Lucky for some, extremely unlucky for others: the Bahrain Grand Prix was a shocker, especially for Ferrari and Renault.

Monaco’s young Charles Leclerc seemed certain of a runaway win — until 10 laps before the end when his Ferrari suddenly lost power, as did both of the Renaults.

While Leclerc managed to hang on to third place for Ferrari, electrical problems forced Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo to park their Renaults.

Both cars were in the points at the time, Hulkenberg in sixth place and Ricciardo 10th.

Leclerc’s misfortune allowed the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to sweep past for their second one-two result of the season, while Sebastien Vettel, who was running close behind his young teammate for most of the race, managed to spin his Ferrari after a tussle with Hamilton, and finished a distant fifth, behind Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

Not a great day for Ferrari, which dominated the qualifying session and was on course for a long overdue win.

Nineteen-year-old Brit Lando Norris put in a great drive to end up sixth for McLaren with Kimi Raikkonen seventh, ahead of Pierre Gasly’s Red Bull.

It could have been a fifth and sixth for McLaren, but Carlos Sainz had to retire early after a collision with Verstappen’s Red Bull, ending the fiery Spaniard’s promising drive.

Ninth and 10th went to Thai driver Alexander Albon in the Toro Rosso and Sergio Pérez in the Racing Point, (formerly known as Force India).

Renault showed great pace, with Hulkenberg scorching from 17th to sixth, with just a few laps left to go when the electrical gremlin struck.

He and Daniel Riccardo suffered problems at the same time and Ricciardo attracted the interest of stewards when he climbed out without removing the car’s steering wheel, as demanded by FIA.

But he explained: “I had the ‘red’ light on so I couldn’t touch the car.

“I wasn’t taking any risks. I didn’t really feel like getting electrocuted today.”

Ricciardo started from 11th and was running a different strategy to most of the drivers, opting for a single pitstop plan rather than a two-stopper.

It cost him dearly, as he slipped from sixth and was hanging on for 10th as rivals with fresher tyres sailed past.

He later said it was the wrong strategy and that the team had left it too late to change — not that it mattered after the electrical failure.

It was a particularly hard result for Ferrari’s Leclerc had a 10-second lead in the closing laps and suddenly radioed: “There is something strange with the engine” followed by an expletive.

However, winner Hamilton consoled him on the podium, saying “it was extremely unfortunate for Charles. He drove such a great race.”

Next Grand Prix is in China, on April 14.

Results

  1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1hr 34min 21.836 sec
  2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) at 2.980
  3. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 6.131
  4. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 6.408
  5. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 36.068
  6. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Renault) 45.754
  7. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) 47.470
  8. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Red Bull-Honda) 58.094
  9. AlexanderAlbon (THA/Toro Rosso-Honda) 1:02.697
  10. Sergio Pérez (MEX/Racing Point-Mercedes) 1:03.696
  11. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/AlfaRomeo Racing-Ferrari) 1:04.599
  12. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso-Honda) 1 lap
  13. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari) 1 lap
  14. Lance Stroll (CAN/Racing Point-Mercedes) 1 lap
  15. George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 1 lap
  16. Robert Kubica (POL/Williams-Mercedes) 2 laps

Retirements: Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas-Ferrari), Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/McLaren-Renault), Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Renault), NicoHülkenberg (GER/Renault).

ferrari - daniel ricciardo renault - Leclerc says bleep as Ferrari goes to sleep
Daniel Ricciardo had to park his Renault after suffering an electrical malfunction.

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.