Assessing the grid – 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix – The Checkered Flag


The Bahrain Grand Prix held the season opener for the 2021 FIA Method 1 World Championship, and what an opener it was. From a battle for the win all the best way to the chequered flag to duels everywhere in the grid, we had all of it.

Lewis Hamilton was the eventual victor of the race, and the much less probably race winner. All weekend, this race had been screaming out for a Crimson Bull Racing win from Max Verstappen. He had dominated each session and gained pole. It was his to lose and by some means, he nonetheless did.


Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Method One Workforce

Qualifying margin to team-mate: – 0:201s  | Race margin to team-mate: – 37.383s

The present world champion didn’t actually do a lot main as much as the race. He confirmed no promise of being robust through the observe periods and was unable to realize pole throughout qualifying, gaining second however being practically 4 tenths off of Verstappen’s pole lap.

His race, nevertheless, was a tactical masterclass and gave all of the followers the highest of the grid battle they have been after. Hamilton was working the race in second, behind Verstappen. He took the choice to pit early on lap 13 to get the undercut on Verstappen. Crimson Bull responded far too late and pitted Verstappen on lap 17, giving Hamilton the benefit.

Hamilton handed again the race result in Verstappen when he pitted on lap 28. It appeared as if Mercedes-AMG Petronas Method One Workforce’s plan was to pit Hamilton 3 times so Verstappen used that to his benefit and pitted on lap 39.

With Hamilton now within the lead following that pit, he determined to go the remainder of the race and never pit a 3rd time. Come the ultimate 5 laps, he had a charging Verstappen on his tail and was beginning to wrestle on his tyres. Verstappen claimed the race lead with an overtake at Flip 4 on lap 53 however needed to give it again for exceeding monitor limits to overhaul. By then he’d misplaced all his juice and Hamilton was capable of go on and win.

Sir Lewis Hamilton exhibiting, as soon as once more, that he is among the F1 greats.

Credit score: Sebastian Kawka

Max Verstappen – Crimson Bull Racing

Qualifying margin to team-mate: -1.662s | Race margin to team-mate:51.302s

I don’t assume you possibly can take away all the hassle’s Verstappen put into the weekend simply because he didn’t win. He confirmed that Crimson Bull are a critical competitor this 12 months and that is simply the primary of twenty-three shut contests. His time will come sooner relatively than later.

He accomplished a hat-trick of quickest instances all through all of the observe periods and managed to smash out a pole time which excelled that of Hamilton’s.

There was a lot controversy after the race that Verstappen shouldn’t have given the race lead again to Hamilton, as a result of Hamilton exceeding monitor limits at varied instances within the race. This has brought about a little bit of an uproar on the ambiguity of the monitor limits guidelines over a race weekend. Verstappen even acknowledged after the race that he ought to have stayed in entrance and would have gained a 5 second hole to cushion a penalty. Workforce Principal Christian Horner confirmed that FIA ordered the change again.

Sergio Pérez – Crimson Bull Racing

Qualifying margin to team-mate: +1.662s  | Race margin to team-mate: +51.302s

Sergio Pérez had a fairly unfortunate weekend however nonetheless had a robust race which earned him the coveted title of Driver of the Day.

Qualifying had already arrange Pérez in a foul place. He was unable to interrupt out of Q2 and began in eleventh. Through the race formation lap, his automobile fully shut down, leaving him unable to maneuver. A second formation lap was accomplished and through this, Pérez was capable of restart his automobile and take it to the pit lane. Resulting from his being out of place, he now needed to begin from the pit-lane, relegating him to final.

Properly, after his victory on the Sakhir Grand Prix, everyone knows what Pérez can do when he’s final on the primary lap. He fought his manner via the sphere, making no errors and taking residence a fifth-place end. Perhaps that cursed second Crimson Bull Racing seat is beginning to get some luck.

Credit score: Getty Pictures / Crimson Bull Content material Pool

Lando Norris – McLaren F1 Workforce

Qualifying margin to team-mate: +0.047s | Race margin to team-mate: -19.538s

With a brand new teammate at McLaren F1 Workforce in Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris wanted to show that he had the tempo to match the seasoned race winner.

His entire weekend was robust, ending third and second in Free Observe 1 and a couple of respectively. He was simply outqualified by Ricciardo, beginning in seventh place when his teammate certified sixth.

Through the race, he managed to outpace the Scuderia Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, maintain off the late cost of Sergio Pérez and overtake Ricciardo early on to deliver residence a fourth-place end. A promising signal for the younger Brit.

Charles Leclerc – Scuderia Ferrari

Qualifying margin to team-mate: -0.537s  | Race margin to team-mate: -8.010s

A fourth-place qualifying place and a sixth-place race end is already miles higher than what Leclerc was getting from his Ferrari final 12 months. There’s been early indicators that Ferrari are making a comeback and Leclerc proved they’re critical competitors this 12 months.

Yuki Tsunoda – Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda

Qualifying margin to team-mate: +1.394s  | Race margin to team-mate: Gasly DNF

The rookie of the weekend. Yuki Tsunoda drove a storming race, you wouldn’t have believed it was his first F1 race weekend.

The Japanese driver has been robust all all through his F1 profession to this point. He wasn’t capable of get via to Q3 in his first qualifying and began in thirteenth. That didn’t cease him charging the sphere to cross the end line in fourth. 


Nikita Mazepin – Uralkali Haas F1 Workforce

Qualifying margin to team-mate: +0.824s  | Race margin to team-mate: Mazepin DNF

There’s not a lot to say about Nikita Mazepin’s race weekend. He certified final however received promoted to nineteenth when Sebastian Vettel was given a five-place grid penalty and relegated to the again. Mazepin’s race was lower brief when he crashed out at Flip 2 on the primary lap. It’s a debut race weekend to overlook for the rookie.

Pierre Gasly – Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda

Qualifying margin to team-mate: -1.394s  | Race margin to team-mate: Gasly DNF

The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s had appeared highly effective all weekend, particularly Pierre Gasly’s. After being quiet all all through Friday’s observe, Gasly pulled out some hearth and gained the third quickest lap in Saturday’s observe and certified in fifth.

On race begin, he held his place effectively and it appeared like he can be on track for a great race. As soon as the security automobile, which was introduced out for Mazepin’s crash, completed, Gasly went off once more however collied with the again of Ricciardo’s automobile. This brought about some harm to his entrance wing, forcing him to pit and tumble down the pecking order.

Gasly wasn’t capable of battle his manner up the pack once more and retired his automobile with 5 laps left.

Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin Cognizant Method One Workforce

Qualifying margin to team-mate: +1.455s  | Race margin to team-mate: +1 lap on race chief

Sebastian Vettel’s begin to his Aston Martin Cognizant Method One Workforce journey has not been the sweetest. He was unable to get out of Q1 as a result of Mazepin’s crash affecting his flying lap, leaving him beginning in eighteenth. He was then given a five-place grid penalty. The FIA decided that Vettel did not comply totally underneath the yellow flags introduced out for the Mazepin incident.

His race didn’t go a lot better. He collied with Esteban Ocon in a foolish mistake. Fortunately, each drivers have been capable of proceed on their race. He finally completed in fifteenth. Each his yellow flag infringement and his collision with Ocon earned him a complete of 5 penalty factors.

Credit score: Aston Martin Cognizant Method One Workforce

Alpine F1 Workforce

I don’t assume that’s way more the drivers might have carried out in that race however total, it was a poor exhibiting for the group. Fernando Alonso was compelled to retire as a result of an overheating situation along with his brakes and Esteban Ocon might solely change his sixteenth place qualifying right into a thirteenth-place end. Not the beginning the rebranded Alpine F1 Workforce would have needed.


Valtteri Bottas had a lower than thrilling race, beginning third and ending third. He might have been capable of push Hamilton and Verstappen earlier had he not had a pit cease situation. Throughout one in every of his stops, his entrance proper tyre struggled to come back off, leaving him with a pit time of practically eleven seconds.

Ricciardo’s begin to his McLaren profession wasn’t wonderful however was nonetheless a great race from him. He began in sixth however completed in seventh. After the race, McLaren confirmed that Ricciardo had sustained harm to his flooring within the collision with Gasly. Makes his seventh-place end look barely extra spectacular now.

Carlos Sainz Jr’s first race in a Scuderia Ferrari wasn’t nice however it additionally wasn’t dangerous. He completed in eighth total however simply didn’t have the identical tempo as Leclerc. Perhaps first race jitters?

Rounding off the remainder of the grid. Lance Stroll occupied the final level place in tenth. Kimi Räikkönen barely edged out is Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN teammate Antonio Giovinazzi. The each of them had a reasonably quiet race however have been nonetheless concerned in some battles. Räikkönen completed in eleventh with Giovinazzi behind him in twelfth, a great outcome for the group.

One other race weekend, one other pointless one for Williams RacingGeorge Russell managed to beat Vettel to fourteenth however there’s nonetheless a variety of work to be carried out on the group. Nicholas Latifi was a late retiree as a result of a suspected increase leak.

Mick Schumacher rounded out the grid, coming in sixteenth, the final driver on the grid earlier than the retirees. He didn’t have the perfect of time in his F1 debut race for Uralkali Haas F1 Workforce however I’m certain his time will come.


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