Leclerc left heartbroken as win slips away

Date published: March 31 2019

Charles Leclerc left heartbroken as MGU-H failure costs him Bahrain GP win.

Charles Leclerc was left heartbroken after an apparent MGU-H failure cost him victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

After dropping to P3 at the start, the pole sitter produced a spirited comeback to pass Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel early to lead again, before building a solid gap over the rest of the field.

After Vettel spun at turn 3 while battling Hamilton, it seemed that Leclerc was set to salvage the Scuderia’s afternoon, but it all went downhill on lap 46 when Leclerc reported that “something was seriously wrong with the engine”.

The 21-year-old would soon be caught and overtaken by Hamilton and later Bottas to secure a Mercedes 1-2, while a safety car with two laps to go allowed him to hold off Max Verstappen for P3.

Speaking to reporters in Bahrain, Leclerc said: “It happens. It is part of motorsport.

“Unfortunately today was not our day but I am confident the team has done an amazing job to recover the lack of pace of Australia.

“Of course I am extremely disappointed, like the whole team, but it happens during the season.

“We have been lucky in a very unlucky situation. I’m happy to have the safety car at the end otherwise we would have finished even more rearward, and with fuel I don’t think we could have been OK.”

It had been a near-perfect performance for Leclerc up until that failure, and the Monegasque driver took his spot on the podium as little consolation for the race win he had lost.

“As I have said a lot in the past, I am never looking at the result, I am looking at the potential to do better,” he said.

“Today, third was not our place.”

Hamilton, who paid tribute to Leclerc over the radio after he took the chequered flag, accepted that Mercedes were lucky to claim a 1-2.

“This weekend Ferrari have been incredible,” said Hamilton. “I’m sure it was a devastating result for him.

“We were definitely lucky today.”

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