Hamilton’s Win at F1 Bahrain Grand Prix Sheds First Light on Season

Lewis Hamilton won again, but the truth is that he World Champion should never have won Sunday’s F1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen made a mistake and went off the track when he was passing Hamilton to take the lead on Lap 53 of the 56-lap race. The Dutchman had to give back the place, and after he had done that he found that the Red Bull was not quick enough to do the same move again.

It was missed opportunity, but it was clear that the Red Bull is hyper-competitive.

But what about the others? Who were the winners and losers? On this, there were few answers in Bahrain because several teams decided to use risky strategies in the hope of making a good impression. They ran soft tires in the second part of qualifying (known as Q2) because they hoped it would get them in to the final Q3 top 10 run-off. But doing that meant that they had to start the race on the soft rubber, which was not the optimal choice.

Some did it because they couldn’t think of a better idea, others to look good

Ferrari looked better in qualifying with Charles Leclerc fourth on the grid and Carlos Sainz eighth. There is no question the Ferrari is a better car than last year, but by the end of the race Leclerc was sixth—59 secs behind the winner—and still off the pace. Sainz finished eighth.

Alfa Romeo flattered in some of the practice sessions, but finished race day in 11th and 12th, which was not much better than last year. Alpine (which used to be Renault) appeared to have gone backwards, while Aston Martin, the old Racing Point, which won in Bahrain at the end of last year, never looked like being a challenger. Is their focus on 2022? It looks that way.

The cars that used the soft tires in qualifying made life difficult for others. Cars that would normally have been in the Q3 shootout didn’t get through and so struggled to compete on Sunday. Sergio Perez was 11th on the grid because he stayed on medium tires, but then things really did go wrong on the final parade lap.

“The car shut down,” Perez said. “I was so close to jumping out, but I stayed in and somehow the car got going again which was a miracle really. That meant we had to start from the pit lane. That wasn’t ideal.”

Perez’s race, while a nice comeback from the back for fifth place, was nearly as impressive as the showing of AlphaTauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda, who finished the day ninth and scored points in his debut.

So what did we learn from Bahrain 2021?

We’re in for an exciting season of racing.

F1 Bahrain Grand Prix


F1 Constructors Standings

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