Verstappen heads Red Bull 1-2 finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Verstappen heads Red Bull 1-2 finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Max Verstappen started his 2024 F1 campaign in the same style as he signed off last year, by taking an emphatic victory. The three-time champion marched a comfortable Bahrain Grand Prix win more than 20 seconds ahead of Sergio Pérez who made it a second consecutive Sakhir 1-2 for Red Bull Racing, while Carlos Sainz took the final podium place, just three seconds behind Pérez and with team-mate Charles Leclerc fourth to give Ferrari hope of taking the fight to Red Bull over the coming weekends.


Verstappen’s opening win of 2024 was sealed at the start. The Red Bull driver reacted quickest to the lights and he seized the lead into Turn 1 ahead of Leclec who was forced to take an outside line into the corner as Mercedes’ George Russell held his starting third place.


Behind them, Sainz got away poorly and the Spaniard was mugged off the line by Pérez who grabbed P4 and began to chase down Russell. 


The Mercedes driver was on a hunt of his own and on the third lap Russell powered past Leclerc to take P2. The Ferrari driver was struggling with his brakes and he was soon being pressured by Pérez. And on lap 7 the Mexican pounced. Leclerc locked up into Turn 10 and Pérez powered past on the short straight to the next corner.


At the front, Verstappen was building a solid comfort zone and by lap 10 he was almost eight seconds clear of Russell, while the Mercedes driver was just a second ahead of Pérez. 


The threat from the Red Bull driver prompted Mercedes to pit Russell at the end of lap 11 and the Briton switched to Hard tyres. With Leclerc visibly struggling, Ferrari brought him for Hard tyres on the same lap. Covering Russell, Red Bull brought Pérez in at the end of lap 12 and after his switch to Hard tyres he emerged behind the Mercedes driver in P9. 

It didn’t take long for the Red Bull man to make his greater pace tell. He quickly put pressure on the Mercedes and in Turn 4 Russell made a mistake, went wide and Pérez swept past to set up a Red Bull 1-2. 


Verstappen made his first stop at the end of lap 17 and in a 2.9s halt he took on Hard tyres to re-emerge in the lead. But while the champion had everything under control, there were problems elsewhere. Leclerc, now in fifth place, was complaining of continuous front locking and Russell was reporting problems with an overheating power unit, an issue that on lap 18 allowed Sainz to power past to take P3. 


The order at the top remained largely static during the second stint and Russell was the first of the leaders to make a second pit stop, at the end of lap 31. Over the following laps the bulk of the top 10 drivers cycled through the pit lane and then, at the end of lap 36, Pérez made his second stop, taking on a set of Soft tyres in a 2.7s halt that allowed him to emerge a little under two seconds ahead of Sainz who had pitted for a second set of Hard Tyres. Verstappen then made his final stop a lap later and after also taking on Soft tyres he emerged almost 16s clear of his team-mate. 


The final major move of the race came on lap 46 with Russell locking up into Turn 10. His slide wide allowed Leclerc through to take fourth place. And there the order settled. 

Verstappen, who had also sealed fastest lap earlier in the race, could now manage his pace and 11 laps later the World Champion crossed the line to take 22 seconds clear of his team-mate to take his first win of the new campaign. 


The Red Bulls were followed by the Ferrari cars of Sainz and Leclerc, with Russell in fifth place at the flag. Sixth place went to McLaren’s Lando Norris, with Lewis Hamilton in seventh place in the second Mercedes. Oscar Piastri was eighth in the second Mercedes and the final two points places were taken by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. 

2024 FIA Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – Race 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 57 1:31'44.742 
2 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing RBPT 57 1:32'07.199 22.457
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 57 1:32'09.852 25.110
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 57 1:32'24.411 39.669
5 George Russell Mercedes 57 1:32'31.530 46.788
6 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 57 1:32'33.200 48.458
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 57 1:32'35.066 50.324
8 Oscar Piastri McLaren 57 1:32'40.824 56.082
9 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 57 1:32'59.629 1'14.887
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 57 1:33'17.958 1'33.216
11 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 56 1:31'51.501 1 lap /6.759
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 56 1:31'53.058 1 lap /8.316
13 Daniel Ricciardo RB 56 1:31'53.700 1 lap /8.958
14 Yuki Tsunoda RB 56 1:31'54.224 1 lap /9.482
15 Alexander Albon Williams 56 1:31'56.628 1 lap /11.886
16 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 56 1:32'02.374 1 lap /17.632
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine 56 1:32'16.192 1 lap /31.450
18 Pierre Gasly Alpine 56 1:32'17.159 1 lap /32.417
19 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 56 1:33'07.972 1 lap /1'23.230
20 Logan Sargeant Williams 55 1:32'05.537 2 laps /20.795

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