolff told the Sunday Times that he had been seeing a psychiatrist since 2004 and had more than 500 hours of therapy.

“I have suffered mentally, I still do. Getting help is a way of overcoming my problems, and it has helped me to access untapped potential,” said the man who has steered Mercedes to a record eight successive constructors’ titles.

“I’ve never had any problem with the stigma. Some of the most successful people are very, very sensitive and very, very sensitive means very, very vulnerable.”

Horner told reporters at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix that it was an important topic.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner praises Mercedes F1 rival Toto Wolff

Zhou ‘speechless’ after first points finish

Monday 21 March 2022 17:00 , Michael Jones

Zhou Guanyu says that he was left “speechless” following his maiden Formula 1 race, in which he walked away with his first Championship points.

The Chinese driver finished 10th, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas coming home in sixth to ensure a double-points finish for Alfa Romeo.

Zhou was sitting in 13th place for the late Safety Car restart, and swiftly moved past the Haas of Mick Schumacher for 12th.

He then gained another two places and moved into the top 10 when the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired from the race with suspected fuel issues.

“It’s amazing, I’m so speechless,” Zhou said. “It was an emotional race, so intense, not physically, mentally. To be scoring my first ever Formula 1 points in my debut is something I would only dream of one year ago, or two weeks ago.

“Everything comes so quickly, I’m just so happy, so proud of the team behind me. I’m proud of my team-mate, we worked so hard together to maximise the car. It’s a huge reward for us and a day that I’ll never forget for a long time.”

A great start to the season for Hamilton

Monday 21 March 2022 16:47 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton took victory in the inaugural Saudi Arabia Grand Prix last year but how competitive will Mercedes be in Jeddah this weekend?

Hamilton has suggested that some changes needed to the car but Toto Wolff and the rest of Mercedes will be hoping for improvements as they try to get back to winning ways.

Charles Leclerc played cheeky prank on Ferrari before winning F1’s Bahrain GP

Monday 21 March 2022 16:37 , Michael Jones

Charles Leclerc has revealed that he played a prank on Ferrari’s engineers as he rounded the final few bends to take victory at the 2022 Formula 1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Leclerc ensured that Ferrari’s preseason promise carried over as racing began at the Sakhir Circuit, surviving the challenge of Max Verstappen in an early duel and then holding his nerve and speed to secure the win.

It was the Monegasque’s third victory in F1, but his first since 2019, and suggested that his Italian team may well be able to challenge Mercedes and Red Bull.

For the 24-year-old, it represented something of a righted wrong after missing out on what would have been a maiden Grand Prix win at the Bahrain track three years ago.

Charles Leclerc played cheeky prank on Ferrari before winning F1’s Bahrain GP

Hamilton rules out Saudi GP win

Monday 21 March 2022 16:24 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton has played down his and Mercedes’ chances of winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah but is hopeful of further improvements to his car as the season progresses.

“No, I don’t think so,” Hamilton said when asked if Mercedes will go better next weekend. “But of course, we’ve learned a lot from this week. Their [Ferrari] straight-line speed as well as the Bulls were very quick in a straight line and their performance through corners is quite a bit different to us.

“So the car was very hard to drive but it could always be worse. So I’m hoping for the next race we manage to find some improvements but it’s a fundamental issue that’s going to take a little bit longer I think to fix.”

Hamilton was running around 35 seconds behind eventual race winner Charles Leclerc before the late-race Safety Car caused by Pierre Gasly’s blazing AlphaTauri.

The eight-time constructors’ champion appears to have taken a hit with its power unit as all Mercedes-powered teams struggled with straight-line speed performance in Bahrain.

‘Ferrari are properly back’ with Bahrain Grand Prix one-two

Monday 21 March 2022 16:15 , Michael Jones

Behind Charles Leclerc in Bahrain came Carlos Sainz to seal a Ferrari one-two and make an early statement for the Italian team.

“The last two years have been incredibly difficult for the team,” beamed Leclerc. “Now, starting in the best way possible. Pole position, victory, fastest lap, one-two with Carlos, we couldn’t have hoped for any better.”

Sainz added: “Ferrari are properly back with a one-two, where the team should be.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Five things we learned as F1’s new era made an action-packed start in Bahrain

Monday 21 March 2022 16:04 , Michael Jones

F1 fired up for a new season in Bahrain on Sunday, 98 days after last December’s contentious finale in Abu Dhabi.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the opening round of the campaign.

Five things we learned as F1’s new era made an action-packed start in Bahrain

Mercedes set to ‘take a chainsaw’ to car in bid for Saudi Arabia improvement

Monday 21 March 2022 15:56 , Michael Jones

The impact of the overhauled aerodynamic regulations had been a key talking point throughout the build-up to the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, and there was a sense at the Sakhir Circuit that plenty of teams are still figuring out how best to prepare their cars.

Most notable among these were Mercedes, whose lack of straight-line speed was clear, and despite third and fourth placed finishes will make changes ahead of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.

“It’s easier to shed drag off the car because you simply take a chainsaw and cut the rear wing to bits and so that is what we will be doing for Jeddah,” Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff told Sky Sports.

“I think we were probably over-winged. We had too much drag and that is just because we are lacking parts at the moment and hopefully we can remedy that.

“It is half or a little bit more maybe of the top speed advantage but we need to really leave no stone unturned on the power unit side.”

Bottas delighted with double points finish for Alfa Romeo

Monday 21 March 2022 15:46 , Michael Jones

Valtteri Bottas led Alfa Romeo to a double-points finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix after finishing sixth in the opening race of the 2022 season with teammate Zhao Guanyu coming in P10.

Bottas says he was even more pleased with his performance given a “disaster” of a start that saw him fall from P6 to 14th on the opening lap.

Copious amounts of wheelspin dropped the ex-Mercedes driver well out of the top 10 on the first lap but having pitted three times, Bottas made it up to eighth on the final Safety Car restart before picking up two extra places when both Red Bulls retired.

“The start was definitely the weak point of the race and a bit of a disaster, just massive wheelspin off the line,” said Bottas. “I pretty much cooked the rear tyres and then I was like a sitting duck after the first lap.

“Something to learn, something to look into, but when things stabilised it was a good recovery, good strategy, and a smooth race. I think we had decent pace, which is encouraging.

“And I’m very happy for Zhou Guanyu in his first race; he got points, which is pretty good. Double points to start the season – not bad.”

No solution yet to ‘porpoising’ for Mercedes says Russell

Monday 21 March 2022 15:36 , Michael Jones

Mercedes manage to finish third and fourth in the 2022 Formula 1 opener in Bahrain but they struggled throughout the race with ‘porpoising’. A phenomenon seen this year when the car violently bounces on its suspension at high speed.

George Russell, who finished fourth behind Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton, suggested Mercedes could be stuck with the problem for the rest of the campaign.

“This bouncing we are experiencing down the straight is slowing us down because we are smashing into the ground, rather than going forward,” he said.

“It is promising to see that other cars have had the same issue and they managed to solve it which means there is a solution there, but we are struggling to find it.

“It would have been brilliant if we solved it in testing where we had so much running. But we truly just don’t know how long it will take, if it is next weekend or after the summer break.

“We hope it will be as soon as possible, but there is no reason why it may not continue the whole year.”

How to buy tickets for the British Grand Prix

Monday 21 March 2022 15:27 , Michael Jones

The British Grand Prix will take place on 3rd July in the 2022 season and Lewis Hamilton will be aiming to replicate his victory from the last campaign.

Hamilton raised the Union Jack and won valuable points in the title race in 2021. But it was a controversial race which saw him crash with rival Max Verstappen. The Dutchman was sent into the wall and the British driver was given a 10-second penalty for causing the incident.

It was one of many controversies in a campaign which saw Verstappen take his first world title, denying Hamilton a record eighth. But the 37-year-old is back to do it all again in 2022 and fans won’t want to miss out on any action.

So how can supporters buy tickets for the British GP? Here’s all you need to know.

How to buy tickets for the British Grand Prix

Hamilton title challenge ‘a long shot’ says Wolff

Monday 21 March 2022 15:18 , Michael Jones

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton only has a long shot of fighting for the world championship this season.

Wolff’s verdict came after the opening round of the season where Hamilton’s Mercedes team were outclassed by Ferrari and Red Bull in Bahrain only to luckily clinch a podium after both Red Bull’s failed to finish the race.

“If we look at the pecking order today, it seems it will be a very long shot to even think about being in contention for the drivers’ or constructors’ championships,” said the Mercedes team principal.

“We probably scored the maximum points that we could have on Sunday, and we need to take it from here. Every weekend counts.

“But at the moment we have to be realistic and when you are third on the road you cannot think about winning it.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Time flies

Monday 21 March 2022 15:07 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton was also on the podium the last time Ferrari earned a 1-2 finish at Bahrain back in 2010 when Fernando Alonso won the race with Felipe Massa in second.

Norris expects more ‘pain’ for McLaren

Monday 21 March 2022 15:00 , Michael Jones

McLaren driver Lando Norris says he is expecting a painful start to the 2022 Formula 1 season after he and teammate Daniel Ricciardo failed to pick up any Championship points in the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Ricciardo finished 14th and Norris 15th in the race and the 22-year-old said: “I’m expecting pain, and I think everyone needs to know there’s probably going to be a bit of pain.

“As McLaren, and myself, we expect a lot more, but it’s not what we have at the minute, we have to get used to it, we’ve been in this position a few years ago but we have to remain optimistic the team and everyone back at MTC can figure things out and we can get back on track.”

As McLaren looks to return to form later in the season, Norris conceded that the team has to “start fresh” to turn it around.

“I’m sure it looked as bad as it felt,” Norris added. “This is where we are, quite simply, we just have to get a little bit used to it now. Of course, over the last few seasons there’s been a lot of expectation from us within the team but also everyone else watching and we just haven’t got it right at the minute.

“We’re a long long way off, not a little bit, a long way. we’ve got to start fresh, figure things out, find solutions. Solutions don’t mean next week we’re going to be amazing but in months to come we need to understand what’s going on here and how to get better.”

A perfect start for Ferrari

Monday 21 March 2022 14:47 , Michael Jones

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz celebrate their 1-2 finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ferrari had not won a race in Formula One since the 2019 season but the Italian team looked to have made the biggest jump in terms of performance after displaying impressive pace in pre-season, and Leclerc converted from pole position to confirm that the Scuderia are set to be contenders once again this campaign.

George Russell insists he is not at Mercedes to be Lewis Hamilton’s deputy

Monday 21 March 2022 14:37 , Michael Jones

George Russell insists he has not joined Mercedes to be Lewis Hamilton’s wingman.

After three impressive seasons with Williams, Russell, 24, is gearing up for his first campaign at the front of the Formula One grid with Mercedes.

Russell replaces Valtteri Bottas, the Finnish driver unable to match Hamilton, and whom Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff called the perfect deputy.

But when asked if he expects to take up the same role ahead of Sunday’s season-opening race in Bahrain, Russell said: “If I perform, I will not ever be in that position. I would be disappointed if I found myself in that scenario because it means I have not done the job.

“And if anybody finds themselves in that position, they cannot be upset or disappointed with anyone else because they are there for one reason, and that is because they have not performed.”

George Russell insists he is not at Mercedes to be Lewis Hamilton’s deputy

Red Bull’s start ‘worst nightmare’ for Christian Horner

Monday 21 March 2022 14:25 , Michael Jones

Two retirements, no points - it would have been hard to imagine a worse start for Red Bull. Not only did Max Verstappen fail to finish in Bahrain but Sergio Perez, too. It was a result that delighted many F1 fans who feel an injustice was done in Abu Dhabi at the last season, but rather less pleasing to Christian Horner - even if the Red Bull chief could take some positives.

“I can’t remember the last time that happened to us but obviously it’s your worst nightmare,” said Horner. “It’s hugely disappointing, not only to lose a podium with Max, but then also to lose a podium with Checo [Pérez’s nickname] as well. We need to get on top of the issue and come back next weekend.

“I’m looking forward to getting to next weekend. The encouraging thing is we were within a tenth of pole, fighting with Charles for the win. The regulations look like they’ve created that bit of that racing.”

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

F1 Driver and Team standings after opening Bahrain Grand Prix

Monday 21 March 2022 14:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ferrari on top, Kevin Magnussen back with a bang and Red Bull yet to get on the board - here are how the standings look after the opening race of 2022.

Charles Leclerc plays cruel prank on Ferrari

Monday 21 March 2022 14:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ferrari’s performance in Bahrain was so strong that was even time for a little last-lap mischief from Charles Leclerc, poking fun at Ferrari’s past failings with a prank on his engineers as he wrapped up victory...

Charles Leclerc played cheeky prank on Ferrari before winning F1’s Bahrain GP

Lewis Hamilton able to enjoy unexpected, ‘remarkable' Bahrain Grand Prix podium

Monday 21 March 2022 14:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ferrari’s closest challengers in Bahrain were Mercedes, who took third and fourth. After a preseason that highlighted plenty of concerns with the German outfit’s new car after the offseason overhaul of the regulations, this was an encouraging performance, according to Lewis Hamilton.

“Oh, for sure, we would not have expected [to get a podium],” said Hamilton. “I woke up this morning hoping, super, super hoping that we would have a chance to fight, that we would have a car that’s better than we think. But we did struggle in the race.

“But George did a great job to get us third and fourth [which] I think is pretty remarkable given the problems that we have.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc vs Max Verstappen

Monday 21 March 2022 13:49 , Michael Jones

Until his unfortunate ending to the race, Max Verstappen was providing most of the excitement in Bahrain, engaging in a brilliant back-and-forth battle with eventual race winner Charles Leclerc.

If this is an indication of the sort of racing to come in 2022, this F1 season could be outstanding:

Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability after Bahrain Grand Prix nightmare

Monday 21 March 2022 13:37 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen criticised Red Bull’s reliability issues after a disastrous end to the Bahrain Grand Prix saw the reigning world champion and teammate Sergio Perez both forced to retire.

Verstappen had seemingly secured a second-place finish behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc only for his car to lose power with two laps to go, while a similar problem caused Perez to spin out at the first corner soon afterwards.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, a bitterly disappointed Verstappen said: “Of course you can always say problems can happen and you might have a retirement.

“But I think at this level, after already having so much information with engines and stuff, it shouldn’t happen.

“We already lost a lot of points again in one race weekend, so that’s just really not good, but of course I know that with one retirement it’s not over, but I would have preferred to have 18 points.”

Max Verstappen criticises Red Bull reliability after Bahrain GP nightmare

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website