F1 GP Bahrain, Verstappen wins over Perez, Ferrari third with Sainz

In the first race of the season the world champion dominates, leaving his teammate 21 seconds behind. The first red pursuers, the Spaniard on the podium ahead of Charles, having trouble with the brakes. Hamilton seventh


March 2, 2024 (changed at 5.52pm) – SAKHIR (BAHRAIN)

Max Verstappen unleashed. The Red Bull world champion dominated the opening race of the 2024 F1 season and won ahead of Sergio Perez for a triumphant one-two for the Milton Keynes team. The good news for Ferrari is that they find themselves the second force in the championship, thanks to third place for Carlos Sainz junior and fourth for Charles Leclerc, penalized by brake problems that prevented him from an attacking race. The Cavallino is therefore ahead of Mercedes, which after a good start to the race with George Russell, had to settle for fifth place ahead of Lando Norris’ McLaren. Lewis Hamilton was seventh ahead of Oscar Piastri, while the points were closed by the Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. Eleventh was Zhou Guanyu with Sauber, while Magnussen with Haas preceded the Racing Bulls of Ricciardo and Tsunoda.

the departure

A bit of a shock start for Ferrari, with Verstappen closing the line well on Leclerc at the first corner, who followed in front of Russell, Perez and Sainz. At the rear, there was an accident between Hulkenberg and Stroll, who was hit by the German and spun. Nico returned to the pits to replace the front wing. As per the regulations, this year the DRS is activated already on the second lap and Verstappen immediately put himself out of reach of the Ferrari’s mobile wing, bringing the margin over Charles to 1.5 seconds. Who was unable to defend himself on the third lap from Russell, who made a great overtaking on the outside and then on the seventh lap, when Perez also passed. Then in the 11th overtaking by Sainz against Leclerc, who was having trouble with the brakes and was often the victim of front locks in this phase.

the pit stops

Lap 12 marked the start of the major pit stops, with Russell and Leclerc stopping for hard tyres. Verstappen had already accumulated 9 seconds on Russell’s Mercedes. Then on lap 13 Perez, Piastri and Hamilton stop. At the 14th on the track, Perez overtook Russell and made a pit stop for Sainz, who was second at the time, 12 seconds behind Verstappen. The Spaniard returned to the track behind Leclerc but then on the 17th lap, his second overtaking of the day on his teammate, he slipped into braking at 1st. Then on the 18th lap Verstappen pitted and restarted ahead of Perez and Sainz, very good at that moment to overtake Russell and move into third position.

last part

At this point the race stabilized a bit, with Verstappen setting the pace and Perez 9 seconds behind, with Sainz at 11 and Russell at 15. Leclerc at this stage remained at 18 seconds in fifth position, in front to the McLarens of Norris and Piastri, to the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and to the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso. Verstappen was deadly around lap 30: the world champion’s pace led him to have 15 seconds on Perez, 17 on Sainz, 25 on Russell and 27 on Leclerc. Then on lap 32 Russell made his second stop and, once he was fitted with hard tyres, he went out. On lap 34 Leclerc stopped to defend himself from Norris’ stop, then on lap 35 Sainz made a second stop, who almost caught Perez, who rejoined in front of him after his stop on lap 37. Verstappen’s final stop came in 38th, and like Perez, he went for the final stint of the race on the soft tire, compared to the hard one of the Ferrari. In the last 20 laps, however, little changed, apart from Russell’s mistake which, with 10 laps to go, allowed Leclerc to grab fourth place. Two Red Bulls and two Ferraris, the first verdict is this one. In seven days the second act will be in Arabia.

order of arrival

Bahrain GP finishing order:

  • 1 Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2 Perez (Red Bull) at 22″457
  • 3 Sainz (Ferrari) at 25”110
  • 4 Leclerc (Ferrari) at 39”669
  • 5 Russell (Mercedes) at 46”788
  • 6 Norris (McLaren) at 48”458
  • 7 Hamilton (Mercedes) at 50″324
  • 8 Plates (McLaren) at 56”082
  • 9 Alonso (Aston Martin) at 1’14”887
  • 10. Stroll (Aston Martin) at 1’23”216