Watch: Leclerc’s cockpit view as he fends off Verstappen in Bahrain

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen engaged in a tense battle for the lead in the season-opener in Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen had an exceptional battle at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, and part of this scrap was captured from the Monegasque’s helmet camera.

New for 2022, F1 have placed a small camera inside the crash helmet of the drivers to give fans a better idea of what the drivers are looking at during races, and give a clearer idea of the enormous challenges driving an F1 car poses.

A video released by Formula 1 shows the first wheel-to-wheel fight between Leclerc and Verstappen into Turn One, with the Dutchman doing down the inside, before the Ferrari driver cuts back underneath and used his superior exit to get back past him into Turn Four.

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The 24-year-old would eventually win the race while his on-track rival retired due to a reliability issue late on.

After taking Ferrari’s first victory since 2019, he revealed that he had deliberately allowed Verstappen to take the advantage at the start of the lap so that he could retake the lead following the second DRS zone.

“I was trying to be as clever as possible, using the DRS as much as possible so I was trying to brake early in Turn One just to be behind him at the DRS detection and twice it worked out so I took back my first position and [I’m] incredibly happy that we made it work,” Leclerc said.

From the helmet camera, Leclerc can be seen constantly looking at both mirrors to see where the reigning world champion was down the main straight, and he also stayed in seventh gear on the penultimate straight and the main straight.

This is something F1 journalist Will Buxton picked up on.

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READ: Leclerc reveals he deliberately let Verstappen overtake him in 2022 Bahrain GP

“Interesting that Charles Leclerc stays in 7th on the main straight, but grabs 8th with DRS on the shorter straight to T4 to regain the lead. Cracking fight,” he tweeted.

It was presumably in a bid to restrain his momentum to allow for a Verstappen pass and this, coupled with his slightly earlier braking into the first corner, meant that he was not the one without DRS on the following straight.

While it is still very early on, the new technical regulations have appeared to deliver what the fans were asking for last weekend in the form of enthralling, wheel-to-wheel racing.