*** ----> Max Verstappen dominates at Bahrain Formula 1! | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Max Verstappen dominates at Bahrain Formula 1!

TDT | Manama                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Max Verstappen claimed a magnificent victory last night in a historic and record-breaking Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024—the Kingdom of Bahrain’s 20th anniversary F1 race held at a brilliantly lit Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.

The three-time defending drivers’ world champion started from the pole and dominated the 57-lap event, celebrating “20 Years of a Modern Classic” as the first-ever F1 Saturday night race in Bahrain.

As a spectacular fireworks display dotted the night sky, Verstappen crossed the finish line with a 22-second gap, leading Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to a sensational one-two. They were joined on the podium by Carlos Sainz of Ferrari.

Verstappen earned his 55th career victory in F1 and second in a row at “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East." He also clocked the race’s fastest lap. Presenting Verstappen's winner’s trophy during the podium ceremony was His Majesty the King’s Humanitarian Work and Youth Affairs Representative, His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem also presented the FIA President’s Medal to the Red Bull superstar.

Gulf Air Chairman Zayed R. Alzayani handed over the trophy to the winning constructors. Minister of Youth Affairs Her Excellency Rawan bint Najeeb Tawfeeqi presented Perez with his trophy for second place, while FIA Vice-President for Sport for MENA and Bahrain Motor Federation President Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa awarded Sainz his third-place trophy. “Unbelievable!” said Verstappen.

“I think today went better than expected, and we had a lot of pace. It was super enjoyable to drive, and we stayed out of trouble.

It’s a good start to the year; it couldn’t be better. “It was a lot of fun. And it’s very special to have days like today, as it doesn’t happen often when everything is all right with the car.

It felt great today.” Perez added, “The team definitely had good momentum. We’ve got to keep it up now for the coming weekends. “It was the maximum we could achieve—a tricky race with the tyre management and plenty to learn from the race.” Sainz commented, “I felt really good today and had a good pace.

We had a clear plan, and it worked well. “I managed my tyres, and then I could overtake a few cars on the way to the podium.

A good step forward compared to last year.” This year’s F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix was the first of a record 24 rounds in the 2024 FIA F1 World Championship.

No looking back

At lights-out, Verstappen held his position, heading into the first corner with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by his side. Then, with clean air ahead of him, there was no looking back from there for the Dutchman.

Verstappen enjoyed his biggest advantage midway through, right before his second pit stop. When he rejoined the action on track, he still had a significant lead over Perez and gradually added to the gap while racing solo in front, disappearing into the distance.

With 10 laps to go, he was 18 seconds clear in front, and in the final two laps, he had increased the final margin at the checkered flag.

Verstappen’s total winning time was one hour, 31 minutes, and 44.742 seconds. Perez, who started from fifth on the grid, was able to pass the others ahead of him in the race’s early stages. He was classified 22.457s behind Verstappen to form a similar top two from last season in Bahrain.

Sainz took the last podium step, 25.110 seconds from first, while Leclerc came in fourth, 39.669 seconds back. George Russell, who started from third, finished fifth, 46.788 seconds behind Verstappen, while Lando Norris of McLaren was sixth, 48.458 seconds adrift.

Completing the top 10 and putting five constructors with both cars in the points were Lewis Hamilton (+50.324s) of Mercedes, Oscar Piastri (+56.082s) of McLaren, and the Aston Martin duo of Fernando Alonso (+1:14.887) and Lance Stroll (+1:33.216).

Rounding off the classification from 11th to 20th, respectively, one lap behind, were Zhou Guanyu of Kick Sauber, Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda of RB, Alexander Albon of Williams, Nico Hulkenberg of Haas, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly of Alpine, Valtteri Bottas of Kick Sauber, and Logan Sargeant of Williams, who has classified two laps back.


Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz celebrate on the podium with Red Bull performance engineer Tom Hart


Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz celebrate on the podium with Red Bull performance engineer Tom Hart


F1’s star-studded Class of 2024 prior to yesterday’s race