Max Verstappen dominates 2024 F1 season opening Bahrain Grand Prix

Max Verstappen dominates 2024 F1 season opening Bahrain Grand Prix

Max Verstappen maintained his Formula 1 tradition of dominance by winning the 2024 F1 season opening Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Red Bull was back to their winning ways in the first race of 2024 in Bahrain with Max Verstappen leading the field and Sergio Perez securing second place after holding off Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

All drivers appeared to be taking precautions to avoid spoiling their first race in Bahrain as the lights went out for the season’s opening race. For that reason, Verstappen was in the lead after holding the inside into the approach to Turn 1.

Russell held onto third place while Perez moved up to second after edging Sainz. Alonso appeared certain to follow suit, but the Aston Martin driver had to settle with maintaining his starting grid spot. Norris and Piastri, who trailed him, finished the first lap in the same order despite their close battle.

Meanwhile in the mid-field Albon advanced two spots up to 11th, Tsunoda went up to 10th, while Hamilton held onto 9th place. Zhou got off to the strongest start, gaining four spots, while Nico Hulkenberg suffered damage to the front wing and had to pit, falling from 10th to last.

That placed him behind Stroll, who was sitting in the last spot after Hulkenberg threw him into a spin at Turn 1 on the opening lap with all the drama being initially triggered by Bottas who bumped the latter.

In the third lap, there were already some impressive overtaking maneuvers: Norris overtook Alonso for P6, and Russell overtook Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to take second place.

Towards the conclusion of the fifth lap, Verstappen had stretched his lead over his closest rival, Russell, to over four seconds. Leclerc was running third just a second behind the Mercedes, followed closely by Sainz and Perez.

At the end of the main straight, Piastri passed Alonso for eighth place while Norris was also unable to hang on. The Aston Martin driver lost yet another spot on the main straight a few laps later when Hamilton overtook him.

In the seventh lap, Perez overtook Leclerc as the Ferrari driver failed to brake at Turn 7. Later on in the lap, Leclerc locked the inside front tyre again at Turn 1, indicating he was having more and more trouble getting the car to slow down. Sainz was following closely behind.

Sainz moved up into fourth place after passing his teammate on the 11th lap. Logan Sargeant triggered the race’s first yellow flag on lap 10 as it took the American quite a while to restart his car after it locked up while braking for turn 1. Eventually, he managed to do so, but he pitted to switch back to the hard tyres, rejoining the race in last place.

Russell and Leclerc made their pit stops in the same lap while Perez, Piastri, and Hamilton pulled in one lap later. Perez was able to get by the Mercedes around Turn 4 as it was clear that his hard tyres were handling better by getting up to temperature much faster.

Carlos Sainz rejoined the race in seventh after pitting from second place on lap 15, trailing Leclerc once more. Verstappen was the only driver running on the softs from the start of the race after Alonso and Albon pitted on the next lap, in second and third place, respectively.

Verstappen was signaled to stop at the end of lap 17 as Sainz overtook his teammate for the second time during the race. The Dutchman’s pit stop time of 2.9 seconds was more than sufficient to maintain his lead in the race, leading Perez by 5 seconds.

After that, Sainz overtook Russell for third place while Leclerc lamented the constant front locking, saying it was risky because his car drifted to the right with every brake application.

Once everyone was running hard tires, the race eased significantly. Verstappen gapped Perez over time as Sainz steadily caught up to the second-placed Red Bull. Meanwhile, George Russell never posed any threat to Leclerc as he consistently lapped more slowly with Piastri and Norris coming next, a few seconds apart.

It was a less enjoyable experience for Lewis Hamilton as he struggled with a damaged seat and had trouble turning his car into Turn 8 reliably despite Alonso being almost ten seconds behind him.

The first of the second pit stops came on lap 33 when Bottas was forced to spend more than 50 seconds in the pit while his crew struggled fixing his front left wheel. Russell was the next to pit, and a lap later, Norris and Hamilton. All but Verstappen, Perez, and Ricciardo began another stint on the hard tyres after the stops.

Russell was the next to pit, and a lap later, Norris and Hamilton. All but Verstappen, Perez, and Ricciardo began another stint on the hard tyres after the stops.

Hulkenberg and Alonso were the last drivers to pit. Before this, Alonso had been overtaken by Piastri and Hamilton while attempting to shorten the last stint – although it was supposed to be on hard tyres – without taking any defensive action. In contrast, Hulkenberg chose to run worn softs for the last 14 laps.

Alonso’s shorter stint allowed him to record his best laps of the race, and two laps after his pit stop, he passed Zhou to reclaim his spot in the points. Next on the agenda was stroll but after overtaking him there was nothing but empty air in front of him as Piastri had a 27-second advantage ahead of him.

Leclerc was pushing Russell at the time, but the latter missed Turn 8 and had to give up P4 shortly after. The positions at the front were mostly set, but Verstappen was still able to create a little disorder by allowing Ricciardo to pass Tsunoda with a lap to spare. Ricciardo had been chasing his teammate the entire race with four laps to go.

Verstappen began the season just like everyone had predicted. Red Bull Racing had a comfortable victory, with Sergio Perez finishing second ahead of the Ferrari pair. With pole position and the quickest lap, Verstappen had an ideal weekend; yet, Sainz’s close proximity to Perez over the course of the race is encouraging for the Scuderia.

2024 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix Race Results

1Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing57 Laps
2Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing+22.457s
3Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari+25.110s
4Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari+39.669s
5George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+46.788s
6Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+48.458s
7Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+50.324s
8Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team+56.082s
9Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+74.887s
10Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+92.900s
11Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+1 Lap
12Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team+1 Lap
13Daniel RicciardoAUSVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+1 Lap
14Yuki TsunodaJPNVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+1 Lap
15Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing+1 Lap
16Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team+1 Lap
17Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+1 Lap
18Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+1 Lap
19Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+1 Lap
20Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing+2 Laps

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