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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen makes disastrous title defence as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes trail Ferrari in constructors after Charles Leclerc win in Bahrain


The new Formula 1 season is up and running as Lewis Hamilton looks to win back his championship from rival Max Verstappen.

Red Bull’s Verstappen won the title in the most dramatic of circumstances as he overtook seven-time champion Hamilton on the final lap of the final Grand Prix of last campaign.

Leclerc finished first in the first race of the new season

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Leclerc finished first in the first race of the new season

But the first race of his championship defence ended in the pit lane as late drama took him out of the running in Bahrain.

Both Verstappen and Hamilton now face a genuine fight from the rest of the pack for glory as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc kicked off the season in style.

The grid moves on to the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix this weekend.

Formula 1 2022: Driver Standings

Driver/ Car/ Points

  • Charles Leclerc / Ferrari / 26
  • Carlos Sainz / Ferrari / 18
  • Lewis Hamilton / Mercedes / 15
  • George Russell / Mercedes / 12
  • Kevin Magnussen / Haas / 10
  • Valtteri Bottas / Alfa Romeo / 8
  • Esteban Ocon / Alpine / 6
  • Yuki Tsounda / Alphatauri / 4
  • Fernando Alonso / Alpine / 2
  • Zhou Guanyu / Alfa Romeo / 1
  • Mick Schumacher / Haas / 0
  • Lance Stroll / Aston Martin / 0
  • Alexander Albon / Williams / 0
  • Daniel Ricciardo / McLaren / 0
  • Lando Norris / McLaren / 0
  • Nicholas Latifi / Williams / 0
  • Nico Hulkenberg / Aston Martin / 0
  • Sergio Perez / Red Bull Racing / 0
  • Max Verstappen / Red Bull Racing / 0
  • Pierre Gasly / Alphatauri / 0
  • Sebastian Vettel / Aston Martin / 0

Verstappen is the reigning champion

AFP

Verstappen is the reigning champion

Formula 1 2022: Constructor Standings

Despite Hamilton missing out on individual glory in December, Mercedes did still claim an eighth successive title in the constructors last season.

And the introduction of George Russell to the team has helped them make a good attempt of claiming a historic ninth championship.

  • Ferrari 44
  • Mercedes 27
  • Haas 10
  • Alfa Romeo 9
  • Alpine 8
  • Alphatauri 4
  • Aston Martin 0
  • Williams 0
  • McLaren 0
  • Red Bull 0

Hamilton has won six out of the last eight drivers’ championships

Getty

Hamilton has won six out of the last eight drivers’ championships

Formula 1 2022: What has been said?

Verstappen was frustrated by Red Bull’s reliability issues after suspected fuel pump issues prematurely ended his race in Bahrain.

“Of course you can always say problems can happen and you might have a retirement,” the Dutchman said.

“But I think at this level, after already having so much information with engines and stuff, it shouldn’t happen.

“We already lost a lot of points again in one race weekend, so that’s just really not good, but of course I know that with one retirement it’s not over, but I would have preferred to have 18 points.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton said: “A big congratulations to Ferrari. I am so happy to see them doing well again. It is great to see Charles and Carlos up there.

“It was such a difficult race and this was the best result we could have got.

“We did the best we could and we are grateful for the points.”

Asked if he expects Mercedes to improve, Hamilton replied: “I am hoping and I know the guys are working hard.

“It will not be a quick turnaround but we are keeping our head down, we will keep working and there is a long way to go.”

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