F1: Charles Leclerc takes fourth at a frustrating opening race in Bahrain

The opening race of the 2024 Formula One World Championship in Bahrain saw Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc achieve a fourth-placed finish behind his Scuderia Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in third and a Red Bull first and second. 

Despite starting from a sixth consecutive front row position, 26-year-old Leclerc struggled with brakes issues throughout the race and ultimately ended his run on the Sakhir Circuit on 2nd March in fourth. 

His teammate Sainz, however, had better luck and moved up from a P4 to achieve a podium place behind the ever-dominant Maz Verstappen and Sergio Pérez of Red Bull. His fluidity on track and passes saw him clinch the season’s first ‘Driver of the Day’ as voted for by the watching public.  

Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz, took third and won ‘Driver of the Day’. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

“It was a disappointing race from my side,” said Leclerc post-race. “There was an issue with the brakes, so I struggled to stay on track, especially in turns nine and 10. We would have had the pace in the car to put up a good fight so I can’t wait to get back in the car in Jeddah.” 

While he was clearly frustrated, having performed exceptionally well during practice and qualifying, the combined efforts of Leclerc and Sainz have earned Ferrari a solid points start to the year – 27 for Ferrari compared to Red Bull’s 44 – and they were able to close the gap on the Red Bulls in front when compared to the 2023 Bahrain race. 

“This weekend, our flying lap performance matched our expectations, but we have a clear step to make in terms of our race pace as we were not in the fight with Red Bull,” said Ferrari Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur. “That said I consider today’s race a good baseline… We will continue with our development and I’m confident we will be able to take the fight to them [Red Bull] more often.” 

His words echoed Leclerc’s admission prior to the race that “Red Bull still seem to be a step ahead of the rest of the pack”. 

The season continues at pace, with the next race set to take place in Saudi Arabia next Saturday on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.  


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Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre