5 Things We Learned From The 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix

Gp2401 150444 84a8176
Gp2401 150444 84a8176

The first race of the season has been completed and we’re bringing you five things we learned from the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix!

It was great to see the cars back on track during pre-season testing, but nothing beats real racing action. The Bahrain International Circuit was under the lights for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, but what were the five biggest talking points from the event?

5 Things We Learned from the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix

This year saw Bahrain celebrate its twentieth Formula 1 Grand Prix and 20 years since its first race back in 2004. The Sakhir circuit’s layout hasn’t changed during this time, but the biggest change was it transitioning to a night race from 2014.

Pre-season testing was also held at this track last week and I commented on how reliable the 2024 machines were during testing. There were very few mechanical issues for any of the drivers and that translated to all twenty cars that started the race seeing the chequered flag.

#1 – Bottas on fire

Valtteri Bottas Would Cut Off Mullet For Mercedes Return

Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas came closest to retiring, as a botched pit stop saw his brakes catch on fire, but the Finn’s car re-joined without issue. Logan Sargeant also took a trip onto the run-off, but re-joined the race.

There were three Grands Prix that had all 20 drivers finish the race last season and I’m going to stick my neck out by saying that we’ll have at least six in 2024. Given there are 24 races in total, that puts us at a quarter of all races in 2024.

#2 – All is not well at RB

RB, formerly known as AlphaTauri, unveiled a bold new look based upon their “heritage” as Toro Rosso for 2024. In terms of pace, they weren’t bad in Bahrain. Despite not scoring any points, they finished in 13th and 14th places.

There were some that thought RB would perform better than they did and force themselves into the group above with the likes of Aston Martin. They didn’t manage this, though, and there is some discontent between their two drivers.

F1 Grand Prix Of Bahrain
Image credit: Getty

Daniel Ricciardo was catching Yuki Tsunoda on the faster soft tyres, but the Japanese driver refused to move aside, despite team orders to do so. Tsunoda was justified in his stance, as he was in the DRS range of Kevin Magnussen ahead and was trying to overtake for 12th.

Tsunoda eventually allowed Ricciardo to overtake, but the Aussie couldn’t pass the great Dane in front of him. Daniel may feel annoyed at this, as if he got by straight away, he could’ve got ahead of the Haas.

However, being the more experienced driver, he may not make a big deal out of it, especially with this only being the first race of 2024. As the season goes on, though, and when points are on offer, look to RB for a potential flashpoint on the track.

#3 – Alpine look abysmal

Not only does the A524 look awful, it’s also painfully slow in both qualifying and race trim. I mentioned Alpine having no pace in qualifying and the French team backed this up with an utterly anonymous performance today in the race.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly qualified on the back row of the grid, and the pair essentially stayed there through the race today. Despite Ocon stating that his team would “fight tomorrow” in the race, both he and Gasly finished in 17th and 18th today.

Bahrain Grand Prix 2024

If you’re an extreme optimist, that might indicate making some progress, but the full story is even worse than that. The two cars that finished behind them were Bottas’ Sauber and Sargeant’s Williams, the only two cars to have serious delays due to mistakes.

Alpine have gone from aiming for the top three teams to now looking like backmarkers. They’ll really struggle to score any points this season going off this showing.

#4 – Sainz is looking rapid

Carlos Sainz is a driver that I can’t help admiring. After finding out that his Ferrari contract won’t be renewed for 2025, the Spaniard is out to prove his worth as he searches for a new team. Fourth in qualifying was solid, if not a little unspectacular, as Charles Leclerc started on the front row.

The race was very much a different story, as Leclerc struggled with his braking, particularly into Turns 9 and 10. There were no such troubles for Sainz, as he climbed up to third by the finish thanks to great overtaking moves on both Leclerc and George Russell.

240008 Scuderia Ferrari Bahrain Grand Prix Race Carlos Sainz 3fd19b5c D1eb 42bb 8293 03ea1ae8023c

Sainz was the only driver not in a Red Bull to win a race last year and while it’s very early days in 2024, how embarrassing would it be for Ferrari to drop the driver that finished higher in the drivers’ championship?

Ferrari will be encouraged by their overall pace, as they look to be the second best team in terms of both qualifying and overall race pace. They’re a long way off the front-runners, though…

#5 – Verstappen looks unstoppable… Again

A few were resigned to Max Verstappen winning a fourth drivers’ championship in a row after pre-season testing. Some had accepted this fate after qualifying, but most are now convinced that the Flying Dutchman will pick up a fourth crown after his Bahrain Grand Prix performance.

It was a perfect weekend for Verstappen, as he claimed pole position, set the fastest lap, won the race and led every lap along the way.

Max by name, Max by nature.

Formula 1 2024: Bahrain Gp

This is Verstappen’s eighth win in a row and he’s looking very likely to at least match the record ten wins in a row that he set in 2023. Victories in Saudi Arabia and Australia will see Verstappen equal his record and a win in Japan too will break it.

Verstappen won by 20 seconds, but in truth, it could’ve been even more. Just like in testing, I got the feeling that Max wasn’t pushing to the Max for the majority of this race.

If there was a late Safety Car restart, we could’ve seen Verstappen be challenged, but as it was, Sergio Perez was miles off after taking too many laps to overtake the Ferraris and Russell.

Going off this evidence, the only person that can challenge Verstappen in 2024 is Perez, as he’s the only other driver in a RB20. The Mexican has shown nothing to suggest that he’s anywhere near the defending champion this weekend.

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