Race Report: Verstappen dominates Bahrain GP

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202403020444 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen and Red Bull didn’t skip a beat from last year with a dominant win from pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Verstappen was followed by teammate, Sergio Perez, and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

If there were question as to if anyone had any pace to threaten Red Bull’s domination, that may have been answered this weekend. The race would suggest that the pecking order is Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin. This is just one race and one track so let’s see what happens next weekend.


A win for Red Bull and Max Verstappen who seem to have evolved their car with dynamic changes to keep their pace advantage in tact heading into 2024. Also a great result for Sergio Perez for maximizing points with a solid P2 finish.

A win for Carlos Sainz who put the bit between his teeth and made the most of his car that may have not been highly motivated for a podium finish. Carlos has to make the most of his final season at Ferrari to improve his 2025 prospects and this is a great way to start.

I’m giving a win for Mercedes who hit the ground with a brand new car and a lot can go wrong when you start from scratch but the car looks competitive, is compliant and despite engine overheating issues, they have something to build on. George Russell had a very good race running as high as P2 before his engine heat became an issue.

A win for Charles Leclerc who was struggling a lot with his front end and locking his brakes all race long. IT was a tough race but he managed to take advantage of George Russell’s issues to claw his way back to P4.

A win for George Russell and McLaren’s Lando Norris for their P5 and P6, respectively, results. It means there is battle for third in the constructor’s championship and both were managing serious issues on their engine and car so a yeoman’s drove from both.


A fail for Aston Martin as they narrowly made the points with Fernando Alonso in 9th and Lance Stroll in 10th. This isn’t how the team started last year and they have some serious work to do in order to catch up.

A fail for RB who looked set for a more competitive season but being beaten by a Haas is not the way to start your 2024 campaign. Yuki also had a full-blown come apart on the radio when asked to move over for Daniel Ricciardo.

A tough day for Williams with Logan Sergeant running off and ending up last while Alex Albon struggled with his Mercedes engine issues dropping him down to P15.

An even worse day for Alpine who are a long way off the pace and in serious trouble for 2024.


Not sure what happened to Valtteri Bottas’ wheel nut but that was a shame.

I did notice a complete avoidance of Christian Horner on TV during the race and only briefly shown in post-race celebrations. Apparently too toxic for TV viewers at this point. Keep in mind, this isn’t about Christian, it’s about the hundreds and hundreds of men and women at Red Bull working their tail off to deliver this result.

A rare Guenther sighting with no F Bombs either.

Pirelli View:

In terms of tyre use and strategy, the race panned out pretty much as expected from earlier forecasts and simulations carried out after qualifying. All the drivers started on Soft tyres before switching to Hards. Those, such as Red Bull, who only had one available set of C1s used the new set of C3s saved from qualifying for the final stint, while the vast majority of drivers opted for the second set of Hards for the third and last part. The exceptions can be counted on the finger of one hand: the quartet in question were Nico Hulkenberg, forced to pit on the opening lap following a collision at the start, making three stops, as did Pierre Gasly (Alpine) and Logan Sargeant (Williams.) They went for something different, doing two stints on the Hard and two on the Soft, while Daniel Ricciardo (Racing Bulls) made two stops, choosing a new C3 set to end the race.

Bahrain GP Results:

11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT571:31:44.74226
211Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT57+22.457s18
355Carlos SainzFERRARI57+25.110s15
416Charles LeclercFERRARI57+39.669s12
563George RussellMERCEDES57+46.788s10
64Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES57+48.458s8
744Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES57+50.324s6
881Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES57+56.082s4
914Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES57+74.887s2
1018Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES57+93.216s1
1124Zhou GuanyuKICK SAUBER FERRARI56+1 lap0
1220Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI56+1 lap0
133Daniel RicciardoRB HONDA RBPT56+1 lap0
1422Yuki TsunodaRB HONDA RBPT56+1 lap0
1523Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES56+1 lap0
1627Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI56+1 lap0
1731Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT56+1 lap0
1810Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT56+1 lap0
1977Valtteri BottasKICK SAUBER FERRARI56+1 lap0
202Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES55+2 laps0
Overall Race
race-report-verstappen-dominates-bahrain-gpA good race that at least answers our questions as to what is the pecking order for 2024.
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peter riva

Clean sweep. Snoresville. If that’s the harbinger of the season to come, their numbers are going to fall off drastically.

Tim C.

Well . . . It looks like another season of recording the race and then subsequently deleting it after another Verstappen win. Maybe one day another team will finally step up to the plate. And, before I get asked, I didn’t like the Merc dominance either. Just made for another boring race.


No slight on RB/Max here but with this level of dominance, it makes me feel like the cars have become too reliable. Seasons this long and only 3-4? engines etc. I struggle to remember the last time the gods of speed reached out to smite away a podium? (Leclerc @ Austria 2022?) The gods are around. Brakes, wheel nuts, a seat, Albon’s engine, and wtf Sargent was upto… all manageable. At the first race and under a cost cap no less. Bring on the new regs please, cause these cars are far too sorted out. And it pains me to… Read more »


Man I think it’s going to be another rough season. Might be another season of watching highlights and then listening to the podcast while at the gym.

New regulations in 2026 can’t come soon enough. In the mean time I highly recommend everyone follow Grace’s advice and start watching Motogp. Heck even world superbike is shaping up to a way better season.


Not too bad a race, lots of good battles further down the pack.
Well done to RBR they have a great car and it really is everyone else who needs to catch up to them.
Yuki needs to understand that it’s a team sport, sure be competitive but dive bombing your teammate after the checked flag is not the way to get promoted to the big team.
I see Jos is sticking the knife in on Christian, let see who is better at politics and survives.