2024 F1 race review: Bahrain Grand Prix | Red Bull dispels hope

An easy win in the opening round but trouble still looms…

The 2024 F1 season is finally upon us, and after what felt like an eternity of waiting and plenty of praying and speculation of a competitive season, it took just 10 laps for everyone to realise we’re getting a sequel to 2023.

While the three practice sessions and even the first two qualifying sessions looked like it could be close, the reigning champions Red Bull and Max Verstappen turned up in Q3 and ruined the notion of anyone challenging them.

There were some talking points behind them, though, and of course, it isn’t all smooth sailing for F1’s most dominant force right now. Join us as we take a look at the first race weekend just gone in our 2024 race review: Bahrain Grand Prix.

Usual suspects in top 10

Going into the season, most bets on who could challenge and possibly beat Red Bull this year were hedged on Ferrari, and while the side from Maranello did finish with one of their drivers on the podium and the other one place behind him, they didn’t really get as close to Verstappen or even Sergio Perez as was first thought.

While both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz managed to outqualify the Mexican Minister of Defence, neither were able to stop him from cruising by in the race.

Sainz drove a better race than his teammate, who struggled throughout, sending something of a message to his current team as to their decision to get rid of him at the end of the year for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Speaking of the seven-time World Champion, he had a disappointing race as well. He sacrificed pace during qualifying so he could have the best setup for a strong Sunday, but instead, he suffered some issues and eventually finished in a McLaren sandwich down in seventh.

Credit: Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Toto Wolff REACT to W15 issues in Bahrain (Sky Sports F1, Youtube)

His teammate, George Russell, did well in qualifying to put his car in third, but he too suffered some issues that prevented him from truly fighting either Ferrari or Perez he ended up finishing fifth.

McLaren seemed fine enough with their result, considering they were dead last in the race in 2023. Qualifying pace looked good but there was nothing too special from them on Sunday. They will surely be looking to bring big upgrades throughout the year once again to make their moves forward.

And down in the final two spots in the points were Aston Martin, who seemed to be in a race of their own - just off the pace of the McLaren’s and Mercedes’, but ahead of the chasing midfield pack. Only time will tell which way they will move on the grid throughout the year.

Mixed feelings further back

From the bottom half of the grid, there were some mixed reactions from the teams; some were pleasantly surprised, others maybe not so much.

Williams Team Principle James Vowles made his usual post-race social media debrief in which he explained disappointment from the team for their result. The legendary British outfit is targeting big improvements for this season but a 15th and 20th finish is not a good first showing.

But it wasn’t as bad as Alpine, who turned up to practice one and revealed to the world that they in fact were in a much worse position than previously thought.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly qualified P19 and P20 respectively and were only able to make up two places each during the race due to problems from Logan Sargeant and Valtteri Bottas. Changes have already come for the team but it's hard to imagine anything will be enough to stop them from occupying the back row of the grid regularly this year.

Kick Sauber (stupid name) and Haas were pleasantly surprised with their results. Before pre-season testing, Haas were confident that they’d be the team right at the back of the grid, but instead, Nico Hulkenberg went and put the car into Q3 on Saturday.

Credit: Ricciardo, Tsunoda and Mekies EXPLAIN RB team orders (Sky Sports F1, Youtube)

P12 and P16 finishes were reasonably sound enough for them to consider the first weekend of the year a success, as were Sauber’s P11 and P19 finishes.

Well, maybe not so much the P19 for Bottas, but he suffered an issue during a pit stop that cost him around a minute, completely ruining his race. Before that, he was running fine just like his teammate.

RB may have a terrible new name (the full thing, RB is alright) but they have a semi-decent car at least, although they may now have some issues with their drivers.

Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda finished 13th and 14th respectively, but the latter wasn’t very happy that he was made to give way for his teammate in what ultimately ended up a futile move. 

Some strong radio messages were heard during the race from the young Japanese driver, but he really made his feelings known with some dangerous actions after the chequered flag towards Ricciardo. With a potential seat with Red Bull on the line for either one, this may be a situation to keep an eye on this campaign.

Trouble in paradise for Red Bull

The reigning champions had the dream start to the season, quelling any thoughts that they may not be so strong this year by producing a dominant 1-2 victory with Verstappen winning by 22 seconds over his teammate.

It was a good performance from the side who has had many distractions off the track over the last few weeks, but unfortunately for them, they’re not quite gone yet.

The situation with team boss Christian Horner seemed to have been resolved after Red Bull announced a conclusion to their internal investigation last week, but instead more hell rained down on them as the weekend progressed.

Word on the Red Bull situation seems to be pointing towards another conclusion coming soon, and if it’s not the opposite of the one given last week, then things may get very hairy for the Milton Keynes team.

Credit: EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS! 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1, Youtube)

It is said that Jos Verstappen, Max’s father, is pushing for Horner to step down, while Horner is maintaining his intentions of staying put. It is also said that Red Bull 

The latest word is that Verstappen has an exit clause in his Red Bull contract that states he can leave the team with immediate effect should Helmut Marko, a key figure within the team, were to leave.

While that may seem like the last thing that will happen, F1-Insider were able to speak to former F1 driver and close friend of Marko, Gerhard Berger, who said “As of now: Horner stays, Helmut Marko and Adrian Newey quit and Max goes to Mercedes.”

There’s a lot to unpack from that one statement, but the main thing to note is that it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. We’ll have to see how the situation develops, whether that be before or after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend.

Drivers & Constructors standings after Round 1

World Drivers’ Championship standings
Position Driver Team Points
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 26
2 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 18
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 15
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 12
5 George Russell Mercedes 10
6 Lando Norris McLaren 8
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 6
8 Oscar Piastri McLaren 4
9 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 2
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1
11 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber 0
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 0
13 Daniel Ricciardo RB 0
14 Yuki Tsunoda RB 0
15 Alex Albon Williams 0
16 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 0
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine 0
18 Pierre Gasly Alpine 0
19 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber 0
20 Logan Sargeant Williams 0
World Constructors’ Championship
Position Team Points
1 Red Bull Racing 44
2 Ferrari 27
3 Mercedes 16
4 McLaren 12
5 Aston Martin 3
6 Kick Sauber 0
7 Haas 0
8 RB 0
9 Williams 0
10 Alpine 0
Call an expert image

Need help to find the best deal?

Get in touch with our expert team.

020 4525 0221

Our trusted providers

  • Sky logo
  • BT logo
  • Virgin Media logo
  • TalkTalk logo
  • Now logo
  • Freeview logo

Need help? Get in touch

Call us: 020 4525 0221

Send us a message

Don't miss our latest deals

Sign up to receive unmissable offers and the latest news on TV, broadband, energy, phones and more.

Information regarding how we process your data can be found in our Privacy Policy.
× Need help choosing a great deal?
Call us on 020 4525 0221