Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team have rubbed salt into Max Verstappen’s wounds after they took to social media to taunt Red Bull following the retirement of both their drivers from the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. Hamilton took advantage of the Red Bull chaos by securing a third-place finish.
The hotly-anticipated 2022 F1 season got underway on the Persian Gulf on Sunday afternoon as the sport’s big-hitters began their quest for title success. Verstappen had clocked some impressive times during pre-season testing and started in second place on the grid following Saturday’s qualifying.
Hamilton, meanwhile, started back in fifth, with Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz beginning the maiden F1 outing of the year in first and third respectively. Leclerc held off an early assault from Verstappen and ultimately went on to claim victory as Ferrari took the top two spots.
And Verstappen was unable to even get himself on the scoreboard after being forced to head back to the pits with three laps of the race remaining after losing power.
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The Dutchman’s team-mate Sergio Perez then pulled up moments later as Red Bull had a day to forget in Bahrain. And as Red Bull’s day was descending into bitter disappointment, the Mercedes team took to Twitter to make their views known. “You love to see it,” wrote Mercedes on their Twitter page.
Hamilton eventually claimed a podium finish against the odds, with Silver Arrows team-mate George Russell cementing fourth. The result means Ferrari and Mercedes could be locked in a battle for dominance during the early part of the season, with Red Bull now having to play catch-up. And Hamilton was quick to pay tribute to the Scuderia pacesetters.
“A big big congratulations to Ferrari – it’s so good to see them doing well again,” said Hamilton after the race. “It was such a difficult race – we’ve struggled throughout practice and this was the best result we could [hope for]. We’re grateful for these points. The guys are working really hard back at the factory – there’s a long way to go.”
Meanwhile, Leclerc admitted he was delighted to have stormed to victory. “I’m so happy,” said the Monegasque. “We knew this was a big opportunity for the team and the guys have done an incredible job building into amazing car. A one-two today with Carlos – we couldn’t hope for better. It’s incredible to be back at the top.”