Ferrari, with Leclerc and Sainz, monopolizes the 1-2 on the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Max Verstappen’s Formula One title defense turned into a nightmare when the Red Bull driver retired near the end of Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix and Ferrari ended up taking a 1-2, with Charles Leclerc leading his teammate Carlos Sainz jr.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton unexpectedly finished third after Mexico’s Sergio Pérez’s Red Bull also left with the finish line within reach. The race was completed with a yellow flag.

Hamilton was trailing in fifth place when lap 46 changed the course of the race.

Leclerc was comfortably dominating Verstappen when the rear of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri caught fire and he had no choice but to park it at the side of the track. The flames were immediately extinguished and the Frenchman escaped unharmed.

On the restart, Leclerc took off more and Verstappen began to complain of control problems.

A few minutes later, both Red Bulls had dropped out. George Russell, with the other Mercedes, finished fourth so that his team will end up pocketing a number of points that for most of the night seemed unattainable.

Ferrari claimed victory for the first time in two and a half years. The ‘Cavallino Prancing’ team had not won since the Singapore GP in 2019, with a 1-2 led by Sebastian Vettel.

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