In only his second ever race for Ferrari, the 21-year-old Charles Leclerc of Monaco in his second year of F1, defies pit wall team orders and passes his four-time World Champion team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, to take the lead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Monegasque Charles Leclerc was on course to become Formula One’s third-youngest winner ever (behind Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel), but with 11 laps remaining a mechanical issue saw Leclerc’s crippled car lose at least 30mph on the straights, allowing both Mercedes to pass and Lewis Hamilton a win in the desert.
“I’m sure this is a devastating result for Charles as he had done the job to win the race,” said Hamilton.
“He has been incredibly rapid and was quickest in all sessions, and truly deserved the win. He’s got a beautiful, bright future ahead of him, so this will only make him stronger.
“I’ve been in a position like that where we’ve been in the lead many times when the car has stopped and I know how it feels.
“But it’s always good to look at the glass half full because today he still got some great points even though he had that problem. He was an outlier all weekend and faster than his team-mate.”
Indeed Leclerc looked set to take an unexpected dominance at Bahrain and TJ13 predicted a very probable win for the Ferrari driver on Friday after analysing the average race pace data in long run simulations during free practice 2. And indeed our writer and ‘alternative’ predictor of Grand Prix weekends @reefgirl made a bold prediction on the weekend that seems to be somewhat true. The tarot cards really did see this coming… READ MORE
Ferrari’s initial analysis of Charles Leclerc’s sudden loss of power in the Bahrain Grand Prix points to a cylinder issue as the source of the performance drop.
“We are checking now the engine so we do not have yet a clear explanation of what happened,” said Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto.
“It is an engine problem. We had miscombustion on one cylinder but [the reason is] to be understood.
“The engine will go back to Maranello for careful checks because when something like this happens you need to take your time to do your checks carefully.
“But the engine was running at the end of the race so it is still able to run.
“We will use it certainly on the Friday in China and we have an entire Friday to assess its behaviour, its functionality and its performance.” concludes Binotto.
Leclerc breaks team orders
What wasn’t noticed by race fans during the initial phase of the Grand Prix, is that Leclerc has already started asserting himself within the team as a potential number one driver over four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
Having lost the lead from pole at the start, Leclerc quickly regained ground and sat behind his Vettel in second spot.
“I’m quicker guys”
Is the statement made over the team radio to the pitwall, to which his race engineer issues an instruction to “stay there for 2 laps”. Within several corners, the 21 year old overtakes his team mate after the main straight and into turn 1.
Driver of the weekend & Rate the race Polls, vote now
TJ13 usually posts this as a separate article feature but for this weekend, we’ll be embedding the votes in news articles only today and tomorrow. Give us your opinion in the comments below.
Great race until Charles failure…..Ferrari look like they have the pace atm. #:)
Sebastian Vetel always twirls when Hamilton tries to pass him 🙂
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Is it possible that it wasn’t a failure ? That he was running out of fuel and that the engine management decided for a graceful shutdown to safe the engine ? The Ferrari communication was rather strange. They told Charles it was the MGU-H. Later they explained it lost a cylinder. If that was true, they would have seen it right away. They said the engine didn’t have to be repaired which sounds odd if you lost a cylinder. But if it did run on 5 cylinders, wouldn’t that ruin the balance to a point where it damages the engine ? Charles admitted that he wouldn’t have made it to the end without the safetycar. It all seems strange…
“Is it possible that it wasn’t a failure ?”
Obviously, no that’s not possible.
“That he was running out of fuel and that the engine management decided for a graceful shutdown to safe the engine ?”
Obviously no, that wasn’t the case because the team and driver are very conscious through out the race of the fuel management.
“The Ferrari communication was rather strange. They told Charles it was the MGU-H. Later they explained it lost a cylinder. If that was true, they would have seen it right away.”
Your assumptions that we heard all of the radio communication between Charles and Ferrari, and that Ferrari was unaware of the misfire in live time are both incorrect