Ferrari were back on top of the podium on Sunday as Charles Leclerc led home a 1-2 for the Italian team at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The triumph has returned Ferrari to the top of the Drivers' and Constructors' World Championship standings, albeit after just one race of the new season. But their fine start came as rivals Red Bull suffered a nightmare opening round, with both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez forced to retire their cars, scoring no points.
Italy celebrates with Ferrari back on top in F1
For the media in Italy, where the expectation is now building, Ferrari's triumph in Bahrain was cause for great celebration as the flag flies high once again above Maranello. "After two years from the last time, from Singapore 2019, Ferrari returns to the top with full merit," wrote La Gazzetta dello Sport . "Leclerc with pole, fastest lap and victory, Sainz an excellent second, and here is the double that starts the year on the right foot." And the Italian press were quick to praise Ferrari for the master plan that has allowed them to get ahead at the start of the 2022 season, after months spent sacrificing the present to build for the future. A report by Corriere dello Sport stated: "Ferrari had to swallow bitter mouthfuls, sacrificing the results to start ahead of the competition on the 2022 car project and be on the front row at the start of the new technical era, as has happened. "It was necessary to rebuild competitiveness and credibility from scratch, after the suspicions on the power units of 2019 and the FIA investigation."
Bahrain a sign of great things to come for F1
"If the battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen is any measure of the season to come in Formula 1, it is going to be quite a year," wrote the BBC as they reflected on the weekend. "Mercedes' struggles with their car after the huge change of regulations for 2022 have taken Lewis Hamilton out of the title battle – for now, at least, and possibly for the year if his team cannot find some rather large solutions quickly." The British outlet added: "Leclerc and Verstappen staged a gripping contest in the Bahrain Grand Prix. They raced wheel-to-wheel for two laps, swapping the lead five times, before the Ferrari driver came out on top." Meanwhile, The Guardian accused Red Bull of paying the price for "pushing to the limit" during the final laps in Bahrain. They wrote: "Red Bull were the only team not to run a full race distance simulation in testing, when this issue would have manifested itself. "They brought so many major upgrades to the car at the last minute their plans were compromised as they had to focus on making sure all the new parts worked."
The stage has been set for the season ahead
For Spanish outlet La Marca , it was the fight at the front that was the big story, with Red Bull and Mercedes both tipped to join Ferrari in the race for the title. The newspaper led with the line: "That was a brilliant start a new era of F1. Ferrari are well and truly back, and we could have a six-car fight all season if Mercedes find some form, too." Meanwhile, in France, L'Equipe celebrated the opening race's viewing figures, peaking at a massive 1.32 million on Canal+, a sign that the sport is alive and well on the continent. They wrote: "The resumption of the Formula 1 season this weekend enabled Canal+ to record a good audience on Sunday during the Bahrain Grand Prix: 1.32 million viewers (12.9% audience share), with a peak at 1.64 million for the final round." Canal+ enjoyed a record season in 2021, with an average 1.14 million people tuning in for each Grand Prix.