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Carlos Sainz's Ferrari was fast and sparkled in Bahrain


David Davies/dpa

Ferrari has the most beautiful duels:

The Spaniard Carlos Sainz will be swapped for seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari next season.

At the season opener in Bahrain he seemed to want to show his employer what he thought of this decision.

And he also gave nothing to his teammate Charles Leclerc, who was struggling with the car.

Especially now, Sainz may have thought.

On lap eleven he pushed past Leclerc, who was struggling with his car, for the first time.

But he fought back.

The Ferraris drove side by side, sparks flying, until Sainz prevailed.

After changing tires on lap 15, he came back onto the track just behind the Monegasque, and a little later he passed Leclerc hard on the inside of turn one - and stayed ahead until the end.

“I was even able to keep up with the Red Bulls,” said Sainz happily after the award ceremony.

The result:

Max Verstappen continues where he left off last year.

Whether it's a new car or the excitement around team boss Horner, nothing affects the Dutchman on the way to his fourth title: He gained a lead of over 22 seconds over his teammate Sergio Pérez and thus secured his first victory of the season.

Sainz followed Pérez by less than three seconds, ahead of Leclerc, who was over 14 seconds slower than his teammate.

Read the race report here.

The start:

Polesitter Verstappen defended the lead from Leclerc and Russell, Pérez in the second Red Bull passed Sainz.

Fernando Alonso followed in the Aston Martin ahead of the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri and Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes, who was initially unable to improve his 9th place on the grid.

Behind him, Nico Hülkenberg, who had achieved a good 10th place in qualifying with the Haas but didn't get off well at the start, ran into Lance Stroll and had to go into the pits.

The German fell back to the end of the field and in the end he only managed 16th place.

Verstappen unattainable:

World champion Verstappen had already put over four seconds between himself and his pursuers in the modified RB20 after six laps.

Anyone who had hoped that the car with the new side box concept might be more unstable than its predecessor in the interests of a more exciting competition was disappointed.

Russell passed Leclerc on lap three, and four laps later the Monegasque driver had to let Pérez pass after he braked.

The McLaren had meanwhile overtaken Alonso, and on lap ten Hamilton also passed the Aston Martin.

The Ferrari is listed:

Leclerc was meanwhile struggling with his Ferrari, the driving errors were increasing, the car was pulling to the right when braking, he finally reported to his team.

Things went much better for his teammate, who went past twice.

And Sainz then grabbed Russell.

After the entire leading group had changed tires, the Spaniard pursued the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Pérez.

Leclerc had slipped to fifth place and was around ten seconds behind his teammate at the halfway point of the race.

Sainz has to write application letters for 2025.

And what's the best way to do that?

For example, with a place on the podium.

Everyone is watching them:

The Christian affair

Horner, who had been accused of “inappropriate behavior” by an employee, was also


topic of conversation before the race.

After an email appeared on Thursday evening that was intended to further incriminate Red Bull's team boss, Horner demonstratively showed up in Bahrain with his wife, the ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

Before the start, Horner was asked by the BBC whether the leaked chats between him and the employee were real.

"I can't comment on messages from an anonymous sender," he says.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem had previously told the “Financial Times” about the Horner matter that “it is damaging the sport,” but the world association does not want to initiate its own investigations at the moment.

Completely detached:

In any case, it initially didn't hurt Red Bull's sporting performance.

"Red Bull doesn't drive in a league of its own, they drive in their own galaxy," said Toto Wolff after the race.

The Mercedes team boss could not be satisfied with fifth place for Russell and seventh place for Hamilton.

The first chasing role clearly went to Ferrari in Bahrain.

What's next:

The second race of the season in Saudi Arabia will take place next Saturday (March 9th, 6 p.m., live ticker SPIEGEL.de, TV: Sky).

Why on Saturday?

You can read about that and everything important about the season here.