RECORD CROWDS ATTEND BAHRAIN’S 15TH ANNIVERSARY RACE

Tuesday, Apr 2nd 2019, 9:15 am | Category: Formula One

  •   Record race day and total weekend attendance as fans celebrate Bahrain’s 15th anniversary in F1 
  • 34,000 race attendance, (2018: 33,000). Total attendance of 97,000 over race weekend [2018: 95,000] 
  • Main Grandstand, University Stand, Paddock Club and Corporate lounges all sold out 
  • Lewis Hamilton wins action-packed race 



Following the conclusion of the 2019 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, Arif Rahimi, Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, said: 

“I congratulate Lewis Hamilton on his stunning victory, as well as his team at Mercedes, in yet another gripping night race at BIC. This has been a fitting conclusion to our weekend celebrating 15 years in F1. 
“We are absolutely thrilled to have broken all records for race day and weekend attendance. Since 2013, our total attendance has risen by 33%, reflecting the huge growth in the popularity of the sport in the region. I thank all the fans who have travelled from all parts of the world, who have shared this spectacle with us. 
“I offer my thanks to those who have contributed to the success of the weekend. In particular, I thank our friends at F1 and the FIA, who support us every year in delivering such a special event for the Kingdom. I also thank the teams who took part across all our racing events this weekend.” 



Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain International Circuit, added: 

“This weekend, the Bahrain Grand Prix has yet again raised the bar in providing thrilling racing and entertainment. This would not have been possible without the incredible work of my team here at the BIC. I thank them for all their endeavours and the many months of diligent preparation leading up to today’s finale. 
“I would also like to thank our sponsors and partners, especially to Gulf Air, who have been with us since our F1 journey began 15 years ago. We now hand the baton over to China and wish all those in F1 the best of success celebrating the 1,000th World Championship race.”  



Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 as Ferrari suffer heartbreak 

Lewis Hamilton posted a stunning victory this evening to lead a surprise Mercedes one-two in an epic Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019, held under the bright lights at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir. 

The dream result for Mercedes was the product of a heart-breaking ending for rivals Ferrari, after pole-sitter Charles Leclerc suddenly experienced engine trouble over the final 10 laps after leading for most of the way. 

A chasing Hamilton was able to erase a 10-second gap from Leclerc and passed the struggling Ferrari driver with nine laps to go. Bottas was also able to overtake Leclerc with three laps remaining. 

Hamilton eventually won ahead of his teammate under the safety car and as the thundering fireworks lit up the night sky. Leclerc had to settle for third place to claim the first podium of his Formula 1 career. 

"We were lucky today, but you still have to take it as it comes,” said Hamilton after the race. 

“This guy here [Leclerc], he has lots of wins coming for sure,” Hamilton added, talking about Leclerc after they congratulated each other on their results. 

Presenting the top three their respective trophies in the podium ceremony were His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister; Youth and Sports Affairs Minister Ayman Tawfiq Almoayyed; Bahrain Motor Federation President Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa; and Gulf Air CEO Kresimir Kucko. 

Bottas commented after the race: “As a team, we got lucky today.” 

Said Leclerc: “It happens, it's part of motorsport. Today was not our day. The team did an amazing job to recover the pace missing in Australia. We were lucky in an unlucky situation, as without the safety car we wouldn't have finished where we did.” 

Hamilton claimed his win in a total race time of 1h 34m 21.295s. He was classified 2.980s ahead of Bottas. 



Leclerc was saved at the end by the safety car, which was deployed on the 55th lap following the dramatic retirement of Renault’s two cars. They pulled over to the side at the same time but on different parts of the track. 

Leclerc was also being chased towards the finish by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, who was classified fourth 6.408s from Hamilton. 

In fifth was Sebastian Vettel, who also had a disappointing race in the other Ferrari challenger. He made a brilliant start and took the lead at Turn One, although lost it later on back to Leclerc. On lap 39, Vettel was then forced to limp back to the pits after losing his front wing following a spin as he battled for position with Hamilton. Vettel was later able to regain some places en route to claiming fifth place, 36.068s from first. 

McLaren’s 19-year-old rookie Lando Norris (+45.754s) enjoyed a fantastic result by placing sixth, while Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen (+47.470s) was seventh. Completing the top 10 and the points finishers were Pierre Gasly (+58.094s) of Red Bull, Alexander Albon (+62.697s) of Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez (+63.696s) of Racing Point. 

The remainder of the classification featured Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi (+64.599s), Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (+1 lap), Haas’s Kevin Magnussen (+1 lap), Racing Point’s Lance Stroll (+1 lap), and the Williams pair of George Russell (+1 lap) and Robert Kubica (+2 laps), from 11th to 16th, respectively. 

Joining Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo as DNFs were McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’s Romain Grosjean. 



BIC hosts in-season testing this week 

The Formula 1 action doesn’t stop at BIC with the completion of this evening’s Bahrain Grand Prix. 

All 10 Formula 1 teams will be back on Tuesday and Wednesday (April 2 and 3) at the desert track for some in-season testing. 

The tests will get a boost of star power as former World champion Fernando Alonso is confirmed to get into the MCL34 car of McLaren. Alonso is reported to be testing for a full day on Tuesday before splitting the duties with Carlos Sainz of Wednesday. 

Also set to go testing is Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time Formula 1 World champion Michael Schumacher. He will first test with Ferrari on Tuesday, which will mark his debut in a Formula 1; and then get into an Alfa Romeo car on Wednesday. 

Mick has already been racing in Bahrain this past weekend in Formula 2 with his team Prema Racing. 

The rest of the field that will be going testing has yet to be confirmed.  

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