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Bahrain GP: Race team notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
31/03/2019

Lewis Hamilton led home a Mercedes one-two following a dramatic weekend, taking the lead in the closing stages of the race after Ferrari's polesitter Charles Leclerc hit problems. The top three all used different two-stop strategies, in a thrilling race that was characterised by plenty of tactical variation, with high levels of tyre degradation.

Before his issue, Leclerc's advantage had been such that he was able to complete his second pit stop without losing the lead. He still took the point for fastest lap.

Sebastian Vettel finished fifth with three visits to the pits, the final one following an incident.

There was a tense strategic battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, with both teams attempting to undercut each other during both rounds of pit stops.

Although there were many different strategies at work, all the drivers started on the soft tyre apart from Williams driver Robert Kubica.

The only driver to attempt a one-stopper was Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, who retired with just a couple of laps to go.

The hard was used by only one driver - McLaren's Carlos Sainz - but with nearly everyone targeting two stops, it ended up being less relevant today.

The mediumwas a key element to the pace of Leclerc, running his two final stints on the medium, as well as other drivers such as Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Hamilton only used the medium tyre once, at the end of the race.

Ricciardo used the soft compound for nearly half the race: championship leader Valtteri Bottas was the only podium finisher to use it at the end of the race.

Mario Isola: "As Lewis Hamilton said, Charles Leclerc deserved to win today and his problems were part of a truly dramatic and unpredictable grand prix, in which tyre strategy played a key part. Both Ferrari and Mercedes timed their stops to try and undercut each other, but Leclerc's performance advantage meant that he was able to make his second stop without losing the lead. There was an ample range of strategies: in fact, only two teams ran exactly the same strategies for both their drivers. Outside the immediate frontrunners there were also some stand-out performances from drivers such as Lando Norris, who scored his first points for McLaren."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Sakhir, here.

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