Alfa Romeo picked up its first world championship points of its return to F1 after the Sauber team shone under the Bahrain floodlights with Marcus Ericsson finishing ninth while his young rookie team mate Charles Leclerc recovered important positions after an early unscheduled stop during a very hectic race, where tyre choice and pit stop strategy played crucial roles.
Ericsson had a great start from seventeenth position on the grid and gained valuable positions over the first few laps. The one-stop pit strategy paid off for the Swedish driver who had a strong and consistent race, fighting hard in the midfield, finishing ninth and fending off challenges from behind up to the chequered flag.
It was a difficult race for his team-mate Leclerc, who started nineteenth and had to pit on lap three due to vibrations from his front wheel. He was then able to recover positions, lapping with a consistent pace throughout the race to finish fourteenth.
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, now sitting eighth in the F1 Constructors’ World Championship after collecting its first points of the season, imediately heads to the Shanghai Circuit in China for the third round of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 Championship.
C37 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
Result: 9th. Start with soft tyres, after 23 laps change to medium tyres
“It is an amazing feeling to back in the points, especially this early into the season, as a start to our new chapter with Alfa Romeo. It is a great reward to everyone at the racetrack and back at the factory. The strategy we had today was good, and it was a challenge to make it all the way to the end of the race with the tyres and fuel we had. I had to be clever as a driver and pick the right fights to make sure that I do not use the tyres too much. It was a great team effort. I am very happy, very pleased, and I look forward to continuing on this positive path.”
C37 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
Result: 14th. Start on soft tyres, after 3 laps change to medium tyres, and after 34 laps change to supersoft tyres
“It has been a motivating evening for the team. After working hard all weekend, we scored two points, with Marcus having a very strong race. At the same time, I am not completely satisfied with my own result. We went for a high-risk strategy after I struggled with a flat-spot at the beginning of the race. We opted for a set of medium tyres – unfortunately, they did not last as long as we hoped. We are looking into what happened in the stint on the medium option and will be sure to learn from this experience. In any case, it was a positive race for the team, and I look forward to being back in the car next weekend in China.”
“It was a very good first step for us and a reward for the hard work during the winter by the whole team, both at the race track and at the factory at home. Today we made an important recovery from qualifying and both drivers and the team did a good job. Congratulations to Marcus for the strong race. He put in a huge effort over the winter to be able to show everyone that he is able to deliver. It is a great accomplishment for him. Charles also did a good job and put in a consistently good performance throughout the race. Unfortunately, he lost a lot of time at the beginning of the race after having issues with a vibration on the front wheel, requiring an early pit stop. All in all, it was a good team effort and we are pleased with the outcome of this weekend, but we remain completely focused and will continue to work hard and push in this direction.”
Photos: Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team - 2018 FIA F1 World Championship