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Tension at Ferrari as Bedevilled Leclerc Grabs Points in 2024 Curtain Raiser Grand Prix

The 2024 season curtain raiser opening Grand Prix started with the familiar battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. Charles looked fast enough in Qualifying to threaten Verstappen’s supremacy. It was a very tight first session of the 2024 season.

Verstappen produced a 1m 29.421s with his first Q3 run; not enough to beat Leclerc’s fastest run, but then worked his way down to a blistering 1m 29.179s during the second runs to ultimately finish two-tenths clear of Leclerc.

Carlos Sainz made it two Ferraris in the top four places.

So the stage was set for a barn-burner with a one two on the grid of Verstappen and Leclerc.

And there was a good battle in the opening laps, but eventually Leclerc was bedevilled by brake problems leaving Verstappen to scamper off into the distance and enjoy a trouble-free race to the chequered flag.

His Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez clinched a solid one-two finish for Red Bull after skillfully overtaking both George Russell – who finished fifth – and Leclerc during the initial laps.

So it was a challenging day for Ferrari’s Leclerc, who, despite starting in second position and challenging Verstappen, struggled with oversteer and lock-ups. A quick pit-stop to address the issues gave him a chance to somewhat recover, jumping on a Russell error on lap 46 to steal fourth.

Charles Leclerc blamed a brake balance issue

The Ferrari driver was able to race his car into the points in Sakhir but, having started second, he would have hoped for much more.

Not only was Charles passed by Sergio Perez but also his team-mate Carlos Sainz as he regularly struggled with his brakes; he repeatedly locked up into corners.

The problem continued with Charles frequently telling race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros of his issues while also reportedly describing it as a dangerous car at one point.

Leclerc said a brake balance issue was the reason behind his problems and he just couldn’t go round Turns 9 and 10 for the first 10 laps.

So it was a very, very frustrating race for Charles Leclerc who had been waiting for this race to show exactly what he is made of.

Carlos Sainz Fights for his Future

Carlos Sainz engaged in two significant battles with team-mate Leclerc and ultimately secured a third-place finish, marking his first podium in what will be his final season with Ferrari before being replaced by Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

Sainz had taken matters into his own hands. With Leclerc struggling for grip, Sainz made his move going into Turn 1 and it was noticeably unusually aggressive given that they are both team-mates.
Ferrari then gave Leclerc a helping hand by pitting him first, utilising the powerful undercut, but even that did not deter Sainz. Soon he was back in front and also past George Russell into the podium spots.

Exciting for racing fans, there could develop some tension at Ferrari within the racing team especially if Bahrain was a sign of things to come.

Race Results

1: Verstappen : Red Bull
2: Perez : Red Bull
3: Sainz : Ferrari
4: Leclerc : Ferrari

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