An eventful Bahrain Grand Prix came to a close behind the safety car, with Lewis Hamilton securing his 11th victory of the season. He now edges ever closer to creating the joint record of most wins in a year, with both Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel tied on 13.
The race did not get off to the right start, with Romain Grosjean slamming into the wall and the Haas car almost instantly bursting into flames. It was not a sight that F1 fans wanted to see, but the best news came when he walked, albeit gingerly, into the safety car.
Replays showed that Grosjean tried to pass his teammate Magnussen, but was unaware of AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat coming in from behind. The Frenchman was, later on, declared ‘okay’ despite a few minor burns, in an official statement from the Haas F1 team on their Twitter handle.
Just after Grosjean’s incident forced a long delay, the restart saw an equally frenetic and chaotic lap with cars coming quite close together. This time, the left front of Kvyat got tangled with Stroll’s right rear. Fortunately, Stroll declared that he was okay over the team radio. However, it brought out the safety car, anyway.
The race got going again, which proved to be beneficial for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Taking the inside line, he got past both Ricciardo and Gasly to climb up to P7.
It was, however, short-lived, as his future teammate and current Mclaren driver Carlos Sainz overtook him. The Spaniard eventually finished in P5.
Laps 18-23 saw many teams get in their first set of pit stops in order to get a time gap advantage. Meanwhile, at Racing Point, things worsened for Sergio Perez. The Mexican was in P3 for a long time and looked good for the podium. However, in the dying laps, his car lost power and caught fire, which sadly ended his race.
Meanwhile, Mercedes enjoyed a day of contrasting fortunes. While Hamilton won the race, Valtteri Bottas, who had suffered a puncture, made multiple pit stops. The Finn driver eventually finished in P8.
There was joy for Red Bull Racing as well, with Verstappen securing P2 and Albon taking home P3. The result will be particularly helpful for the latter, as he attempts to stake a claim for his seat for 2021.
McLaren also received an important infusion of points in their fight for P3 in the Constructors’ standings, with a P4-P5 finish. Overall, it was a race to cherish for some and a race to forget for others, which ended under fireworks at the Bahrain International Circuit.