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Suddenly World Cup favorite? That’s what Charles Leclerc says

Charles Leclerc made the first exclamation mark in Formula 1. The Ferrari driver won the season opener ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz. While world champion Max Verstappen retired, Lewis Hamilton was third. The most important voices about the Bahrain Grand Prix on “Sky”.

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) …

… to the race: “I had to fight very hard for this win. Once I got a bit of a gap to Max, I was able to control my pace and distance to him well. But after the first pit stop, Max was right behind me and I had to keep my place for over three laps defending. That was difficult. I’m happy that it worked out. After the safety car, I had a good restart and was able to pull away.”

… about his favorite role in the World Championship fight: “After what we showed this weekend, I can’t just say that’s not the case. But you also have to say that our level is quite similar to Red Bull’s and we have to see how that develops from now on . But there is no better way to start the season.”

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

… to the race: “Ferrari are back with that one-two. We’re where the team should be now. The team’s hard work has paid off. For me personally, it was a difficult weekend and I didn’t actually have the pace for second place. I have But I still bit into it and stuck with it.”

… on Verstappen’s departure: “Max was unlucky. He actually drove in such a way that he deserved second place.”

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) …

… to the race: “A big congratulations to Ferrari, I’m happy for them. It’s an epic team and it’s good to see Carlos and Charles there. It was such a difficult race. We did our best, even in the training sessions. The Of course, both Red Bull drivers were very unlucky.”

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) …

… to the race: “We had a lot of problems today. At first I didn’t have any grip, like on Friday. Second place would still have been a good start to the season. But we didn’t have a good strategy either. We should have been much more aggressive in the two laps after the tire changes. I should have been twice as quick then I would have taken the lead. After that I had problems with the steering wheel. It was much too difficult to steer. Second place would have been really good. But in the end it was there Then of course there was another problem. I think the engine ran out of fuel. And then everything failed and that was it. We didn’t expect that. Balance problems can always happen. But what happened after that was really a shame. And bad because neither car scored any points.”

… to the new regulations, which are intended to create more excitement: “I think it’s doing something. But of course it’s always difficult on this track because the tires wear out very quickly. I think it will be even better on another track.”

Mattia Binotto (Team Principal Ferrari) …

… to double victory: “First of all, I’m very happy for the team. They deserve it and put a lot of work into the car for a very long time. Too long, but now we’ve finally made it. We were already competitive in qualifying on Saturday and then in the race too . In the end we were a bit lucky, but we were able to hold our position. And then the safety car gave us another chance. Of course, the one-two is nice.”

… to Sainz: “Carlos has had a few issues all weekend and he still needs to understand the car better. But he’s a very good driver and I’m sure he can do it. We’re working on his contract extension and we’re pretty close to a deal , but it will take a few more days.”

Toto Wolff (Head of Motorsport Mercedes) …

… to the race: “Expectations change so quickly. Last year we would have been disappointed with third and fourth place. But we have to admit that the performance is not right at the moment. On the soft tires we are up to speed in terms of speed, but the degrades quickly. We’re not fast enough on the other two and the hard tire was a real grab on the toilet this time. But we wanted to try it. We know where the challenge lies. But there isn’t an area where at the moment I would say we perform the way we want to.”

… to Ferrari: “Ferrari’s engine is extremely strong. But also the car as a whole. We’ve seen Leclerc keep pulling away from Verstappen. Their grip is really good and I think they also have a weight advantage over the Red Bull and us. Ferrari did a good job.”

… to George Russell: “Very solid, his pace is absolutely there. It was his first race with us and there is certainly also the pressure factor. I think that he has solved his task perfectly.”

Helmut Marko (Head of Motorsport Red Bull Racing) …

… to the failure of both cars: “The cause of the failure is the same for both cars. We didn’t get any more fuel from the tank to the engine. We don’t know why exactly that is the case. But Perez’s spin is due to the lack of fuel. It’s difficult to say why that happened. We won’t know until we take a close look at the cars. But that’s something that has never happened before. We did tests where we ran the cars empty to one liter. So it has to be something broke.”

… to Ferrari: “We were surprised by their race pace. Of course, it’s difficult to say what it would have been like if we’d been in front. We lost time, especially in the second sector. By being behind, our tire wear was higher than with Ferrari. But we are not far from the Ferrari. We had a few other problems, so we’ll have to look into that. Losing both cars was a major setback.”

Mick Schumacher (Haas) …

… to the race: “It was difficult. I made contact right away on the first lap. Luckily I got the car straight again with an elegant spin. Unfortunately, the tires were already worn out afterwards. It was a difficult day in general. I think so, that we had more pace. We can see that with Kevin, he did a great job. I’m very happy for the team with the points.”

… to improve the car: “It gives me a lot of confidence for the next races. We still have 22 races to go, so 22 opportunities to score points.”

Nico Hulkenberg (reserve driver Aston Martin) …

… to the race: “It was very strenuous. I ended up walking a bit on the rim. Of course, a race like this is always different for the body than a qualifying lap that only lasts 70 or 80 seconds. It was a tough race . It was going quite well until I misbraked. After that it went downhill a bit, then the laps came.”

… to the weak car: “We have to analyze and understand everything a bit now. There are a few areas that we have to look at. Because when you’re behind, there are always things that need to be improved. We still have to find out exactly where that is to understand.”

… on his short-term commitment for Sebastian Vettel: “Some things were more fun, some less. Of course, finishing last isn’t really fun. But that wasn’t really to be expected. But it is what it is. I didn’t actually make a big mistake. I can’t say that I’m satisfied, but not dissatisfied either.”

Ross Brawn (F1 Sporting Director)…

… on the effects of the changes in the regulations: “It’s only been one race but we’re really excited. We didn’t see anything that went against what we were trying to achieve. It was an exciting race. What’s nice is that we’re not a big gap in the top teams have. They did it very well.”

… to the top teams: “Obviously I can’t deny that Ferrari are still in my heart. And they’ve had a tough couple of years now. We’re very happy for them. For Mercedes it’s a challenge now and then of course there’s Red Bull, at who it’s safe to say are fighting for victories again.”

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