Charles Leclerc fought off Luca Ghiotto throughout the whole of race 1 in Barcelona to take another win in the series. As soon as the red lights went out so did the elbows. Ghiotto got the lead, but not for long, as a corner later Leclerc got back in front.
Leclerc’s team mate Antonio Fuoco had an early battle with a speedy Artem Markelov who decided to start on the hard tyres, one of which could have easily punctured when the two touched. Markelov may have been lucky but Fuoco was not. He needed to get a new front wing which dropped him back dramatically.
Jordan King bit the bullet was the first driver to pit followed by Leclerc and Ghiotto over the next two laps. Luckily for them it worked to their advantage when Sergio Canamasas stopped on track on lap 9 due to machinal failure. The virtual safety car was brought out followed by the actual safety car bringing the drivers which had just pitted closer to the field.
Alex Albon was leading at this point and nailed the restart. He was not fazed by DAMS driver Oliver Rowland behind. Both started on the hard tyres and Rowland caught up by lap 20 and it was not long after when Rowland took the lead. On lap 20 Fuoco’s day got worse when he also clipped the back of Roberto Merhi who got a puncture and then had to retire later on.
Markelov, on the same strategy as Rowland, was fourth by the time the safety car came out and was on the hunt. He did not pit until lap 28 and came out ninth ready to scrap with the man in eighth at the time who was Nicolas Latifi catching up to Jordan King.
Latifi showed both DAMS cars had superior speed as he quickly passed King and caught up to Gustaf Malja who had worked his way up from eighteenth on the grid. Markelov had a punchy battle with King who did not want to give up reverse grid pole but Markelov showed us how he has matured over the winter and bided his time before making the move that has made sure tomorrow he will be our pole man.
Leclerc and Ghiotto fought their way through the field after the safety car and Ghiotto was like a yoyo, every time Leclerc had passed a car Ghiotto did it shortly after. However, when the two were back at the front the Monegasque driver just had that little bit more speed and had a quiet end to the race to catch his breath before another incredible win.
A ten second time penalty for Fuoco was applied for causing a collision with MerSette-Camaraette Camara also had a penalty for causing a collision before going under investigation for failing to serve his penalty
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing
Would you like to stay up to date with the latest Lewis Hamilton and Formula 1 news from GPtoday? Activate free push notifications and be the first to know!