The Bahrain Grand Prix delivered another exciting race under lights in the desert this year as Lewis Hamilton benefited from the misfortune of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to record his first victory of the 2019 season.
Exclusive Pit Lane Walk & Drive the Track Tour
Our weekend at Bahrain International Circuit began on Thursday evening with an Exclusive Pit Lane Walk. The pits were still a hive of activity, allowing our guests to get up close to the cars and watch several teams doing pitstop practice. Next up, we hit the track on the back of the truck used for the F1 drivers’ parade for a lap of Bahrain International Circuit with expert commentary from ex-racers Max Aitken and James Towers. Our lap coincided with several teams doing their traditional track walk, and our guests were pretty happy to get a wave from both Ferrari drivers! Finally, we returned to the Main Straight for a photo op with the Championship trophies.
F1 Insider Access & Paddock Club Reception
Our Friday night activities kicked off after the last on-track activity concluded. F1 Insider Access included a meeting with F1 Safety Car driver Bernd Mayländer and the opportunity for some of our guests to sit behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG GT R, a visit to the Pirelli tyre station to learn about the new compounds for 2019 and a stop at the McLaren garage. The tour also included a visit to the F1 podium, where our photographer was on hand to take professional photos of all the guests. Friday’s activities finished with a Paddock Club Reception, where our special guest of honour was McLaren boy wonder Lando Norris – the 19-year-old definitely made a few new fans this weekend, especially after he achieved an excellent sixth on Sunday in only his second F1 race!
Our guests watched the weekend’s action from the best vantage points at Bahrain International Circuit, including the Formula 1 Paddock Club, Main Grandstand (Hero & Premier Ticket Packages), Turn 1 Grandstand (Trophy Ticket Packages) and Victory Grandstand (Starter Ticket Packages). Ferrari were the team to beat all weekend and it was young Monégasque driver Charles Leclerc who upstaged his more experienced teammate Sebastian Vettel to take pole position on Saturday. In doing so, Leclerc became the second-youngest pole sitter in F1 history.
In very windy conditions, Leclerc lost the lead to Vettel after a cautious start and fell to third behind a fast-starting Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes, but was soon back up to second as he settled into a very quick race pace. Before long, Leclerc was past his teammate and opening a healthy lead to control the race as some exciting racing unfolded behind him. The battle for second intensified on Lap 38 when Lewis Hamilton made a successful pass on Sebastian Vettel, prompting the German to spin and destroy his tyres – limping back to the pits, Vettel’s front wing failed spectacularly, briefly sending him skyward.
Up front, Leclerc’s march to a memorable maiden victory came undone just 11 laps from the flag as his Ferrari engine began to lose power. The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas didn’t waste any time in getting past Leclerc, recording their second 1-2 of the season. Leclerc hung on for third and his first visit to the F1 podium thanks to a late Safety Car resulting from Renault’s double retirement. After the race, a fortunate Hamilton was the first to console the young Ferrari driver. “This weekend, the Ferrari’s have been incredible,” said Hamilton. “I had to see Charles. He did such a great job, he had done the job to win race. We were definitely lucky today, but we have to take it as it comes.”
Click here to see all the weekend’s photos on Facebook. Missed out this year? Official Ticket Packages are now on sale for the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.